Better late than never, I’m writing about fall break in Italy! I’m doing this in a three part series, because there was SO MUCH THAT HAPPENED, starting at the beginning, strangely enough. The beginning would be Rome, where we literally hit the ground running!
I don’t think a person can be prepared for how MUCH there is in Rome. There are people, there are ruins, there are just things everywhere. Our plan for Rome was literally taking one of those tourist maps and jumping from place to place as far as we could go.
One thing about not being prepared was making a faux paus on our very first day. We happened upon a church that we wanted to go in, but we were not dressed up to the dress code. (You could see my shoulders, and my dress did not cover my knees. [It was over 80. How anyone in there was wearing clothes I don’t know.]) A very angry church attendant told us that “this was a church, not a garden” but apparently this happens so much that these white mesh scarves are supplied so you can properly cover up.
Eventually, our wanders led us to a destination we had actually planned: The Coliseum. Honestly, I hadn’t expected to be wowed by it as much as I was. I certainly wasn’t expected for the sheer size, for one–I don’t think anyone ever can be. But there is also a certain majesty when you stare at it and realize how much work went into crafting just one small section. Looking down in the pit was also chilling, but it’s mediated a bit by the fact that the entire underbelly is now run by the cats of Rome.
Admission to the Coliseum also gets you into the Roman forum beside it, which is basically just a bunch of ruins in the same place. Like, I can’t explain to you how many. We were all so tired by the time we exited the Coliseum that we didn’t have time to do it properly, but boy did we stare. ROME HAS SO MUCH STUFF. Anyways…
On the second day, we went out to Vatican City. We were lucky enough to stand there while the Pope came to his window and blessed the crowd. I didn’t understand a word of it because it was in Italian, but it was one of those times where understanding at the sentence level wasn’t important. I’m not religious, but I respect this Pope immensely and I was honored to be in his presence.
We couldn’t do any of the museums or anything because it was Sunday, so we wandered back around to places like the Piazza Navona and then, of course, the Pantheon. Again, just walking was amazing. Rome seems to take it’s amazing amount of history for granted, in a way. We ended up lost a little bit towards the end, and wandered past the house of the Italian President and the sadly closed Trevi Fountain.
On our last day, we went back to Vatican City in order to do the museums. Read: We wanted to see the Sistine Chapel. However, this experience was nothing like what we had had the day before. In the museums, they pack people in like sardines and there is a souvenir stand at every corner. In the Chapel itself, there is a speaker specifically to say “SHH” to all the disrespectful tourists packed in closer than the Central line at rush hour. Don’t get me wrong, it was all beautiful and I’m glad I went, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed.
We did so much stuff in Rome that I could barely contain it in one blog post, but there are the highlights! Stay tuned for next time when I talk about Florence!