With that crazy 24 hours now behind us (last-minute flight, relentless Covid test, the flight itself), we have very much enjoyed adapting to the slower Mediterranean way of life. Although the time zone transition has not been fun. The first night we stayed up past 2 am Rome time (9 pm US time) and woke at 11 am local time 🤣
We stayed in central Rome for our first couple of nights in a lovely apartment very well priced at £50 per night. (We would discover that in ‘normal times’ when tourists are flocking, the room would be double that rate). A sad sign of the times.
The difference between the US and Italy was so immediately noticeable, starting with hospitality. We were offered cakes, chocolate, water, tea, and of course, coffee during our stay. It would be a rarity to receive one of the items for free in the States! Then there’s the charming streets, the people, the way of life, all so contrastable and in a much better way. La dolce vita.
For the last few days we have been staying on the outskirts with my Mother’s 2nd cousin Claudia and what a host she has been. If it wasn’t for Claudia, we would not have experienced the ‘Roman’ way of life in the way we have done and for that, we’re so thankful.
Let’s start with images of a favourite genre for us all : fabulous food.
Being here really takes me back to my 2015/2016 travels and my wonderful memories of why Europe will always be my favourite continent for long-term travel. I had several thoroughly enjoyable days here in Rome during my 2015 travels but for Vivian, it’s her first time in Italy so it’s been quite a joy watching her observe, learn and appreciate the Italian way of life.
Speaking of the Italian way of life, did anyone notice Google’s home page the other day? I’ve shown it below alongside another photo that I found on the web. We couldn’t get near the actual Piazza due to Covid so currently reserved for diplomats only. However, we managed to catch the planes billowing the ‘tricolore ’ smoke from the television.
To my surprise, and perhaps yours also, I learned that Italy used to be a Monarchy, and June 2 2021 marked the 75th year since the country became a Republic.
It’s a fascinating story that I’ve since learned a little more about. How, since 1948 the existing Royal family (The house of Savoy) have been banned from entering Italy! This was eventually overturned in 2002 after 50 years of a family living in exile after WW2.
Something else that will surprise many of you is that Rome is actually coastal. No, honestly. Well, one of its largest of its 15 administrative subdivisions is anyway. Ostia is an ancient seaport of Rome I’m told. These days Italians are more interested in bronzing-up, chilling, eating, and drinking and who can blame them. We didn’t quite reach that level of “localism” but we enjoyed a walk there nevertheless.
Visiting Rome this second time around allowed me to visit an attraction or two that I couldn’t or didn’t do last time. First up is the well-known ‘Fontana di Trevi ‘. Last time it was so heavily under re-construction that I didn’t even bother to take a photo, not this time! So with the well-known famous fountain back on display, would I be able to grab one of my photos without the locals and tourists in the way!? You betcha 😎
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter (in Vatican City)
One of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site. Now, I did visit the grounds here last time but it wasn’t as empty as it was this time, which was very much welcomed. This time though I, and the others, went inside The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter. Something I didn’t (or couldn’t) do last time.
It was, as you would expect, magnificent and these few pictures will not do it justice.
Great last shot, huh? Have Vivie to thank for that.
During our time in the centre of Rome (prior to staying with Claudia), we were indeed so central that The Colosseum was just a ten-minute walk away. Its proximity meant that we managed to visit it multiple times at different times of the day, night, and in-between during ‘golden hour’. The latter two meaning we were able to take advantage of the low amount of people to produce a cracking shot or two as you’ll see below.
Take a closer look at the first image and you’ll see the original and the restored sections of the structure. We didn’t need to hire a historian to tell us that! The second photo is a very happy Vivian realising she’s now visited 3 of the 7 new World Wonders.
It’s been an unforgettable return to both Europe and Italy. With our time in Rome nearing an end, we must sadly say goodbye to our dear host, Claudia, and venture further north into this incredible country.
Thanks for reading.