Rome – La Dolce Vita

Rome is a city that I had wanted to visit for many years but had never quite got there. I decided for my 2017 birthday trip that now was the time and I was not disappointed by this amazing destination!

We stayed in Hotel Laurentia which is a hotel in San Lorenzo which my parents had previously stayed at and had recommended. **Mini Hotel Review**

There is so much to see in Rome that Al and I did quite a bit of planning before we embarked on the trip in order to maximise our time. We had 3 full days to explore the city so picked out what we felt were the Rome “showstoppers” we didn’t want to miss. We also very much wanted to ‘wander about’ and just absorb the atmosphere of Rome. So quite a tough challenge!! Within a very short time of being in Rome we both realised that a. we wanted to visit again and b. that we were going to be using a lot of memory cards in our cameras and charging a lot of batteries!

Visually, Rome is absolutely stunning with amazing architecture around every corner. Because the weather was perfect when we visited (at least 17 degrees and sunny!) we walked everywhere and following our daily ‘routes’ was very slow going as both of us kept stopping to take pictures and shoot video.

Some of the major tourist sites we visited on our trip was the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain (yes we made a wish!) and of course the Spanish Steps.

The approach to the Vatican via Castel Sant’Angelo was stunning and there is a real buzz about the place. Piazza San Pietro and the Basilica are huge and utterly jaw dropping. We decided to join the queue to get into the Basilica which took us just an hour to get in.

It was well worth the wait as the interior of the Basilica is beautiful and a marvel of workmanship. We also took the opportunity to climb the 550 odd steps (some of which not for the claustrophobic!) up to the top of the Basilica’s dome for some breath taking views across the city.

Afterwards it was lovely to sit in the sun in the piazza and write our postcards with the Pope’s very own stamps!

For the Colosseum we had pre-booked an underground tour of the amphitheatre to learn a bit about how the famous (and grisly!) gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights were staged. We were relieved to find our entry to the Colosseum was very straightforward given the amount of things we had read on ‘Trip Advisor’ about the complexity of gaining access. We literally just walked in!

The Colosseum is majestic and vast with real wow factor! It is amazing to think that at least 55,000 spectators used to pack into there. Our underground tour was well worth booking, was very informative and gave us access to many areas off limits under the standard tickets. Our 2 day tickets also included entry to the Forum and Palantine Hill.

We experienced and saw so many amazing things in Rome and its impossible to express them all in one blog post. We had amazing food in a local and noisy trattoria with orange trees lining the street, drank birra on a sunny sidewalk, enjoyed the famous gelato and tried out our pigeon Italian on as many Romans as we could.

La dolce vita indeed.

Mini Review: Hotel Laurentia

This is a great little hotel situated in the San Lorenzo area of Rome NE of the station. The area is quite ‘student-ey’ with lots of bars and casual dining which suited us fine and was very affordable. The room rate we had included the continental breakfast, which was plentiful and varied and would suit most palates. The hot bread rolls and cold meats/cheese were refreshed often throughout the breakfast slot (7-9.30). The room was clean, a good size and the bathroom facilities were modern. It also contained a generously sized safe (easily set and operated). We found that Leandro, at the desk, to be really helpful and cheerful and he is a real credit to the Hotel. He always took the time to talk to us and provide useful local information. Likewise the other staff were very friendly, Alberto etc.

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