We were overwhelmed by our time in Rome. We found ourselves surrounded by the most beautiful architecture and ruins; every corner we turned, we came upon some amazing sculpture or façade that blew us away. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a city where you pass this everyday, and become accustomed to seeing such important history everywhere you look.
There is so much history in Rome, the monuments that are scattered throughout the city hold so many stories; stories of people long forgotten, and of an empire that in its time was so powerful. This is one of my favourite parts of travelling – seeing the remains of places and civilisations that we have learnt about in books. There is something so special about getting to see and touch them in real life.
Rome was hot. An Australian summer sort of heat. There was no escaping the sun, and not much greenery in the city centre to distract you from it. We were in our last week of travels, and to be honest, it all felt a little too much for us. We are big walkers, so we walked everywhere while we were in Rome. While it was so great to see everything, it was hard work in the heat!
We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast, about 2km from the Trevi Fountain, and less than a km from the Termini train station. It was the perfect location that was just far enough away from the main attractions so that the coffee & food was a little cheaper, and less tourists to compete with. We also chose the place as we had access to a shared kitchen, which was perfect to keep costs down by preparing some food at home, and also being able to make some Isla-friendly food to take out with us everyday.
The B&B was also next door to a letterpress studio. For those of you who know that we run The AGSC – a lettering studio – you will know how excited Dave & I were to see some Heidelbergs dating back to the 1860’s in the flesh! We saw a lady that ran the shop, and started chatting with her. We told her we loved letterpress and she proceeded to take us on a tour of the space. She spoke in Italian, I asked questions in Spanish, and we somehow got by. It was a real highlight of our time in Rome.
As soon as we arrived in Rome, we headed straight for the Trevi Fountain. We had already visited Rome in 2014, with Dave’s brother Dan, and both the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain had massive construction works on, preventing us from seeing them to their fullest extent. Having only a 50mm lens, it was pretty much impossible to get a shot of the fountain as a whole, but it was spectacular. The Spanish Steps were unfortunately still under construction, so while we could at least see them, we still weren’t able to walk up them.
The next few days were spent walking into the city, seeing the sights, coming back to our room (and air conditioning!) for Isla’s afternoon nap, before taking a small wander around the neighbourhood, getting gelato, and making dinner in the shared kitchen that the B&B had.
One afternoon we took a walk to Villa Borghese, the ‘Central Park’ of Rome. There were so many things to do and see there, including a park, a lake where you can hire boats to row, and small fountains where we dipped our feet in to cool off.
It felt so far away from the typical Rome you grow accustomed to. It was so lovely to spend a quiet afternoon there, taking our time to wander through the park, and enjoy one another’s company.
We went inside the Colosseum last time we were in Rome, so decided to only visit the outside of the Colosseum this trip. It is such a stunning monument, and I still could not believe how close I was to a place that had seen so much throughout time. The fact that so many Christians and people were killed there gives me goosebumps. Although it all happened more than 2000 years ago, I was aware of the sombre reality many people faced as they entered the arena, knowing that almost certain death faced them.
Our original plan had been to visit the Vatican as this was something we’d not been able to do last time we were in Rome. However, as our luggage was lost and we had no long pants, we weren’t able to go. To be honest, this was a blessing in disguise. Dave and I were absolutely exhausted from being constantly on the move. We love travelling, but the last week is always killer. It’s that last week where all we want is to be home, but it’s also the time where we try and soak up all the last moments possible of our time away.
Rome in the middle of summer is not the place to be when you’re in that state of mind. For the last three nights of our trip we decided to stay in Ostia, a small town about an hour outside of Rome, and a half hour from Fiumicino Airport. We stayed at the most amazing Airbnb, and did absolutely nothing for those three days except lounge on the terrace, walk down to the beach, each gelato and try to recreate Italian pastas. It was exactly what we needed.