Our next stop was Rome! We arrived late at night by Ryanair and landed at Ciampino Airport, which is not their primary airport. Oh god… it was a nightmare in the airport. The arrivals was so small, but that wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that people were sleeping everywhere on the floor (waiting for layovers?) and the fact that people just smoked indoors. We were all pretty disgusted with the smoke just surrounding us. I have to say that the departure side is much better though and I had no problems with that. Anyways, we took a taxi to our hotel called Hotel Romae, which is just minutes away from the Termini station. A nice, comfortable hotel at a reasonable price and they even had Pantone chairs! How stylish. The next day, we were off to see the Colosseum. I’ve been here before, but I felt like I learned so much more this time around. If I remember correctly, we got the full entrance ticket, which gives you access to the Colosseum, the Roman Forums and Palatine. This was around 12 euros. We also paid an additional 9 euros for the Guided Tour, where the tour guide takes you underground and also to the third ring.
The Roman Colosseum was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire and is also the largest in the world! This was where spectators could come watch gladiators fight animals. The guided tour was pretty cool since were were taken underground and could see where the elevators used to be to rise the animals up. This here is the underground structure called the hypogeum. It used to be covered by a wooden floor topped off with sand. Now, you can only see these structures, but you can imagine the tunnels and cages where the animals were kept.
Since we bought the guided tour, we were also given access to the third floor. You get some nice viewpoints here.
We then made our way to the Roman Forum. I think some of us were a bit disappointed with it just because it’s literally just ruins. Just looking at the place with no understanding really doesn’t impress you. We were lucky to have the Rick Steve’s Rome Guide book, and we instantly were much more interested. So basically, this area used to be a plaza and this was the center of the city. It’s where government buildings, marketplaces, temples ans such were located. Here, you will also find the Temple of Caesar, where Julius Caesar is buried. We also headed to Palatine Hill after, which is sort of an extra if you have time. We didn’t find it too intriguing. You’ll basically see what’s believed to be the residence of Augustus’ wife and also the Flavian Palace, which housed the Roman Emperors.
At night, we ventured the streets, wandered into shops and ended up at the Trevi Fountain. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and obviously, it’s well known due to many films being filmed here. The fountain actually is located at the end of the road and is the terminal point for the aqueduct. Well in pop culture, we are often told that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you’ll be coming back to Rome again in your life. I did this just 7 years ago, and here I am. I did it again this trip, so hopefully I’ll be back again! Do keep in mind that there are many pickpockets here, so grab on to your belongings!
Spaghetti alle Vongole
For dinner, we went back near the Termini station to look for dinner. We ended up going to Ristorante Da Giovanni, which was recommend in Rick Steve’s guide book. It’s a family restaurant, but unfortunately, we were not too impressed with the food. I got the Spaghetti alle Vongole, which is very popular in Italy. Basically spaghetti with clams made in the “bianco” way. This means with oil, garlic, parsley and white wine. Maybe, this is the traditional way, but I found it very bland. It wasn’t like “wow this is amazing”, but more like “it’s average.” Prices were definitely very reasonable at around 7 euros a dish though, and service was quite friendly. I guess if you’re just looking for something simple and cheap to get filled up, then it might not be too bad. Otherwise, I would skip this restaurant.