Wow! Where to start. My husband and I are so incredibly lucky that his parents offered to organize and send us on our honeymoon as their wedding gift. With recent Italian ancestry, and a love for the country themselves, this was the perfect trip for them to plan. And, boy, did they deliver. My father-in-law really enjoys this type of thing, so using all of his knowledge from their own numerous trips to the country, he put together the perfect trip. The first few days were spent experiencing the history and culture of Rome.
The first leg of the trip started the day after the wedding. We were dropped off at the airport for our long flight to Rome. We tried to sleep with Italy’s timezone in transit, but we were pretty exhausted upon arriving at our hotel mid-morning the next day. After a brief cat-nap, we set out to explore.
The hotel: Nazionale Roma
Our hotel was perfectly located in Montecitorio Square. We were able to walk to almost everywhere we wanted to go, or take the metro anywhere that was just a bit too far.
I don’t even remember the names of all of the restaurants we went to (not helpful, I know). You literally can’t go wrong, though. At the suggestion of friends and family, we tried our best to find our meals away from the main streets. Turn down an ally and you’re sure to find a delightful cafe. The fewer tourists you see dining there, the better. We always ordered the table wine, and I didn’t try a single one I disliked. Between meals, we indulged our sweet tooth with as much gelato as we could get our hands on.
We arranged a truly wonderful semi-private Colosseum and Roman Forum tour. Our knowledgable guide led us and another couple through the Colosseum, giving us a detailed history of its various uses and showing pictures of what it once would have looked like. Next, she led us over to the nearby Roman Forum. The amount of history held in these ruins is hard to wrap your head around. We saw parts of buildings and roads that used to be buried deep beneath modern Rome. We learned how the ruins were repurposed time and time again throughout history.
On another day, we did a small group tour to the Vatican. My husband and I are not religious, but there is so much more to the Vatican. It contains a massive art collection and a rich history. Our guide led us behind the scenes into rooms and areas where there were no other tourists. The highlight had to be entering the Sistine Chapel after the rest of the crowds had cleared out. Our small group of less than ten people were the only ones in there. It was breathtaking. I recommend arranging this type of tour if you are able to.