So, I finally went to Rome. It only took 4 months.
Getting to Rome from Bologna is, unfortunately, not cheap. The absolute cheapest tickets you can buy for Rome are the ICs which are 36 euros and take at least 4 hours to get there. Awesome. Less awesome part is also that the ICs get booked really quick, and you can get "non guaranteed seating" tickets which basically say you hve to chill in the aisles on a fold out chair and get up every time someone comes through. Not okay for a 4hour train ride. Of course, that meant paying for a frecciarossa--a cool 58 euros. one way. AWESOME. well. at least it was 2 hours and super comfortable (and we just got food stipend and reimbursement money so i did not mind too much paying for the expensive train).
So we got to Rome at 11:30, and we went to our hostel to check in and leave our bags and then headed off to Ancient Rome (colloseum, roman forum, palatina, et cetera). if you like ruins (hi, hi) rome is the perfect place for you. you walk down the street and its like "sweet---roman walls.....sweet, roman temple
ruins". You need to constantly have your camera in your pocket within easy reach in Rome because there is always something beautiful that needs to be photographed.
Finally, we came upon the Colosseum. The size of it is incredible. And when you are inside of it (after spending time waiting in line...and not getting a discount because you arent a part of the EU--however it includes the entire Palatine and Roman Forum), there is a calmness about it, despite the fact that 10,000 asian tourists are around you clamoring for the same photo you just took. once you get a spot on the railing, and look at where the stage used to be, with all the underground tunnels exposed you just get lost in it and just stare and imagine. it's amazing. we were there kind of a while just staring and photographing.
After that we went to the Roman Forum and the Palatine, which was included in our entrance fee into the Colosseum. What was difficult here was the fact that NOTHING was marked. there were confusing signs, but I'm still confused as to what part was the Palatine and what part was the Forum. You need
at least an audio guide to go through this or you will get nothing out of it, unfortuantely. but it was beautiful and amazing to see that after 2000 something years it was still here. it was broken and in pieces, but still, some of it was still here. i doubt anything we make now has that kind of lasting power (i feel like the constant repairs on everything is proof of that).
we then headed towards the Trevi Fountain area, which--despite the epically obnoxious number of tourists, had previously been my favorite thing to see in Rome. on the way, i saw posters and calenders depicting scenes from Roman Holiday (with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn)--umm, obviously i needed to buy one. haha. when we got to Trevi it was crazy as ever, but we got to the bottom and it was just as beautiful as i remember. like the Colosseum, the people just melt away and you just stare at the marvelous creation in front of you---taking time out to throw coins into the fountain and making a wish.
We then went to a famous gelato place in Rome, and while it was good, it was
not nearly as good as the ones in bologna, which are far less famous and (more importantly) cheaper!
We then headed over to the Spanish Steps because there was a restaurant in the guide book that was advertised. Well, the restaurant of "medium price' meant the cheapest thing I could order was 15 euros. umm fail. but we saw the Spanish steps which was cool. and walked around so much that even in my sneakers, i got blisters 😞 not the best idea
the next day was the vatican. we took the metro across the city to the vatican, where we were already met with GIANT lines. we made the executive decision to actually pay for a tour since, like everything else in rome, even inside the vatican there are no signs so you wont understand anything you see. awesome. so we ended up paying for a tour (and bypassing the 3 hour long line...wooo!!) which ended up being really cool because we paused to look at a lot of the awesome artwork and learn cool facts about them that we other wise would not have known. also, it was a super busy (given that it was a
saturday in april) and everyone was pushing through with the sole goal in mind of seeing the Sistine chapel, so it was nice to have someone be like "stop here" so we weren't swept up with the crazy crowd.
Before we went into the Sistine Chapel (because you cant speak in there), we got a play-by-play over the ENTIRE history of the chapel and Michelangelo's entire work and all the secrets, which was really interesting. i forgot how interesting tours are when i dont have to spend so much energy translating them in my head. so learning about everything was super cool.
my favorite part of the tour was, as usual, the sistine chapel, which i dont have photos of because you arent allowed to take photos. and although other obnoxious tourists were ignoring that and doing it, i felt it was disrespectful, so sadly, no photos of the Sistine chapel. it is, however, amazing and worth seeing. i wish it was less crowded, because i could have just sat and stared at it for hours. it is so amazing. it is a masterpiece and deserves to be just as famous as it is.
after the chapel it was Saint Peter's Basilica, which is gigantic. it is so guilded that it is overhwhelming and no matter where you look there is something to see that is gilded and golded and massive. my favorite part is La Pieta, the statue of Mary holding a dead Jesus by Michelangelo where it is so detailed you can see the veins in the feet (i believe it was from a single piece of marble). sadly, it is behind bulletproof glass because in the 1970s a crazy man who decided he was jesus started hacking away at the statue, claiming that mary was not his mother. this is my favorite piece of the basilica, the rest of which is extremely overwhelming.
saint peter's is MASSIVE. its hard to imagine its size without being in it. The ceilings are gigantic and everything that fills it is massive--the alter, the paintings, the statues...its very overwhelming and not necessarily my favorite, but its amazing to see. the outside of saint peter's is AMAZING. and absolutely beautiful, especially when its sunny (which it was).
we walked back towards the center of rome, having a fantastic lunch and dessert before seeing Piazza Navona, which was completely filled with different types of artists, which was really cool. then we saw the pantheon, which was really awesome (sorry im lacking adjectives). from the outside, the pantheon is MASSIVE, however it seems far smaller on the inside, but it was super cool and a very different design than most other churches (probably because didnt used to be a church and the catholic church comandeered it).
the next day we walked around the historic center of rome, which is basically residential and would probably be a very nice place to live. we saw piazza communale, which is gigantic and very interesting before we had to leave on our train to go back to bologna (i had a test to study for, ack). very good trip--rome is awesome and should definitely be visited, though no one needs me to tell them that
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