European Chronicles | When in Rome…

We arrived in Rome on the 2nd of June, and after somewhat of a rocky start (we ordered a driver to meet us at the train station and he didn’t show up and left us there for an hour and a half!) we finally made it to our gorgeous Trastevere apartment.  We caught a glimpse of the Colosseum on the drive there, which made us very excited to start exploring the city.

The next morning we woke up to gloomy skies and a forecast of rain for the first time in our entire trip.  We counted ourselves lucky that we’d had such glorious weather thus far, but nobody likes a rainy day.  We headed to the local bakery to pick up some lunch…it was such a cute place!  We got some Swiss cheese, parma ham, fresh warm bread, pesto, and some Italian cookies for dessert.  Delilah made friends with both of the young guys behind the counter, and was not happy with me in the least when I turned down their offer for free pizza and cookies for her.  LOL.

After that, we were off to the Colosseum!  It wasn’t raining yet, so we decided to walk.  We walked…and walked…and WALKED.  And suddenly, there it was in all its glory (disclaimer, these next two pics were taken on a different day when the weather was much more photo agreeable…haha).

Delilah obviously wasn’t as impressed as we were (and she ripped out her hair clip just before this, so don’t mind the shaggy hair).

We headed in to check it out and decided at the last minute to take a tour with a guide and a group of around 20 people.  Big mistake.  I think one of the reasons this trip has been going so smoothly is because we have been able to do everything at our own (read: Delilah’s) pace.  With a tour group, that’s just not possible.  She was fussy at first so I couldn’t really pay attention, then she was happy and squealing at the top of her lungs (which meant I had to back off from the group so she wouldn’t disrupt their tour), then she got hungry, etc.  We ended up ditching the group after fifteen minutes and doing the rest on our own, which was much better.

It POURED with rain while we were inside, so we had to wait for it to stop before we could go into the actual arena.  It was amazing to read all the stories about what used to happen there, as well as see all of the ‘costumes’ and articles (even animal bones and skulls!) that had been recovered from the site.  So strange to think about how unbelievably long all of these things had been there.

Soon the rain lifted, and we were in:

Seeing such an intricate structure and realizing how amazing it is that it could even have been built so long ago, much less withstand so much time was truly awe inspiring.

The weather was taking a turn for the worst, so we decided to head back to Trastevere for the night.  We picked up some fresh pasta (gorgonzola ravioli!) and headed back to the apartment for dinner, followed by a walk at dusk in the cobblestone streets.  Delilah was teething crabby (her two teeth finally cut through that night) and walks are the only thing that will make her happy sometimes.  She loves being out and about!  Here is the street our apartment is on after a fresh sprinkle of rain:

The next morning we awoke to glorious weather yet again, so we set out early for an absolute marathon touring day.

We started at the Pantheon, which we both LOVED.  Such an awesome building, especially considering that it was built over 2,000 years ago and is STILL the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.  I particularly liked how the opening in the center of the dome created this heavenly beam of light that moved around the room depending on the time of the day.

We couldn’t stop looking at the intricate details over every inch of the building.

Delilah was impressed too, which is apparent in this next pic.  LOL.

Afterward, we headed over to the Trevi fountain.  I didn’t see the fountain the last time I was in Rome, so I was excited to see it this time around.  I was disappointed that we couldn’t go at night (Mom recommended this, since it’s all lit up and gorgeous), but it doesn’t get dark until very late when a certain tiny person is ready for bed!  Even so, it was beautiful.

Next, it was off to the Spanish Steps for some top quality people watching time!

It was such a cool little spot to hang out and have a rest.  Delilah (with her two new little teeth!) was a happy little soul and smiled at everyone that walked past her.  I swear, she is just the friendliest little thing these days.

Since it was almost 2pm, we decided it was time for a lunch break.  So what did we choose to eat?  You guessed it…pizza!  LOL.  We have had pizza for like 75% of our meals in Italy so far.  It’s just a lot easier to eat while holding a Delilah baby, not to mention it’s absolutely delicious and we can’t get enough of it!  We went to a place that had good recommendations for woodfired pizza and it didn’t disappoint.

Delilah and Daddy waiting for their pizza:

And Delilah eating/playing with some crust.  This is also a perfect example of how she has most definitely inherited her great grandfather Paul’s ‘Casper the Ghost’ pale skin and strawberry tinted hair (although Grandpa’s was just plain red!).  I always wanted red hair, so I think she’s a lucky girl 🙂

After lunch we headed off to the ruins, with a few stops in between.  I just HAD to get this shot, since the moment we stepped off the train we realized something hilarious…Cows On Parade was in Rome!!  It made this Wisconsinite feel right at home 🙂  For those who don’t know what Cows On Parade are, just ask Pam…she has like 200 of them (much smaller than this, of course).  Haha.  They were everywhere in Rome!

We then found ourselves in front of the Vittoriano, which was built to honor Italy’s first king.  It had a little patch of grass in front of it that looked just perfect for a picture and a diaper change.  Haha.

And here’s Delilah smiling at strangers again.  She gets so excited when they smile back at her (which, of course, they all do).  Funny little thing.

We kept on trucking and decided to have a little rest on some pieces of ruins strewn about.  I love that about Rome.  They actually have 2,000 year old columns and chunks of buildings that they use for public sitting areas.  What other city can say the same??

We finally made it to the ruins, which I was so excited about.  There are SO MANY amazing sights in Rome, but the ruins are my absolute favorite.  It’s like stepping back in time…you can almost visualize what it looked like in its prime.  And you can see how truly amazing (I know I keep using that word, but how else do you describe it??) it was that such grand and gorgeous buildings could have even been built so long ago.

We asked Delilah what she thought of the ruins and this was her response…

Apparently she is undecided.  LOL.

It had been seven hours since we left the apartment and we spent almost the entire time walking, so needless to say, we were BEAT.  What an action packed day it had been!

The next morning we woke up and were soooooooo tired.  The Vatican was on the books for the day, so we decided to put it off till the early afternoon and have a restful morning just hanging out.  And boy was that a brilliant plan!  We arrived at the Vatican at around 2pm to literally ZERO lines.  We didn’t even wait 30 seconds to get our tickets.  And for a place that is renowned for it’s 2 to 3 hour wait times, that is saying something!

We first went to Saint Peters Basilica, which for us both was the highlight of the day.

To say that the interior was grandiose and ridiculously intricately detailed is the understatement of the year.  I asked Brett what he thought it would have cost to build such a building nowadays and he didn’t even think it was feasible anymore.  We could have stayed in there all day and not seen it all!

Even Delilah couldn’t stop staring.

We headed into the Vatican and found it almost overwhelming.  There is just SO MUCH packed into that place that you almost don’t even know where to look.   Every square inch is absolutely gorgeous!  We sort of marathon-ed through it until we reached the Sistine Chapel.  That Chapel is by far one of the most awesome places I’ve ever seen.  They won’t allow pictures in it for copyright reasons (and because people are too dumb to turn off their flash!), but we managed to sneak one when no one was looking.  We’re rebels like that 😉

We were sitting on the benches on the side admiring all of the beauty when I noticed Delilah reaching out to the lady next to us.  The lady thought it was so she could touch her hand, so she held her hand up for Delilah to grab…imagine both of our surprise when Delilah just batted her hand away and grabbed the bit of paper she was holding!  What a little thief!  LOL.  I immediately apologized and gave the paper back to the woman, which caused Delilah to start pinching a fit in the middle of the Sistine Chapel.  The very kind woman (who I think was Spanish) ended up giving her the paper to keep to prevent a total meltdown.  We are definitely going to have our hands full with this child if she’s already starting mini temper tantrums at 8 months old!

Here she is with her little Sistine Chapel gift.

After the Vatican, we headed over to Piazza Navona for our last Rome experience.  Mom recommended this Piazza because she thought I would enjoy all of the artists that come to paint and draw here.  She was absolutely right!  We loved it!  We wandered around eating gelato and checking out the artwork.  It was fantastic!

Rome certainly flew by the fastest for us, but we are very much looking forward to our stay in Positano on the Amalfi Coast, since that’s where we went ALL OUT on our apartment (perched on a cliff with a panoramic view of the ocean…woohoo!).  We plan to do a whole lot of relaxing, something that we haven’t done hardly at all in the past few weeks.  See you all in a few days!

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