When in Rome do as the Romans do... and eat pasta!
Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
14Trip End Dec 21, 2010
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We started our tour of Rome with the Colosseum
After much searching and a stop by an info point we found out that Rome city center does not have hostels and that there were only three hostels near Rome. We also found out that there was a U2 concert and several other big events going on that night which made our search for a place to stay even more difficult. We eventually found Casa Olmatta- a hostel/bedandbreakfast. It was close to the city, had wifi, and free breakfast... exactly what we needed for two nights. We took a quick nap and freshened up then went out for some cheap pasta for dinner. This time I got Afredo a Funghi (Mushroom Alfredo) which was good. As we finished eating we looked out across the street and realized there was a building on fire! It was just a small electrical fire, but we got to see the Roman Firemen respond. After dinner we decided to go back to the Trevi Fountain to see what it is like at night. It is just as wonderful with slightly less people. We just chilled by the fountain for a while before heading back to the hostel to catch up on sleep.
On Sunday we went to the brand new (by two days) Vincent Van Gogh art exhibit. They had secured works by Van Gogh from all stages of his career as an artist. It was interesting to see how he developed his style and at what stages his work really began to look like what we think of as a piece by Van Gogh. I got to see two of his most famous self portraits and one of my other favorites was 'Cypresses with Two Female Figures'. The texture and layers of paint is something you can't appreciate until you see the artwork in real life. They unfortunately did not have Starry Night or Irises, his two most famous pieces
After all of the exhibits we got some more pasta for lunch (this time spinach and ricotta canneloni) and went to the Pantheon. As soon as I stepped inside I recognized this building from the movie Angels and Demons. It was so strange to actually recognize it (since I don't remember much of the movie at all) with the circular opening in the ceiling and Raphael's tomb to the side. Next we went to the Spanish steps. This is a huge staircase that has flowers going up it which leads up to a church. However when we went the flowers weren't in bloom and, like the Trevi Fountain, it was packed with people. We ate some gellato as we climbed the steps and sat in the church for a bit at the top. There was a service going on with beautiful singing. By this time it was evening so we headed back to the hostel where there was a free pasta night going on
We saved the Vatican and St Peter's Basillica for Monday. We got over to the Vatican at 10:15 only to discover that there was a line to get in... a really really long line. We decided to wait it out in the drizzle and eventually got into the Vatican Museum at 1:45 (3 and half hours later). I later found out that the Vatican has been shut on Friday and Saturday, and it is always closed on Sunday, so it everyone had come on Monday... this seems to be a theme to our trip. While waiting in line we took turns to go get lunch. This time instead of having pasta we got some delicious mushroom and sausage pizza. The Vatican Museum has an astounding collection of artifacts. It started with Egyptian pieces, which included a real mummy, then went on to hundreds of marble sculptures ranging from animals to muses to nude greek guys. Many of the floors had amazing and intricate mosaics and the ceilings had detailed paintings. There were halls lined with really old rugs (the kind that depicts scenes and are meant for the walls not the floor). We saw all of this as we were directed through a maze of halls that would, eventually, take us to the Sistine Chapel. Along the way we unfortunately lost sight and got separated from Sidra due to the huge number of tour groups going through. Over 50 galleries later we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel. The chapel itself is not as big as I expected, but the artwork is way more amazing than I imagined
I enjoyed Rome a lot, I just wish I had had more time to see everything and had been known to plan a bit more for certain parts. I want to go back one day and see St Peter's Basillica, The Mouth of Truth, Saint Angelo's Castel, and Plaza Navona. Now that I have some backpacking experience under my belt ;) I can't wait for my trip... which will hopefully be to Paris, France! :D
(PS I do attend school here even though it may not seem like it... it definitely makes finding cheap flights a lot harder ;) but I am enjoying my classes and learning lots).