Our European Adventure started in Rome. We only had 3 days there so we PACKED IN the sightseeing! For Day 1, we focused on the area near our hotel. We went to the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Constantine Arch, Basilica of St. John Lateran, and the Sancta Sanctorum.
Refer to my last post for the booking details of this fabulous trip. The plane ride was a long one but we planned it well and landed at Fiumicino Airport around 9:00am. We then took the Leonardo Express train (14 Euro per person) to the Roma Termini station (main train station in Rome). Tip: Buy a Roma Pass at the Termini Station. This will give you access to The Coliseum, other museums, and the bus throughout Rome. It is 36 Euros for 3 days and totally worth the money to skip lines and be able to hop on the bus whenever you need. We mainly used Rick Steves plan for 3 days in Rome. He gives some AWESOME tips for utilizing your time.
We stayed at Hotel Selene in Rome. It is close to Termini and other key highlights like the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the Coliseum. I highly recommend this hotel. It is clean and much more spacious than I expected. They have complimentary breakfast and their front desk staff is extremely helpful at guiding you in whatever direction you want to travel.
After checking in at our hotel, we stopped at a pizzeria for lunch. I had a caprese salad…oooohhhh the food. I will have to do a whole other post on that! Delizioso!
Then, we walked down to the Coliseum, Roman Forum, and Arch of Constantine. We had the Roma Pass so we did not have to wait in a long line. We decided not to do a formal tour because it was super hot and we wanted to move at our own pace. Considering this was my first trip to Eurpope, I was simply BLOWN AWAY by the beauty and intricacy of the architecture. I just cannot believe how advanced and resourceful humans were long ago, without the help of modern technology and machinery. American architecture just can not compare.
After a quick stop for some cold, delicious gelato (yes, we ate this every day…it is so worth it), we walked to the Basilica of St John Lateran. This is the oldest of the 4 main basilicas in Rome, and it is the Pope’s home parish, although he lives in the Vatican.
We went across the street to the Sancta Sanctorum, which has the Scala Sancta. The Scala Sancta are said to be the original stairs that Jesus walked up on his way to see Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. This is a very powerful sight. Most people choose to go up the stairs on their knees in reverence for the Passion of Christ. You can see little notes of prayer requests tucked in the stairs. We left a prayer request for our future children.
At this point in the day, we had been up for over 24 hours, and were hot messes! We took the metro back to our hotel to cool down for a bit. We would have been happy to pass out and skip dinner but we knew that would ruin our internal clocks. We had to stay awake until evening! To help us, we grabbed a bottle of wine at a local convenience store and relaxed in our hotel. Italians typically take breaks in the afternoon and eat dinner later than here in America. For dinner we had the largest, most fantastic meal at Taverna Barbareli (which had a plethora of gluten free options for me)!
Phew! Just recalling that long day makes me tired, but it was totally worth it! We did a lot of sweating, huffing , and puffing on day 1 of our trip. But we also did a lot of laughing, oohhing, and ahhing. Stay tuned for DAY 2! 🙂