Ciao. Cassandra and I spent the Holidays in England this year. The weather was a bit chilly so we decided to head south to Rome and warm up. Our flight from London’s
Gatwick airport into Rome’s Fiumicino (Leonardo Da Vinci) took about two hours. We caught a thirty-minute train from the airport that gave us an opportunity to see the suburbs and countryside along the way.
The train ended at Termini, on the west end of the city. Termini was the main transportation hub that connected the railway with the two underground metro lines. For one Euro apiece, we rode the metro to the Barberini station. We had booked a room through Expedia at Hotel Fontana. The Fontana was said to have an amazing view overlooking the Trevi Fountain and was recommended in the book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”. The Fontana ($100 Euros/night) did not disappoint – we had a majestic view of the Trevi Fountain from our third story window. There was also a robust complimentary Continental Brekkie of local meats, cheeses & pastries served from the terrace of the top floor. The cascading waters of the Trevi fountain were a pleasure for the ears as well as the eyes – we would leave the window open at night and quickly fall asleep to the echoes of the bubbling spray below.
Trevi was centrally located which was ideal for exploring the city by foot. The weather was in the mid sixties and mostly sunny. We were fortunate to be in Vatican City on January 6th. That was the Roman Catholic holiday celebrating the Epiphany (the incarnation of Jesus and the visitation of the Magi). It fell on a Wednesday which meant that Pope Benedict XVI would be overseeing 10:30 mass- he is not always in the country, so we were extremely lucky that day! The walk to the Vatican took thirty minutes from Trevi. We crossed the Tevere River via the beautifully adorned Ponte (Bridge) San Angelo and arrived at the columns of St. Peter’s Square by 8:30 (ahead of the tour buses). After passing through a metal detector and security check by the Swiss Guard, we were able to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Basilica is the most elaborate Catholic church on the planet- too amazing for words. It was enormous and our seats were pretty far back (but we were close to the aisle. After a long procession of bishops and cardinals, the Holy See walked with ten feet of us on his way to the altar. The mass was in Latin and broadcast on twin jumbotron screens in the Square for the benefit of those who could not get inside.
We were fortunate to see the main highlights of Rome. The Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Forum were amazing. We both loved the movie “Gladiator” and our visit inside the Colosseum was magnificent.
We loved the culture and cuisine of the city. This was the best pizza, pasta, gelato and Vino Rosso we have ever had. Our best meal was at Taberna Patricii et Plebei. I had a Gnocchi Formaggi and Cass had the Fettuccine ai Funghi with house bread, olive oil & a half Litro Vino (total – 40 Euros) Since we walked everywhere, we could eat as much as we liked! Walking also saved us a lot of cash as Rome is a very expensive city (bottled water was $6, Expresso – $7, six roasted chestnuts – $6). The Euro was getting 1.41 U.S. Dollars that week – very painful.
We loved this trip and think that Rome is a truly unique destination. It is like walking through a museum – each Piazza had a story to tell. Legend has it that if you throw 3 coins in the Trevi Fountain, it ensures that you will return. We did and we will!!!
Arrivederci, The Rox