Rome- the eternal city. Somehow after first day there few things came to my mind and they were not typical stereotypical pictures that you see when one thinks about Rome. Graffiti everywhere, gated communities- even the blocks of communal flats, not looking too interesting are behind the gates and bars are even on windows on higher floors, Indian sellers- selling anything from a selfie-stick to splashing plastic balls or however you want to call it. But these images are covering the full beauty of Rome and once you embrace them having said no to 126 selfie-stick seller, you start to fall in love with the city. I spent just 3 days day but I can say that I would love spend more time there. Not only visiting but for example living for a month or two…So far it is still in a dreaming prospect than reality but as a musician and teacher I have this advantage that I have supposedly 3 months off but as I now work in the office on the mornings, 2 months holidays would be difficult. But I can still dream.
Anyway , coming back to Rome, it is impossible to describe everything I have seen in this 3 days but I will give it a try. First of all, we found a lovely room via Airbnb and from there our journey started. Our host was kind enough to pick us up from the airport bus and it was quite encouraging that I was able to communicate in Italian. Not an easy task but I managed just sometimes reverting to English to make myself understood. We were located around ten minutes from the subway which was really convenient to get to the centre. On the first day we managed to be on time for free walking tour which started in front of the Spanish Steps and led all the way to Vatican. It was really a great experience and our guide was really knowledgeable. More than two hours and a lot of steps after passed very quickly. I managed to convince my other half to stand in a quite reasonable queue in comparison to some to visit the St. Paul’s basilica which is quite remarkable. We passed on queuing for the Vatican museum as I’d rather have an overall feel of the city than spend my only two days indoors.
Thanks to a great bus app we found a stop and took a bus to Trastevere which was recommended to me by my Italian teacher as an interesting neighbourhood. And it definitely was, we tried some pizza, walked around and liked it so much that we visited it the next day as well.
In the evening we tried the popular aperitif this time in Ostiense quarter. The aperitif idea is a great one. You buy a bit more expensive glass of wine or a cocktail and with that comes an open buffet with different sort of foods. including the desserts. It is also quite an economical choice for dinnertime. Every bar has its own specialities and usually the popular places are well full before the aperitif time starts.
The next day we started early to take advantage of free entrance to most of the tourist sites as it was the first Sunday of the month. Of course, plenty of other people had that brilliant idea and in front of the Colloseum the queue was almost twice the size of actual amphitheatre. Therefore, we decided to queue to next historical monument- Forum Romanum. Its tickets actually entitles you to visit both places- Colloseum and Forum Romanum. The queue was just 30 minutes or so, so no too bad and place itself is incredible and enormous. You can have a great view of the Colosseum and on the other side of the other places in Rome like Victore Emanulle II monument. Visiting Forum Romanum takes a good few hours and it is a great experience although after a while in the full sunshine and uneven terrain, it can get tiring.
Afterwards, we went closer to the King’s monument and to the Trajan’s column.
According to TripAdvisor, nearby there was supposed to be a good restaurant but it took us a while to actually find it as the place changed its name. It was not the first time that TripAdvisor actually disappointed us with the out of date information regarding the restaurants in Rome….Anyhow, the restaurant itself was ok, although my partner’s dish was far from good- maybe it was our fault by ordering something not that great or it was just cooked badly, nevertheless, the restaurateurs did not charged us for this meal when they found out that we did not like it. That was a nice gesture.
Then we kept walking passing the still in renovation Trevi fountain, then Spanish Steps full of blooming of 500 azalea plants and then walked towards Villa Borghese and its park. Unfortunately, my allergy was quite bad , therefore we decided not to go inside the park and instead retire in one of the bars on Piazza del Popolo. Here we got the most expensive drinks ever- 45 EUR for 4 pints and two coffees but hey,we were in a touristy spot in Rome, sitting in a shady cafe and observing the world go by, what can you expect…
Afterwards, we decided again to hit Trastevere, this time to try aperitif hour in of its cool bars. It was great again, small cobbled street, funky bars and not expensive drinks. We even tried street food which was different sort of chips with sauces, I got frutti di mare chips-different small fishes fried and served with a chosen sauce. Delicious and pocket-friendly.
Our last day , we spent in..shopping mall.I know it can sound awful but we were a bit tired of all the monuments and wanted to take an advantage of proper shopping centre and good prices that we do not have in Malta. We went to one of the biggest ones-Euroma2 and even thought it was just a shopping mall, you were reminded everywhere, that you are in Rome as it was very elegant and finished in high style with marble everywhere. We browsed the shops, got some small nick-knacks and lunched on a pretty decent pizza.
Afterwards we headed home and our host was again so nice to give us a lift to our bus stop heading to the airport. There we visited another shop Eataly which a gourmet Italian food shop. Pretty amazing, I have to say and it was quite unfortunately that we had just around 20 minutes before the bus departure to browse it. I would definitely come back there, to check more of the Italian food but I have to admit, the prices were quite high and probably it is not a shop you go everyday to stock your fridge and cupboards.
It was a great weekend break and it encouraged me to plan more trips to Italy, hopefully in the near future. In the meantime, I am practising my Italian, not only with my teacher but also with shopkeeper around the corner. Ok , sometimes I do understand everything he says, but I will keep trying!