Italy Recap (Part 1): Roma!

An eight hour flight and a six hour layover later, I'm finally back in the good ol' US of A. Italy was fantastic- lots of food, wine and family. Maybe a little bit too much family at times, but it was nice to be together for one last hurrah before I head off to school. Here's a quick recap of what went down on the first couple days of our trip which we spent in Rome:

Day 1: The worst part about traveling? Getting there. Plane rides are never fun, and I always end up super achey afterwards. We had a seven hour layover in Madrid and decided to make the best of it by heading into the city. We spent the first part of the morning at a little cafe drinking hot chocolate and eating churros (of course!) Afterwards, we headed over to Retiro Gardens to explore. Then, we went to the Prado museum for all of 20 minutes to catch a glimpse of our favorite pieces- Leda & the Swan, and Las Meninas!

Day 2: When we finally arrived in Rome, it was time for a serious nap. By 8 o'clock we were ready for dinner and took the concierge's suggestion of a place called "Mamma Angela's Trattoria." It was some seriously good (and authentic!) food. I had Pasta alla Romana followed by Veal alla Romana- clearly I was hungry for some classic Roman fare. We then headed back to the hotel for some more sleeping.

Day 3: The Vatican was our first stop of the day. There are some crazy mile-long lines to enter the museum, but my mom was smart and got us "skip the line" tickets ahead of time. A few more Euros, but a lot less waiting. Seriously, if you ever have the chance to skip the line, do it. The Sistine Chapel was really beautiful, but not nearly as big as I thought it would be. Still, it was worth seeing. Afterwards, we ate at a little pizza shop that had the most delicious combinations of ingredients (think rappini, beets, and eggplant all on one pizza).

After heading back to the hotel for a little bit of relaxation, we stopped by the hotel bar for drinks. The Italian version of "Happy Hour" is called "Apperetivo," where you have a drink and get some free snacks (potato chips, peanuts, olives) along with it. If you've never had an Apperol spritz before I highly recommend it. It's this bright orange cocktail that has Apperol (a bitter liquor), Proseco (the Italian version of champagne) and orange flavoring. It's super tasty and all the rage in Italy. Seriously- every table at any cafe will have someone drinking it!

Next stop was Eataly (which you can read more about here ) and then we went out for dinner and gelato.

Day 4: On the fourth day, we hopped on train for a 45 minute ride to Tivoli gardens. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous and there were lots of great photo ops! Not a ton of flowers, but lots of greenery and water features. I felt like I was in a fairytale. Later, we stopped for lunch at a lovely restaurant in the area. My dad and I both had Margherita pizzas (his personal favorite) and the setting was just too classic.

At night, we made our way over to the Trevi Fountain to discover that it has been closed. I was pretty upset that I couldn't have my "Lizzie McGuire Movie" moment. So instead of dwelling on the loss we went out to dinner at a gorgeous restaurant that had the best outdoor setting- lots of flowers, vines, and lights.

Day 5: We spent our last day in Rome at the Colosseum and the Forum. The line for the Colosseum was ridiculously long, and we didn't have much interest in going. So instead, we hopped in the much shorter line for the Forum. The Forum is great because you can explore at your own whim. It really feels like you're being transported back in time. After our day of exploration, we had a lovely lunch (al fresco, of course) in which I had the best tomato and mozzarella salad ever.

To go out with a bang on our last night, we went to this super-fancy restaurant for drinks. Each of our cocktails cost $35, but were well worth it, if you ask me (my dad is a different story.) We didn't want to eat our meal in that restaurant because it was so expensive, but we also didn't want to run around Rome looking for a restaurant. So, instead, we ended our Rome experience at Mamma Angela's once again. Oh, and they even gave us free champagne!

So that's Rome for ya. Look out for a post about the rest of my trip later this week!

Ciao for now!           

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