Before my family and I moved to New York from Russia, we lived in Italy for about a year, in a small beach town outside of Rome called Passo Oscuro. Once we moved to New York I never had the opportunity to return up until a month ago, for my 25th birthday, where my mom gave me the awesome gift of taking me back to Rome.
We spent half our time in Rome, then day trips in Pompeii and Naples, and the rest of our time in the Sorrento area. It was an amazing experience and by the end of our trip we were well fed, with heavier bags and with a camera filled with thousands of pictures.
Since there is so much to tell about our vacation I figured I would split it into a couple of posts in the next few days.
Rome is a crazy busy city filled with a lot of tourists and since it was my first visit I tried to pack in as much of the popular tourist sites as possible so our days were super packed and we were exhausted by the end of each day.
We took an overnight flight from NY to Rome so we started our day pretty tired but wanted to get a jump start, so we grabbed our bags and headed to our hotel, and after getting lost wandering around for an hour and lugging our bags up 5 flights of stairs (note: always make sure you find a hotel with an elevator), we finally made it out of the hotel, bagless and ready to start being tourists!
Our hotel was in the perfect location, just a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum and also a 10 minute walk from Termini Station. We decided to start our first day with the Colosseum, since it was so close, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill.
The Colosseum was gorgeous but super crowded and our tired bodies were pretty happy that we bought the Roma Pass and were able to skip most of the long lines.
As you can tell by the silly photo above, by the time we made it to the Roman Forum, we reached a point of exhaustion but thought it best we keep it going to combat jet lag.
We wanted to handle the most crowded and most energy sapping activities in the morning and we ended up very happy to start with the Vatican Museum and then St. Peters Basilica. These were both pretty busy but we planned ahead and booked tickets online to skip the lines. Not much for religion, I still found the museum and basilica to be richly decorated and gorgeously breathtaking.
We thought that some exercise and stairs wouldn’t hurt so we decided to go up the dome, which even though is a steep cramped hot staircase, is well worth the view.
We took a quick lunch break and then headed to the amazingly gorgeous Borghese Gallery (reservation required) and then spent the afternoon walking through the idillic Villa Borghese Gardens.
My mom and I thought we deserved a little break and spent the next morning sleeping in and then walking over to the infamous Sant’Eustachio Caffe before heading over to the enormous Pantheon.
We then roamed over to the rustic towns of Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto and spent some time browsing and a then lot more time shopping!
On our last day we headed to Passo Oscuro, where my family spent most of their time in Italy. This small town is west of Rome, along the beach coast, and just a short train ride away. In many ways this was a romantic trip into the past, both my mom and I were really happy we made the time in this trip to head back here.
It was surprising how easily my mom remembered where our apartment was and all the small stores nearby.
It was an amazing way to end the first leg of our trip!!!
All of the tourist attractions we saw, through the Rome trip, we did by self guide using different books and tips we found online. The most helpful was Rick Steve’s Rome and his audio files, I don’t think we could have gotten very far in the city without it.
I hope you enjoyed the first part to this getaway post… More to come tomorrow!
I brought back an extra gift from Italy for a special reader, the giveaway is up and the winner will be announced next FRIDAY!