We awoke this morning ready for a full day in this new city. We told the kids when we were in Australia that we were in the relaxing part of our journey and that once we hit Europe the scenery would change and we would see a ton more history. Naples, especially Pompeii, was a small taste of what was to come. When we started this morning we jumped on the Metro to head halfway across the city. We were running late because the kids are not used to waking up early anymore. Can’t imagine how they will get back into a routine in September, but that is a problem for another day!
We arrived at our meeting place just outside the Barberini Metro stop and met Nikko, our tour guide for the next 90 minutes. Ilise has been looking online for the best ways to tour these cities and we have found a network of tour guides that work on tips only. So, Nikko was not only our tour guide but he was working only for tips. He took us to numerous temples, including Cheisa Di Ignazio Di Layolla and the Pantheon. Both were amazing structures, but the inside of the first church was just spectacular. I didn’t think this could happen, but both Drew and Noah were totally engaged in the tour listening to just about everything that Nikko was saying. It was pretty cool and we saw a number of amazing sites.
When the tour was over we started to walk and planned to meet a new friend name Paolo in an hour or so. We were neat the Vatican so we decided to head in that direction. The tour guide also told us about a really great gelato store that he loved that was near the Vatican, so we were on our way. When we started to cross the river to head over to the Vatican area Drew looked at me and said; “I’m moving here at some point. I need to learn Italian and this is a place I need to live!” She was amazed at the beauty and all the majesty of Rome. We were crossing the bridge and saw all these locks attached to the grill between the railings on the bridge. We later learned from Paolo that these are a way for people to pledge their love to their partner. There were so many pictures to be taken, and Drew was in heaven. I believe that she will be back!
We headed to the area of the identified gelato store (I believe you are seeing a theme here) because gelato is managing our lives in Rome. We decided to have some food first since the kids were hungry. Remember they woke up late and we really didn’t have time for a proper breakfast. We found a nice little restaurant and ordered two pizzas and a carpaccio salad. OMG, this was one of the best lunches we have had yet. While eating I was communicating with Paolo who was on his way to meet us. Paolo arrived just as we were paying our lunch bill and he was ready to show us his city from a locals perspective.
Paolo said that he had a better gelato place that he would take us to and we should get into his little Mini Cooper. We sped around the streets for the next 2 hours after stopping for some amazing gelato. We will definitely need to go back to the other gelato shop that Nikko recommended. Can’t miss an opportunity to taste the fruits of a new shop. After Paolo showed us one amazing site after another, he dropped us off about 1/3 mile from the Colosseum. Paolo told us the origin of the name Colosseum, which was based on the fact that the building was located right near a colossus statue of a ruler of Rome, so the called it the Colosseum after the colossus statue.
We gawked at the amazement of the Colosseum and continued our travels through Rome. Ilise wanted to head to the Spanish Stairs and take some pictures, which is what we did. We got to see numerous areas of the city along the way, including a small stand where an artist was cutting coins. She was taking real coins and cutting out things that she thought were not needed and being left with a very nice pendant to hang on a necklace. We stopped and Ilise and Drew loved a number of the pendants, so we got one for Drew for her birthday. After the purchase we continued our walk to the Spanish Steps before heading back to the apartment for another business call that I needed to be on at 5 PM.
It was a long day and we needed to get some rest and Drew, you guessed it, had some geometry homework to get completed. At this point I’m starting to get a feel for where everything is in Rome. It usually takes me a day or two to get my bearings in a city, except those cities that are built on a grid, which Rome is not! We are planning to see the Vatican tomorrow, which happens to be Drew’s 15th birthday, so we will need to find a way to celebrate after the Vatican tour. Maybe some gelato?
To a life well lived!