Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, Do As the Romans Do, and Other Cliches

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that’s the excuse I’m sticking to for why it’s taken me 9 months to get around to writing about it.

Why’d it take so long? I guess I just know mere words (at least, the limited number of words that fit into a blog post) can never do the justice to the Eternal City.

Rome at dusk

Rome at dusk

2,500 years of history.

How do you even begin to process the layers upon layers of architecture and battles and emperors and religious upheavals?

How do you condense the birthplace of Western civilization into say, 1,000 words?

292210_10102270978293111_826143737_n

Excavated ruins from 2,000 years ago serve as a base for more modern architecture

I learned quickly that you can’t cram 2,500 years of knowledge into two nights or even just a blog post or two, but that’s all I had during my latest visit to Roma as a guest of HouseTrip.com.

So what’s a gal with limited time to do while on Roman Holiday?

DO AS THE ROMANS DO. REALLY FAST.

At the Trevi Fountain

At the Trevi Fountain in the rain… trying my luck at a local superstition (that never seems to work for me!)

After I settled in at the magnificent (really, truly) HouseTrip apartment, I joined a group of travel bloggers (Aviators & A Camera, The Planet D, Monkeys & Mountains, Destination Europe & Travellers Playground) for a whirlwind adventure around the city on the most quintessentially Roman method of transportation you could imagine aside from the chariot – a vintage Vespa!

Me at the Vatican on a Vespa. What's up, Audrey Hepburn?!

Me at the Vatican on a Vespa. What’s up, Audrey Hepburn?!

I confess I was super nervous about this particular adventure. Audrey Hepburn made it look easy and glamorous, but she made everything look easy and glamorous, didn’t she? I wasn’t quite convinced I’d be able to pull it off.

(And I don’t usually do well on bike-type apparatuses.)

485223_10102270985114441_158043937_n

Much to my relief, I didn’t have to navigate! Cue the hero of this story: my handsome Italian Vespa driver, who I learned was once stationed in the Navy in my hometown. Isn’t it a small world?

In his capable hands, I was safe and exhilarated as we zoomed past the Colosseum, the Forum, the Baths and the Vatican, stopping occasionally for photos and a history lesson.

Zipping around Roma with my gang

Zipping around Roma with my gang

Our gang of Vespa drivers. Aren't they wonderful?!

Our gang of Vespa drivers. Aren’t they wonderful?!

The following day, still buzzing from our surreal Vespa adventure around the city, I continued in my quest to live like a local… by eating everything in sight. May God have mercy on my waistline!

Perhaps real Romans are more restrained in their eating habits, but mama mia! I couldn’t help but stuff my face as we ate our way through a market with Eleonora Baldwin from Context Travel.

It was this very trip to Italy that opened my eyes to the benefits – both in taste and quality – of eating locally, and frankly I’ve become a bit of a food snob ever since!

540434_10102271049240931_1300058574_n

On the Rome Market Tour, Eleonora showed us how to choose the best artichokes, tomatoes, zucchini, cheeses & meats, and while I probably couldn’t reproduce any of the gorgeous dishes she whipped up for us afterward, I’ll never forget that sweet meal we had after visiting the market. Eating the freshest, hand-picked foods and drinking wine with new friends in our apartment overlooking the Colosseum had me pinching myself.

Was this real life? Or some alternate (but considerably less whiny) Eat, Pray, Love universe?

Eleonora's delicious treats

Eleonora’s delicious treats

The Italian food experience, as I’d soon learn, went on and on and on. I scarcely had time to get hungry before someone was plopping another smorgasbord of culinary delights in my face. And I loved it. And I had to buy new pants. And that’s all I have to say about that right now.

(When you go to Rome, check out these two YUMMY restaurants we visited: Armando al Pantheon & Pier Luigi. You’ll thank me later!) 

***

I’ve intentionally saved my rapturous raving about the actual HouseTrip apartment for the end because I didn’t want to distract you from the rest of the post…

…but here’s the view from MY BED.

Is that a million dollar view or what?

Is that a million dollar view or what?

So while I was swept away by an Italian man on a vintage Vespa, and wined & dined by Context Travel on more than one occasion, it was the pimped out apartment in possibly the world’s best location that sealed the deal.

Our living room

Our living room

My bedroom... oh, and the Colosseum

My bedroom… oh, and the Colosseum

I was speechless when I saw where I’d be sleeping. I am quite convinced I’ve never in my life stayed somewhere with a better view of an iconic destination than I did those nights. AND, the best part is that this magnificent apartment in Rome is affordable (about $450 USD per night), especially if you’re traveling with family or a few friends. 

Kirsten & Angie soaking up the view

Kirsten & Angie soaking up the view

The verdict? Rome is everything you’d want it to be.

Divine food & wine, priceless historic sites – the undeniable feeling of being the star of your own glamorous movie.

If the Trevi Fountain has anything to say about it, I will be back again.

***

Unabashed and long overdue thanks to HouseTrip for the eye-opening, exhilarating stay. All enraptured opinions on Rome, its Vespa-driving men and its ohsofattening cuisine are my own. 

COME AWAY WITH ME!
Get exclusive updates with all the latest news and posts delivered directly to your inbox
  • January 11, 2013

    This brought back great memories. Rome goes down as one of my all time favourite press trips. It was so great to hang out with you and get to know your smiling face. That Vespa tour was such a highlight.

    • January 11, 2013

      It was such a blast AND it’s when I first met you guys – a bonus!

  • January 11, 2013

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Rome. However, I never had views like that and didn’t do the Vespa thing. Like anyone visiting Italy, I did eat well though 🙂

    I look forward to visiting Rome again. It’s been a long time.

    • January 14, 2013

      I’d been once before but only on a day tour from a cruise ship. Basically drove around in a bus all day trying to take it all in. Definitely need more time than that…

  • January 12, 2013

    All the memories this post brings up! Rome is definitely one of the most favorite places I ever visited. And I definitely want to go again …and again…

  • January 12, 2013

    Rome’s one of my favorite European cities. Ahh the food, the sights, and the people. I can’t wait to head back there this summer. The view from your window is incredible.

  • January 12, 2013

    OK, I know I’m in a minority but I wasn’t overly impressed with Rome. I loved Florence so much more.

    • January 14, 2013

      I haven’t been to Florence! Kinda skipped through it for a second on the way from Rome to Bologna. It’s on the list!

  • January 13, 2013

    That was such a fun few days and it was great meeting you. Hope to see you again soon! In the meantime, we’ll always have Rome :).

  • January 17, 2013

    It looks like you had a fab time in Rome! You are always welcome here in Venice and we can pop down to Rome for some more exploring. I’m always looking for an excuse to go back!

Leave a Reply