This was one of the days I was really looking forward to because I would see the Colosseum with my own eyes! But first, we visited the Arch of Constantine as we were waiting for the time slot of our Skip-the-line tickets.
APRIL 14, 2019
This was one of the days I was really looking forward to because I would see the Colosseum with my own eyes!
But first, we visited the ARCH OF CONSTANTINE as we were waiting for the time slot of our Skip-the-line tickets.
The staff was nice enough to let us go inside the COLOSSEUM 15 minutes before our scheduled time. We first picked up the free audio guide before climbing to the topmost level. There were a lot of uneven steps and some were even steep so be careful if you have bad knees.
After more than an hour of exploring the Colosseum, we went to ROMAN FORUM, a plaza with several ancient government buildings. Our STL tickets included free pass here so it was not a hassle to go inside. The place is ridiculously huge that we were not able to visit everything, especially the buildings that required a lot of climbing.
Spring was also already present because there were blooming flowers around us.
We woke up very early to see Trevi Fountain without the big crowd yet… and it paid off! Couldn’t help but be in awe of this Baroque fountain – imagine how the detailed structures were done.
APRIL 13, 2019
We woke up very early to see TREVI FOUNTAIN without the big crowd yet… and it paid off! Couldn’t help but be in awe of this Baroque fountain – imagine how the detailed structures were done.
The other tourists around were nice enough to give us some space so that we can capture nice photos. My sister also told me to throw 3 coins over my shoulder – first coin means you will return to Rome, the second to achieve love, and the third for marriage.
From the fountain, we walked going to SPANISH STEPS, which connects lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti. There is also a beautiful church at the upper piazza but it was closed during the time we visited.
Next stop in our itinerary was PIAZZA VENEZIA, where the first thing we saw was Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II.
A short distance from Piazza Venezia was FORI IMPERIALI. Building the series of fori (public squares) were started by Julius Caesar and some of the places we visited were Forum of Caesar, Forum of Augustus, and Forum of Nerva.
We went to SAN GIOVANNI IN LATERANO (€2) afterwards and this was one of my favorite churches that we visited during the whole trip.
Our last stop before lunch was SANTA CROCE IN GERUSALEMME. It is considered as one of the seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.
For lunch, we went to BOCCONCINO and ordered the following: spaghetti del cavaliere alla carbonara, ravioli dell’osteria (ravioli filled with soft ricotta cheese and meat, sautéed with pistachios and dried tomato sauce), and filetto di maiale avvolto in guanciale e cotto al forno (pork fillet rolled with ham – baked and grilled). My sister also got a tiramisu for her dessert.
Our last stop for the day was SCALA SANCTA, wherein the stairs were claimed to be the very steps that Jesus Christ climbed when he appeared before Pontius Pilate. We were very lucky that the stairs were uncovered during our visit! I read that it was uncovered for the first time after 300 years and that by July 1, 2019, all steps were covered with wood again. Pilgrims actually ascend the steps on their knees.
We went home early because I was not feeling well, and we were lucky that there was an Alice restaurant across our Airbnb. Alice specializes in pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice).
From Old Bridge Gelateria, we hopped on a bus going to Piazza Navona, a famous plaza in Rome and created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
APRIL 12, 2019
From Old Bridge Gelateria, we hopped on a bus going to PIAZZA NAVONA, a famous plaza in Rome and created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
A little bit of a walk from the plaza, we reached PANTHEON. It is originally a Roman temple dedicated to Roman gods and now it houses the tombs of famous Italian icons including Raphael.
Last stop for our Day 1 was BOCCA DELLA VERITÀ (Mouth of Truth, €2). This was featured in one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn films, Roman Holiday. Legend goes that the mouth bites off the hand of a liar.
Before heading back to our Airbnb, we bought take-out dinner from TRAPIZZINO, which is famous for their trapizzini (pizza pockets). We ordered polpetta al sugo (meatball with sauce) and parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmigiana).
Our first order of business for our first day in Rome was to visit Vatican. We headed straight to St. Peter’s Square followed by St. Peter’s Basilica.
After years of saving, EU trip finally came true! First country we visited was Italy, and I was really excited for this one because I would get to eat pasta all day everyday. We flew with Etihad from MNL-CDG then took another flight from CDG-FCO (Rome) via AirFrance.
APRIL 12, 2019
Our first order of business for our first day in Rome was to visit Vatican.
We walked around ST. PETER’S SQUARE and I shared with a friend that upon stepping into this place, it felt like the Lord’s blessing was closer than ever and I was humbled by His grace. It sounds weird but he assured me that that was how he felt too when he went there.
Next, we fell in line for ST. PETER’S BASILICA. Initially, I thought to myself that the line was long but when we went outside after going around the basilica, the line was 3-4x longer. The basilica was so huge that we were not sure where to start… I even took a long time to streamline which pictures to share here.
Next, we headed for our scheduled meet-up place for Skip-the-Line ticket to VATICAN MUSEUMS (bought here).
The guide accompanied us until the entrance inside Vatican Museums and she said goodbye to us once we got our STL tickets from her. Good decision because the regular line was insanely long outside. However, the crowd inside was also big that my next thought was to go outside already. Haha!
I honestly cannot remember the names of each room or section that we went to and it took us about 2 hours to finish seeing everything. Sharing my favorites from the museum visit:
We had our late lunch in PANIFICIO BONCI, a small but famous bakery in the area. Once inside the store, we got a queue number. We were nervous what to order because there were no labels or descriptions… we also did not know how to say that we just need a small portion because all the other customers were speaking in Italian. When it was our turn, it was a relief that the staff was able to get our orders exactly the way we want them.
Dessert was, of course, gelato! We dropped by OLD BRIDGE GELATERIA, a famous gelateria near the Vatican. They had more than 10 flavors displayed and I got the option of having 2 flavors in 1 cone.