My friend from high school, Fabienne made a special trip to Rome to visit me. We had lots of adventures in the center and area around Rome. We also took a trip to Florence and Venice.
Originally I had misread her flight itinerary and thought she was coming in the day before. That day Daniele was off work so I figured we would have a fun beach day and break into the touristy thing gently, shake the jet lag, also Rome’s airport is like a five-minute drive from the beach. But the actual day she came in he worked, so I couldn’t pick her up by car. It’s easy to take the train to the center. So I sent updated instructions once I realized. She saw the email, but did not open it. It was a pretty stressful morning for both of us waiting and not knowing where the other was. We found each other eventually.
At that point Daniele was actually done with his morning shift. So we stashed her luggage in his car and were able to drive to some of the parts of the city less famous than the Colosseum. We went to Gianicolo Hill, one of the original hills of Rome. More of a residential area now, but the top is a park with fountains and great views. We also hit up Aventino hill which also has a great view from its gorgeous orange garden. I think that night we had diner at home, but I can’t put the pieces together perfectly now.
The next day Fab’s and I had a jam-packed sight seeing day in the center. After we all had breakfast together at home, Daniele dropped us off near the Vatican before heading to work. First I had us pick up some slices of pizza and mini-pizzas from my favorite baker/pizzeria. For about 3-euros a piece we each had a bag of yummy goodies. We checked out the Vatican after that. Checked out the square and then got in line for St. Peter’s Cathedral; it was the perfect amount of time to eat our lunch. We stayed a really long time in the cathedral. It’s just so beautiful. Took most of our day and it was too late to go to the Vatican Museums after. Fabs was also on the border about doing that anyway. From here we grabbed a snack at Mondo Arrancini and brought it to Castel Sant’ Angelo to sit by the water and eat them. We took some pictures of the castle and bridge of angels before crossing over the river to the other side of the city. We walked along the river, stopping briefly at the Ara Pacis, on our way to Piazza del Popolo. From Piazza del Popolo, you can follow Via del Corso through the historical center and hit most the sights. Unfortunately it was late in the day. We quickly stopped by the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain when Daniele called saying he was waiting for us at Piazza del Popolo. I made Fabienne through 3 quick coins over her shoulder and we hurried back. That night we walked around the San Lorenzo area and had dinner at my favorite pizzaria, Marotoneta.
Fabs has a italian-speaking opera-siniging bf now. They met in the US, but I have to give some credit to those Trevi Fountain coins.
There is more after all these pictures…
The next day we went to Lake Bracciano. We visited two towns on the lake: Bracciano and Anguillara, both medieval hill towns. First we went to Bracciano. It is set farther back from the lake and has a castle. In between we went to a restaurant that serves fish from the lake where Daniele’s family always goes when they are here. I’ve mentioned Italians prefer going to the same restaurants over trying new ones. After we walked through Angulara, which is small and still elevated but set closer to the lake. We took a path down to the lake and walked along the path there. There are houses along the cliff edge between the old center and lake; many were covered in flowers. Farther down the river road there were sun bathers on the narrow lake beach. Some of the swimmers harassed the swans that were there.
The next day we spent in the center doing the sights we still hadn’t seen. We started with the Roman Forum which was awesome. It was actually my first time going inside, too. Then we hit up the Colosseum. From there we went to Piazza Venezia, then the Pantheon. There we got some of the original frozen espresso at Tazza D’Oro– delicious! After we passed by the statue of Pasquino. This statue was unearthed in the 15th century and in the 16th century became the first talking statue. People would attach poems written in the Roman dialect to the statue criticizing the Pope or denouncing injustice. The tradition continues today. Then we went to Piazza Navona where we took lots of pictures and bought some small original paintings. Then wondered to Campo dei Fiori and eventually Tibertina Island, where we met up with my friend Ben who is on a trip around the world now that he finished school before he enters the working world and just happens to be in Rome now, as well as Daniele who’s birthday it was! Daniele picked my favorite place for dinner: Momo. When we got there we found that they had little baby bunnies in the front lawn area, for no reason just hopping around being cute.
The following day was our beach day. I took Fabs to Ostia because I think it is a great experience and has a great culture. Ostia is “Rome’s Beach”. There are several beaches near by, but this one is actually considered a suburb of Rome and the trains come here from the center. It’s the most crowded, but that’s some great people watching. Every woman in Italy wears a bikini. Size or age has no restrictions. The modesty bar is wayyyy over from were you are used to it being. Tops are optional all over the Mediterranean, you don’t need to be at a special nude beach. Tops are optional for young girls any age young enough were she is not developed, so 10 year olds with out tops sometimes. Butt coverage? I don’t really want to get into it, but there is not much there to describe. Men are not exempt. Sure smaller bathing suits are much more common; we all already know about that. Those who do where the style of swim trunks common in the US hike up the legs to make sure their thighs tan. Then there are the vendors. Vendors are so much more common all over Italy, but at the beach you really notice them. You are a captive audience. They just walk around offering their goods, from clothing to inflatables to coconut, normally kicking some sand on you or your towel as they pass. I hate the vendors. Anyway, Ostia is Italy at it’s most guido. We took lots of pictures of cute boys, because that seemed funny to us at the time. Fab’s and I had a lot of fun this day.
The next three days we spent in Florence and Venice. I’ll write about them separately.
After that it was basically time to say goodbye.
All the pictures I took of Rome during Fab’s visit are in my “Fabienne’s Visit -Rome” album