Rome Alone II: Lost in Italy
Let me start this post out by saying this trip was both amazing and a huge disaster. It started off with my friend that I was going to meet there cancelling and not telling me until I got off the plane and ended with me breaking my wide angle lens, but I also saw some amazing sights and art that I had been studying throughout high school and college, so I can't complain much. So, without further ado, here's what I would recommend seeing in Rome (joined by stories of the weird shit that happened to me there).
1: The Pantheon
You probably didn't have a successful Rome trip if you didn't stop here. Just saying.
Both the interior and the exterior are amazing, and I was particularly amazed by the huge hole at the top of the dome, which historians think was used as a sundial for the emperor.
(Story time: I definitely went in here in shorts and definitely shouldn't have done that but it was my first day and Italy was having a heat wave and my flight was at 6am, so sue me).
2: Trevi Fountain
Pt. 2 of places you need to see in Rome to have a successful trip. I promise. Kind of a tear jerker I'm not gonna lie.
3: The Colosseum
Do I even need to say it? Pt. 3 of things you need to see for obvious reasons.
(Story time: this random family came up to me while I was walking around and took a bunch of selfies with me. The photo I took of them doing it is below).
4: Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
Amazing. Amazing history, amazing art, amazing experience.
PRO TIP: Get a ticket in advance with a "tour guide" that will bring you straight into the building. The line to get in otherwise tends to go around the entire Vatican City walls. Not worth it to just save a couple bucks.
ALSO: wear appropriate clothing here! They will not let you in the Chapel if you are showing a lot of skin. But also keep in mind that they don't have AC.
(Story time: The best one yet: when I was here I noticed two people around my age following me around for quite some time. After I looked at them long enough they came up to me and said they had been following me around because I looked like I knew what I was doing. They were from Australia and only spoke English so we ended up chatting and going through the whole museum together and then got dinner afterwards. Such kind people).
(Story time pt 2: I hella got in trouble for taking photos in the Sistine Chapel. I didn't know you couldn't. Ooooops).
5: Spanish Steps
Very cool stop and has a great view of the city from the top.
(Story time: My dad (an amateur photographer) does this thing on vacations where if he sees a couple making out in public he'll sneak a photo of them. There was a couple doing that in the middle of the steps and I got a photo of them for my dad but the woman noticed and started laughing. All good fun).
6: Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
This is right next to the Colosseum so you might as well hit this at the same time.
7: Churches - The Church of Sant'Ignazio and Santa Maria della Vottoria
The first church mentioned above, Sant'Ignazio, is a Baroque church that has a stunning Andrea Pozzo fresco painted on the ceiling. I was surprised that I was only one of two people in there. It reminded me of the Sistine Chapel.
The latter, Santa Maria della Vottoria, also has a stunning interior but even better is the Bernini sculpture "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa" in the Cornaro Chapel.
(Story time: I did not at all plan on going in these churches. I seriously just happened upon them because I realized that the churches in Rome all had air conditioning or were just significantly cooler than the heat in Rome in June, so after the first day I just stopped in as many churches as I could to beat the heat, and I'm so glad that I did).
8: Museums - Capitoline, Palazzo Barberini, and Galleria Corsini
The Capitoline is definitely worth a stop. It has all the famous Roman and Italian sculptures you can think of! It's also just a beautiful space whether or not you recognize everything.
The other two, Palazzo Barberini and Galleria Corsini, you can get a joint ticket for. The first was a good time but the second, the Galleria, was so impressive. When I went they had an exhibit up where they showcased both Mapplethorpe photographs and ancient still life paintings right next to each other based on their similarities in subject matter.
THINGS I MISSED OUT ON:
1: Piazza Navona
2: Castel Sant’Angelo
Amazing looking castle-like structure that looks as wonderful from the outside as it does on the inside.
3: Galleria and Villa Borghese
Gallery with Caravaggio, Bernini, and Da Vinci within the city’s largest (and most beautiful) park.
4: Capuchin Crypt
For if you’re feeling a little spooky.
1: Don't worry about finding the "best" restaurants.
I'm gluten free and often eat vegan, and on my college-student budget I was able to get some of the best food I've ever had for very cheap. Just about every place you find can accommodate you and will have authentic Italian food.
2: Nasoni fountains all have cold drinking water.
Seriously saved my life when I was there. There are thousands of these fountains scattered around the city.
3: Don’t dress inappropriately here.
It’s so religious. Most of all, don’t wear shorts or tank tops in any churches.
4: Stay somewhere with AC if you are going in the summer.
Or, rather, just don't go in the summer. It’s stupid hot. Most of the museums also do not have AC.