I have had a hard time writing this recap post because honestly, part of me wants to keep it all to myself. I think Italy does that – romances and seduces you so much that my limited vocabulary is not enough to explain its gloriousness!
Since my clients would be celebrating the US Labor Day weekend, Jax and I decided to also take a 3-day holiday! Ry stayed back in Seville so he could work, but I wanted to go to Italy so I could literally eat delicious food and luckily, found inexpensive, direct flights from Sevilla to Roma. So, off to Rome it was!
Italy was the first country I ever visited (if you don’t count me being born in the Philippines and then moving to the US when I was a mere 8 months old). I did this during a high school trip with my Latin teacher Mrs. Redburn, and it was then that I fell in love with Rome, Italy, and travel in general. I will always remember how that trip changed my perspective – I still have the saved sugar packets from that trip!
I returned to Rome a second time when I studied abroad in London during college, but had not returned since. Now, re-exploring Rome with Jax, I realize there’s a reason why major world cities are so iconic. Roma is fabulous! I mean, beyond fabulous! It is romance, history, cinematic, timeless, majestic, classic, and yet contemporary. It is simply captivating.
It helps to be a returning visitor because it wasn’t necessary for me to pack my days with things I needed to see and do. My first goal was to eat pasta. The second was to savor which I believe is the best gelato in the world (and we did, everyday)!
We spent much of our time just aimlessly meandering the gorgeous streets of shops and cafes. But we did make sure to go to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain (3X!), Spanish Steps, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, and Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita). We were also able to bike around Villa Borghese Park for an hour (€12).
Come to think of it, we did a lot considering all I wanted to do was eat good food. A couple tourist tips – I did reserve and purchase tickets for both the Colosseum and the Vatican in advance, which made all the difference. We bypassed all the lines, and they are long! And, even though here is a photo of Jax sitting on the Spanish Steps, it was taken two seconds before the police reprimanded us. Here are more details on how it is now forbidden and can cost you a hefty $450 fine!
I was also able to meet up with a friend of a friend (and hence make a new friend) and her beautiful family in their new home near “Campo” (Piazza del Campidoglio). I am currently helping my amazing, dear friend Meesh who is co-chairing a committee for an upcoming Penn Women’s conference and the other co-chair is the also impressive Erica Firpo, another fellow Penn alumnae who happens to live in Rome!
So, it was a fantastic holiday. Jax and I had the best mommy/son mini vacation and were really sad to leave. Rome had us longing to stay on for so much more. Ahhh… I can so commiserate with Audrey Hepburn when her Roman Holiday character was asked what city she enjoyed the most: “By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live.” But the good news – based on the successful coin toss into the Trevi Fountain, we are sure to return again!
Some additional links:
Trattoria all’Ara Coeli – Quick lunch in Campo, but the pizza and pasta were tasty and perfectly Italian.
Gelateria Corona – Erica, who is a travel journalist and Rome EXPERT, told us this is one of her favorite gelaterias, and we loved it.
Ristorante Tempio di Bacco – Great place we ate after our Villa Borghese biking excursion.
Bici Pincio Roma – Electric bicycle company we used in Villa Borghese park
Booktique– Super cute book and concept store where we bought a children’s book about Rome.
Giolitti – The owner of Booktique tipped us off to this fantastic gelateria. Watch the video link!
Ristorante Maccheroni – The owner of Booktique also told us to eat here, and it was the most delicious fettuccine we had.