Rome is one of those cities you simply must visit once in your life. At school I learned a lot about the Roman Empire and even studied Latin for a couple of years, so when I visited Rome for the first time, I wanted to see all the places I read about in my books. I went to the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Spanish steps, the Pantheon, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and more. It was a wonderful but quite overwhelming trip, so when I got the chance to visit Rome again, I decided to take things a bit more slowly.
We stayed in Trastevere, the bustling area on the west bank of the Tiber. I would definitely recommend staying in this area, because there are lots of nice bars and restaurants, and it's at a walking distance from amongst others, Piazza Navona and the Capitoline Museums. I had been to the Capitoline Museums on my first visit, but I did not exactly remember what I had seen there, so I didn't mind going a second time. We went there in the late afternoon, which was absolutely perfect. The museum was not busy at all, so we could see everything at our own space. The collection contains, amongst others, the Capitoline Wolf, a beautiful statue of the goddess Venus, and lots of busts of famous philosophers and emperors. I secretly hoped that the quiet museum was a sign of Rome not being too busy at that time, but unfortunately that wasn't true.
During the weekend the city was full of tourists. Luckily we planned to see Rome in a different way than just by walking around, we rented a Vespa! As I wrote before, I'm a really big Audrey Hepburn fan and ever since seeing Roman Holiday I've wanted to drive trough Rome on a Vespa, and actually it turned out to be a great idea! It is really the best way to see Rome, especially if you don't necessarily want to go into all the monuments and museums, because you can go from one spot to another fairly quickly and avoid the crowds. We started at the Spanish steps, and on our way to the Colosseum stopped at the beautiful bakery Panella for an espresso and something sweet. We continued to Aventine Hill to peak trough the keyhole and see St. Peter's Basilica and to the Cimitero Acattolico (which is really beautiful!) where you can find the Pyramid of Cestius and the graves of Romantic Poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. We stopped at supermarket/foodcourt Eataly for lunch and then we moved on to Vatican City and passed Castel Sant'Angelo on our way. Lastly before returning the Vespa, we drove to the highest point of the Janiculum hill to the square Piazza Garibaldi where we got another beautiful view of Rome.
The next day we had breakfast near Campo dei Fiori, and wandered around the famous sites we couldn't drive to the day before. From Piazza Navona we walked through narrow streets to the Trevi Fountain and stopped by Giolitti for some fantastic ice-cream (my favourite flavour is definitely the Baci one). In the afternoon we visited the Villa Borghese. They only have limited number of tickets available each day, so you have to book in advance to get in, but it's definitely worth it. The museum has an extensive collection of classical art, which comprises of two absolutely stunning statues by Bernini. I quite like classical sculptures in general, but these two, The Rape of Proserpina, and Apollo and Daphne, are exceptionally beautiful. After our visit to the museum we strolled through the gardens for a bit and slowly walked towards the Via Condotti and Via del Corse to do some shopping. For dinner we went to Da Francesco
, a restaurant close to Piazza Navona, where we had an absolutely delicious meal. I can highly recommend the Filetto Da Francesco which is one of the best pieces of meat I've ever had.
Looking back I think it's quite funny how I planned to 'take things slowly' for this trip, and still did and saw soooo many things. Rome is truly a magnificent city and I'm really glad I threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, because I definitely want to go back again sometime.
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