Our first anniversary in Rome
This blog is bittersweet; If I'm writing this it's because I've been fortunate enough to spend my first anniversary with James in Rome, but it also means that our amazing trip has been and gone. And oh my was it just as I always pictured it and more.
I'd visited Rome on a cruise a few years beforehand but only for 6 hours which really wasn't long enough and since that day I'd longed to go back. When James and I had been together for about 6 months or so I happened to mention my dream of going back one day and he said we should go back to celebrate our first anniversary. I assumed he was kidding so you can imagine the shock on my face on Christmas Day, our first festive season together, when I opened a leather travel notebook that said 'Book a few days off work, I'm taking you to Rome, it's all booked!". Let me tell you there were plenty of happy tears! I set about calling all my family and friends to tell them of the surprise and then the countdown was on...
Now with Rome being Rome, and me being me I wanted to plan every detail of the trip down to the last minute which I soon realised was not how James had envisaged our trip. So, turning over a new leaf I decided to put down my to-do lists and stop excessively scrawling all over my map of the city and go with the flow, after all part of the adventure is getting a little lost along the way.
Not a minute of our first day was wasted. We got off the plane and jumped straight onto the train that took us directly to 'Rome Termini' the main train terminal as recommended by my parents who had been a few years prior. As huge pizza and pasta lovers, we were desperate for a taste of authentic Italian cuisine. After wandering around for a little while we settled on a restaurant called 'Squisito Cook' which had great views of the Colosseum and served traditional Italian favourites. In the best Italian I could muster we ordered Spagetti Pomodoro and a Margarita pizza to share, which were both simple and delicious. From here we wandered around some of the Roman relics that were free to look at whilst making our way to The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument which was also a free museum and war memorial with stunning decor which we had a little look around in.
Next on our list was of course, The Trevi Fountain. I'd briefly visited the fountain before when I had stopped off on the cruise but sadly it had been undergoing maintenance and had no water in and was surrounded by scaffolding and glass. I was thrilled to find it restored to its former glory when we visited!
After a busy first day we headed back to our B&B to have a quick nap, shower and then off to find a place for dinner. We settled on a charming restaurant and Irish Bar, Birerria Marconi which served the most amazing food. I'm still dreaming of my spinach and ricotta ravioli in a mushroom and truffle cream sauce...
The second day in Rome was a special one, our first anniversary together. We were wishing for sunshine and warm weather but sadly we were dealt overcast skies and heavy rain but that didn't damped our spirits! We always knew we wanted to do something special on our anniversary so the Colosseum was first on the list. we walked via The Spanish steps and down Via Del Corso to Piazza Del Popolo where we stopped off for some lunch.
We booked a 1.5 hour guided tour of the Colosseum for the afternoon and paid extra to have a tour of Palatine Hill and The Roman Forum which I highly recommend! After our tours it was home to get cleaned up and then out for dinner. We'd spotted a restaurant that we liked the look of during the day called Angelino Ai Fori which overlooked The Roman Forum so we booked a table and enjoyed a delicious meal and cocktails later that evening. Let me tell you. I had THE most amazing Spagetti Carbonara I've ever had, and we had a pizza each. When in Rome, eh?
Hurrah, sunshine! Our third day was a tiring one. We started off earlier than the day before and walked 1.5 hours to Vatican City, seeing some sights along the way. I could rave on about how much I LOVED Castel Sant'Angelo forever and ever, it's stunning! So much history and the castle is beautiful, an absolute MUST see if you go to Rome. We paid 14 euros each but a friend of mine informed me once we were back in the UK that if you have ID to prove you're age, if you're 25 or under, it's only 2 euros! (If only we knew that..)
After 3 hours wandering around the castle and a break for a coffee and lunch, we visited St Peter's Square and got in the queue for the Basilica. Photographs really don't it justice, this building is enormous! After looking around the Basilica for a while we decided to climb the dome to the top. It costs 10 euros to take the lift most the way and then there are roughly 300 and something stairs to climb, or you can pay 8 euros each to take the stairs to the top. Beware, there are 551 steps and they get narrower and narrower as they ascend, not for the faint hearted!! But my oh my is the view worth it, you can see as far as the eye can see and it's breathtaking!
Taking a very slow and weary walk back to our B&B which was at this point, over and hour and a half walk away, we went via the Pantheon and got an ice cream on the way, our first gelato of the trip, hazelnut & coconut for me and hazelnut and milk chocolate for James. We enjoyed our meal so much the night before, that we went back to Angelino Ai Fori for another meal, and ordered even MORE food!
By the final day, we'd done pretty much everything on my bucket list for Rome so our last day was chance to do any other bits we wanted to do. The weather was 20 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, so we went to the zoo! James and found that there was a zoo based inside Villa Borghese so once we checked out of our room we walked via The Spanish Steps and took a stroll through the stunning gardens there, as recommended to us by a friend. We made the most of the heat and sunbathed for a little while before going off in search of the zoo entrance. This is the place to go to see elephants, penguins and even camels!
After a few hours looking around the zoo we'd walked up an appetite and we both instantly knew where we wanted to go. Back to Birerria Marconi for another amazing plate of pasta and a glass of vino before we headed back to the airport to fly home.
Thank you James for such an amazing trip, where to next...?