Before the Pandemic, I was privileged to travel to Rome. This had been a dream of mine since I read history books and stories associated with Ancient Rome as a child. I read of the Roman Empire, their heroes, the wars, love stories and Christian reformations.
This trip felt surreal and I made a bucket list of places that I had to visit when I arrived. When the time came, all our plans were thrown out the window and we ended up sleeping on the day of arrival. This resulted in us modifying our plans and deciding to go on a walk tour instead to see as many sights as we could while gaining more historical knowledge about this magical city.
Our Airbnb in Pigneto blew my mind, it was better than the pictures and you can use this link https://abnb.me/e/w1E4GMVqD5 for $55 off your Airbnb. The host set up wine and chocolates before our arrival, it was beyond my expectation and we had no problems here.
We went to a pizza place in front our Airbnb and each got a pizza. I got the anchovy pizza and Zee got a salami pizza. We had no idea the portions would be a lot and we ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day. We also got the Haagen dazs Macadamian nut brittle ice cream that I cannot sadly get where I live. It’s absolutely amazing.
On the first day we decided to make plans that would not be too stressful. We started the day with pizza from Re di Roma which I had seen from Damon and Jo’s Youtube channel and it was recommended by Jo. A slice was 1.50 euros and they had unique flavours that I had not seen before not to mention the slices were square. I had a bacon and egg pizza and Zee had a margherita pizza. Zee taunted me by eating hers slowly, but I overcame the temptation. It was delicious but for some reason I enjoy having pizza and ice cream. So, next we had to have gelatos and we went to the second place recommended by Jo which was Gelataria Procopio. I was so excited about trying the exact flavors that Jo had and it was a match made in heaven as my lips met that gelato.
We went to the park opposite the Gelataria and enjoyed the gelatos while absorbing the scenery of this city filled with a lot of history. It felt like a dream and in this weird trance, I whispered ‘Roma, sweet Roma’. I imagined what had transpired in the past and saw physical signs that helped my imagination. I noticed that when I got to a place saying the words ‘Ciao’ really made people friendlier and they felt like you tried to relate with them. Also, in some places I had to read from an Italian translator because not everyone spoke English, I also relied on my French background a lot since they share a Latin origin.
The second day in Rome was Zee’s birthday and we had plans that involved relaxation. The day before we had found the closest spa called Hammam Roma Templum Salutis. We chose to have the complete Hammam treatment package and they gave us a complimentary facial because it was Zee’s birthday. Everyone there was really friendly, and we had a good time there. Fully exfoliated and relaxed, we headed to dinner because we had spent close to three hours at the spa.
We had dinner at Tonnarello’s where there was a 20-minute wait, but the food was fantastic. We had the beef lasagna and for dessert I had tiramisu and Zee had a vanilla ice cream with strawberries. I whispered to the waiter when I first arrived that it was Zee’s birthday and after dessert arrived, the waiter signaled to the whole restaurant to sing the Happy Birthday Song. It was a tear filled moment and I was so touched. Seeing everyone sing it from different parts of the world in the restaurant was amazing . I could not stop smiling and we had a nice night walk afterwards.
On our third day in Rome, we went for a walking tour early in the morning at 11am with Rome’s Ultimate Free Walking Tour to better embrace and understand the history we were privileged to see. Our tour guide was energetic and brought the city to life with his tales and jokes. We went through the emotional rollercoaster of Emperor Augustus who built a tomb for himself and wrote all his accomplishments on the wall opposite the tomb to the story of the 8 large obelisks that were carried away from Egypt as gifts.
Amid the tour, we visited a gelato place called Gelateria Della Palma that has 150 gelato flavors. I had more than three flavors in a large cup and also got a pastry called a cannoli. They had gelato and pastries, Oh! The dream that manifested into reality. I truly recommend this place in your visit to Rome.
We visited the following places during the tour: Mausoleum of Augustus (The tomb of Rome’s First Emperor), Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza del Popolo (The people’s square, The largest and most spectacular piazzas in Rome), The Pantheon (Built in 113 A.D, The best preserved Roman Monument in the world), Ponte Sant’Angelo (The most beautiful bridge in Rome featuring Bernini’s Angels) and Vatican City.
The tour started at Porta del Popolo and ended at the Vatican City which we found out has about 500 citizens who were only male. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the St Peter’s Basalica. It was built on Saint Peter’s tomb and is the largest church in the world. It took over 100 years to build the church and it was free to enter but it took over 1 hour to stand in a queue and go through security. It was worth the wait and I went in beholding the splendor, taking it all in. When I was done admiring the beauty of the church, I then went to pray in an area they have designated for only prayer. It was a very quiet area with security making sure you did not take any pictures there and that you were solely praying.
There was also security earlier at the entrance that checked your dressing because you couldn’t wear outfits over the knee and expose any private part of your body. I met up with Zee afterwards and we decided to have dinner before heading to the Colosseum, one of the seven wonders of the world.
We went to the Dodo Ristorante for dinner but they were not open yet because they usually open at dinner time which was an hour later than when we arrived. We were able to charge our phones at a nearby store because I always forget to buy a power bank when I travel. They were so nice, so I asked the lady there what her favorite pasta was and that was what I ordered at the restaurant. I had the Carbonara pasta and Zee got the marinara pasta. We also had a glass of sweet white wine because we were in Rome and it also goes with the aesthetic.
We had a gelato at Gelateria da Constanza and then proceeded to enjoy it at a nearby fountain before finally heading to the Colosseum. We touched the walls and imagined what had transpired in the past. It was amazing, after a series of pictures, we sat down and enjoyed the view while watching the sunset. It was the perfect end to the day.
After this pandemic is over, I pray Italy will be able to recover and I can walk those cobbled streets once more. I am praying for everyone in the world and I hope those of you reading this are safe and healthy. God be with us and we will get through this together.