Honeymoon Travels: Rome

Almost a full two months after we left home to go on our honeymoon, I am FINALLY posting about our experience at our fourth and final destination, Rome. Yay, we’re done! ūüėā

We were in Rome for four full days, and we chose to stay at Hotel Abruzzi, which was right across from the Pantheon. And I mean, literally right across – this was our amazing view from the hotel room:

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We could see the Pantheon from our hotel window!

It was quite a convenient location as it was a five-minute walk to¬†Piazza Navona (one of its most famous plazas), and a 10 minute walk to the Trevi Fountain. Considering the location, I think it was actually pretty¬†inexpensive to stay here, and I think it’s because it’s a bit noisy due to the proximity to a major landmark. The nights aren’t too bad if you don’t normally have trouble falling asleep; the noise is pretty muted. However, it was pretty noisy in the mornings, and not because of tourists (the area is quite¬†empty until 10am), but because of garbage trucks picking up garbage at 6am from the square and surrounding restaurants every morning. If you can stand the bit of noise at night, the nightlife in that area was quite enjoyable. One night, we stood out in the square for over an hour listening to a busker who came from Montreal. All he had with him was his guitar and his voice, but his talent¬†and wit drew a huge crowd, and all the little kids¬†were evening¬†dancing to his music nonstop. He even¬†sang the song¬†my husband and I¬†danced to for our first dance at our wedding, which was pretty magical.

In terms of attractions, we were most eager to see what Rome is perhaps most well-known for: the Colosseum. We had wanted to purchase tickets that would also allow us entry to the underground area where the animals were kept and the¬†gladiators prepared for their fights, but they sold out¬†ridiculously quickly online, even though we went to buy them as soon as we were allowed! We¬†didn’t end up¬†signing up for any tours ahead of time, but spontaneously joined one for 15 euros each outside the Colosseum. My husband and I thought the tour was decent – we learned more from the guide than we would have going on our own, but it also could have been more in depth.¬†The Colosseum itself did not disappoint. It was completely awe-inspiring, but¬†in a morbid way – can you imagine living in a society¬†where¬†watching people¬†and animals be slain¬†was considered¬†entertainment?

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The Colosseum from the inside – look how small the people are in comparison to the building!

After the Colosseum, we visted the Roman Forum which is just West of the Colosseum and is accessible with the same¬†ticket. The ruins were interesting, and again we appreciated having a guide give us the backstory to what we were looking at, otherwise we would have been completely lost. It was mid-afternoon at this point, and the heat was pretty unbearable, so unfortunately we didn’t stay at the Roman Forum as long as we would have under normal circumstances. After getting our fill of all these ancient Roman ruins, we headed back towards our hotel, where we made a stop at Piazza Navona and then found a place to eat dinner.

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Roman Forum

Day 2 was dedicated to Vatican City. The area that houses St. Peter’s Basilica¬†and the Vatican museums is actually considered its own city-state, hence the name. We first visited the museums, before visiting St. Peter’s Basilica.

The museum had some interesting artefacts and Roman sculptures, and while I enjoyed seeing the splendid Raphael rooms,¬†I didn’t find it as good in comparison to all of the other museums we had visited on our trip. The end of the Vatican museum tour¬†culminated in a visit to the Sistine Chapel, which was absolutely packed from end to end with tourists.¬†Because it was a religious place, silence and no photography was expected, and there were¬†employees shushing¬†the crowd every 10 seconds every time the¬†noise¬†level started to rise. By this point, we had seen so many rooms with beautiful interiors of gold trim and painted ceilings throughout the trip¬†that¬†my husband¬†did not find the Sistine Chapel or the ceiling painted by Michaelangelo particularly impressive, but neither of us have a religious background so he also couldn’t fully appreciate or understand¬†what he was looking at, either. I was discreetly listening to an audioguide that I had downloaded onto my phone, and I found it interesting how each small section of the room is a scene that has meaning behind it.

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St. Peter’s Basilica

After the Vatican museums, our next stop was St. Peter’s Basilica. The line was enormous, but I would say¬†that we were only in line for¬†half an hour (albeit in the heat with zero shade). We had seen our share of basilicas on this trip, but this one was impressive, both inside and out. I had no idea prior to the trip that St. Peter’s Basilica holds the tombs of many previous Popes, but it was really fascinating to see.

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The Trevi Fountain at night

 

After dinner that¬†evening, we went to visit the Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi Fountain, which was high on my list of things to see – there are so many beautiful fountains across Europe, but this one¬†has¬†always been¬†on my bucket list. It was stunning and very romantic, although the absolutely massive crowds killed the mood a little¬†a lot. There were also guards blowing their whistles to stop visitors from breaking a rule (usually sitting on the sides of the fountain) – those whistles went off at least once every five seconds! I’m not sure if they still allow people to throw coins into the fountain – we didn’t see anyone throwing coins, but we did see a lot of¬†them in the fountain. Due to the crazy crowd, we decided to go back in the morning when there would be few people and we could see the fountain in daylight. When we went back first thing in the morning, there were only a few people there!

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The Trevi Fountain during the day

For the last two days in Rome, we didn’t have any set plans so we took it easy. One day was spent exploring the city by foot – we must have walked 10 km that day! We had heard that¬†the public transit in Rome is quite chaotic, so we decided to walk; by this point in the trip, our bodies were so used to walking long distances that it was¬†nothing for us.¬†Our tour¬†took us to a walk along the Tiber¬†River,¬†the Spanish Steps, the Galleria Borghese, and the Piazza del Popolo. We had seriously contemplated buying tickets for the Borghese Museum, by¬†my husband and I were both a little tired of art museums and just wanted to use that time¬†taking in the sights of the city. In the evening, we went back to the Colosseum so that we could see what it looked like in the evening with uplighting.

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The Spanish Steps

Our last day was partly spent at Castel Sant’Angelo, which¬†had¬†originally been built as as mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, but was also¬†formerly used as a fortress for the popes. We really enjoyed our visit there because it wasn’t very crowded, so we got to take our time looking around. Since it was used as a fortress, it also has some pretty awesome views of the city!

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Castel Sant’Angelo
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The view from Castel Sant’Angelo – a straight view of the Vatican!

Every day we were in Rome, the temperature ranged from 31-35 degrees Celsius, and honestly, a lot of our day was spent trying to find shade.¬†Most of the time we just went back to the hotel in the afternoon to rest and¬†enjoy the A/C in our room, which maybe could be seen as a bit of a waste of time, but I think it kept our crankiness levels down.¬†While I enjoyed Rome, was happy to be able to check off a few sights I’ve always wanted to see,¬†and thought it was really cool how the city was built around all the ancient ruins, it was probably my least favourite out of the four cities we visited. I felt like we could have done with one less day¬†in Rome¬†and spent it in any of the other cities we went to.

Overall, we really loved our location choices for the honeymoon. As we dashed from attraction to attraction and city to city trying to get all of our sightseeing in, we briefly thought that it would have been nice to go on a relaxing honeymoon to a place like Mexico or Hawaii, but we think that Europe was ultimately the better choice for us as a couple, because we enjoy exploring and sightseeing more than we do sitting on the beach.

That concludes my honeymoon blog posts (finally). Have you been to Rome, and if so, what did you think of it?

9 thoughts on “Honeymoon Travels: Rome

  1. Rome looks amazing!! It’s definitely on my bucket list, actually all of Italy is. My husband and I want to do Italy for our tenth anniversary one day =D

    The coliseum is so awe inspiring! I’ve seen so many movies of ancient rome with it but it’s got to be incredible standing there yourself, even if it’s purpose was rather morbid.

    I’ve never heard of the Trevi Fountain but it also looks so beautiful! The crowd sounds like it was crazy though so it’s nice you guys could see it when it was less busy!

    30 degrees is waaaay to hot for me!! I don’t blame you guys at all for wanting to hang out at the hotel with AC.

    I hope you guys had an amazing honeymoon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yesss, an Italian trip for your 10th anniversary would be SO romantic!

      The Colosseum IS very awe inspiring – so much history and meaning behind that place. I’ve actually never seen Gladiator, lol, but I probably should!

      The Trevi Fountain was made famous (I think) by a lot of Hollywood movies! You’re supposed to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder to signify that you will be able to return to Rome.

      It was really an amazing time, thanks Cleia!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think so too! I’ve always wanted to see Venice.
        Gladiator is such a great movie! I’ve seen it at least three times, you should definitely watch it at some point!
        Interesting! I’ll need to remember that If I ever go =D

        Like

  2. Loved reading about your trip! I’ve always wanted to go to Europe but it’s not in the cards. I love sightseeing! The Roman history is crazy and it would be so cool to see all these famous landmarks in person! I’m glad that your trip was so enjoyable and that you got to cross some things off your bucket list!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha, I thought about posting my Alberta vacation on the blog but I won’t get my act together for the next little while – it will likely be 2 months before I post about it too. ūüėõ
    I haven’t been to Rome but I definitely want to – despite it being super touristy. I mean, once in my life, right?
    How amazing your hotel right across from the Pantheon! That and the Colosseum are my must see historic sites. It must have been so incredible to see all these sites in person after seeing so my photos of them.
    Yikes about the weather though… we’d definitely go during cooler weather. We can’t handle the heat! I’m so glad your honeymoon turned out to be exactly what you wanted. The all inclusive vacations will always be an option when you get super busy and just want to zone out – but this trip is definitely more memorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We did Rome on our Europe trip a few years back too and it was my least favourite, I think mostly because of the crowds. The Trevi fountain was ridiculous, I don’t even think we have a pic without a million people in it. Definitely cool to see all the history there but I’m not sure I’d go back.

    I felt the same way about the Colosseum – interesting yet sooo morbid. And it was soooo hot when we were there too – I just about died in the Roman Forum!

    Great trip report! You’re making me want to go back to Europe (sans Rome)! ūüôā

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, my thoughts exactly on Rome! Maybe the heat/crowds would have been better during off-season…I don’t know. I wasn’t expecting the Trevi fountain to be THAT busy, sheesh! I would happily revisit all of the other cities we went to on our honeymoon, but I think once was enough for me in terms of Rome.

      Liked by 1 person

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