Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rome, Italy 2011

When In Rome!
I've been putting off writing this post about Rome and the rest of my trip to Italy for a while now because there is just so much to talk about.  I love to travel with my close friends and this trip was no different.  Five loud and cheerful girls traipsing their way through Italy doesn't go unnoticed. 

We started our Italian adventure in the busy city of Rome where we stayed at a quaint little bed and breakfast called the Armonie Romane nestled across the street from the Vatican.  It is located in a residential building, which made us feel like we were able to go home every night instead of back to a hotel.  Each morning we would wake to the ringing of the church bells of St. Peter's Basilica followed by a relaxing coffee and breakfast from the friendly staff of the Armonie Romane who helped us plan our adventures each day.  This was a perfect way to start off the mornings before heading out into the hustle and bustle of Rome.

Rome has so many amazing things to see, you almost feel overwhelmed when you first arrive.  We just didn't know where to begin.  Nicole and I were meeting up with the friends who were arriving from Paris later in the day, so we aimlessly wandered though the city of Rome and took in the beautiful surroundings while we waited.

Trevi Fountain By Nite
We had four days in Rome, and with so many things to see and do we filled almost every minute.  After everyone arrived, our first stop was the Trevi Fountain.  The area surrounding the fountain is shoulder to shoulder tourists from sun up to well after sun down.  Hold onto your purses, this is a pick pockets dream come true.  It is by far one of the most popular sites in Rome. 

Me at the Colosseum
When you think of Rome, the first thing that usually comes to mind for most people is the Colosseum.  It does seem to make it's way into every gladiator movie that we see, which also makes it one of the most popular sights in Rome.    You can spend hours viewing the area around and inside of the Colosseum imagining what it must have been like nearly 2000 years ago when gladiators fought each other to the death as spectators sat in the stands and cheered.

The tunnels below the arean floor
While a good portion of the structure is still standing, there is a lot that has been ruined over time.  From inside of the structure you can look down on what use to be the arena floor.  That floor no longer exists, so today you can see what was kept below the arena.  Tunnels and holding sells that housed both gladiators and the animals that they fought during battles.  They even created pully systems that raised and lowered animals such as lions during the battles to make the specticals even grander.


Outside of the Stadium just before the A.S. Roma match

While there are no longer gladiator battles in Rome (thank goodness) there is a much larger and more modern Olympic Stadium that in 1960 hosted the Summer Olympics.  It sits just north of the city and still houses the local favorite sport, Football, or to us Americans......Soccer!   The A.S. Roma team just happened to have a match against Sampdoria while we were in town so we decided that going was a MUST! 
Statue outside Olympic Stadium
It took us a while to figure out where to buy tickets, but we finally got some nose bleed seats!  We picked up some cheep Francesco Totti jerseys and headed up to the stadium.  Now, even though we bought the cheapest seats and started the match at the top of the stadium, Brenda was not about to give up so easily.  By the end of the match, we were sitting about 10 rows from the field.  I'd like to say that we snuck our way down to the field, but let's face it.....four blonds and a flipino girl don't sneek very easily in a stadium full of Italian men!  The closer we got to field level......the younger the Italians got!  which also made them just a bit more rowdy!

Nose Bleed Seats
A.S. Roma won the game, which made the locals extreamly happy!  The section we "snuck" our way into turned into a giant plastic bag water fight.  Drunk Italian men were coming out of the woodwork with large plastic bags filled with water to dump all over the crowd.  We really had a blast!  In the states, they probably would have all been kicked out or arrested. 

 Erin inside theSistine Chapel..Opps!
Our final day in Rome was spent at the Vatican.  I'm guessing when I say  Vatican City must be the center of the Catholic world.  Regardless of your religion (or lack there of) it is one of the most breathtaking things to see in Rome.  Just be prepared for long lines, long waits, and lots of groups of people following tour guides with flags everywhere.  If you like religion and museums, then Vatican City is your mecca!  There are endless things to see here including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and maybe if you are lucky, you might run into the Pope.  I tried to find him, but they are really good at keeping him hidden! ;-)  I don't have a lot of photos of our day in Vatican City because cameras are forbidden in almost all the areas, but every once in a while, I would break out a fake phone call on my Iphone!

Rome was a lot of fun and I only touched on a few of the activities that we did while we were there.  I do have to admit that I was glad to leave.  We were there during the busy season and eventually I needed some space from the tourist filled streets.  Our next stop was Sorrento and the Almafi Coast which was a fantastic break from the busy city of Rome.  Sorrento also turned out to be our favorite destination in Italy!

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