I (Naveed) have always wanted to go to Rome, ever since I was a kid. Watching the film Gladiator (are you not entertained? is this not why you are here!) and learning about the Roman history and their Empire during history lessons made me want to walk where these men had walked… And on my 23rd birthday my amazing wife surprised me with plane tickets to go and step foot where gladiators once stood!
After landing in Rome on a nice warm sunny day we got to our hotel using the shuttle bus into town to the bus station (around 3.5 euros). From here we had a lovely 20 minutes walk down the main road to the hotel. The hotel entrance was down a cobbled alleyway, which at first we found it a bit dangerous as you wouldn’t want to walk down a dark alleyway back in England! However it turned out to be the exact opposite, in the evening the side streets of Rome come alive, especially ours which had a nice little restaurant opposite it with outside seating and live Itallian music playing. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a table at the restaurant though as we discovered it had a 4 days waiting list and then found out it was on one of Rome’s top 10 places to eat, so sadly we missed out, but you could hear the beautiful music coming from our room.
After checking into the hotel, showering and getting changed it had started to get dark, and so we decided to have a wander around the streets.
Day 1 – The Colosseum (Coliseum)
After waking up to a beautiful summers day and having our fresh croissant, our first day in Rome began. First on the to do list was obviously a tour of the Colosseum! The tour was wonderful and the tour guide really knew her stuff, we learned so much! The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built, with construction starting under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80. It really was amazing stepping inside. One of the facts I found most interesting, was that the Colosseum, as well as being used for gladiator fights, was used for mock sea battles!
After the Colosseum the tour continued to another area, the Palatine Hill, which is one of the most ancient parts of the city.
After our great tour it was time to try something very Italian……GELATO!
As you can see from the above photo, it was really warm, the gelato started melting straight away and it was actually really hard to get a photo as it kept dripping down! The gelato was so nice! We ended up having 1 or 2 every day, the gelato in England really doesn’t live up to the real thing!
After our amazing gelato it was time for some dinner, we found a nice little restaurant near our hotel with outside seating. I really wanted to try some real Italian pizza, so I chose pizza with anchovies (when in Rome!) and my wife chose pasta cannelloni. The pizza was so nice, the only down side, the anchovies! I had always wanted to try them and where else better to try it, but they were, in my opinion, disgusting. They were so salty but I still managed to finish it. My wife’s mushroom cannelloni was beautiful, so cheesy and delicious, I was a little bit jealous I must admit.
Day 2 – The Vatican
On day two we decided to go to Vatican city, a place I have always wanted to go to after reading Dan Browns Angels and Demons.
Instead of getting public transport we decided to walk there so that we could take in more of Rome, according to google maps it would take around an hour to walk. We knew it would take us longer though, as we love to stop and take photos.
A bit of information on the Vatican city: With an area of 110 acres and a population of 842 it is the smallest sovereign state in the world. Inside it has religious and cultural sites such as st. Peters Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museum.
Once again my amazing wife had booked a tour for the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The art work throughout was amazing. Here are a few pictures from the tour:
After the beautiful tour of the Vatican, we headed back to our hotel, but not before visiting the Pantheon!