Earlier in the year my dad asked if I wished to accompany him to Rome as he was taking part in a 3 day orienteering event around the city. The event happened to be taking place on my birthday weekend so I happily accepted the kind offer.
Although my birthday didn’t match up to what I had in my mind (Ideally I’d like to not freeze my ass off and wait in field whilst my dad runs) it was an amazing opportunity to get to see Rome’s architecture, eat great food and spend some time with my parents.
Italy’s capital Rome is a city littered with incredible architecture, influential art, seasonal fresh food and is of course home to the Pope.
Weather wise, in October the climate is similar to UK, maybe a few degrees warmer with some sunny spells but basically too cold for moi.
Romans, and Italians in general, are loud and expressive; they practically shout on the phone whilst waving their hands in all directions. Most speak very good English, are friendly and more than happy to help you should you ask. Be aware of pick pockets on the train, especially at the weekends; my mum almost got her purse stolen.
Rome-ing the City
Seeing the Colosseum was something I had on my bucket list. Despite much of it being missing, damaged or eroded by time it is still highly impressive. The Colosseum is vast and was designed to seat 60,000 roaring spectators who flocked to watch men fight all manner of beasts.
I wanted to go right to the top but after going round and round in circles trying to locate stairs that were not under construction and went higher than level 2, I gave up.
Even in late October the Trevi draws hundreds of tourists. You have to scramble your way to the front of the crowd to get a decent view and picture. Once you manage to get close the detail on the stone sculptures is incredible from facial features and individual hairs to fancy edgings.
I couldn’t resist throwing a cent into the fountain but the being the ninny I am, I forgot to make a wish as I threw it.
Like many of the ancient buildings in Rome the Pantheon was partly under construction, which isn’t surprising considering it was built in 127 AD (the original pantheon was build in 27 BC but burnt down). The Pantheon is actually the best preserved building in Rome, due to largely to the fact it was turned into a church.
From the outside, although impressive in height, the building doesn’t look like much. However, once you venture inside it reveals its beauty.
It is hard to image how many people and painstaking hours it took to create such a breath taking building. Everywhere my eye wandered I saw new details and there was a definite atmosphere of opulence.
Much like pizzas, piazzas can be found throughout the city, many of which feature a fountain, statue or monumental pillar.
Trajan’s Column (pictured below), or Penisio Grande as my mum referred to it, was built in triumph of the Dacian wars and features soldiers and horses courageously charging into battle.
Piazza Navona was already being prepped for its annual Christmas market which already looked far better than Winchester’s.
Wining & Dining
Being dairy and gluten free in a city famed for pasta and pizza had me worried. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about as Rome has plenty of fresh food to satisfy your taste buds, from sushi to steak and big salads to gluten free pizzas.
The first night we ate locally in Tiburtina. Second restaurant in and we had a winner: Yasashi Sa. A Japanese eatery where you order by noting down the code of the menu item you want. I opted for steamed Edamame beans, grilled courgette and salmon sashimi. We shared a bottle of red and lot of laughs before tucking into a fresh pineapple. Our waiter was so sweet, they had run out of pineapple so he went and bought one from the store so we could have dessert.
On the Sunday (29th October) a.k.a my birthday we caught the metro to Termini and decided to eat at Trattoria Cecio; a cosy little restaurant that only has 10 tables, therefore it’s best to book in advance or you may face a wait like we did. It was worth it though, the staff were very friendly and the food was fresh and delicious.
For my starters I had marinated salmon. I was worried it would have dairy but the staff were more than happy to explain menu items and assured me it was simply drizzled in olive oil, lemon and orange juice.
For mains I planned on having a seafood platter but I had been feeling faint due to forgetting to take my iron supplements, so instead I opted for a steak fillet and a big tropical salad bowl.
My mum and I were highly impressed with Italian wine. For $1 you can get a litre carton and for a $1 more you can get a pretty damn good quality bottle of wine. Moreover, in restaurants we were able to share a bottle for $8 where as in England you’re lucky to get a glass for that price.
Sadly I did not find myself an Italian stallion, in fact I am 100% certain that everyone assumes I am no older than 15.
Despite my best efforts, (make up, heels and a ‘23 today’ badge, in a change to my usual bare face and trainers) the only looks I got were from confused faces on the metro. How can that baby face be 23??? I don’t know either, I certainly don’t feel very adult, but age is just a number, right?
Fingers crossed I make good ‘adult’ progress this year. To be honest i’d be happy to manage to go a month without poisoning or electrocuting myself or almost burning the house down.
Let me know about your travels. Have you been to Rome or do you prefer a different city for a weekend break?