My Honey and I were off to Italy - the land of history, art, music, fashion, culture, love...
Getting ready for a trip is never fun for working parents - we had to complete all the work that had pressing deadlines, make all necessary calls and attend meetings, pack, get Alex ready for his stay with his favorite aunt who generously and bravely offered to take care of him while we were gone... But once we dropped our luggage in the trunk of the car, locked the doors and drove off to the airport, the trip had officially began.
... The flight was about ten-hour long, so we watched movies, read travel guides and magazines, and dozed off from time to time. Time passed by quickly, and, soon, we and our luggage landed in Fumicino airport.
Our plan was to spend in Rome three days meeting people, taking walks through the three-thousand-year-old history of culture, politics, religion, art. This city never fails to amaze.
When Varuzh and I planned this trip, we wanted to fit into our schedule as many places to see as possible. Understanding that a person can spend in Rome years and not be able to experience everything this city has to offer, we had to settle for a few sites only. Being hopeless romantics, we also had to set time for just walking on the streets of Rome, breathing in the Roman air, dreaming, talking about lives and arts of Michelangelo, Verdi, Fellini, about all the stages of life of this amazing city... If only its stones could talk... Until now I never really realized that Rome has seen it all - after early development, there was a Roman Republic, Imperial Rome, Holy Rome, Medieval Rome, Renaissance Rome, Baroque Rome, Modern Rome!
Here is how our three-days-in-Rome itinerary looked like:
Friday night - hang out by Spanish Steps, dine, and shop, of course!
Saturday - visit the Vatican City, spend the entire evening by the Trevi Fountain
Sunday - see the Colosseum, Palazzo dei Conservatori, walk along the Tevere river with a stop at Piazza Navona.
Monday morning - Early morning walk and breakfast by the Trevi Fountain. Then, off to the station to take a high speed train to charming Florence
The days were passing fast, but I felt the spirit of the city immediately. It felt so... familiar. Was it because the city's piazzas, fountains, statutes and paintings were captured in books and movies that I loved so much and watched over and over since I was a kid? Stepping on Spanish Steps felt as if I have been there many times before right by Princess Anne with gelato in her hand. The Trevi Fountain felt magical. Remember La Dolce Vita? And seeing the iconic image of the Hand of God giving life to Adam on Sistine Chapel ceiling made me feel so... humble. I was in awe. How could a human paint such perfection?
...but it does not mean that the trip was not... exhausting! We walked and walked and walked! The streets were crowded and lines to every site were very long!
Luckily, we were prepared. So I thought to put together a list of the top five things to pack and do when you are preparing for your trip to Rome:
1. Plan in advance what sites you want to see and make reservations on-line! Rome is crowded. Thousands of people from all over the world come to Rome to visit the Vatican City and Colloseaum, and the lines are very very very long! By making reservations on-line, you will be able to avoid standing for hours in lines and have more time and energy to see the world's wonders.
2. Keep in mind that in some places the credit cards are still not accepted, so bring some cash with you.
*Two notes - I found that the exchange rate and fees are much better in Rome BUT be alert for pickpockets!
3. Check the weather forecast... but don't believe it blindly - pack clothes to wear in layers: t-shirts, shirts, jackets or sweaters (especially if you are traveling during fall, winter, or spring time).
4. Pack several pairs of the most comfortable shoes you can find in your closet. City is not big, and, most likely, you would be getting to the most of the places by walking... and then you would be walking inside those places a lot too. Changing shoes could help you to relieve the pains - be kind to your feet.
5. Pack a few loose clothing items - believe me, you will be eating delicious pasta dishes and pizzas daily! And ending your meals without a cup of cappuccino and tiramisu is simply a culinary crime.
Hope this helps!
With love always
xo, Zuma A.
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