Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When in Rome ...

We hopped a bus from Siena to Rome first thing yesterday morning, then rode the subway (Metro) to the stop closest to our hotel. Our hotel here is great, another Rick Steves recommendation that did not disappoint! They have a quirky sense of humor that's captured in the newsletter they give you at check-in and the artwork on the walls. It's very reminiscent Grand Budapest Hotel, a movie I watched and enjoyed on the plane on the way over.

The portrait of the hotel owners. Grand Budapest anyone?

Anyway, after ditching our luggage we went out to lunch and headed towards the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Both were so neat! We were a bit pressed for time at the Forum since we'd reserved a tour at the Colosseum, but we still managed to squeeze in a Rick Steves walking tour podcast and check out the ruins of the Forum. I loved seeing the pieces of marble columns laying haphazardly on the Forum grounds.

The Forum

Doing the Rick Steves audio tour

I loved all the columns, laying there like they just fell down yesterday!

Fun with history

Forum and ancient Roman road

Then we headed over to meet our tour group at the Colosseum. We'd reserved a tour of the underground and third ring, which was fantastic! Rome is a pretty busy place so it was nice to get away from the tourist crowds (the general public can't go to those parts of the Colosseum) and also learn more about Roman history from an archaeologist.


Looking down into the Colosseum underground

On the main floor of the Colosseum

In the underground

Ancient marble columns

Looking down into the Colosseum from the top (third) ring

Colosseum kitty

We were ready to sit down and have some refreshments after that, so we headed to the Cavour neighborhood for drinks and dinner. The nice guy at our hotel front desk had recommended it as a locals neighborhood, where he and his friends liked to go out on the weekends. He was right, we really liked the area and found a bar with a couch to chill on for a bit, and later a cute but casual restaurant for dinner. The food was great, and Damon was adventurous and ordered rabbit!

Rabbit for dinner in the Cavour neighborhood

After dinner we rode the Metro up to the Spanish Steps and checked out what a scene that is in the evening. The stairs are full of people hanging out, talking, and laughing. A bride and groom showed up in full wedding garb and everyone clapped and cheered for them. It was very cute! 

Evening at the Spanish Steps. The place to see and be seen in Rome!

Some of the best people-watching!

Quite the scene!

All in all we racked up over 8 miles yesterday (some of it with luggage) even with riding the subway for some legs. We were exhausted, but it was a great day! Today we plan to check out the Pantheon and the Trastevere neighborhood, and in the afternoon we've booked a tour of Rome's crypts and catacombs!

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