Rome: The Eternal City

From the gargantuan Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica, to the monumental Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, the Eternal City of Rome, Italy offers an incredible adventure for men and women of all ages.  Art aficionados, history buffs, and foodies alike will be overwhelmed with the options available to satisfy their cravings to be immersed in the Italian lifestyle and culture.  I can tell you from experience that a visit to Rome is unlike any other and will definitely exceed your expectations!  Whether you want a low-key vacation, blending in with the locals, or if you want a fast-paced adventure seeing all the city has to offer, you will definitely be able to give your friends a full report of the picturesque architecture, succulent cuisine, and historic appeal.  Just think of it as your own little moment of fame, telling them what you did “When in Rome!”

The moment you set foot on Roman soil, you will know that you are walking through a city with a rich history.  Not only that, but some of the people who graced this city with their presence are, shall we say, not your average Joes.  Take, for example, Michelangelo.  Yes, THE Michelangelo.  He painted the current version of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel that you can still tour today.  Although he did not use a paintbrush, Julius Caesar also made his mark on Roman territory.  More recently, Rome has birthed celebrities like Food Network’s Giada De Laurentis, known for her sumptuous Italian cuisine and endearing personality.  Needless to say, Rome has definitely given us countless household names, influencing what we see, what we believe, and even what we eat.

If you only have a short period of time in which to see the city, be sure to invest in the double decker bus tour.  By doing so, you will be able to snag a lot of incredible photographs and get off at key locations to get a more up close and personal view.  It goes without saying that a visit to the Colosseum is a must.  It’s not enough to just take a photo from the outside.  Explore the many levels of this architectural wonder, marveling at the amazing workmanship that went into this colossal construction project, in spite of the primitive tools that were available in 70 A.D.  This structure could hold between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators.  Find a spot inside the Colosseum, sit down, and imagine what it was like to sit there many years ago, watching the gladiators or a mock sea trial.  I guarantee that it will be a moment you will always remember!

Some might say that Rome has it all.  Whether or not it has it all, there is certainly a vast array of possibilities when it comes to choosing how to spend your day.  For instance, why not walk down the street and visit another country?  Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, is right in the middle of it all.  There is no border, so tourists can walk right through the gates.  Allow extra time to tour St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums, as there are typically long lines, especially during peak travel months.  Even so, it is definitely worth the wait!  The Vatican is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is home to some of the most famous art in the world.  Send a postcard to someone back home and tell them you spent the day in a country within a country!

When it comes to accommodations in Rome, there is literally something for every budget.  From budget-minded hostels to luxurious 5-star hotels, you will be sure to find what you are looking for.  During my last stay in Rome, my dad and I booked a room at the NH Leonardo da Vinci hotel.  Having stayed at another NH hotel in Amsterdam on a previous vacation, they gave us an outstanding rate.  It was more modern than some hotels you find in Europe, having all of the amenities of the average 3 or 4-star hotel in the United States.  While it was a more upscale hotel, they also provided a complimentary breakfast buffet, which was a nice way to start the day.  Still, our favorite place to stay in Rome is the Hotel Sonya.  Recommended by the experienced traveler, Rick Steves, this hotel is quaint, off the beaten path, and will give you a true Roman experience.  They include a free breakfast as well, with a vast array of Italian delights, including delicate pastries, quiche, fruits, vegetables, and so much more.  This is more than your ordinary continental breakfast.  It is a culinary adventure for your taste buds!

If you are looking to immerse yourself in the culture even further, walk a few blocks away from the Hotel Sonya and enjoy a vibrant street market, complete with clothing, fresh produce, and many other items.  If all of this shopping has made you hungry, head to the Café Washington for a succulent Italian meal.  Having eaten there several times, I can tell you firsthand that their lasagna, tortellini, spaghetti and meatballs, and pizzas are very good.  Be sure to step around the corner and cap off your meal with a scoop of gelato or ice cream, as this restaurant also serves up a wide array of frozen treats!  Looking for something different to satisfy your appetite?  Head over to Amalfi Pizzeria for their signature pizza/calzone combo, where one half of the pizza is a traditional pizza and the other half is a calzone.  So delicious!  Needless to say, Rome has a huge culinary scene that will keep you hungry, wanting to try as many different foods as possible.

If you find yourself in Rome, wishing you could come again one day, be sure to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain.  The largest Baroque fountain in the world, the fountain as we know it today was officially completed in 1762.  It stands at 85.28 feet high and uses 2,824,800 cubic feet of water every day.  It is one of the most popular fountains in the world and is a must-see for anyone traveling to Rome.  There is also a legend that if visitors toss a coin into the fountain, they are ensured to return to Rome one day.  While this is simply a legend, I can tell you from experience that one trip to Rome could never be enough!  Like they say, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!  So grab your passport and pack your bags!  It’s time to go on the ultimate Roman adventure!

What are some of your favorite things to see or do on the island of Santorini? Please comment below and share your recommendations! May you always have joyful journeys!

Jennifer Campbell