Monday, June 11, 2012

Trip to Italy: Part 1 - The Feel of Rome

A few years ago, Hollywood talked about wanting to go to London someday. She had met some cousins of my mom's at a family reunion who live in England and thought it would be fun to go visit them. This is when the idea of the graduation trip was born. I told the kids that as a graduation present, they could pick any destination (within reason - we don't really want to travel to North Korea or anywhere unsafe) and go there with The Husband and me after graduation. I think of it as a sort of 'fond farewell' to them as they begin the next chapter of their lives and move away to college.

We began to research London and since this is the year of the Olympics being hosted there, we thought another destination might be a better choice. Hollywood's next choice was Italy. The Husband's mom (Grandma J) came along with us too, which meant that TH had to put up with four females on this trip (we brought Goblin along since I'm still nursing.) He did a great job putting up with us.

Because we got such a great deal of flights leaving on Memorial Day, we had to rush out of town immediately after the graduation party. It made for a looooooong few days, but was worth it. Our flights were uneventful and Goblin was a champion traveler. I was amazed at how well she tolerated the plane ride.

Once we got to Rome, our plan was to leave most things open so that we could be flexible if Goblin was having an off day. This worked well for us, but I like traveling this way, even when there isn't a baby along. I had a rough outline of what I'd like to see, and for the most part, we followed it, but there was some wiggle room. We used a guidebook to help (Rick Steves' Rome Guide) and there was a lot of useful information there.

We rented an apartment in Rome so that we could come back there if Goblin needed a nap or was just not enjoying all of our sightseeing and needed a break. The apartment was fabulous. It was a two bedroom, two bath apartment in a fabulous old building built in the 1500s. We stayed near the Piazza del Popolo, just off Via del Corso, which is a main north/south street in Rome.

This is a picture of our street. The entrance to our apartment was on the right of the photo, just to the right of the arbor vitae. The streets are brick and uneven, and really pretty. Our apartment windows were one floor above the maroon shutters that you see in this photo.
*Photo of our street in Rome

This meant we could look down on the street (foot traffic and delivery trucks only were allowed on it) and watch people eat their breakfasts at the cafe. We weren't the only ones spying on the people down below:


That area of Rome houses a ton of shops that range from cheap everyday clothing shops like H&M to high end designers I'd never heard of. Here are some photos from the shops.






Here's one called da DADA. Which we thought was funny because, well, The Husband is "Da Da Da":


Not all of the shops were fancy - there were plenty of street kiosks like this one selling touristy stuff:


And the shoes... Oh there were amazing shoes in Rome:



Just around the corner was a really great wine shop. It was dark and beautiful:


Our apartment was in a great location because we were within walking distance of the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Venezia, the Trevi Fountai - basically the center of Rome - and about a million streetside restaurants. Here are some of the sights we took in as we walked around:





Hollywood wanted to get a good feel for a place in Italy instead of hopping from city to city, so we stayed in Rome for most of the trip and then ended our holiday with a trip to the beach in a tiny little picturesque town of Sperlonga. I'll write a post that has more details about the beach.

Someday I would like to see the other great places in Italy. Florence, Venice, Naples, The Cinque Terre, etc. Rome, though, was amazing. I can't even describe how fabulous it was, but hopefully some of these photos will help. Such a unique city. Tomorrow I'll write about the places we saw.


Luda said...

Beautiful! I'm glad you guys had such a wonderful time.

Kirsten said...

Just gorgeous...I like the way you guys travel, too. And I am totally not a shoe ho, but I would have had to get a pair of those orange pumps! I wouldn't even wear them ('cause I'm a klutz), just put them in a case and look at pretty.

I love that you had such a great time. Hollywood knew what she was doing picking Rome as a graduation trip destination, for certain.

Little Miss Sunshine State said...

As always, your photos are just gorgeous.

I hope to get to Italy someday. Just me and the hubs, for at least 3 weeks.