January 11th: Our flight to Rome wasn’t until 4:50pm so we had time to get another delicious gyro from Savvas! The flight was uneventful and we made it to our Air BnB in Rome by 8:30pm. Since grocery stores were closed, we got to have pizza for dinner! When in Rome….
January 12th: We took this day to rest, grocery shop, and do laundry. In the late afternoon we went for a walk to a nearby park and were treated to a beautiful sunset.
January 13th:We got an early-ish start and walked to the Vatican to check it out.
We had to wait about 15 minutes in a security line for St. Peter’s Basilica but it was so worth it (and apparently that’s nothing compared to the summer). It was by far the most beautifully decorated church I’ve ever seen.
From the Vatican, we walked around and visited some viewpoints and fountains. Rome has so much!
January 14th: It was a crisp sunny day so we walked instead of busing and checked out a graveyard and some basilicas.
January 15th: Another day of sunshine meant another day of walking around. We checked out a house with monsters framing the doors and windows and walked down the Spanish Steps. We found half priced gelato which naturally meant we went back for seconds (6 scoops for each of us!) We visited the ruins of an alchemy door and the Arch of Gallienus. We ended our day with a visit to the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore.
January 16th:We woke up early to go to mass lead by Pope Francis. It was unlike any previous church experiences I’ve had. As he walked down the aisle to the stage, everyone stood on their chairs to try to get a view. During mass, various groups of people waved flags and cheered when Pope Francis spoke. People had their phones out constantly – taking photos or videos or even Skyping! The norms of church behavior seemed to be on pause.
After mass, we went to the Vatican Museums. We had heard that the queue for the museums can be hours long in the summer so we were braced for the worst. No need! There was NO LINE! It was beautiful inside. We took many many pictures…
January 17th:After a busy couple days, we decided to take this one easy. We spent most of the day reading and planning the next parts of our trip. Eventually we decided to go out for a walk and got dumped on.
January 18th:We went to the Galleria Borghese, a beautiful collection of sculpture and paintings dominated by Bernini and Caravaggio. It was once the private Borghese family art collection, but has since been sold to the Italian government.
After a couple hours in the Borghese, we left and strolled through the park that used to be the Borghese family villa and gardens.
From the park, we went in search of the best gelato in Rome (and the world???) and succeeded! At Gioletti we got 3 scoops: candied fig, cinnamon, and cream. It was delicious!!
January 19th: We went inside the Colosseum after watching National Geographic’s documentary. More than a million people are thought to have died in the Colosseum! That is insane. Apparently Romans reenacted Greek myths like Icarus and the sun; they would strap wings to convicts and catapult them into the arena.
From the Colosseum, we headed to the Altar of the Fatherland and the Roman Forum.
January 20th: We walked around and got soaked! We managed to check out the Castel Sant’Angelo (or the Mausoleum of Hadrian), the Jewish Ghetto, and the Pantheon.
January 21st: This was our last day in Rome. It was raining heavily so we stayed inside and planned the next bit of travel 🙂 We went out once, to buy some exciting new broccoli! New to me at least: it’s been around since the 1600s.