Thursday, 23 July 2015

A City Break in Rome

Last month, we went on a long weekend to Rome. I'd previously been on a day trip there, whilst on holiday in Italy when I finished university, so was excited to spend a few more days in the city. The flight from London takes around two and a half hours. You can get to the city centre with real ease via a 30 minute train. Our hotel, Hotel Morgana, was a two minute walk from the terminal which proved really useful! Once we'd checked in, thrown our bags down, and I'd bagsy-ed my side of the bed, we wandered out armed with a map and tried to find our bearings.

One of the first things I noticed was Rome is amazing for shopping - Sephora and Moschino particularly caught my eye! We strolled past and quickly learnt that unfortunately repair work was underway on the Trevi fountain, meaning it had been emptied and wasn't really looking it's best. Eventually we stopped off for dinner and a bottle of wine, which quickly turned into two.
Day 2 was all about the Colosseum. We could get there by foot in just under half an hour from our hotel. A couple of pieces of advice regarding this - get there early and, believe it or not, being disorganised pays off.
Let me elaborate: when we arrived there was a hideously long queue in the scorching heat outside which we reluctantly joined, only to find out that this was actually the line for people who had booked online and were collecting their tickets. The queue for visitors buying tickets on the day was not only much shorter but also inside and therefore somewhat cooler! Entrance is 12 euros, except on the first Sunday of each month, when it's free. Your ticket is valid for 2 days and also grants you access to Palantine Hill & The Roman Forum (more on that in a minute.)
Visiting The Colosseum is a great experience, even from the outside - it's already so much bigger than you'd expect. Once you're inside and get an idea of how many people would have sat in it (in the region of 50,000!) and really consider how old yet how well preserved the building is, it's so impressive. There's masses of tours available with guides or audio guides but the Colosseum has artefacts and information boards throughout too.
Back to Palantine Hill & The Roman Forum! Right next to the Colosseum, and as I mentioned your ticket enables you to explore this too. By the time we got to walking round these ruins, my feet were hurting - take comfy footwear! You could easily spend 3 hours taking it all in but we just looked at the ruins from the hill rather than walking through them too. There's a temple, beautiful gardens, an aquaduct, fantastic panoramic views of the city and again, you can pay for a tour or audio guide.
Once we were done, we walked or in my case, hobbled back to the hotel after 5 hours walking during the hottest part of the day we were ready for a lie down. Once refreshed we went to a restaurant that caught our eye the night before for round 2 of pasta and wine.
I'm more of a literature than art kind of girl. That being said, one of my favourite artists is David Lachappelle. So I was over the moon to discover he had an exhibition on in Rome and after dinner we popped in.

For those not in the know, he's a photographer and film/music video director. Videos he worked on include Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry on Their Own & Christina Aguilera & Lil Kim - Can't Hold Us Down, Gwen Stefani & Eve - Rich Girl, Britney Spears - Everytime & Blink 182 - Feeling This, No Doubt - It's My Life.
His photography is hyper-realism , usually features use of bright colour, controversial social messages and more often than not, household names including my all time favourite, Courtney Love. I picked up one of his photos of her for my scrapbook.
Our final day began with a large helping of gelato. The chocolate was incredible - so rich and almost like chocolate mousse in flavour. From there, we visited the Capuchin crypt which has a fascinating display of human bones but no photography is allowed there.
We decided we wanted to do one of the jump on/off bus tours but stopped for a drink, at which point the heavens opened and we had to stay for another 2! However it eventually cleared and we did a full circuit of the bus stops. It's 20 euros for 24 hours and you can get on and off as many times as you like which is really handy and you get ear buds so can listen to the audio guide if you choose.
One last dinner of pizza and wine accompanied by a pretty pastel sky! After dinner we went back to the restaurant where we'd had drinks whilst it was raining before heading back to the hotel.
I was sad to have breakfast for the last time and definitely still miss the nutella filled croissants! I really enjoyed my time in Rome and can't wait to explore of Italy sometime soon.

Have you been to Rome, what did you get up to? Let me know below
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