Saturday, May 21, 2011

Italy 2011- Rome-First days

I would like to document my Italy trip on my blog, but it will take multiple entries. This will serve as a 'permanent' journal for me. I don't know how many it will take..just a few. But this is the first 'installment'. First and foremost, I loved Italy. It was beautiful and focused on the things I enjoy most, food and wine.
We began in Rome at the Anglo Hotel near the Barberini Piazza. Since we arrived at 10AM Italy time (which is 4AM my time), we knew we had to stay awake and 'get with the program' so to speak. We had many organized tours planned throughout the trip and many free days. The Spanish Steps and Trevi fountain were within walking distance, so we headed in that direction. The first thing we noticed in Rome, is that it is a BIG city. Think NYC. The traffic is insane and everyone drives Smart cars or Scooters. There are no 'lanes' or road rules beyond if it fits..go for it. So crossing the street is difficult and driving is out of the question. This is the view from our hotel door, notice the cars are parked however they will fit and how you really can't tell what is parked and what isn't. This is a 'main' city road as well.We get to the Spanish steps and climb to the top which provided a great view of the city.
While there, we stopped for our first glass of wine and meal.
Caprese of course...I discovered that I like Italian tomatoes. I am not a tomato fan..and yes I have tried super fresh ones from my mother's garden. But something about the Italian ones..they were less acidic and less 'slimy'. I actually ate quite a few tomatoes while there. then we walked down to the bottom for a full view. This is a prime location for the famed pick pockets of Rome, so we didn't hang out long. We managed to never get accosted by them by avoiding the areas they love! but the Steps were beautiful!
Then we walked to the Trevi Fountain. it was a beautiful day (every day was in the mid-upper 70s) so the fountain was crowded. But I managed to squeeze in for a few photos.The details were amazing. And this is the final destination for water in the famed Rome aqueducts. There were many places we were not comfortable handing my camera to strangers to get a 'couple' shot. There are plenty..but not here. This is another hot spot so pretend we are standing together..
The first night we went to a small restaurant close to the hotel. It was run by an 'irritated' Italian man and it was tiny. But ranks as one of the best meals of the trip. Tagliatelle to die for...and they loved their wine!while we were waiting for our food, Jason took my camera and told me to 'scooch down a bit'. Only later did I realize the 'set up'The next day we did a half day tour of the Vatican. I do recommend doing these tours. Without someone explaining a lot of the artwork and sculptures, it would be easy to 'miss the point'. The amount of artwork just in the Vatican was astounding (and apparently there is an amazing wine cellar in there as well with wine just 'aging')The courtyardThen you walk through miles of halls with art everywhere. The ceilings/walls/floors are covered with something more beautiful. I am not an 'art person' but you couldn't help but become one while in Rome.I particularly liked this one hall where the ceilings were painting with this styleThat is a painting..not a marble sculpture..just amazing talent.
And the sculptures..everywhere. And leave it to us to find the greyhound statue (there were many 'greyhound like' dogs in the paintings as well)There are no photos allowed in the Sistine chapel..which is just as well. No photographer could do it justice. but I will say that after the miles of art, the Sistine chapel was amazing but just as amazing as everything had seen leading up to it. There is also no talking in the chapel (along with no shorts, no bare shoulders..they have a lot of rules). The little guards (I am sure they would love to be called that) would walk around "Silencio" "No Photos"..which they would have to repeat louder and louder as the murmurs grew. no one seemed to get those two basic points. But we had a great explanation by our guide prior to entering using these handy boards outside.Then we went to St. Peter's Basilica. It was a Wednesday morning, so the Pope was doing his public blessing. I am not catholic nor particularly religious but he could be considered a 'celebrity' of sorts so it was neat to be able to see him.
The courtyard itself was amazing..quite awe inspiring.the details were amazing and my blog would be much longer if I actually showed you all of them. But even with Gyeong's borrowed lens, I couldn't get a close up photo of the Pope..but this blurry one will have to suffice.And the downfall of my camera, is that not many people know how to use it. So after zooming for this shot, I found a nice couple in our tour to take our photo. Forgot to 'reel it back in' and obviously they were unaware. So here WE are with St. peter's barely visible in the back..oh well.
After the long tour, we were parched. There is a lot of walking involved with Rome..ALOT. So we found another trattoria and sat for an afternoon snack.We then had a night tour of Rome. this is one of the few tours, I would not recommend. It certainly sounds cooler than it actually ended up being. I think had we been in an open topped bus it would have been much better, but driving 'by' the beautiful sights at night..just wasn't great. And to be honest, as you will see in a future blog, Florence is much prettier at night.BUT we did stop at a few locations.
Trevi Fountain at nightI think the top doesn't get the attention it deserves. it is quite beautifulAnd St. Peter's at night.
To be continued. Next entry..The Coliseum, Forum, Pantheon, more wine and gelato.


Michelle said...

Beautiful pics! Sounds like a great trip. :)

gyeong said...

Awesome pics. Camera got quite the workout. Great food and wine. But I bet you're glad to be back home with your kids and sleeping in your own bed.

Susan said...

What I think is a hoot about Rome is that everyone will stop on a dime when you walk out in the street. After I got the hang of it I had a Roman tell me that I was fearless. Personally, I just think I was being a total idiot for trusting them to stop.

Lin said...

Amazing!!! I find it hysterical that the girl who will eat bugs doesn't like tomatoes!!! Or at least the slimey ones! Wish we could have been there - it looks gorgeous!!!

houndstooth said...

The pictures are just beautiful! I'm so glad you had such a lovely time there. Rome is a place I would love to see someday!

Odyssey said...

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