jc travels

Ciao bella!

Didn’t get back home from Venice until almost 7am, and also didn’t have time to sleep because our host’s mom was making us breakfast at 8am, and we had a train to catch at 10am.

Had our very last breakfast at our place in Florence (will miss all the homecooked meals!) before rushing over to Santa Maria Novella to catch our train.

Arrived in Rome a little past noon on Friday. It wasn’t that bad of a train ride, only about an hour and a half long with the high-speed train.


For the first time, our host let us move into their flat right when we arrived. Usually the check-in time is sometime in the late afternoon, so we have to lug our backpacks around the city until then. I was really appreciative because I was simply too tired to do anything just yet.

The flat is really cozy with a lot of vibrant, quirky decorations. Our host is really nice too–he sat us down in the living room, gave us a map, and went over everything Rome. He’s been living here for the past 22 years so he knows what’s up. He also recommended a couple of restaurants that serve authentic Roman cuisine and his favorite craft beer place. He likes beer so much that he brews his own, so I’m trusting him on this one!


Because Rome is such a big city, there was no time to waste. Rested for only a little before heading out into town. We live really close to the metro station though, so it makes traveling really easy. The train system here is similar to that of the S/U-bahn in Germany, so it took no time at all to figure it out. They have two lines running here, A and B–so it might actually be easier than the system in Germany.

First stop: Piazza Venezia, where two major streets intersect (Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via del Corso). Here, the main attraction is the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio. This building was built to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. We arrived just in time to catch the changing of the guards!


When you’re starving and in an unfamiliar city surrounded by overpriced tourist restaurants, McDonald’s doesn’t seem too bad of an option. I promised myself that I would not eat any more American fast food chains during my stay here because it’s sort of a waste, but I regret to say that I sucummbed to the pressures of my growling stomach. To kind of make up for it, I ordered the Italy-exclusive options off the menu–a panino (forgot the name of the sandwich) and a pizzarotto. The panino wasn’t too bad, it had hashbrowns, some sort of meat patty, onions, cheese, and a chipotle sauce. The pizzarotto was absolutely disgusting though, I took two bites and could not finish it at all. I thought it would be their regional apple pie (from my experience, every country has a different version of the apple pie i.e. Taiwan has taro pie). In this case, it tasted more like a undercooked quesadilla filled with Chef Boyardee.


Also saw some cool spray paint art outside of the McDonald’s:


After lunch, we walked to Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). This is the biggest fountain I have ever seen (86 feet wide, 161 feet wide). It’s a really impressive piece of Baroque art. The thing to do at this fountain is to throw a coin (with your right hand over your left shoulder) to supposedly ensure a return to Rome. I threw two coins, does that mean I’m double-ensured?


Speaking of fountains, Italy has these mini-fountain things all over the place. They are actually drinking fountains. You wouldn’t really know that you’re able to drink out of one of these if you haven’t seen the locals do it though. Sometimes they look like some sort of bird bath or something! It’s a constant flow of cold, fresh spring water directly from the mountains. Can’t say you can go dehydrated in Italy! In the one pictured below, you plug up the flow with your hand and redirect the water to shoot out from the top to drink it straight from the fountain. Pretty neat.


Finished the day with a trip to the Pantheon. The Pantheon, now used as a Catholic church, used to be a temple to the gods of Ancient Rome. Inside, you’ll see the statues of these gods. There’s also a circular opening in the ceiling, supposedly to allow for offerings to the sky. It’s pretty miraculous being able to stand in this 2,000-or-so year old building (I think built around 126 AD?). It’s one of the best preserved buildings from Ancient Rome, and I just feel lucky to have been able to be in the presence of such great history.


Came home early and knocked out immediately. Didn’t even have the energy to eat dinner! I’m proud of pushing through and covering so much of Rome, considering that the last time I slept was on Wednesday (and only for a couple hours at that).

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