Ahh Rome!  One of my favorite cities in Italy.  Sicily is very near to Rome (only an hour flight) so we’ve been there four times already.  And I don’t think we are done with the Eternal City just yet.  With more than two and half thousand years of history, this city is a must when traveling to Italy!

Rome was our first trip after moving to Sicily.  Herbie and I decided to spend Christmas 2014 in Rome.  Although a bit touristy (as any major city in the world), there are a lot of things and ways to go about the city without falling into the tourist trap.  We arrived on Christmas Eve and after we settled into our place, we were on our way to explore the city.  We were staying in the Trastevere neighborhood, my favorite area in the city.  It is full of bars, restaurants and tons of shopping!  A trip to Rome without visiting Trastevere, is not a trip at all.

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After dinner, we headed to the Vatican by foot.  The walk itself was very charming.  Walking through the narrow cobblestone streets and taking in the Romanian crisp breeze was more than my heart could bear.  Or so I thought.  The moment we made the last turn to arrive at the Vatican, we could not believe the sight!  The jaw-dropping grandiosity of the Vatican, the lit Christmas tree and “Adeste Fidelis” sounding off huge speakers was enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine.  No pictures or videos could ever do the Holy presence any justice.  Needless to say, I will never ever forget the moment I saw the Vatican for the first time.

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If you want to visit the Vatican Museum, I advice you to buy your tickets online.  This will save you a lot of hassle and a lot of money in the end.  The first time I went to the Vatican, we paid 50 euro per person in order to skip the long line.  The second time, I purchased tickets in advance online.  When we arrived, we saw the long queue and were grateful we purchased the tickets beforehand.  As we were walking towards the entrance, we encountered several street vendors telling us “if you bought your tickets online, you have to get in line.  You can skip it by purchasing tickets from me.”  Of course, we ignored those comments, and thankfully so, we had no problem going in.  The best part was that each ticket cost only 16 euro!  Take THAT, street scammers!

When you get to Rome, you should purchase a Roma Pass.  It costs 36 euro for 3 days and it includes public transportation and free or discounted entry to some of the Roman sights.  Not to mention, you get to skip the lines, saving you tons of time!  If you have children under 18, they don’t need a pass because they go in for free and can skip the lines with you.

Piazza Navona is a wonderful piazza to stop and grab lunch at.  In the center of the Piazza you will see a beautiful fountain called Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers).  The fountain is surrounded by street artists, restaurants and music.  There is actually a painting that I want to go back to purchase from here.

After lunch in the Piazza, you can easily take a walk towards the Trevi Fountain.  The walk is pleasant and there are many things to see and much shopping to do!  The walk will take you through the Pantheon.  The Pantheon is a Roman Temple that is considered to be the best preserved building from Ancient Rome.  The Trevi Fountain is impressively huge!  Tradition has it that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water.  It must be done using your right hand over your left shoulder.

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Our final day we went to the Colosseum.  We used the Roma Pass and skipped the line and also got free entrance.  The colosseum is huuuuge!  It is a stadium that was built in A.D. 80 and represents Rome at its grandest.  It was used as a venue for entertaining and gladiator contests.  The colosseum is one of Europe’s most recognizable landmarks and one not to be missed when in Rome.

 

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