Rome was certainly an adventure.
We landed at approx. 11:30pm and had to run (with our giant backpacks on) through the airport to make it to the car rental place before they closed at midnight. I think we made it with like 3 minutes to spare? Anyways the lady barely spoke english but we managed to get our car (which was a convertible ) with only 1 or 2 hiccups we were out the doors and ready to go. Or so we thought. Has any ever driven in Rome? No? We were the only crazy Canadians who thought it would be ok?
Heads up: DON’T. It was a nightmare for the the start. The streets are not labeled clearly. The traffic doesn’t follow any sort of speed limit and the ride your bumper. The merge lanes are MAYBE a third the size of Canadian merge lanes. The streets are very tiny.
We were up early the next morning to check out and find our actual hotel, The CarpeDiem Roma Golf Club, (their checkout is only open until 10pm, hence the random hotel the first night) and after getting lost trying to find that one (and having the nice people of the hotel send someone on a Vespa to come find us…) we were checked in to our lovely suite which had a Living Room, Kitchen, Jacuzzi in the Bathroom, and glorious King Sized Bed. Although the furnishings were a bit outdated it was pretty much Heaven and Matthias and I both loved staying there. We booked it through our timeshare and although the original booking was a bit sketch, it ended up working out Fabulously. They had a shuttle to the nearest Subway Station so we didn’t have to drive, they were located on a Golf Course so it was quiet and the scenery was beautiful, they arranged so we could meet some of the other guests and we met some awesome people from around the world (and from Alberta!), they have a washer and dryer on site, a grocery store in close proximity so we could prepare our own food, and the staff was so accommodating. Thumbs up!
We went into Rome for 3 days (the other 3 we relaxed at the Resort) and saw all the traditional sites like the Colesseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, St. Paul’s Basilica (we opted to see this church as opposed to the 3 hour+ wait at the Vatican), and Circus Maximus. We also did another Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour which was great, but had an automated guide, which didn’t work at all of the seats. We ate delicious pasta, pizza, and gelato daily.
The other highlight of Rome? We did a Food Walking Tour that we booked through Viator. This tour was amazing. Our guide, Dominico, was hilar. We walked (and ate) for 4 hours through the Testaccio neighborhood, which is a historical (and traditional) foodie neighborhood. We sampled authentic cuisine, including tiramisu, pizza, prosciutto and cheese, aged balsamic vinegar, 3 types of pasta and wine, caprese salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella, bruschetta, canolli, arancini (italian rice balls), and gelato. It was probably my favorite part of the entire trip.
Matthias and I both agreed that Rome was a pretty dirty city, and although it was nice to see, I think we would have probably enjoyed seeing the Amalfi coast and travelling to smaller cities better.