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12 Aug 2013

Inspirational Settings: Rome

I've always dreamed of going to Italy.  I love the language and I love Italian food.  And I love a city that is rich in history.  Rome was the perfect choice for mine and Pete's first holiday together.

Colosseum on the left and the Roman Forum ahead
In a way it reminds me of York.  Surrounded by old Roman walls that sealed the city off, it's kept the
buildings of the past for people to see today.  People have worked so hard at keeping them restored.  Ruins are dotted around the city, from the old Roman Forum to the baths and the training grounds for the gladiators.  The Colosseum still has parts of the old building but have also had new structures added to it to ensure that visitors and locals alike can still revel in a brutal yet astonishing history.

As for modern day Rome, I have never felt so comfortable in a city before.  I never had the chance to learn Italian at school and all I had with me was a phrasebook and random pieces and sentences of Italian to get me through.  Those lovely Italians were really patient with me as I attempted to speak the language.  But the entire city was friendly.  You step into a taxi, a hotel, a bus, restaurant... anywhere and you'll hear the words 'prego' every time.  It's a custom in Italy to say that which seemed to generally mean 'welcome' or 'please do'.  You say 'grazie' to them and they'll respond with 'prego'.  You walk into a restaurant, ask for a table and they'll direct you uttering 'prego'.  I think it's purpose is a general pleasantry.

As well as being friendly it is absolutely busy and I'll admit the roads are a little scary.  Cars weave in and out of each other as they move yet they seem to do it with such grace.  Most people ride on scooters to avoid the heavy traffic that can build up.  I guarantee you'll always find a spot in Rome where there is nothing in parking spaces apart from a long line of scooters.

Inside the Colosseum
The busiest places are always around the tourist centers.  The Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in particular.  You'll be dodging your way through the crowds at the Colosseum with about five different tour guides tracking you to buy a ticket, centurions asking if you want a photograph, and stall owners waving hats, ice cold bottle of waters, and umbrellas in your face.  The last three came in handy.  The temperatures rose up to 38 degrees so everyone would have a large sunhat on, a umbrella shielding them from the sun in one hand and a bottle of water that had chunks of ice in the other hand.  As for the Trevi Fountain I have no idea what time is best to go.  We visited it as the night was drawing in
Trevi Fountain
and the crowds were still gathered.  They sat around the benches and the edge of the fountain getting their pictures taken or being videoed as they threw a coin in the fountain.  You really had to get a Londoner Walk on and push your way through otherwise you'd never see it properly or get to throw a coin.

One of the best things about going in August was waiting for night to fall and going to one of the restaurants near by.  It was gorgeous sitting under a shelter when it was a bit cooler but still warm enough to wear a summer dress with a cold pint of beer and your meal in front of you.  I'll say this, Italians know how to cook.  The lasagna melted in your mouth, the pizzas were huge, and at one restaurant we had the most amazing steak I've ever tasted.  It wasn't a flat piece that I usually find in my local supermarket, this was a huge chunk of steak.  Served with a bit of salad it was perfect.  Everything I ate was perfect.  This was literally me for the whole trip:

Seriously, Rome has ruined food for me.  I'm even doubting my lasagna recipe.

And the most interesting fact I learned: The Colosseum isn't actually the Colosseum.  That building is the Flavian Amphitheatre and gained the name in Medieval times.  One of theories say it got its namesake from being near to the Colossus of Nero, a giant bronze statue.  This is where the statue used to stand:

And here are a few more pictures of around Rome:

Piazza Navona
Roman Walls
Around the Catacombs of San Callisto 


  1. Thanks for sharing so many photos! The Coliseum looks so epic!

    It looks really warm there too ;)

    1. I've never seen so much blue sky before! ;) It was up to the 30s while we were there. I was melting! I'm not used to proper sun. =P