• Stream Queen

When in Rome

Visiting Rome during my Tomorrowland trip this year was one of my favorite trips I have done. Italy is a place that I have wanted to go for as long as I can remember, especially since my all time favorite movie, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, came out when I was a kid, which features a ton of Roman landmarks. I spent 5 days in Rome, and while I wish it had been longer, I definitely felt like I saw all of the major landmarks. Here is how I scheduled my days for maximum sight-seeing efficiency.

Day 1- Roman Forum, Palentine Hill, Colosseum

These three places can all be seen in a day, since they are so close, and a lot of tour packages lump them together. I went on a guided tour of all three that took about five hours. I was expecting to like the Colosseum, but I was surprised that I actually liked the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill a bit more, probably because I didn't know ANYTHING about those two places and was taken by surprise throughout the entire tour. I highly recommend doing a guided tour, since all three of these places are essentially ruins. If you don't know what you're looking at, you can't fully appreciate the beauty and history that you are walking among. My tour guide even had pictures of digital recreations of what all the major buildings looked like in Ancient Rome, and I was truly amazed to see those photos and compare it to the rubble that I was standing in front of. Words really can't explain how mind-boggling it is to be walking around what used to be the center of civilization, and seeing how there is nearly nothing left. What was even crazier was realizing I was standing among buildings that were built before Jesus Christ was born, it really is just insane how much history is there.

Not surprising, the Colosseum was absolutely amazing. I knew it was big, but having an idea in your head of the size compared to seeing it in person is extremely different. Our tour guide took us down to the bottom of the Colosseum, an area he said has newly opened for visitors for the first time ever (but only those with a guide). Hearing the stories of what happened among the stone walls was astounding.

Day 2- Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Spanish Steps

These four landmarks are really close, less than a ten minute walk. We started the day off by waking up early and leaving the hotel at around 7 AM. The earlier you go to the Trevi Fountain, the better, because it is obviously a major attraction in Rome and gets ridiculously busy. We actually stopped to see it the day before at around sunset, and there were so many people that the patrolling police officers blocked off the steps so no one could get close to the fountain. When we went in the morning, there were probably 20 people there. The Spanish Steps is another landmark where scenes from The Lizzie McGuire movie were filmed, but be careful walking down them in sandals because they are slippery! We spent the morning at a cute little outdoor cafe in Piazza Navona after walking from the Trevi Fountain. Piazza Navona has several gorgeous fountains that look really similar to Trevi, and is a beautiful place to sit at a restaurant or on a bench and just enjoy the sights. We stumbled upon the Pantheon as we were walking from the Trevi Fountain to the Piazza Navona. The Pantheon reminded me of the ruins from Palentine Hill since it's just as old. Entrance is free, but make sure you have something to cover your shoulders as it is an important religious building.

Day 3- Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica

This was the other day we scheduled a guided tour for. We explored the outside areas of the Vatican Museums, then into the museums to see some of the most notable art, through the Sistine Chapel, and finishing with St. Peter's Basilica. It goes without saying that the Vatican is a religious sight, and you will need to be in proper attire to enter the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica (shoulders and knees covered). I highly recommend a guided tour for this as well, our guide took us to see art in the museums that I never would have thought to look at. It was also nice learning the history behind the things we were admiring and wouldn't have known the significance of on our own. I was amazed by St. Peter's Basilica, it is the largest church in the world and absolutely beautiful. If you are a fan of the Angels and Demons movie, you will love standing out in the open area in front of the Basilica, which is where the ending of the movie was filmed.