(8/5) Friday Afternoon. We took the train to Rome, which at times moved at 250+kph, and checked into our AirBnb there. Went out after a short rest, grabbed a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant, Taverna Romana. Food was so-so despite the reviews. After dinner, walked around some of the ruins and climbed up the Altare della Patria. Cool views of the city at night and some live Jazz. Not much of a skyline except for the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
(8/6) Saturday we went over to Vatican city, we had made reservations to go see the Sistine Chapel and the museum. It was quite hot outside, but OK inside. Long walk through the museum with lots of art – some interesting pieces by Rafael. Also saw the famous Michelangelo piece (Creation of Adam) from Sistine chapel. For some reason I always thought it was painted in the dome of the basilica (which I also thought was sistine chapel), but turns out the chapel is different than the basilica. After we came out of the tour, we grabbed a quick lunch at nearby Osteria delle Commari – delicious food! It was a long line in the sun to get into the basilica, but we made it inside. It is a grand building – just massive. There was some prayer in session and we think the pope was leading it, but we don’t know for sure.
Next, we made our way out of Vatican City, crossed St. Angelo’s Bridge and arrived at the Pantheon. I was excited to see this as it’s one of the oldest buildings still intact. I was surprised (since I didn’t do any research) to see it had been turned into a church – I thought it was a temple to the greek/roman gods. Still a cool spot. Continuing our adventure, we went to the Trevi fountain next. Tired of the italian food (not really), we decided to sample Indian food in Rome at a restaurant near our AirBnb. The service was awesome but the food was pretty bland – teaches me for getting Indian food in Italy.. Nice view of the coliseum down the street (on the right)!
(8/7) Sunday was Coliseum Day. We got up early, though not early enough, to beat the crowds. Sunday is apparently free admission, so it was pretty busy. Turned out, if you had an appointment, you could jump the line. So we ended up buying tickets online (phone) right there to get in, though we didn’t have to use the tickets, just show we had them, since it’s free admission. Anyway, the Coliseum is pretty freaking cool. I just learned that it also had a retractable roof, I didn’t notice anything left of it of course.
After a nice brunch at Cafe Cafe, we took a taxi to the Castel Sant’Angelo, back near the Vatican. Pretty cool spot, again climbed to the top for some nice views. Check out the view of St. Peter’s Basilica on the right – such a massive building. Leslie wanted to rest, so we grabbed a cab back to the AirBnb. Grabbed lunch from a nearby restaurant, one of the few that was open on a Sunday, and the food was pretty good. It was so good that we ended up doing dinner there as well. I walked around a bit on my own after lunch, ended up near the spanish steps and found a pretty nice Tiramisu shop that did a bunch of flavors. I got the pistachio to try and it was quite good. Also saw this interesting beer bottle in one of the shops. After dinner, Leslie and I walked around and checked out the Coliseum at night. This is also where we finally posted the new of our engagement on facebook.
Rant: Probably the worst AirBnb experience yet. Seems they had made a spot visit when we were our and found the AC on and complained (via note and then in review). Its a 4 story climb to get to the place and it’s extremely hot outside, of course I kept the AC on for my short stay so that I don’t walk into an oven every time I get back!