Every summer Mom, Sissy, and I take a trip somewhere. It started off years ago with Mom and I visiting Sissy for a week in Nashville. Mom and I would go to every historical site we could find. Than back in 2008 our trips started to get bigger. We spent the next two summer vacations at Walt Disney World. Walking around Epcot really triggered my urge to travel. 2010 we went to Toronto. Beautiful city and so much to see and do. 2011 was Ireland. As you can imagine Ireland was gorgeous. And last year we went to London and Paris. A must see for anyone interested in European travel. This year was Italy. Italy had never been a place I had dreamed of going to, but as soon as we had our airline tickets booked, I knew Italy was going to be special.
Sissy couldn’t make it this trip, she decided that getting married to a wonderful man, in beautiful Jamaica, would be a better way to spend her summer.
We had a nonstop flight with Alitalia airlines. We weren’t for sure what to expect with Alitalia. The reviews are very mixed about this airline.
The flight ended up being very pleasant for an almost 11 hour flight. And the flight attendants we’re very easy on the eyes. The flight home was a little bit different, but I’ll get back to that later.
We were warned that the Rome Airport, Fiumicino, was a dirty and scary place. We didn’t experience anything like that while we were there. It was probably less than an hour, from the time we got off the plane, to being on our way to our hotel.
We had arranged for a car service to pick us up. Roma Cabs. They only cost 5 euros more than catching a taxi at the airport. If you were to get a taxi at the airport, by law they can only charge you 40 euros. For 5 extra euros, we had a very nice man in a suit, holding up a sign with our names, help us with our luggage and load us up into a nice mercedes. It’s about a half hour drive to our hotel and he gave us some history tid bits during our drive.
After our first experience with Italian driving, we made it to our hotel. The Grand Hotel De La Minerve. This hotel is housed in a 1600’s mansion and you can see the backside of the Pantheon from the front door. This hotel was in the best location. We could walk to many of the main attractions within minutes and the area around the Pantheon was always so lively with people.
After getting settled in, we were off.
First we had to figure out how to get around Rome. I am usually good at navigating, but I have to admit, I was so lost. There are so many little streets, they don’t even fit on a map. I always wanted to go in the opposite direction. It was so bad, Mom didn’t even trust me when I said which way we had to go. I finally remembered there was a compass on my phone, which really helped. By our fourth day there, I finally got my bearings. Than we left the next day.
Our first stop was the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. This Palazzo houses a very large collection of art. This gallery did not allow photos, but apparently Mom decided she didn’t see that sign. The first time she was caught by security, it wasn’t a big deal. After the 3rd time, I kept my distance from her. I didn’t want to be kicked out of my very first gallery in Italy.
On our itinerary was the Via Della Gatta statue. This translates into the cat statue. We kept looking up and down the street and couldn’t figure out why we weren’t seeing it. Finally we looked up.
Next was the Church of the Gesu. We walked right by this church at least 3 times, than when we finally asked for directions, we were informed that we we’re standing right in front of it.
Not for sure how we missed it. It was worth the time to find it though.
Our next stop was a very important one. It was time to experience our first Italian gelato. Picking out the right place for gelato is very important. I studied up a lot on finding the best gelato. The best way to know that you aren’t getting the fake stuff is to check the color of the pistachio gelato. If it is a bright green, than you know it’s fake. You want it to be a dark, dull green. Pistachio’s aren’t a neon green in nature.
After our afternoon nourishment, it was time to visit the Pantheon. I was very excited to visit the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman buildings. It started off as a temple to all gods and was later converted into a Christian Church. The renaissance artist, Raphael is buried here. It is an amazing building to walk into.
Of course TMNT Raphael had to pay his respect to his namesake.
For anyone who has ever wondered what the words mean on the outside of the Partheon, here you go: Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it. Basically, Marcus Agrippa had the Partheon built.
Next stop on our list was right around the corner. The Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Once you enter the seventeenth century facade, you will find Rome’s one and only Gothic church.
We had one more church on our list. Sant’Ignazio di Loyola Church.
That was it for the churches but we still weren’t done. At this point I’ve had about an hour of sleep in over 24 hours, but I was wide awake. I’m in Italy. How could I be tired?
We made our way to the Piazza Navona and the Fountain of the Four Rivers. It was designed by the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651. Italy is full of beautiful fountains and just to stand in front of one is awe inspiring.
There were also really cool street performers and artists selling their wares.
Finally, it was time for dinner! Yeah! Trying to find the perfect place for our first meal proved to be difficult. I already knew that if you want truly authentic Italian food, we would need to leave the tourist area. To leave the tourist area would mean that we would need to do more walking. We settled on a restaurant near Piazza Navona.
I know, the name of the restaurant is original.
Not for sure why those girls are staring at me like that.
One more stop before heading back to the hotel.
We had to have our evening gelato. I had read somewhere that while in Italy you have to have 2 gelatos per day. I was just trying to fit in. I was so good at trying to fit in with this rule, that the only Italian I learned was how to order a small cup with 2 scoops. Very important words to know.
We went to Giolitti gelateria which is a famous gelateria.
With our tummies full and our minds full of all that we saw, it was time to head back to the hotel and get some sleep.
Stay tuned for day 2!
If you are interested in any information about traveling to Italy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.