Our tour of Italy ended with the Eternal City--Rome! We spent four days exploring the city and all it has to offer...including the amazing food! Amrita and I didn't really explore too many museums or traditional cultural sites that a lot of people plan and buy tickets for months in advance, preferring to take our time wandering the city instead. Of course, in Rome you cannot not visit at least some of the popular sites like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Vatican City....the list goes on and on.
On our first day in Rome, A and I had signed up for a free Rome walking tour. It was the best thing we could've done, as there is absolutely no way to cover all the history of the city by yourself! I highly recommend this tour, the New Rome Free Walking Tour, next time you visit Rome. The tour includes local guides that pass along their tidbits and wisdom of How To Be A Roman. Our guide even stopped and had us learn the proper way to drink out of a Roman water fountain--plug the spout with two fingers and the water will shoot out of a small hole in the top of the spigot. Bend over and drink! You will get your clothes, hair, face, and belongings wet but you have to try it at least once.
Amrita and I found during our stay that instead of the Colosseum, as we had assumed, the Trevi Fountain is instead the center of Rome--or at least of the Rome that we traveled through. And, of course, the Trevi Fountain should be a major must see when you're in Rome. A and I found ourselves there everyday of our time in Rome, lots of time more than once a day.
As the huge architecture nerd that I am, the architecture of Rome fascinated me. As the even bigger Egyptian history nerd, I was so excited to see all the Roman landmarks that had been standing since Cleopatra walked the streets...thousands and thousands of years ago. Walking the same streets as she did (potentially...I mean there are thousands of side streets in Rome) gave me goosebumps. History literally seeps out of these streets.
The Trevi fountain was the center of our trip to Rome (btw there's a fantastic gelato shop just behind the left side of the fountain, huge counter, get a cone!) so, of course, we had to throw a coin into the fountain. To do it right and give your wish the best chance it has of coming true, stand with your back to the fountain, hold the coin in your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. Don't forget to wish! Of course, legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Trevi fountain you are destined to return to Rome (this grows from the story of how the soldiers leaving Rome for war that threw a coin into the fountain would return safely)
You really have to stay in the center of Rome until the last subway (last train at 11:30 pm Sunday thru Thursday, 1:30 am Friday and Saturday) at least one night of your trip. The entire city glows as the sun sets, and taking a walk down Via del Corso -- a major shopping street (intersecting with Via dei Condotti, the Fashion Capital of Rome, think Burberry and Dior) that is full of street artists flash-painting with spray paint, dancers doing impromptu performances, buskers with pianos and guitars, sidewalk chalk artists you name it. It's a fun street to take a stroll down at dusk, make sure you have some coins handy to drop in guitar cases/hats/jars.
On our last day in Rome, A and I headed to Trastevere. Trastevere is known as a younger area of Rome, across the river from the main center of the city. This area is beautiful and quiet, and offers the cheapest yet yummiest food that we had throughout our stay! If you find yourself in Trastevere, check out the Almost Corner Bookstore. You can find towering stacks of books within the shelves, on all sorts of topics.
Also while we were in Trastevere, Amrita and I decided to do something that would ensure that we would never forget our trip to Rome. We got tattoos! (You would know this and see more behind-the-scenes snippets of our trip if you follow me on Snapchat at madlock445! Add me, we'll be friends!) We got these first tattoos at Urban Tattoo and Piercing Parlor in Trastevere--highly recommend them. It's clean, small, and he speaks English fluently. Amrita got flowers behind her ear and I got a crescent moon on my foot.
Our time in Rome was the longest time we spent in one place during our time in Italy...and it was all too short! I can't wait for our next trip to Rome. After all, we tossed coins into the Trevi fountain!