30.7.16

WANDERING AROUND; ROME, ITALY

So, for today's post I wanted to talk to you guys about when a friend and I spent a week in the Italian capital of Rome. We saw pretty much every landmark in the area, did the entire week on foot (ouch!) and lived and breathed Rome for seven days. It was gorgeous. 
To begin, we flew from London Gatwick, arrived in Rome, hoped on a shuttle bus for 40 minutes and was dropped off just around the corner from our hotel, easy. Rome is split up into little segments, each with plenty going on, so where ever you're staying there's never a shortage of things to do and you can't aim to be in the centre, as there kind of isn't one. 
We stayed on foot and managed to see the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, Sistine Chapel, Palatine Hill, Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Venezia, Vatican, Villa d'Este and the Bioparc di Roma - so that gives you a pretty good idea of how much there is to see in a small area! That doesn't mean that our feet weren't blistered and we tackling extreme heats however!
On our first day we strolled around the area and stumbled through to Piazza Navona which is a little area full of bars and restaurants. Around here we also found the best area for shopping, designer stores, H&M and dun, dun, duuun.. Sephora! Of course the daily debate was 'pizza or pasta?!' and on this evening, pizza won!
We headed a few streets down for a quick sugar fix and found the infamous Giolitti bakery which has the most incredible Italian ice cream I've ever tasted. I knew about this place after watching an Essie Button vlog in Rome and it was top of my must visit list. Cultural, I know. On this occasion I went for mango, watermelon and white chocolate. A decision I did not regret!
Our hotel was just around the corner from the Colosseum which was perfect. This meant we could head down as early as possible but be aware, the queue to enter will always be long and it will always be hot. Definitely bring some water and something to shade your shoulders with ready for the queue as you are right in the sunshine. Also prepare for everybody to offer you a guided tour and queue jump, I personally cannot see how it would be worth it as the Colosseum itself is super self explanatory and well sign posted. It's beautiful inside and quite breathtakingly large! 
When buying your entrance ticket, it allows entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill also, this is right behind you, so don't miss out on this!
Ensure you take a water bottle along with you as there are many fresh water springs located around the Roman Forum and Rome itself. 
Another day, another exploration. After looking through our paper map, we spotted a Bioparc a few miles away from the hotel, so that's exactly where we headed! We set off searching for the zoo which is based within these massive gardens known as Villa Borghese. The walk down through the gardens itself was beautiful and the zoo was equally as stunning. We had a good stroll round, enjoying the animals and the sights then headed back through the gardens where we pitched up for an hour or so for a spot of sunbathing.
When in Rome, one simply must explore Vatican City. Vatican City is a city within a city and is the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church, it's intense. To walk over here was our longest walk of the trip so we set off nice and early as always and headed away. I would highly recommend doing as much on foot as possible as we bumped into buildings and landmarks we weren't even aware of. Upon walking to the Vatican we walked past the Castel Sant'Angelo, originally a castle for the Pope and now a museum.
 A few more steps and we entered the Vatican. You know when you're near as you're amongst the largest group of people swarming to one place that i've ever experienced. We were pre-warned regarding the dress code for the Vatican, please ensure you either wear or take with you some trousers and a cardi as you cannot enter in short sleeves or bare legs. The queue is as bad and long as you imagine and you've been told but it's worth it, trust me.
 Them views though!
Last but not least, the final spot i'll show you is Villa d'Este. Now for this, we did hop on a train for a few minutes and headed up to Tivoli. Villa d'Este is a beautiful garden and building known for it's stunning fountations, hillside views and ponds. Definitely recommend taking a trip out to Tivoli if you have the time on your visit as it's so beautiful and a lot more relaxed than Rome itself.
One final ice cream and we're out! I hope you enjoyed my run down of sites, we saw so many wonderful buildings and gardens and Rome is something i'll always remember and love. Let me know if you've ever been and what your thoughts were, i'd love to hear!
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