Mama Mia, its Roma!

13 May 2013

Why Rome is declared as the heartthrob of Europe…

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I woke up bright and early this morning (as in 3:55) to get to the airport and catch my flight to Roma Ciampino. A lot of people may think that a 20 year old American girl flying to Rome by herself is not safe, thanks to Hollywood’s great dramatized movies… but I am here to say that long as you are street smart and act normal (as you would in any US city), you are fine. I caught up with my friends at the Roma Termini a few hours after my flight landed and we had an amazing day packed with adventures, all in the heart of Roma Italia.

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I was a little nervous after catching the bus to the Termini (train station) and not seeing my two friends Steven and Ellie where we had planned to meet. Because neither myself nor my they have phones in which to contact each other, it makes things more difficult than you think. They flew in together from the states and arrived in the International Fiumicino airport, while I flew into the smaller Ciampino airport (domestic among the European nations) from the United Kingdom. We had arranged previously to meet at 10:30 at the McDonalds INSIDE the Roma Termini. You would be surprised how many McDonalds there are in Rome, absolutely ridiculous! When I arrived at 10:35 in front of the McDonalds and for the next 35 minutes saw neither Ellie or Steven, I was starting to wonder whether I would be joining the homeless people I saw lining the streets on my bus ride to the station. Which I realized wouldn’t happen because I was the one with all the accommodation connections all the accommodation connections throughout Europe. Luckily Ellie and Steven arrived shortly before my slight panic attack set it, and we headed out to hit the streets of Rome!

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We walked the streets of Rome nonstop from 11am until 8 pm, and saw the incredible sights such as the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), Capital hill, Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, and sooooo much more! We have only been here one day and we have already seen a vast array of beautiful Roma. As I look back at everything we did today, it is absolutely incredible. There is so much to do as everywhere you turn, there is a different surprise waiting behind the corner…simply waiting for you to enter.

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Because I could spend hours talking about all the wonderful sights I was able to see but I would rather spend my time out exploring the cities… I have composed a short list with pictures of a few things we saw today. There was so much more I wish I had time to share with you then what is listed beIow, but this will wet your appetite to come and experience the city for yourself. If I would of taken pictures at every historical monument, my memory card would of blown. I am serious when I say Rome is mile after mile of history. It is absolutely amazing…

Roma Termini
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It is absolutely crazy in this station! Trains, buses, and metros zip in and out like there is no tomorrow…with a complex mix of locals and foreigners

Quirinale [photos pending]

Trevi Fountain
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The famous fountain where if you throw coins into it, Roma will bring you back to it one day.

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Augusto Palace [photos pending]

Piazza del Popolo

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Piazza de Spagna (Spanish Steps)

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This giant staircase in the heart of Roma called Spanish Steps was built symbolically to connect the two different city halves, the upper and the lower.

Piazza Venezia
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Ancient Roman Ruins
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Everywhere you go in Roma you will see block after block of ruins intertwined with the modern growing city. This was one of the biggest surprises Roma gave me. I had NO idea how many ruins there actually were…

Arch of Constantino
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This arch is located right outside the Colosseum.

Colosseum

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This grand Roman Stadium was built around 80AD on the grounds that once housed Emperor Nero’s temple. This was symbolic of the belief that the land should belong to the people, not the rulers. The Colosseum was in fact a public stadium where people of all walks of life gathered to watch people fight to their death. Commoners, criminals, and Gladiators entertained the crowds with staged fights against animals, elements, and often-other people.

The Vatican at night
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The first evening we were in Roma we went out to see the city by night. It was stunning. Everything we had seen during the day was different in the moonlight. One of my favorite parts of my time in Roma.

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The Vatican is its own country…so here I have one foot in Italy, and one foot in the Vatican.

Castle S. Angelo Castle at night [photos pending]

And we ended with a really good gelato shop, one of the best (as recommended by locals)…Old Bridge Gelati, near the Vatican.

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Alberto-a local, and my two traveling buddies Ellie and Steven.

It would be safe to say that we walked at least 20 miles today… When it got to be about 18:30 (6:30 pm) and we had no idea where we were, we decided that we had better find directions back to the Termini. That is a lot harder than it sounds. Rome streets are not very tourist friendly because they are small, not labeled very clearly, and cars do not open the speed limit or the street signs. They even drive on the sidewalk where people are supposed to walk, so yep WE GOT LOST IN ROME and it was awesome! Luckily two boys from Shrilanka let us follow them back the Termini where we were able to meet up with Daniele, our host for the evening.

Daniele informed us that Roma is at its best at night when the tourists take to their beds and only locals roam the streets. This may sound a little sketchy to my fellow Americans sitting in the safety of their home as I speak, but I have never felt so safe and inspired as I did viewing the Vatican and eating Gelato at 23:30 in the center of Roma. We had two locals, Daniele and Alberto, with us so it made things easy as we did not have to worry about navigating through the city or translating stranger’s Italian.

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Just hanging with the locals! Daniele, Myself, and Alberto outside the Vatican

Roma Italia is absolutely gorgeous and it is full of so much history. It is a place where you could spend weeks, even months touring and learning about era upon era of history. In a couple of days like we have, you can see most everything outside (inside all the museums- it would probably take YEARS to see everything). It is just impossible to learn that much history in such a short amount of time…but the AMOUNT we have learned has been incredible!

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This is a typical drinking fountain in Rome. Whenever you see free water take advantage, because it doesn’t come along all to often…

I have discovered that experiencing history as a tangible thing is extremely powerful. When you walk the Foro Romano, Palantine Hill, and the Colosseum, you walk in the footsteps of Augustus, Nero, Caesar, and many other historical influencers. The feelings that came over me as I walked through these ancient Roman ruins was absolutely inspiring and it is a feeling I would wish upon everyone once in their life.

The reason why I love Roma is because you can walk anywhere and see something historic. Getting lost in Roma was one of the best things we ever did because we got to see a lot of things that were not on our itinerary- things we had never heard of before. Roma is a unique city because the small spiraling streets are lined with modern shops and apartments above, but when you turn a corner giant Roman ruins, a staircase of Spanish Steps, or a Stunning ancient fountain jump out at you. These great Roman monuments jump out at you when you are least expecting, almost as if the city wants you to get lost and discover it’s treasures for yourself. Roma has so much to offer anyone who wants to experience history, culture, or beauty.

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Since I have a habit of pointing out things that make a country unique…
Rome has more scooters/motorcycles and itsy bitsy smart cars than any place I have ever seen!

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