We woke up to a bright blue sky outside our window, and this was enough to get us out of bed and back onto the streets of Rome for another busy day of wandering, eating, photo taking, and sight-seeing.
From our hotel, we wandered down the Via Merulana to find ourselves standing in front of the Colosseum. Since we had already done a tour of the inside the last time we were in Rome, we chose to just take some photos outside to save time. There were an insane amount of people outside, waiting to go in or just lounging around, and it was all a bit overwhelming. But, that’s Rome I guess right?
What we did want to visit was the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which was in the same vicinity as the Colosseum. There are always tons of workers selling tickets wandering around outside the Colosseum, so you can buy a ticket off of them to visit Palatine Hill. The guy who we were buying from told us that it was a 2 hour wait, so for an extra 8 euros per person on top of the original ticket price, we were also able to bypass the line and head inside straight away. Buying from the person directly also allowed us to skip the line for purchasing tickets. For us, time when traveling is always the most valuable, so we didn’t want to risk having to wait in line for hours. However, when we got to the line up to go into the Palatine, we noticed that it wasn’t that long. We were wondering if they have the tendency to trick tourists into paying more for a ‘line skip’ or if there was truly a different,
Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city, and is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills. It served as the legendary first home of Romulus and Remus, and was later chosen by emperors and aristocrats for their luxurious villas. The emperor of Augustus was also born on the Palatine.
This is a great place to go if you want to feel like you’re going back in time (even more than you already are at any place in the city) and get a good view of Rome. There was lots to see, and information boards posted up here and there for you to get a better sense of what the area used to be.
So many temples and courtyards. So many photo ops.
At one point, there was a great overview of the actual Roman Forum. For centuries, this ‘square’ or ‘marketplace’ was the center of the day-to-day life in Rome. It was the site of elections, the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and so much more.
We spent more than a couple hours wandering around. If you take the time to see every little thing, analyze the history and take photos of everything, it could easily take you a full day to get through it all. The day we went, it happened to be excruciatingly hot, which made our walk through a little more uncomfortable. Sweat was always dripping from one place or another.
By the time we found our way to the exit, we were tired and needed to rest our legs for a bit. We found a nice place to sit at a local restaurant and ordered a small lunch with bruschetta and mozzarella and the mandatory drinks (beer and wine).
As we were eating, a HUGE rain storm started up and was battering the top of the tent we were sitting underneath. We waited for it to let up a bit before continuing our journey of the day.
I mentioned earlier that Audrey Hepburn played a role in planning the itinerary for this trip in more ways than month. So next up, we were visiting the Bocca della Varita, which was the Mouth of Truth. It is a 1300 kg marble mask that stands against the left wall of the Basilica of Saint Mary. In Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck told Audrey Hepburn that if she was a liar and stuck her hand in, her hand would get bitten off. So now, tourists come from near and far to take a photo with the Mouth of Truth and stick their hand in for fun.
Leaving the Mouth of Truth, we walked to the Altare Della Patria, which is a monument built in
So, we went back to the hotel for some rest. Walking around in Rome (and under the sun) tired us out pretty quickly, so we found that we always had to stop and take breaks more than usual.
After we were feeling re-charged, we were ready to eat. There was this place that I was so excited to try since reading about it online – Da Carlone. They were known for its famed carbonara and the family-owned place looked amazing. It was on the other side of the river; however, so we chose to just take a cab there. But when we got there, to our disappointment, the place was closed. The taxi driver mentioned that it was closed for holidays and since it was family-owned, they probably didn’t hire any other manager or workers to keep the shop opened. I suddenly remembered how a lot of clothing stores we had also seen were closed for a few weeks for the holidays. Oh, how Italy and Canada are different. Luckily, there was another restaurant right beside it, so since we were already hungry, we decided to give it a shot. After all, when you’re in Rome, what could go wrong? They made a great carbonara pasta, and had a great selection of wines too. Not to mention that the service was amazing.
After a full stomach and a happy heart, we walked back to the Colosseum for a great night view. We got a glimpse of other things too.
We wanted to walk all the way back but despite our afternoon rest, our legs were still fatigued. So we took a cab the rest of the way back to our hotel, climbed into bed, turned out the lights, and wished for a good last day in the Eternal City for the next day. It’s crazy how quickly things come and go, especially the good moments.