Our first day in Rome is not finished yet.
If you thought those were all the pictures we took let me just take a minute laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s insane though, I thought I took a million pictures and now that I’ve gotten a chance to go through it, I’ve seen how much I missed out. Those little cobblestone streets that get narrower and narrower, the amount of tourist that are just everywhere and the little bits of magic that make this city so appealing to me.
I tried though. I tried damn hard to capture memories that I’d want to look back on. So here’s a look at our first day through pictures (and a little bit of words because I can’t actually help myself).
This is the first building that we saw that had it’s name on Google Maps. What that name was, I can’t tell you. But it was beautiful. We sat next to a fountain, drank our caffe at 6am in the morning and took in this view.
The weirdest thing that I noticed is that all of the “iconic” monuments are heavily guarded by the army. At first when we saw the guys patrolling outside the place above we assumed that someone important was there. But soon we realised that they are stationed outside every important monument or super touristy attraction. Crazy huh?
The Colosseum in all its glory.
We really wanted to go down and see the under stage tunnels that housed the gladiators and animals but no one is allowed down there. The stories though. Wow. They imported animals from all over the world to be part of their shows and slaughterings. Apparently at one point they had a whale and out of the mouth of the whale poured 50 elephants or something ridiculous. I’m not even joking. That was on the audio guide.
The Palantine Hills.
There’s honestly so much to see here and the map that they give you at the door is not enough to do it justice. I don’t know if I would go there again if we ever went back, but I do wish that we had done it better. With some kind of audio guide.
Walking through the streets of the city you are surrounded by buildings that are all roughly the same height. No skyscraper type structures. Everything low and packed with people. I still can’t get over the fact that you could be walking around a little neighbourhood section of the city and literally just turn a corner and be faced with something 2000 years old.
This is the building that is called the Wedding Cake. The view from the top of here is pretty incredible. We wanted to watch the sunset from here (much easier to find than the Spanish Steps that kept moving), but they closed. Which really is an opportunity missed because it would have been amazing.
It was free entry to get in here and see all the things. Side note, like with most of the churches etc, if you want to go down and really explore here you need to have clothing down past your knees and your shoulders covered.
A typical street in Rome. If it doesn’t have a pizzeria, coffee shop or gelataria on it you may not actually be in Rome anymore. Those are EVERYWHERE.
This is quite a well known piazza which contained a tower that had hieroglyphics on it. Insane right? But at one stage the Roman empire went all the way down to Egypt and so that influenced a lot of the original statues and monuments. This totally blew my mind!
While we were there we saw a whole bunch of people heading into a church that borders the square and not having been into a church at all since arriving there, we followed them. Jeepers. They are just amazingly beautiful. So light and filled with an array of artworks, gold leafed ceilings and bones of saints. You’re not really supposed to take a lot of pictures in the churches but we managed to get one of the ceiling which, being the first we’d seen like that, blew us away.
There are no malls as such. Or very few. All the stores are on the bottom floors of residential blocks. A way that Romans have been building houses for centuries (this we found out in Pompeii). Your shop is at the bottom and then you lived on top of it. Unless you were rich of course. Then you had a massive house outside the city centre.
But when we did find a mall, even that was cool.
What you think the Trevi Fountain is going to look like when you get there…
What it actually looks like. Packed with tourists. It was impossible to get to the front although we didn’t try all that hard.
We ignorantly thought that these were the Spanish Steps because the signs pointed this way. Oh how we LOLed when we got to the real steps. Anyway, they did lead us to the top of the steps which is the point I guess.
Italians don’t like drinking on an empty tummy. So if you order a drink around 4pm onwards they will give it to you along with some kind of snack. It’s an Aperitivo. It’s the best thing ever.
One of the many times we circled around getting lost we ended up here. The road just passes through it. From what we could tell it was apartments but imagine living here! Man I’d love it. I think as much as I try and convince myself that I would be OK to move to the country, I really wouldn’t be. I love the city and the vibe.
Oh look, that fountain again…
Another thing that struck me as totally different to South Africa, is that you can drink in the streets, on public transport and well, anywhere really. It’s totally OK. And not once did we see a drunk Italian. Loads of sloshed tourists, but never Italians. Apparently they don’t like losing control and so hardly ever get out of hand. I don’t know how true that is, but there you go.
Seeing the Colosseum really doesn’t get old. We started using it as our “Table Mountain” to help us navigate around. It was great.