I cannot believe it is already August! I am sooo ready for fall! I’m ready for pumpkin, and sweet smelling candles and all of the sweaters! The weather is so hot here in Houston right now and it has me dreaming of cooler days! Today, I’m sharing our 4th and 5th vacation days which include traveling to Rome and a bunch of sightseeing!
On Wednesday July 5th we were up bright and early in Venice to grab the Fresca Rosa, a high speed train from Venice-Rome! This was seriously the coolest way to travel! The seats were super comfy, there was food on board the train, and you didn’t have to worry about navigating your way through an airport! We boarded the train, sat down and chilled for a few hours, and ended up in Rome!
Funny story though… I get very very motion sick, so I took what I thought was non-drowsy motion sickness medicine on our way to the train… thirty minutes later we got onto the train and I could not keep my eyes open! I ended up falling asleep for about an hour before I was finally able to sit up again like a functioning human being!
Now… I don’t have any pictures from between the train ride and when we left for dinner and this is why…. in true Leggate fashion some kind of drama always happens on our vacations… it just wouldn’t be a leggate-family vacay without one! So here’s what happened…
Our time in Venice had been absolutely devine… it was amazing. Because everything had been so perfect in Venice, my dad was joking that our hotel would be awful in Rome. We were to be staying at the Atlante Star hotel. On the website it looks amazing, the rooms look quaint but gorgeous and the rooftop bar is supposed to be phenomenal! Well… we pulled into the hotel and immediately had a flight of stairs to walk up with our bags. Then we got our keys (which were big old fashioned gold keys on dusty old tassels…) and we headed to our respective rooms!
Us girls and my grandma were in one room… it had red carpet on the floors… and on the walls! They had also put four beds in there and there was no room to walk around, let alone put our suitcases down! Everyone else’s rooms were just as bad… Brian and my brother’s room was black! Black floors and black carpets… and my parent’s room looked like no one had changed the sheets in 10 years! Needless to say… we could not stay there!
Luckily, my Dad is a Marriott rewards member and apparently they guarantee you a room wherever you are in the world… I did not know this! So, there were 8 of us at this point, we required 3 rooms and the Marriott was able to fit us all! We ended up staying at the JW Marriott Grande in Rome and it was seriously amazing. It was such a fab location and it was so clean and absolutely gorgeous!
So, after getting to the first hotel, putting our bags down, realizing we weren’t staying there and rushing over to the new hotel, we were all ready for a drink and some food!
I mentioned this in my post on Venice, but our favorite thing to do on this trip was to wonder through the streets and find little hole-in-the-wall places to eat! This was one of those places! We dined on some yummy, authentic Italian food before heading to the Trevi Fountain! I also didn’t know that it is made from the same material as the Colosseum! How cool is that?!
This is seriously a must-do in Rome! The trevi fountain is one of the oldest water sources. It dates back to ancient Roman times, since the construction of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct in 19 B.C. that provided water to the Roman baths and the fountains of central Rome.
Another interesting fact, which I was so excited to hear, about this fountain is that all of the money received by tourists goes back into the community of Rome! It’s estimated that $3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain every day! (PS. it’s a crime to steal from the Trevi fountain!).
P.P.S, if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are destined to return to Rome in your lifetime!
After we visited the Trevi fountain we headed home because we had a super early rise the next morning for The Vatican! The last time we were in Rome, several years ago, we had done The Vatican and Vatican city in the afternoon… it was hot and it was PACKED. This time, my dad hired a VIP tour guide for the morning! Our pick up time was 7:30 am! The tour guide picked us up from the hotel and drove us to the Vatican! We were able to head straight in and start seeing the sights! I don’t have many pictures from The Vatican for two reasons… 1) I’m Catholic and so I really enjoyed walking on the Vatican grounds, seeing all of the sites, and spending some time saying prayers! 2) it is pretty frowned upon to take pictures in some of the sacred places within the city walls and I didn’t want to be that person! With that being said… I do have some pictures, and the history of The Vatican is so vast that I think I will delicate its own post to talking about it! Keep your eyes out for a Vatican post coming soon 🙂
After The Vatican, we headed to lunch at another little restaurant that we stumbled upon! Up until this point in the trip, we had not had a Bellini! We thought our first full day in Rome was the perfect time to indulge in one of these Italian Specialties!
It was delish!
Of course, we had to indulge some more after lunch and have some gelato for desert! After lunch, we headed to Castel Sant’Angelo, which is also known as Hadrian’s Tomb. This was a really cool piece of architecture which was originally commissioned by Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Later, the building was used by Popes as a fortress, now it’s a Museum! At one point, this was the tallest building in Rome! Also, if you look on top of the building, you can see Michael, the archangel who looks over the tomb!
A little word to the wise here, there is a lot of walking in this building! It is hundreds of stairs to get to the top and then you have to go back down the same stairs to get out! I ended up going back to the bottom with my Grandma and the rest of the group went up! This was the view… photo cred to Brian 😉
After Hadrian’s tomb, we walked across the bridge to catch a big red bus to do a hop-on-hop-off bus tour… or so we thought. This turned out to be the worst planned most hectic thing in the world!!! Basically, the tour company sold way too many tickets than they had seats for! Which resulted in a giant herd of people trying to push their way onto the bus, when the tour company people would only let 3 or 4 people on at a time! It was a palava!! When we finally got onto the bus, we had done tons of walking and decided we would just view Rome from our seats and get off at the Colosseum for dinner!
At every stop you could buy water from these guys! You would throw down the money and they would throw up the water! Ha!
We didn’t spend too much time looking at the Colosseum on this day because we were all pretty hangry and we had a tour booked for the following night! Ha!
Ok… how Italian is this pic?!
We ate dinner at a little restaurant right next to the Colosseum!! What a view…
After dinner we jumped in cabs that took us to The Pantheon! Oh my gosh… the Pantheon is in the most gorgeous little square! It is so cute and WAY less touristy than the other side of Rome near the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum!
The Roman’s really knew how to build a gorgeous building! No wonder they ruled the world for so long! The Pantheon is a former Roman Temple which is now a church! It is absolutely stunning!
Brian figuring out if it would be feasible to have walls like this in our first married house 😉
After we had some gelato and explored this little square, we realized it was only a 20 minute walk back to our hotel! By the time it would take us to hail cabs for all of us, we could be half way home! So we decided to walk and it was a really great way to see Rome by night!
These two days were so much fun! We did a lot of walking and ate a lot of yummy food!! I’ll be sharing the next two days of our trip… touring the colosseum and heading to Tuscany, next week!
Thank you so much for reading!