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roma // awe-inspiring, larger-than-life, busy, big, old.

… if florence is small, intimate, charming, then rome by contrast is just massive, overwhelming and larger-than-life. everything is big in rome.  the colosseum, with its grand arches, exploding with history and stories and morbid tales. the vatican, trevi fountain, the spanish steps … everything is even bigger (and more amazing) than you imagine it to be.

we stayed in the most adorable little neighborhood called trastevere, which is a bit off the beaten path from the center of rome. my only major piece of advice for anyone traveling to rome is STAY HERE. truly. it’s a beautiful gem of a neighborhood, full of quaint shops, incredible restaurants and a really laid-back mood. you’ll need this after battling the crowds around all of the major sites. at least we did. trastevere was our little refuge, our escape where we could grab a ridiculously amazing slice of pizza and wander up & down the alleys, stopping to admire a local artisan or bargain for a little piece of roma to bring back homa (ha! that made me laugh, sorry).

our hotel (hotel santa maria) was in the center of trastevere, and was the best little surprise we could imagine. it was referred to us by a friend who sang its praises, and she and it did not disappoint. the hotel is built around a darling little courtyard nestled in a garden of orange trees. ORANGE TREES IN THE CENTER OF ROME. amaze.

any words i come up with are incredibly inadequate to capture all that we saw.  nothing could have prepared me for how insane it was to see the inside of the colosseum with my own eyes, to walk through the roman forum with its columns still standing, to take in magnitude and beauty of the sistine chapel.  piper was clearly equally impressed, as she now refers to the colosseum as,“that old broken thing in rome.” 

on our last night in rome we ventured back to the colosseum to see it at night – it was beyond beautiful to see it all lit up, so we hung out there for a while, taking pictures while taking it all in. we walked slowly back to our hotel, piper holding my hand, stella rotating between wen’s shoulders and arms, chatting about all we had seen and experienced. we arrived back at our hotel tired, full of adventure, and ready for the next chapter of our journey.

… off to tuscany!



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