Explore Rome in 4 days: Highlights for your first time visit to Rome
(This is the 1st post in a series of 3 about our time spent in Italy and our first time visit to Rome!)
To be homesick for a country that is not your own is a liberating realization. For you no longer belong to just one place. Italy is my country-no not by birth or blood-but by heart, passion, inspiration, and simplicity. Oh, my heart cries out for Bella Italia. So, here it is, 4 days in Rome, Italy!
The Planning BEFORE the Trip
This was our first big trip we took after pressing PAUSE on our debt snowball. Italy is the land of wine, art, and carbs. This had been a country I wanted to visit since grade school. This was also our first time visit to Rome. My grandparents trekked across Europe and visited Venice-I use to stare at their postcards and dream of being there one day. Upon my grandfather’s deathbed, I brought him joy by telling him we had saved up enough money to go ourselves. He squeezed my hand tightly and his eyes gleamed with pride. As much as I learned in my college studies, I hadn’t learnt anything yet! Travel was about to open my eyes in a way nothing else could (I just didn’t know it yet)!!
Before any amazing trip there should be an equally amazing plan- a dream written down becomes a plan which then becomes action! I began my planning 1 year before our trip took place. Rick steves, Reids Italy, Frommer’s, and Fodor’s became my best sources of knowledge! I used google.com/flights to book our flights on Tuesday at midnight-cheaper rates. Once I learned what cities I wanted to explore I began narrowing down which areas are best to lodge in. Airbnb.com was used for the entire Italian holiday! We had our own apartment, our own address-the whole trip. Here are some ideas for well-priced lodging! I priced meals, beverages, espresso, bathroom fees and planned which meals we would prepare at home. Every apt had a small kitchen-enough for breakfast or sandwiches. We brought with us oatmeal and protein bars to save on breakfast and snacks. Highly recommend. The house wine is usually cheaper than water and pizza is never a wrong choice-always cheap and scrumptious. If you are a customer you can use any bathroom-so you may have to take an espresso shot in order to pee at times!
FINALLY GETTING THERE to explore Rome in 4 days
Day 1- Upon landing in Rome I was filled with excitement! This was our first time visit to Rome! I was like a child in Disney World-eyes lit. We grabbed a cab-van to find our first airbnb apartment of the trip. We had an iffy arrival because we did not have the full address to where we were staying. The apartment concierge was a chain-smoking, elderly gentlemen who spoke no English and built model ships. He was charming and we eventually got checked in! Off to explore Rome! OMGOSH was all I could say and feel at the moment! I was filled with excitement and wonder!
Instead of letting jet lag settle in we caught the bus and explored Ancient Rome-Day 1.We visited the Coliseum, Pantheon-best gelato, Roman Forum, Roman Capital, Piazza Venezia, and Palatine Hill (for sunset views). Enchanting to be in this old world. I even was mistaken for an Italian-YES! At the dusk, all of the locals gather in the many piazzas all over Rome for live music, wine sipping, and gelato-their nightly passeggiata. After much kissing we caught a bus home for an early night, popped Aleve, and hit the sheets.
A few observations: Vendors sell selfie sticks like the plague, we are well-dressed for tourists which is probably why they think we’re Italian, and pedestrians are expected to walk in the streets alongside motor vehicles!
Christian Rome and The Vatican
Day 3-Christian Rome and our trip to the Vatican City. We went to the Museo Vatica and Sistine chapel. There was so much to take in during this first time visit to Rome: paintings and sculptures from 700-800 A.D. that were Egyptian inspired, artwork created for Popes of the past, bathtubs made of marble, and floor-to-ceiling paintings. Jaw dropping! We didn’t think we’d ever make it to the Sistine chapel with the hoards of tours taking place. We wound around columns, up and down staircases, all over ramps, and zigzagged in parallel lines until we arrived. There was more to take in than my eyes and mind could understand! We took a picture in front of St. Peter’s Basilica but after 2 1/2 hours in the Vatican, we couldn’t bear another line. Back to Scholar’s Lounge we went to meet up with our Irish bartender friends. We strolled to Piazza Navona to check out the sidewalk artists and musicians. There were kids playing futbol against an old building and couples embracing everywhere. Italy is for lovers!
Day trip to Pompeii, Naples, and Vesuvius
Day 4-Day trip to Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Naples. There was a party of 22 with us boarding the bus for our 3 hour ride. We arrived at Vesuvius first. I felt intimidated and eerie as it peered down at us, this still active volcano. Scientist believe it will erupt again between 2017-2019-so like tomorrow in volcano terms. We hiked upward for 30-40 minutes with loose gravel under our feet. The view from the top was worth it. We headed to Naples for a well-earned pizza margherita. We were able to stroll through the vegetable garden and see where our pizza came from. Last stop, Pompeii-the petrified city. Vesuvio erupted in 79 A.D., the ash settled and crumbled buildings beneath it. The modern street is about 30 feet above the original city! Excavation is still underway for the 60+ acres left to uncover. My favorite part was the brothels!
If you need EVEN MORE inspiration for planning your Roma vacation, I recommend checking out the Passport Collective and her Local’s Guide to Rome. There are some great insights here complete with maps just for YOU!
Be Well and Travel Often!
****BONUS: Try our favorite coffee we get from Amazon, Italian brand. Lavazza creme e gusto, velvety goodness for your soul. We get the 4 pack because we love our espresso! It comes in ground or whole bean. The best coffee ever to pass my lips, and that is saying something!
**This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**