Lacey and I visited Rome during tourist season. Eek! That being said, it was still awesome. When we hopped off our train the first day at the Roma Termani station, we were immediately faced with the challenge of busting our way through tens of thousands of people in an attempt to get over to another metro station. When we finally made it outside the Roma Termani, there were even more people flooding the streets. There had to have been close to a million people out there. This couldn’t just be the normal tourist crowd could it? Turns out the Pope was about to do a service at St. Peter’s and the whole world was going to check it out.
Lacey and I grabbed a quick slice of margherita pizza and started making our way toward the coliseum. We figured it would be a good day to do that being that it was in the opposite direction of St. Peter’s (where the millions of people were).
Lesson learned #1 in Rome. If you can pre-purchase tickets to a tourist attraction….do it. Do it now! We stood in line for nearly 2hrs at the Coliseum. If the attraction you are buying tickets online for offers an “express pass”, I would highly recommend dropping a few extra bones on that too. When you’re traveling to an international location like Italy, your time is worth more that the extra $10 to skip the lines.
From the Coliseum, we made our way to the Trevi Fountain through the Roman Forum. It too, was packed full of people. For a site like the Trevi Fountain that is kinda romantic, you won’t really get the full experience when there are 15k people smashing in to you and your spouse (another reason to dodge tourist season). I’m not even 100% sure we dropped a coin in the fountain. We more or less got there, snapped some pics and GTF outta there as fast as we could. The main reason for leaving wasn’t the crowd though. It was because I promised Lacey we could get some gelato at our next stop… the Spanish Steps.
Lesson learned #2 in Rome: Lines don’t mean shit! If you have a polite bone in your body, you’ll never get anything in a big city like Rome. After being cut in front of a dozen or so times while trying to order some gelato, I finally started putting my grown-ass American man frame to good use. Pushing my way to the front with a pissed off look on my face ended up getting the job done. At one point some lady started yelling at me in Italian. I was actually kind of excited about this because I wanted to put my newly acquired Rosetta-Stone language skills to use. She kept saying I wasn’t in the right line. I turned toward her and yelled “no lo sai! no lo sai!” She immediately backed down. The funny thing about this is that I thought I was saying “I don’t know! I don’t know!” kind of apologetically, but what I was actually saying was “YOU don’t know!!” …I’ll keep practicing. Nevertheless, the gelato was delicious, and I was Lacey’s hero.
Lacey and I had a nice dinner on a patio later that night and then passed the eff out after such an overwhelming first day.
Day 2 got off to a much calmer start. We woke up and ate the food that the B&B provided us (which was delicious and awesome). Our original plan for day 2 was to check out St. Peter’s Basilica and then pop over to the Sistine Chapel. Well, following the trend of the previous day, there was a 4hr line to get into St. Peter’s and a 3hr line to get into the Chapel. Eff! We agreed that neither of us wanted to spend 5-7hrs in line that day so we decided to pick 1 of the 2 places to visit. I had already been to both sites on a previous trip, so I left it up to Lacey to decide. She picked the Sistine Chapel. They don’t let you take pics of the famous Michelangelo painting on the ceiling of the chapel, so the best I could do was a selfie in the hallway.
All and all, the 2 days in Rome were amazing. We did as much as we could with the time that we had. Public transportation in Rome is incredibly easy, the food is delicious, the sites are amazing, and the sky is beautiful. For all of these reasons, I have come to the 3rd and final lesson from the trip to Rome.
Lesson learned #3: Spend at least a week in Rome. …and keep brushing up on your Rosetta-Stone.