Rome Day 3

Saturday 10/2 Ancient Rome

After the amazing tour we had with VA Tours at Vatican City we decided to book another tour through them for Ancient Rome.  98 Euro for two of us.

We woke up early after a great night sleep, had breakfast and headed to the bus stop just around the corner from our hotel.  We took the bus this time to save our feet a bit, 2 Euro total.  As we turned the corner the Colosseum stood there basking in the morning sun, such an amazing sight.  We gave ourselves plenty of time not knowing the bus situation and we ended up quite early giving us plenty of time to photograph the Colosseum from the outside.  We also  came across a street vendor with some lovely scarfs where we bought one for someone as a gift. 8 Euro.

At 9:30am prompt we met our group and headed down to the Colosseum.  Our guide was just as great as the day before.  he was an Italian archeologist from Florence who spends one day a week providing tours at the Colosseum, the rest of his time is spent doing tours in Florence.  The lines were again very long so we were very glad to have a tour guide escort us to the front of the line.  We gathered around some old fallen pillars where our guide began to tell us amazing stories about the history of the massive arena we were standing in.  We then headed upstairs, to what would have originally been the seats, where our guide explained the type of gruesome 'games' that used to be preformed there hundreds of years ago.  Lastly we headed down to the ground/stage level for some more pictures opportunities.

Immediately after exiting the Colosseum you are standing in front of the Triumphal Arc.  Yet another amazing piece of art from the Romans.  Next we headed up Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of the city, people have been living there since approximately 1000 BC!  Our guide told us more great stories here about the way the emperors and families would have lived here.  At the bottom of the hill you enter onto the Roman Forum where we walked on the same cobblestone that Julius Caesar once did, which gave us chills!

Exhausted yet again from the miles of walking we were ready for some lunch.  We tried heading away from the touristy part of town into the little alleys and streets.  We were looking for somewhere to grab a simple and inexpensive panini or pizza but of course could not find one, when every other time they are all over!  We finally stumbled upon a Trattoria, Trattoria Tettarello, where I had a marinara pizza (just dough, garlic, oregano and cheese...interesting)  and Rollie had pasta with bacon and pecorino.  16 Euro.

After sitting and eating we were ready to hit the pavement again.  I was on a shopping mission so we headed back towards the Spanish steps, which ended up being a few miles away...of course, more walking but that's part of the fun and site seeing.  On the way we found a cute little leather store where I bought a few coin purses as gifts.  We walked around the Spanish steps but most of the shops were out of our price range.  Although I manged to buy a dress and a top at H&M...yes a store I can easily shop at in the States.  Rollie also bought a beautiful leather wallet.

Our feet aching at this point after some searching we found a bus back to our side of town. 2 Euro. We grabbed a diet coke and checked our emails again at the internet cafe, 6 Euro.  We grabbed a bottle of wine and a bag of chips to share on the rooftop before getting ready for dinner.

We decided to 'splurge' on dinner this night and head back over to the Trastevere neighborhood to La Cisterna, a recommendation from my friend Meghan's mom who travels to Italy quite frequently.  The restaurant was a bit hard to find, as no one was seated outside like most of the restaurants in the area.  We walked in and were immediately greeted by the friendly staff.  We were sat in a nice cozy table towards the back and quickly noticed that we were the only non Italians in the place, which we took as a good sign.  Our waiter brought over two complimentary glasses of prosseco and asked in broken English if we would like any wine or appetizers to start.  We started off with the typical roman appetizer of antipasto (a mixture of veggies, fried goodies, goat cheese, and bread)  We also ordered a bottle of house red wine.  We ordered the braised lamb with roasted potatoes, breaded veal with roasted potatoes, and a side of peas with ham.  Before our food arrived we noticed our waiter serving the table next to us family style and asked what one of the pastas ended up being cacio e pepe (which is now my all time favorite pasta) and he let us have a little plate of it!   After an amazing dinner one of the other waiters took us and the table who was sitting next to us downstairs to the original restaurant from 1632 (eventually raised to avoid flooding from the Tiber river)...this experience was like visiting a whole other museum.  Such an amazing night!  Dinner was 75 Euro.

After dinner we headed back to Campo Di Fiori, grabbed a few tall beers at a 'to go' cafe around the corner from our hotel and people watched for a couple hours.  7.50 Euro

We headed to bed, excited that we didn't have to wake up for anything the next morning!


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