With our first day in Rome complete, we were ready to take on another.
This time, we had a full 12 hours.
As most travelers do before they head out into the world, we do research.
We research blogs, websites, reviews, articles, etc. Anything we can get our hands on…or maybe that is just me.
I found a video with Anthony Bourdain. He covered some great coffee shops, restaurants, and places to visit during a layover in Rome.
**If you want to see clips and more information from this episode, click here.
One of his favorites on his list was a coffee shop called Sant’Eustachio il Caffè.
Travel Tip: In Italy, they do not eat an American breakfast. No eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, etc. They eat their breakfast at a bar. With a cappuccino or espresso and a cornetto.
A couple things to keep in mind:
- A cornetto is not a croissant.
- Italians do not drink cappuccinos, macchiatos, or any milkly coffee after the morning. Don’t be that guy.
- Il Caffe = espresso. You will not receive (as Italians call it) dirty water.
This place was delicious. We both had 2 cappuccinos and 2 cornettos with nutella.
Our first stop was The Pantheon.
**Which is about a 3 minute walk from the coffee shop.
History on The Pantheon: As it stands, it is one of the most preserved buildings throughout Rome. Hadrian, a Roman Emperor, build this Pantheon after the original was burnt down in 80 A.D. It was dedicated to the Gods of pagan Rome and is now a church.
We walked in through the tall, faded columns and were amazed by how little we stood in comparison.
I think that The Pantheon is one of the best representations of Roman Architecture.
If you want a quick 10 facts on The Pantheon and it’s history, you can click here.
Raphael, the famous Renaissance painter is buried in The Pantheon. His story, is a little unique.
Before his death, he asked to be buried in one very specific part in the church. Raphael’s reasoning was because light that shines through dome of The Pantheon, remains on this spot more than anywhere else in the church. Ha, artists…
Next on the list was La Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain.
We heard the clashing of water well before we found it. With a fountain this size, I would be surprised if you didn’t.
History on Trevi Fountain: Not only is this fountain one of the oldest sources of water in central Rome, they also donate the average €3,000 per day to charities. It is said that when you throw a coin over you shoulder into the fountain, it will ensure a safe return to Rome.
Everything about this fountain was unbelievable. The detail in the statues and the construction of design leaves you speechless.
We took hundreds of photos and after tossing our very own coins into the fountain, we continued on our journey throughout the city.
Next up: The Spanish Steps.
On our way there, we stopped for a quick espresso before carrying on (you know, jet lag). There are plenty of little coffee shops in the piazza of the fountain.
And there they were…
History on The Spanish Steps: These historical steps connect Piazza di Spagna to the Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti. It is a common area for many artists and painters to meet.
We walked to the very top and had a full view of Piazza di Spagna.
With no plans in mind, we followed the road at the top of the stairs and continued uphill.
Not sure where we were going, but a little spontaneity is always fun.
We walked for about 10 minutes before we found the most beautiful view of the city…
As we continued our walk, we came across Piazza Popolo.
Piazza Popolo is one of the most stunning squares in Rome. Three famous streets gather around the square and is well known for the two twin churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto.
History on Piazza Popolo: People’s Square, throughout history was used for public executions.
We spent a few hours walking around the square and admiring all the statues in the center and surrounding the piazza.
While we were there, there was a man making large bubbles in the center.
Finally, the moment we have been waiting for….FOOD.
Our initial plan was to go to Vatican City, but I remembered another recommendation by the great Anthony Bourdain. It was a small restaurant just outside of the city named, Bonci Pizzarium.
Just so you can see what I am referring to, here is there website.
Known for the hundreds of different flavors in pizza, we knew it would be the best choice for lunch.
We got our pizza on a wooden plate and went outside to eat it.
It was unbelievable. Every type of pizza we tried has its own unique flavor. I wish I could have tried every type that was behind the glass.
Travel Tip: Traveling can actually be pretty cheap! For a full lunch, we spent around €12. In the US, sometimes we spend $12-$15 on one salad! Just saying…
Once we finished, we headed to Vatican City. We were in awe when we walked through the large pillars.
The whole square was decorated with Christmas decorations. The Christmas tree was about 82 ft tall and towered over the Nativity scene.
This was a life-size Christmas Nativity Scene stood in the center of St. Peter’s Square and stretched across 55ft wide.
We took photos and walked around the square for a couple hours before we had our tour of The Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.
I believe that it is worth the tour! You learn so much about the history of the art and characters who played an important role in Rome.
Unfortunately, we were not permitted to take many pictures. I will share what we could get from inside.
After almost 3 hours of touring the entire area, we completed our tour when it was dark.
I believe we had one of the more rare moments in Vatican City.
The night was silent. The streets were moist from the rain, the city slowed, the lights on the Christmas tree were sparkling, and the church bells began to sing.
It was chilling how beautiful it was.
We spent the next hour enjoying our intimate moment with the square.
Travel Tip: Going to Europe in winter is an incredible idea. The lines are shorter, the crowds are smaller, the traffic is lighter, and you get to take incredible pictures like this:
Thank you for another incredible day.
Tomorrow is our last. Cannot wait to see what you have in store.