Found some time this weekend to put together the final segment of my Rome travel diary. Enjoy!
We woke up the next day to some glorious sunshine. After the last few days of rain, rain, and a little more rain – we were ready to cover some real ground!
How blue is this sky?!
We hopped on the train and headed into town.
First stop, Er Baretto cafe for breakfast.
The menu boasted proper hot chocolate, and so I just had to sample.
It was quite good, although, sadly, not dark enough for me. I couldn’t help but compare to a hot chocolate I’d sampled in Venice which really blew my socks off a few years back, to which, this didn’t really compare.
Mr Man’s latte and double chocolate muffin – both of which he really enjoyed.
After that, we just walked. A lot, exploring the maze of narrow streets of Monti, filled with cute pastel buildings with wooden window shutters.
^ colosseum peaking out at the end of this road!
I adore how cute these streets are!
^ we passed these stairs on our first day too.
^ pink house!
We stopped at a random little place, Pizzeria Leonina, for a round of brunch before walking onwards:
Because pizza is totally an acceptable brunch in Rome.
Delicious, although, the tomato sauce was nowhere near as good as at I Suppli (covered in my last post).
^ Is this bright yellow car, not the cutest thing, EVER!??
^Bet this looks amazing in the summer!
^Probably the nicest bit of graffiti we saw in Rome, pretty sure it’s a stencil job too…
Before long it was time to head to the Colosseum, where we had our tickets and underground tour prebooked. Definitely recommend doing this in advance.
En route we passed Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Cobbled stones outside…
In all it’s glory:
Bit cheesy, but seeing the colosseum in real life was definitely a dream come true for me.
We’d pre-booked our official tour online as opposed to the ones that a million random people offered us when we were outside, and I can’t recommend it enough. Hearing all about the history and being able to ask questions really helped bring the experience to life, not to mention the ability to visit the underground / third tier which aren’t accessible with the standard tickets.
^ Loads of restoration works happening throughout.
^ reconstructed lifts which used to lift animals into the arena.
^ reconstructed seating area. There was quite a smooth process to get the 40,000 – 70,000 spectators into their seats with dedicated steps, tunnels and passageways which were accessed in an orderly fashion from the 80 entrance arches. Tickets would indicate not only which of the numbered entrances to use but also where to sit. Tickets were free but people were seated by their social rank and gender – senators (marble seats) through to lower class women (wooden seats).
^ look at these arches, made by wedging together stones, that even after all these years have remained in tact.
^ running water! Did you know that from time to time, they’d fill the arena with water, and have games / battles on boats?! How mental is that! Check out the video below for the then and now:
Reconstructed lift from downstairs. If you want to see it in action click here.
Looking down from the third ring:
Can’t tell you how grateful I was that it was a beautiful day too!
And the other side, a view of Palatine Hill:
At the end of the tour we explored a little further:
^ there were random fallen pillars everywhere. Makes you really want to see it in its former glory! Also, those holes you see in the brickwork are where the previous white stone covering (travertine) was hoisted…
Next stop, lunch. We walked a few blocks away, in order to avoid over priced tourist traps and ended up at a little place called La Follia.
Lovely selection of pizzas:
With the crustiest of bases, personally I prefer the Naples style pizzas:
We headed back for an afternoon exploring Palatine Hill / Roman Forum.
^ Some random wall en route. I love taking close up pictures of walls and floors. Is that weird?
After the amazing morning learning about the colosseum, in hindsight, it would have been good to have booked a tour of palatine hill too. It was still interesting to explore, but the lack of signs and descriptions of the ruins means that it was difficult to appreciate what we were looking at.
^ Oval pool, which is likely to have been used to farm fish.
Secret steps. It’s a shame that so much of it is off limits.
^ Cisterns for the storage of water.
The holes in the walls reminded me of the colosseum. I think they were probably also covered in nicer stone.
There’s also a little museum which is worth checking out.
^ samples of the various types of decorative stones used.
^ My obsession with taking pics of stairs again.
^ Great view of the colosseum again!
In need of a break, after a long day, we headed back to the flat for a quick pit stop, where we were lucky enough to catch the sun setting from our roof terrace.
^ playing around with my new fish eye extension thing for my lens. I really don’t know how to use this thing, ha! Someone teach me!
We headed out not long after, in search of some dinner. We stumbled upon this cute little place (trattoria papa re) and headed in:
Lovely homely feel to the place and the waitresses were helpful and attentive.
We got a starter to share – bruschetta bianca.
This may just look like a simple slice of bread, but I assure you it’s not worth turning your nose up at. Crusty bread, with a hint of garlic, drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of pepper. It was so good we ended up ordering a second plate!
I went for the Roman classic – cacio e pepe. Perfectly al dente pasta with a rich cheese sauce. So good.
Mr Man went for the arrabbiata, again, perfectly done although, it could have done with a little moe spice. I’m a bit of a wimp and even I was left longing for a little more heat.
We shared a side of verdura ripassata – chicory cooked and tossed in garlic and chilli. Mr Man decided it wasn’t really for him, so I did my best to polish off the lot.
After dinner, it was time for a walk, we strolled through the little street market in Trastevere. Such a nice, lively part of town in the evening with the lack of rain.
Mr Man got stopped somewhere down here and was offered some weed. He must have dodgy written all over his face or something. Maybe it’s just his ‘fro.
Because obviously, when in Rome, one can never see the Colosseum enough times, we went to go check it out by nightfall. And what a beautiful sight it was. I don’t know anything about night photography so forgive me for not doing it justice.
We walked, and walked and walked some more. Next stop the famous Giolitti for some gelato.
Mr Man went for pistachio and hazelnut once again. topped with whipped cream.
I went for hazelnut, caramelised figs and cinnamon. Again, topped with whipped cream. DREAMY.
Finally, we went over to check out St Peter’s Basilica from Ponte Sisto bridge. So beautiful. And so peaceful in the evening.
The palace of justice, across the other side of the bridge.
And with that, we headed on back to the flat to pack / sleep.
The next morning we dropped off our bags at Termini station and headed out to enjoy our morning. First, breakfast. I forgot to note down the cafe we ended up at. I really enjoyed my coffee with cream but everything else served was largely mediocre and overpriced.
We did what we do best and walked.
Eventually, we reached our destination, Campo de’ Fiori market. There was definitely some price collusion going on, and not much room to haggle. So watch out!
Pretty cones of spices. Love the colours.
Pasta in all kinda of shapes, sizes and colours.
^ Honey and oils. Many of these were also available in a miniature size, perfect for budget airline restrictions!
Before long it was time to head back.
^ Alter of the fatherland.
We grabbed some food to go, Mr Man opted for a meat and mushroom pizza sandwich and I went for a simple cheese and tomato sandwich. Delish!
And with that, we grabbed our luggage and headed to the airport… Back to reality!
Here’s a few pics of my purchases, all obviously, food related!
We also grabbed these hazelnut meringue biscuits. They don’t look like much but seriously, these were so so good, if you buy one thing let it be these from Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti.
Have a great week,