What a wonderful start to our month in Italy. Here are the highlights:
Where we stayed: Sotto La Cupola. The location was perfect for us and the ammenities were great for the price. There is a kitchen stocked with drinks, cappucino/caffe americano, and breakfast treats, the owner is wonderfully accomodating, and it was conveniently located to great restaurants, the laundromat, and just a few blocks from the Vatican.
How we got around: Through Viator, we hired a private car for $65 to pick us up at the airport and bring us right to their doorstep when we first arived. This was the best decision because we were tired, did not know how to navigate out of the airport, and we did not yet have an idea of where we were. After we checked in to our hotel (which was more like a bed/breakfast), we visited a local tabaccheria (there is one on every street corner) and ordered a 7 day metro card (called a CIS) for 24 euro each and took the metro everywhere.
The best deal: Definitely the free walking tour of the city (it was a 5 euro booking fee). Claudia, our tourguide, was a wealth of information. We are so glad that we took the tour on our first full day there as we learned so much. One of Claudia’s most helpful tips was that when looking for a resaturant, be sure to find one that has ‘trattoria’ in its name. This means that it is a family restaurant that has been around for generations. They have the best food and the best prices. She was right!
Sites that you can’t leave Rome without seeing:
After the free walking tour, I booked the guided tour of the Borghese Museum. We took the Guided tour of the Borghese Museum. The only regret that I have is that I did not book the morning tour instead of the 3pm tour. There is much to see on the grounds of the Villa Borghese as it is a park that includes a museum, as well as many monuments, statues, and beautiful gardens. If I could do it all over again, I would have packed a picnic lunch, enjoyed the 10am tour, then toured the grounds and enjoyed our picnic in one of the scenic gazebos.
I could have easily spent a whole day walking around the grounds. And as with anywhere in Rome, the architecture, sculptures, and paintings astounded me. I could not get enough of the artwork! Experiencing the amazing works of art renewed my creative spirit.
We then spent a day touring St. Peter’s Bassilica and Vatican Square. Well worth the money to have a tour guide tell us what we were looking at! Again, the artwork, sculptures and architecture left me breathless!
In the evenings, after a long day of riding the metro and walking from site to site, we would enjoy lounging in the Vatican Square by the fountains and meandering over the bridges of the Tiber River before grabbing a meal at a trattoria and heading back to our room to sit on the balcony to enjoy some cappucino. When in Rome, do as the Romans do- enjoy the moments!