For mine and my boyfriends first trip together, we decided on Rome. We have both always loved Italian food and we really wanted to tick it of our list! This was his first holiday in almost 10 years, he was like a kid on Christmas by the time we flew!
We booked the whole trip through Expedia (flights, hotel & transfers). As it was our first holiday together, we really didn’t want anything to go wrong, so we figured this would be the easiest way. Overall it cost us around £300.00 each, we booked it for November, which really helped keep the cost down.
We flew with Ryan Air, which was cheap & cheerful. We stayed at Albergo Cesari Hotel, which I would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to see Rome! The hotel is in walking distance from the Pantheon (literally 1 minute) and within easy walking distance of the Piazza Novona, the Trevi Fountain & the Spanish Steps.
Rome has quite a small city centre and if you’re willing to walk, you can pretty much get to any of the main attractions on foot. This hotels location is great for restaurants & bars as well. There is a street full of different places to eat, only a minute’s walk away. The hotel itself was in the middle of being renovated when we stayed, a couple of the floors had been modernised, but we stayed in the older part. Although it wasn’t my taste, it fitted our Rome holiday perfectly!
My favourite part of the hotel, was the rooftop garden & bar. This is where we ate our breakfast every morning (breakfast was included). The view was so beautiful, the featured image for this post, was one of the amazing views from the rooftop. The breakfast buffet was amazing too, all the usual continental foods but it had lots of different options. As you can tell, I definitely did not worry about my calorie intake for this holiday!
I’m not going to bore you, by talking about all the usual things; pizza, the Colosseum, the galleries, the shops & pastries (although, all those things were amazing!) What I really want to share, are the things which we found/discovered, which most people would over look if they hadn’t heard about them before! So, I hope you enjoy and if you are planning a trip to Rome, then I hope you go to see some of the below places, there definitely worth it!
1- Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini – Catacombs
Ok so if your of a nervous disposition or don’t like things with a bit of macabe theme, then this isn’t for you. But if those types things don’t bother you, then keep reading! You will love this. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, please do a quick google search now! As a matter of respect, you aren’t allowed to take pictures whilst walking through the ‘tombs’.
This church, is the home of an active monastery, it also holds some of the most amazing artworks and collectables which have been donated to the monastery from the Vatican. The church stands above the catacombs. All of the Cappuccini monks give their bodies to the church, after they die, they are buried in the grounds of the church in shallow graves. Once the decomposition has completed, the bones are then used to decorate the ‘tombs’ beneath the church. The patterns & artwork, which are created with their bones, is both beautiful & disturbing.
2- Monumento a Vittorio Emanuela II – Glass Elevator
This monument sits at the end of the road which leads to the Colosseum and next to the Largest museum in Rome, Musei Capitolini. On one of our last days we discovered that there is a glass elevator on the back of the monument and you can go onto the roof.
This is one of the larger building’s in Rome and the views from the top are amazing! We travelled to Rome in November, but we were blessed with some really warm and sunny days. It’s a moment I will always remember. FYI – This monument sits in front of one of the busiest intersections/roundabouts in Rome, it takes a while to get used to the road rules, so be careful here!
3- Musei Capitolini – The Forum Balcony.
I would recommend a trip to this museum for anyone going to Rome. It holds some of the most iconic pieces of art and sculpture in the whole of Italy. One of the reasons I would say it’s essential you spend a few hours here, is because of the balcony at the back of the museum, which overlooks the whole of the Roman Forum (Temple of Caesar, Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta etc.) This is definitely the best way to view the forum, especially if you go around sunrise or sunset.
4- Santa Maria della Vittoria – Saint Victoria’s body
As you can imagine, there are quite a lot of churches around Rome. This is by far one of the most beautiful! When my boyfriend and I walked into this church we were both shocked by the amazing fresco’s on the walls and ceiling. This church is beyond beautiful and really shows the amazing craftsmanship that goes into creating places like this. The church itself is quite small, which I think adds to the amount of detail it contains.
The reason we went to this church in the first place was to see Saint Victoria. Victoria was killed because of her religious beliefs, before she became a saint. Her body was preserved and covered in wax. This is still on display, in a case, inside the church. It was surreal seeing the body of a real saint (you can still see her hands, teeth and bits of her skin). It really made the connection in my mind between the stories we are told when we are little about Saint George / Christoper etc, and the real people who the legends come from.
5- Largo di Torre Argentina – Cat Charity / Sanctuary
Finally, if you are a bit of a crazy cat lady like me, you will love this place! We walked down a random street and came across a square. It holds the ruins, of some of the original buildings of Rome. This square and its ruins, are recorded as being the actual place that Julius Caesar was famously murdered.
After 5 minutes of looking round, I started to notice a few cats, then a few more.. Without even realising we had walked into an outdoor cat sanctuary! The cats are encouraged to live in the square and are looked after by a charity. They put out food for the cats and allow them to take shelter in the ruins of the buildings, that were once there. Although this isn’t something most people would go out there way to see, this was one of places that we stumbled across, which we ill never forget. I hope you get to make memories like these one day too!