And we wanted to! We took advantage of Dad’s time off for July 4th to take a 3-day trip to the Eternal City. We arrived around noon on Thursday and, after grabbing a quick lunch of Panini, hit St. Peter’s Basilica and climbed the cupola.
I made the huge mistake of aiming for fashion instead of comfort and wore flats for the hike up the dome. I’ve been regretting it ever since. Definitely wearing my Mizunos for the rest of our big Italian adventures! The 700+ stairs we climbed to crest the cupola earned us a treat and our family grabbed some bench to chow down on granita and gelato.
There are few things more refreshing than lemon granita on a hot Italian day J Next up was my favorite place in all of Rome: Piazza del Popolo. It is such a majestic space with its huge fountain in the center and 3 churches. We popped into the church of Santa Maria del Popolo (the Chigi Chapel in Angels and Demons) to see two beautiful paintings by Caravaggio: The Conversion of Saul and The Crucifixion of Peter. It was a little annoying because the church had a coin-powered light shining on the paintings in the chapel, so someone would have to drop money in to turn the light on and then it would shut off about a minute later. It wasn’t a huge deal and the church needs money for upkeep, but it was still off-putting.
We drank in as much Caravaggio as we could, then climbed the stairs adjacent to the piazza up to Parco Borghese. From the top of the parco you can glimpse the dome of Saint Peter’s and the Victor Emmanuel memorial in addition to getting a great aerial view of Piazza del Popolo. We wandered around Parco Borghese, enjoying the fountains and the busts that decorate it, killing some time before it was time to head to dinner.
When we lived in Rome, we frequented a restaurant named Il Brillo Parlante that was just a street or two off Piazza del Popolo. The service, food, wine, and atmosphere are fantastic so the whole family was eager to go again and I think it is safe to say we will go every time we are in Rome!
I felt fancy that night and ordered a Cosmopolitan to drink. It was my first Cosmo and I loved it! Our waiter was a little unsure if the barman could fix one, but he sure delivered! For dinner I ordered pasta with zucchini flowers, which was also off the chain. I loved fried zucchini flowers but have never had them just cooked in a dish, so I was excited to try it. (Sorry for the photo quality, the light was dim in the restaurant).
Even though we were both stuffed by the end of dinner, Blaine and I decided to split a dessert. There were tons of great options, but we opted for the baked apple. Amazing. The apple was baked in a puff pastry and served with some vanilla crème sauce, complete with cinnamon and raisons. It was warm and mouth-watering! We were definitely pleased with our choice.
The fam had one more big stop for the day: the Trevi Fountain. Mom and I agreed the fountain is at its most beautiful when it is lit up at night; we decided post-dinner would be the best time to show Blaine. As legend has it, if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain you are destined to come back to Rome, so of course we made Blaine do it
I love this picture because you can see Dad tracking Blaine’s coin in the air! His coin made it safe and sound, so I guess he’s coming back! With that important deed done, we headed back to the hotel. Even though we were exhausted, my brother, Blaine and I watched the first half of Angels and Demons. It’s fun to see the places you’ve been in the movies 😀
A Question for You: Do you watch movies that are set in the place you are visiting? I love watching situation appropriate movies, I feel like I get a little more out of my touring after seeing the same scenery in a good movie.