To conclude the European part of our trip, we wanted a strong finish by spending a week in Rome. It’s nestled in a pretty apartment found on Airbnb, very well located in the San Lorenzo district, that we have established our home. Rome is a beautiful city and we once again took the opportunity to explore it thoroughly. There is so much to see in Rome that even a week was not enough for us to see everything we wanted to see, we had to keep several attractions for another trip.
The Colosseum and the Roman Forum
It would have been impossible to visit Rome without visiting the Colosseum. Apparently we weren’t the only ones to think so… With a little patience we actually got in earlier than we thought, a nice benefit of visiting off-season 🙂 The Colosseum is spectacular from the outside and from the inside and it’s above all a remarkable architectural work. It is still amazing to stand there, where almost 2,000 years ago, some 70,000 spectators were crowded to watch the games and have fun. The visit of the Colosseum tells a part of the cultural and sports life at the time, primarily battles of gladiators and animals fighting. Sacrifices of criminal condemned to death and christians were used as intermission. Although we are not architects, we were very impressed by the structure and the inventive ways that the employees of the Colosseum used it to run the shows, using underground tunnels under the stage or some systems of elevators to bring animals or decor on stage.
The visit of the Roman Forum was also included in the Colosseum ticket and we had the opportunity to visit… more ruins! Although we have seen a lot of ruins since the beginning of our trip, it is always amazing to walk in these places and contemplate the remains of what used to be the heart of Rome. We have notably seen grandiose Arches, the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Sanctuary of Vesta. Once again, we have been impressed by the place and our ability to project what it must have looked like at the time.
The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica
There are many, many visitors at the Vatican and the queues are long. To preserve our good mood, we decided to visit ONE church. St Peter’s Basilica seemed interesting since it is recognized as the most important place of worship of Catholicism. It is the Church of the Pope and his entourage. This church is also where the tomb of St Peter, Apostle of Jesus and at the origin of papacy can be seen. If we saw a lot of magnificent churches in Europe, this one was by far the most majestic. The main dome was designed and produced in part by Michelangelo and it complements all the other work of art displayed in that Church. Another contribution of Michelangelo can be observed there, the Pieta, the famous sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding the body of her son on her lap. We spent several hours contemplating this majestic place. We also spent some time on St. Peter’s square, the place where the Pope generally hold religious celebrations. The place is surrounded by a colonnade on which stands a balustrade and 140 two meters high statues. Once again it was wonderful!
Italian cooking class
To break the routine a little of our intense visiting days, we decided to take a cooking class and learn a thing or two while enjoying a nice meal. There are a lot of options in Rome. After some time searching online, several classes really didn’t look that interesting and those that interested us were already full. We must admit that we were rather selective, a little tired of being treated like tourists in restaurants and museums, we wanted to have a more authentic experience. We discovered an interesting website, www.withlocals.com, a site very similar to Airbnb site that offers unique experiences provided by local people. This site offers various activities, such as private tours, wine tastings, private dinners and cooking classes. We thought it would be exciting to try a course/dinner specialized in fresh pasta made entirely by hand (no machine). Honestly, we were a little anxious to go to a stranger for this activity, but we greatly enjoyed our experience. Our host, Roberto, was very friendly and the apartment was nice. It was very cool to learn directly from our host how to make pasta and very interesting to have dinner and discuss with someone who was as interested in our life and our adventure and to share his experiences in Rome and his culinary expertise. The boys also had great fun, not only because they had the chance to put their hands in the dough, but because it was nice for them to be received in someone’s house. We decided to try this again later in our trip.
Rome is truly a city-museum, and it would be literally possible to enjoy a stay in this city by walking without getting into a single building, amazing art is literally everywhere. We first took a walk in the Historic District. We were able to observe the Campo Dei Fiori, Piazza Navona, be amazed at the magnificent Panthenon, the Trevi fountain and the famous Spanish Steps. We also spent some time in the Old Jewish Ghetto and in the Traversere district, which are on each side of the Tiber River. It was nice to walk in these areas that are a little more recent than the History District and gives an idea of the neighbourhood life in Rome from a few years ago. Finally, we also spent time in the Borghese Park to get our weekly fix of greenery. This park is beautiful and we were a bit disappointed not to have had the chance to explore it entirely. We were charmed by the beauty of the place which integrated Roman ruins to the gardens. A true oasis of peace that was much appreciated.
We really enjoyed our stay in Rome and managed to leave us many reasons to visit this beautiful city again :). However, it’s with a heavy heart that we leave this beautiful city. Although we are extremely excited for the continuation of our trip in India, the last days have been a mix of melancholy for the end of the European part of our journey that we all enjoyed so much, but also with gratitude for our lucky star that is allowing us to live this adventure that so few people have the privilege to undertake. With that, we say Arrivederci!