It didn’t take me any time at all to know that the next travel post was going to be about the Scottish Highlands (since that’s where I’d go tomorrow if I could). But after seeing some friends post about their trip to Rome last week, I remembered, ‘I was there too!’ I will definitely be revisiting Scotland on this page again, but for now, I wanted to take you along for a little chunk of my Italian Adventure.
My parents had already been working in Rome for a week when I decided to join their trip, so most of my time running around was spent alone, which was actually fantastic! I usually started my day around 8 am when my parents headed off to work and walked close to 10 miles each day (thank you, Tieks). I was incredibly sick during this trip, (more on that later) so I ran around as much as I could until late afternoon when I would try to nap and recharge, then was up again for dinner and some late night sightseeing.
I am obsessed with history so being in a city like Rome was an absolute dream. My first day, I found a map and marked down all the locations I HAD to see during the week. I planned out a bit of a path to follow so I could walk a few of the sites each day and have plenty of time to find treasures along the way. I like to stay off the beaten path and this is a place where that rewards you greatly.
The places I planned to see my first day were the Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Altare della Patria (or Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II).
The start of my day, I passed by the Vatican on the way to Castel Sant Angelo. Located on the right bank of the Tiber River, the castle was originally commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 134 and 139 AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. If you’re like me, (have an active imagination and aren’t the biggest fan of closed spaces) steer clear of the interior corridor, pathway, spiral walkway of terror. At one point while walking downwards expecting to see the end, all I saw in both directions was stone and brick. Of course this is when my brain started screaming, ‘what if this building collapsed at this very moment?’ (I told you, active imagination). After a moment of calm breathing, I took a quick picture and walked (slow run) my way back, spending the rest of my time checking out the upper levels.
On my way to my next stop, I passed by the Palazzo di Giustizia, the highest court of appeals in Italy. You can’t miss it. The build started in 1888, and restorations of the foundation unearthed several archaeological finds in 1970.
Piazza Navona was once a competition arena and today is a space for vendors to display paintings and other works of art for sale. More than that, in every direction is beautiful architecture, sculptures, and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. When I arrived wanting pictures, the fountains in the space were being cleaned so I circled back on another day with my mum and dad and left with some gorgeous artwork.
I don’t remember too much from my first trip to Rome when I was younger, but what always stuck out in my mind was the Pantheon. Even when I had no idea what this building was, I was in complete awe. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (years after Marc Antony and Julius Ceasar died), the Roman Temple is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome almost two thousand years after it was built.
The Altare della Patria is a National Monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. Like many other buildings in the city of Rome, it is enormous and made with incredible detail.
Rome is such a phenomenal city in so many ways, and this was all seen in only one day. You can be minding your own business and find yourself standing before an archaeological dig of ancient ruins. Stay tuned for my time in the Vatican Museum and my walk through the Palatine.