Oh how I miss Italy!
Jason and I honestly had such an amazing trip and we already can’t stop talking about “next time”. But, since we’re not quite sure when “next time” is going to be, I figured I’d re-live this trip by sharing some of our highlights with you!
Since we did SO much and I don’t want to totally bore you all (because trust me, I know you don’t care nearly as much about my vacation as I do!), I figured I’d write 1 post for each city that we visited and instead of writing long drawn out reviews of each thing we did, I’d link my short descriptions/ mentions here to my TripAdvisor reviews so if you’re interested in hearing some more in-depth thoughts on something specific you can find it there! (Is anyone else obsessed with TripAdvisor for trip planning?!?).
I will say that we did a lot of tours on this trip. I personally believe that a good tour guide can be invaluable, especially when visiting a new country or city and I can honestly say that not a single one of our guides on this trip disappointed!
So, let’s get started with Rome!
Jason and I landed in Rome at 7:30am and planned to stay awake and power through the day! To do that I knew we needed something good planned to keep our attention and keep us going and wanting to get Italy on Jason’s good side from the start, I knew the place to start was a food tour!
We started our trip with Eating Italy’s Taste of Testaccio Food Tour which was amazing! It was a great introduction to the city and to Roman food. Over the course of the 9 stops we tried cornetto, suppli’, tiramisu, a Roman specialty pasta dish cacio e pepe and we finished with gelato (but not before learning how to spot the “fake” stuff!). We even visited the local farmers market where we had my favorite sampling – bruschetta with homemade bread and fresh tomatoes!
That night we joined the Rome Free Walking Tour, a 2-hour walk from the Spanish Steps that brought us by sites such as the Pantheon, St. Ignatius Church, Hadrian’s Temple and the Trevi Fountain. It was a great way to get oriented to a new city!
Our second day we were up bright and early for a tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. We were touring with the Walks if Italy Pristine Sistine Tour which actually gave us access to the Sistine Chapel BEFORE it opened to the public – a truly invaluable and amazing experience!
We spent the afternoon exploring on our own, eating lots of pasta and gelato and then visiting the Vittorio Emanuele Monument to check out the amazing view from the top!
We started Day 3 with a beautiful early morning run through Rome – what a wonderful treat to see the city while it was quiet and uncrowded!
This was supposed to be our all day cooking class day which I was really looking forward to, but unfortunately when we arrived we were told the chef was quite sick and they wouldn’t be able to hold the class. I certainly understand that unavoidable situations come up and there was nothing they could do about it, but I have to be honest, I was pretty upset that we weren’t notified until we actually arrived there (after a half an hour walk!), especially because when I booked they had asked me for our contact information while they were in Italy “in case they needed to notify us”.
But, it was a gorgeous day and we were in Italy! So, we took a long walk through the city, visited the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain again and spent some time relaxing in Piazza Navona. We finished the afternoon with a visit to Basilica do San Clemente, a beautiful little church that is an amazing way to experience the historical “layers” or Rome – below the current church there’s actually another church and then below that is an ancient Roman house! It was amazing to be able to literally walk through history like that!
Our last day in Rome started with something we hadn’t really told anyone about – a photoshoot with a Flytographer!
I’ll most likely write a separate post about our Flytographer experience (because I think it’s such a cool concept!), but basically Flytographer is a network of photographers all over the world that you can book a shoot with while you’re on vacation – such an amazing way to take memories home from a special trip!
Since Jason and I didn’t have a wedding we’ve never really had any professional photos done, so we thought not only was this a nice souvenir for us from the trip, but the pictures would make a great present for my parents!
Here’s just a few (I’ll share more soon) – I can’t tell you how happy we are with how the pictures came out!
The rest of the day was spent at the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (so LOTS of walking!). At the Colosseum we did the Underground & 3rd Ring Tour which was great, I’d highly recommend it! We were able to go down to the underground area where they kept the animals and where the gladiators trained and then all the way up to the top level which has AMAZING views of the Colosseum itself and the Forum behind it.
We finished our last night in Rome at a wonderful little restaurant on the street our hotel was on feasting on bruschetta, fried artichoke and delicious pasta dishes.
Speaking of the hotel, we just LOVED ours!
We stayed at The Fifteen Keys Hotel in the Monti neighborhood of Rome and honestly I can’t recommend it enough. The rooms were beautiful, simple and clean and the staff was unbelievably helpful! With only 15 rooms (get it, 15 keys…), we felt more like we were staying in a friends guest room rather than a hotel (and man did they make a good cappuccino!).
The next morning we took one more early morning run through Rome and then we were on a train and off to Venice!
Next stop Venice!