Roma

ROME! Such a fantastic city. Love the history, love that it’s so walkable, love the food. Now the wine… not as good in Rome as it is in the rest of the country 😉 But you still can’t beat $10 table wine in Italy.

After our terribly long day of traveling from the Amalfi Coast, I was wiped out. Luckily, I got a burst of energy once we arrived at our VRBO rental. It was the best room we had the entire trip- maybe it was the A/C? No, definitely more than that. Lofty ceilings made of the original wood, from the 1600’s, smack in the middle of everything. The owner also left us a great map marked with his favorite spots. Charm was just oozing.
We started the night off with a walk around the neighborhood- we hit the Pantheon, the Torre Argentina (ruins where they think Caesar was killed- also a cat sanctuary), and the Piazza Navona, following up with pizza at Da Baffetto. 2 packed stories of deliciousness. They make the pizza right in the center of the restaurant- I can’t imagine how many they make in one night! Afterwards, we stopped for a drink and stood outside surrounded by Italian conversation. Languages are so beautiful.
It was pouring rain the morning we went to the Colosseum- I had wanted us to get there early to avoid the crowds. We definitely avoided the crowds, but I think it was mostly due to the rain. We donned our ponchos and had the place almost to ourselves 🙂 Luckily, the weather cleared up pretty quickly and we were able to leisurely enjoy the Roman Forum. I know I’ve said it a dozen times, but the history of this place!! Unreal.
Our second night in Italy was spent on a “Food Tour of Rome“. We went to several different neighborhoods, learning the history of Rome and tasting food at 7 different places. Meat, cheese, wine, pizza & pasta, cannoli, espresso, gelato (Cortona was the best gelato of the trip- so fresh). The company was great too! It was quite the the last hurrah. Our guide baffled me, since he grew up in Rome, but had a 100% American accent. Apparently he spent some time in Oregon post high school and worked extensively on losing the Italian accent when speaking English. It worked, but was amusing to hear him make the switch to speaking flawless Italian.
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Our last day was spent on foot, walking around the city. We started the day with a trip to the Vatican. We skipped the museum because I had gone a couple of years before, but we hadn’t actually gone into the Basilica. So glad we made it this trip because it  was overwhelmingly extravagant. We climbed (approximately one million steps) up to the top for a view of Rome, but my favorite part was seeing the dome of the church and the status on top, up close. The stairs are extremely narrow and fairly claustrophobic, so getting to the top was a breath of fresh air. Then, after we left, we got to see the POPE! We aren’t Catholic and don’t speak Italian, but it was still a cool experience. People really love him and I feel privileged that we were able to be there.
The rest of the day, we just roamed (sorry, I had to). We walked through small campos, past markets, and along the water. A perfect last afternoon and a summation of our entire trip. Oh and we rented segways in Villa Borghese- maybe Dan’s favorite part! Such an odd juxtaposition.
On our last night, I think 1/2 of our conversation consisted of lamentations on having to return home. As much as we missed Barley and our bed, feasting your way through one of the best food countries in the world without a single thought of calorie consumption is truly magical. We walked around the corner from our rental and dined at Trattoria Moderna, and had our last aperitivo, primi piatti, secondi piatti, and dessert. And man, was it a great last feast. And then a long flight home. LUCKILY, we got moved into an exit row, which made the trip infinitely better.
And that (finally) concludes our Italy re-cap! Only 5 months later 🙂  A once in a lifetime trip. I know some people don’t visit Italy because it’s too touristy- and I say, it’s that way because it almost can’t be beat. The diversity, the people, the landscapes, the food & wine. Just beyond. And always a new corner to discover. The Trevi Fountain was under renovation and we weren’t able to toss a coin, so hopefully that doesn’t keep us from returning one day 😉

To see the rest of our trip, in order:

Ciao!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

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Dan and I leave for Italy TONIGHT! It will be his first visit and it’s going to be awesome seeing everything with him by my side. Plus we’ll be celebrating our one year anniversary! I’m a little in shock that it’s here and also crazy excited to just be there already, relaxing and enjoying an extended vacation. We start the remodel almost as soon as we get home, so preparing for that and a 2 week trip has been a little stressful. Okay, a lot stressful. But definitely the good kind of stress, thinking of all the fun things coming up. And also my own fault… ☺ Dan knows we are going to Italy, and I think he knows which cities, but that’s about it. HA. Lots of surprises in store for him! I, on the other hand, have a big spreadsheet with a tab for each city with ideas on what to do. Type A at its’ best. Or worst if you hate plans? I promise to still be spontaneous and not let a spreadsheet dictate the entire trip. And we are way open to suggestions if you have any! SO if you’re curious, here’s the itinerary:

Houston>>Istanbul>>Venice>>Florence>>Cinque Terre>>Arezzo>>Amalfi Coast>>Rome>>Houston

I think Dan is most looking forward to Venice, and it’s a toss-up for me between just hanging in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany, and swimming in the Blue Grotto in Capri. 

Unfortunately, Dan twisted his ankle this week while playing basketball. It’s bruised all the way around and so, so swollen. It’s such terrible timing but he’s been trying to just keep it propped up with ice on it as much as possible. Fingers crossed it’ll be healed enough by the time we get there, but we may renting a Vespa in every city if not. Thus getting to live out my Lizzie McGuire dreams

And if you’re wondering about Barley, he’ll be staying with his grandparents out in Georgetown, enjoying time away from the city ☺ Big thanks to them for watching our favorite pup. I only cried a tiny bit after leaving him. Dan says to think of it as doggie summer camp.

Ciao for now!

**photos from the best Box family vaca in 2013**