15 May 2011

Italy adventure: Rome!

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

Yes, that’s right, I’m back from Italy! Okay, to be fair, I’ve been back since Monday afternoon but jet lag was kicking my a** and I had so many photos to upload and edit, I haven’t had time to write.

But I do now!!!

So let’s recap quick what happened: as part of my solo travel adventures, I decided (almost a year ago) to go back to Europe and visit the one place that alluded me in 2000 – Italy. Later, I decided I was going for two weeks to visit three cities: Rome, Florence and Venice.

Lofty goal? Yes. Slightly insane? Yes. Concern-inducing for someone I’m related to? Yes.

But I did it and had an awesome time.

Italy is a very beautiful place. Like, walking around the cities during my two-week adventure, I literally couldn’t believe some of the beautiful things I saw. Thinking about it almost brings me to tears because it’s just so unlike anything we have in the Midwest. Sure, Chicago  has some great sights, but not the raw history that Italy does.

So to give everyone a recap of my trip, I’ve broken it in to three posts: Rome, Florence (and day trips) and Venice/Rome (where I ended my trip).

Below is the first installment – Rome.

The purpose of only visiting three cities over two weeks was to spend several days in each, explore, see the sights and also get a sense for the city. Getting in and out of a city in 2-3 days is fine and allows you to cover more places but you don’t get to really SEE and experience it.

I spent a total of five days in Rome and absolutely, 100% loved it. Maybe it’s because it’s a larger city and similar to Chicago in some ways but I just felt really connected to it. I did a lot of touristy stuff but also took time to explore the different neighborhoods, sample the food in each and get a sense for the whole city.

Plus, let me tell you, when you’ve done that much touristy stuff and history 101, you get burned out fast, so exploring gives you a break and let’s you see things off-the-beaten path.

Let’s get to some pictures!

Colosseum – I spent my first and last day in Rome there. So gorgeous and HUGE!

Trevi Fountain – Yes, it is much larger than the one in Vegas :)

At the Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navona – Yes, that’s the new man in my life

Roman Forum – There are so many ruins in Ancient Rome, it’s amazing to imagine the history here

My favorite street in Central Rome (Via dei Coronari) – Full of gorgeous buildings, art galleries and off-the-beaten path shops

Spanish Steps at dusk – This place (like the Trevi Fountain) is jammed ALL THE TIME. But gorgeous

View of Rome from a massive hill I climbed. Sadly, it wasn’t a nice day, but the view was still stunning

During my day at the Vatican/St. Peter’s, I got to have my picture taken in the garden with the dome in the background

Full view of St. Peter’s from the square. The crowd at the bottom was gathered because the Pope was taking visitors that day. Naturally.

The Pantheon – It was right by my hotel so I got to walk by it every morning. Not bad!

I saw a lot of random things in Italy, including a Ferrari parade in Rome (40 Ferraris went down the street one day). I called this, the midlife crisis parade :)

No, I didn’t get a souvenir that said this, but by the end of the trip I was telling everyone how much I loved Rome!

Amazingly, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of images I took in Rome but I don’t want to bore you with the insane pictures I took so I’ll be uploading more of them to my Flickr account throughout the week. Seriously, I took more than 1,000 photos, it takes time to get through!

I could literally talk about Rome all day, I loved it that much. It is so beautiful that you just feel in awe of the things that happened there years ago and how connected it is to so many things.

This sounds cheesy but it’s true, every time I try to describe how beautiful the city is, I start to tear. When I think about the gold radiating off the buildings at sunset, I just don’t know how to describe it. I miss it, but I’m still glad to be home.

Movie Review: That’s right, I’m also seeing movies again now that I’m home! Tonight’s recap, one of my favorite books: Water for Elephants.


  1. Susan says:

    LOVE the photos so far, can’t wait for more! Glad you had a great trip.

  2. Grace says:

    wow! It looks like a really fun trip! I am looking forward to hearing about the food. :)

  3. molly says:

    So glad you had an amazing time! Your pictures brought me right back there :)

  4. Great photos! And a great way to experience it, in my opinion. I love immersing myself in the cities that I’m visiting. I try to get a sense of what it’s like to actually live there. Can’t wait to see/hear about the rest!

  5. elly says:

    I LOVED Rome when I was there! The culture was phenomenal, and I though the city had a really interesting rhythm. Some parts of the city were a bit ghetto, and filled with begging gypsys, and then you walk around the corner and there is this amazing, absolutely phenomenal building thats almost 2000 years old! Loved it. Also? I couldn’t get enough of their gelato. Glad to see you had a brilliant time :)

  6. steph anne says:

    Wow, Rome is beautiful!! Now I have to add that to my list of many places I want to go to. :)

  7. allison says:

    your pictures look beautiful. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I was going there. I would need someone to plan my trip and I’m nominating you as my guide!

  8. great pics! i love the one of the spanish steps.. looks like you had great weather! can’t wait to see more :)

  9. katelin says:

    aw yay to the beginning of recaps! you’re so much more organized than i was, haha. but love the rome pictures so far and seriously just makes me want to go back right this second. love it all and can’t wait to hear more :)

  10. Kate says:

    So happy you had a great trip! BTW, I want to read your review of “Water for Elephants,” but I’m in the middle of reading the book for the first time and don’t want to read any spoilers. The book is so good!

  11. Nora says:

    Also, you look fabulous in your photos.
    Welcome home and can’t wait to read/see the rest of your trip :)

  12. Marjolein says:

    I’m so happy to hear you had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to see the pictures and read the other posts!

  13. wow, wow, wow. jess, this is impressive.

    bring on the next installments! :)

  14. Carolyn says:

    I loved italy. I’m so happy you had a great trip!! Did you run into any of the problems you were worrying that you might have??

  15. AshleyD says:

    Wow, this looks like such a wonderful trip! I’ve only been to Venice, but now I really want to explore Rome. How beautiful!

  16. Erin says:

    Sounds like Rome was the perfect city for you! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

  17. A Super Girl says:

    Some of my fave spots! I swear I have a nearly identical photo of Via de Coronari…but they all kind of blended together, so it could be a totally different one!

    So glad you had a great time. Can’t wait to read the rest!

  18. L.C.C. says:

    Aw! I love love love Rome :)

  19. I’m SO glad you had such a wonderful time and your pictures of Rome are really beautiful! Sadly, the very first night we were in Rome last spring our hotel room was broken into, all our stuff gone through and we were robbed. It really put a bad taste in our mouth about the city. We ended up leaving the next day to go down to the Amalfi Coast and then went back up to Rome after the weekend. We only ended up spending 2 nights in Rome during our trip when we were originally supposed to spend 4. All that being said our SECOND time back was amazing and the Colosseum was outstanding. In hindsight I do wish we’d had more time there as all the side streets are really beautiful.

    Can’t wait to hear what you thought of Venice – I LOVED that city!

  20. Lil' Woman says:

    Beautiful pictures…I would love to visit there and experience all the history and deliciousness that it has to offer.

  21. Heidi Renée says:

    It looks like you had an amazing time! I loved Rome when I was there in high school and I really want to get back to Italy someday.

  22. mandy says:

    Welcome back! I am so glad that you had such a fantastic time. The pictures are great. I would love to visit Italy. Europe just has so much more history and stories than our country does. I imagine it to be amazing and I’m glad that you helped confirm that.

  23. Maki says:

    Wow!!! Your pictures only reinforce my desire to visit Rome/Italy!! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time, creating lots of beautiful memories!!! I can’t wait to see more pics and read more posts about the rest of you trip! xoxo

  24. phampants says:

    I’m glad you love Rome as much as I do.

    And seeing how you love to travel as I do and go to new places, if you need a travel buddy, I’m here!

    I want to to Eastern Europe soon.

  25. lbluca77 says:

    Looks like you had a blast! I can’t wait to see all your posts. One day I’d like to go to Italy. I’ve never done a solo vacation so maybe I think I should give it a try. Might have to start out by going someplace I’ve been, but everyone should solo vacation at least once.

  26. Ah! So jealous! What amazing photos. Welcome back!

  27. Akirah says:

    I love that you did this. So much. Can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip. :)

  28. Jenn says:

    All of your pictures make me miss Rome! So glad you had an awesome time and you’re home safe and sound and I can’t wait to read about your other places — I’ve never been to the other cities so I’m pumped to learn more!

  29. yay! i’m glad you had an awesome time! i loved italy as my solo vacation too! so many great places in rome to sit and relax and people watch and just take it all in! i can’t wait to hear about more of your trip! and i agree the history of rome is just so incredible! i loved walking through the forum!