Salute from Rome!

Ah Rome, the city that satisfies both of our foodie souls. Megan with her endless diet of gelato- I swear she can smell it from a mile away. And me with my enormous appetite devouring any whole pizza that came in sight. We arrived in Rome mid-morning and took a bus from the airport to Termini Station as our Airbnb was within walking distance of the hub in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. We dropped our backpacks off in our room and went in search of lunch!

Day 1

Of course, it was pizza! You knew this. We immediately hit up a local pizza joint to curb our cravings and then spent the rest of the early afternoon watching some Wimbledon tennis at a nearby bar, The Public House. We then went to check out the famous Trevi Fountain and toss a coin in, meaning we will be returning to Rome at some point in the future! The area around the fountain was and always will be packed with tourists. It’s just a fact and don’t let that discourage you from enjoying the sculpting intricacies of the fountain. Next, we walked up the Spanish Steps and found some pasta for dinner. This was followed by- you guessed it- our first gelato experience!

Watching Wimbledon tennis at The Public House.

The famous Trevi Fountain

The Spanish steps!

Gelato round 1

Watching Wimbledon tennis at The Public House.

The famous Trevi Fountain

The Spanish steps!

Gelato round 1

Day 2

We sweat through the whole night. It was so warm. Or maybe it was the carbo-loading. We had to find two fans and put them on full blast aimed at our bed just to get by. Both of us were pumped when the first light of morning came. Skedaddling out of our apartment we sought out the flea market in Campo de’ Fiori. It was splendid! We bought some fresh fruit and fruit juice and paired it with fresh pistachios. Then we walked over to see the Pantheon, a very old Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome. It is very well preserved and acts now as a Catholic Church. Going through Piazza Navona and the Portico of Octavia we arrived at the Tiber River. We went north along the riverside until cutting back in to find lunch at Antica Taverna. They had an absolutely fantastic margherita pizza that we inhaled before walking around more piazzas- the most impressive of which was the Piazza del Popolo. For the evening we headed back to the San Lorenzo neighborhood. It is a younger crowd as more students live in this area. We found some great beer at Bar dei Brutti before enjoying even more pizza for dinner- at Pizzeria Formula Uno. This time it was prosciutto pizza and deserved the recommendation that it got. The night finished off at Gelato San Lorenzo, which became by far our favorite gelateria as it had a ton of flavors and stayed open late.

Fresh fruit from Campo de’ Fiori!

The Pantheon

Tiber River

Found some impressive street art in the piazzas!

Bar dei Brutti: a good beer spot in the San Lorenzo neighborhood.

Pizzeria Formula Uno

Gelato San Lorenzo: our favorite gelato spot!

Fresh fruit from Campo de’ Fiori!

The Pantheon

Tiber River

Found some impressive street art in the piazzas!

Bar dei Brutti: a good beer spot in the San Lorenzo neighborhood.

Pizzeria Formula Uno

Gelato San Lorenzo: our favorite gelato spot!

Day 3

Today was all about Vatican City. We bought our tickets months in advance and trained over to the Vatican Museum entrance in the morning. The museum itself is impressive and one could spend countless hours wandering the halls. Numerous sculptures line the walls. The ceilings and tapestries are so intricate your jaw drops almost every second. We thought one of the cooler exhibits was underground. It held all the past Pope-mobiles and even a model of the Pope’s personal airplane. A little after noon we funneled into the line to enter the Sistine Chapel. No cameras taking pictures in here! They were on high alert for anyone trying to sneak in any shots. That being said there are massive amounts of people piled into this one room. You can spend as long as you want here and then you exit one of two ways. To the left-hand side is the normal exit that leads you directly out to St. Peter’s Square. To the right-hand side is the group exit that leads you down a back alley directly to the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica. Pro tip– even if you are not in a tour group sneak through the door to the right and you will skip a massively long line to enter the basilica of those who naively exited to the left. The basilica itself is grand. It is another jaw dropping opportunity that simply fills you up with so many feelings it is hard to explain.

Vatican City: the smallest country in the world!

Vatican Museum

Filled with impressive tapestries!

An underground exhibit with some of the old Pope-mobiles!

St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican City: the smallest country in the world!

Vatican Museum

Filled with impressive tapestries!

An underground exhibit with some of the old Pope-mobiles!

St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Basilica

Finally, at around 2:30 PM we left to satisfy our hunger. With another glorious pizza. It was at a place called Virgilio at the Campo de’ Fiori market where we sat out on the patio enjoying more carbs. Needing to release our newfound energy we went back across the Tiber River to the neighborhood of Trastevere. Here is where we found the path up Gianicolo Hill for a stunning view of the old city. It was a very nice reprise from the hustle and bustle of the city center. As a prize for completing our short hike we made our way down to the very popular bar Brakes and Clutches. They serve up some awesome cocktails here and have a wonderfully lively outdoor patio area near the river. To end our night, we had heard San Lorenzo was home to some fun underground bars, so we went searching for one. We came across Lancelot, which by no means was a top tier bar but it was still a fun time. We befriended some friendly locals who we played Jenga with! They provided us with some amazing recommendations for outside the city.

Brakes & Clutches creative menu.

And their cool outdoor patio!

Lancelot: one of the underground bars in the San Lorenzo neighborhood.

Brakes & Clutches creative menu.

And their cool outdoor patio!

Lancelot: one of the underground bars in the San Lorenzo neighborhood.

Day 4

This morning we walked over to the Scala Sancta, or the Holy Stairs. According to Catholic tradition, these 28 white marble steps are the same steps Jesus came down to go to his trial with Pontius Pilate. The steps are covered in heavy wood, but you can see glimpses of the white marble underneath. We started up the steps the only way you can- on your knees one by one. And it was grueling and made us ponder a lot of things. More gelato was needed. On our way to lunch we also stopped by San Clemente Basilica which was beautiful. We ate at Mani in Pasta back in the Trastevere area and then headed over to tour the Roman Forum ruins. But the true prize we were excited for was the tour of the Colosseum. In all its grandeur the ruin held up to its fame. It was awesome to set foot in it and imagine what on Earth went down here. Our day concluded with dinner at La Carbonara and even more gelato!

A line of people climbing the holy stairs (Scala Sancta) on their knees.

We found more gelato!

The Roman Forum

The Colosseum

A line of people climbing the holy stairs (Scala Sancta) on their knees.

We found more gelato!

The Roman Forum

The Colosseum

Day 5

On our last day we took the recommendations given to us by our friends at Lancelot and put them into action! We trained out of the city for the day and made our initial stop at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace. It is quite impressive, but the more attention-grabbing view was the lake the building was near- Lake Albano. We scrambled down the hillside to get a closer look. The crater lake rivaled any of the water we saw in Greece. It was some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen. We walked to the end of a dock and plopped our feet in. Neither of us could even tell our feet were underwater! After taking in this moment for a bit we hit the road south toward the town of Ariccia for some lunch. We had heard from our friends this town had porchetta sandwiches to die for. Searching for our desire we finally stumbled upon a tiny ma and pa shop serving up fresh sandwiches. And it was to die for. The amazing bread and juicy cut of pork paired very nicely. It was so filling I could eat the rest of Megan’s sandwich! Yum!

Castel Gandolfo: the Pope’s summer palace.

We found a tasty treat just outside of the pope’s summer home!

Lake Albano: the clearest water you’ll ever see!

The small town of Ariccia is known for their tasty porchetta sandwiches!

Here’s the fresh porchetta!

Castel Gandolfo: the Pope’s summer palace.

We found a tasty treat just outside of the pope’s summer home!

Lake Albano: the clearest water you’ll ever see!

The small town of Ariccia is known for their tasty porchetta sandwiches!

Here’s the fresh porchetta!

To work off the sandwich we continued our trek south through the town of Genzano di Roma to reach another beautiful crater lake- Lake Nemi. It was nearly as perfect as Lake Albano but a little more difficult to navigate around. We ended up going around the north side of the lake and kept hitting dead ends so we finally just decided to go up the hillside. The only thing was that no true path existed for us… So we made our own! Thankfully, we eventually ran into an unmarked dirt path that appeared to be a trail. It led us right up to the town of Nemi, known for strawberries. And when I say known for strawberries, the whole town is encompassed by the fruit. They had strawberry everything- even mini strawberry pies that were delicious. Strawberry signs were hung up on all the light posts and their outdoor patio tables had bright red strawberry cloths over them. Before we entered further into the twilight zone, we took a left out of town back down the hillside to the south border of Lake Nemi. Here we found a nice little public beach to soak up the last bit of afternoon sun. And of course, we jumped into the lake to cool off right before starting our return to Rome from Albano.

The town of Nemi from afar!

Lake Nemi

Nemi is known for their strawberries.

And Adam sure got his fix in!

The town of Nemi from afar!

Lake Nemi

Nemi is known for their strawberries.

And Adam sure got his fix in!

Who would have guessed we would end our time in Italy with more pizza and gelato??? We did! Our final dinner was in San Lorenzo at Sanlollo and we slurped up gelato for the tenth and final time within five days! Since we tossed a coin into the Trevi Fountain we will have to continue our streak when we return!

Yes, we had gelato 10 times!

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