I’ve been dreaming of Europe all week, planning a ton of different trips that I won’t be taking for a long, long time due to lack of funds and time. Looking up flights, hotels and restaurants made me a little nostalgic for my previous European adventures, so I went digging through my old photo albums and found a few holiday snaps worth sharing.
The photos are from three wonderful days spent in Rome in August 2012. I ate pizza and gelato every day and hit all the tourist spots – the Forum, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica (the view from the dome makes the long climb worth it!) and the Vatican museum, including the Sistine Chapel, of course.
I also added a nerdy Romantic poetry detour to my itinerary and visited the Keats-Shelley House (next to the Spanish Steps) and the Protestant Cemetery, where Keats and Shelley are buried. That was by far my favourite part of the trip, so if you enjoy Romantic poetry I recommend you venture out there for a relaxing afternoon far from the tourist hot spots. It’s green, quiet, and really quite touching.
Along the way, I picked up some useful tips for traveling in Rome. I thought I’d share them here because no matter how obvious these tips are, I still wish someone had told me that not all gelato was created equal.
5 things I wish I knew before going to Rome
1. Stop at a gelato shop where the banana flavour is grey. It means they’re doing it right.
2. Crossing the street in Rome is quite the adventure. Don’t wait for a break in traffic that will never come, just go for it and the cars will stop for you.
3. Wear trainers. Rome is ancient and charming, and almost entirely paved in cobblestones. There are also mysterious stairs at every turn, in every alley, and you have to climb them to get anywhere. Cardio? Check.
4. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. The sun is a lot stronger in Italy then it is in Canada or the UK. Even your favourite Instagram filter won’t be able to hide the fact that you look like a boiled lobster. I would know.
5. Resist the temptation of stopping for a snack near tourist spots. A can of diet coke in the Piazza Navona will set you back about 6 euros. That’s $8.50. For a can of diet coke.
Eat all the gelato, then do some cardio. Cross the street like a local, or you’ll never get anywhere. Cobblestones and stairs and UV rays. Great place to visit if you’re into the Romantics. Rome is a photogenic city – the photos speak for themselves.
What’s your dream summer travel destination?