Our hotel in Rome was ideally located against the Villa Borghese Park. After checking-in we went exploring. We wandered down the nearby Spanish Steps and zigzagged our way towards the Piazza del Popolo and its Egyptian obelisk. From there we continued our walk eventually making our way through touristy Piazza Navona before visiting the best preserved of all Roman buildings, the Pantheon with its massive dome. After admiring this marvel we continued on and saw the Capital building and the Trevi Fountain and found a nice little restaurant nearby with good atmosphere for dinner.
The following day the sun was shining and we went straight to the Colosseum. We beat the lines and were able to wander through it before joining a group tour for an explanation of its history. By the time we left it was packed. We carried on to the Palatine hill and Roman Forum enjoying the history and great weather. We stumbled across a local vegetarian restaurant for an unexpected, enjoyable lunch. From there we went to the top of the Capitol building for a panoramic view of the city. In the evening we made our way to the trendy Trastevere neighborhood with its narrow cobbled streets lined by medieval houses. There are many great restaurants there, but we managed to find a terrible one. We laughed as I tried to make it look like I ate more of my meal than I did before they took the plate away.
The next morning we went to visit Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population. We first went into the impressive St Peter’s Basilica. Here we admired the impressive scale of it all. We also descended into the Vatican grotto to visit the tombs before climbing all the way up to the top of the basilica for a view over the Vatican grounds and out to Rome. That afternoon the rain came in heavy. We left the Vatican and took refuge in the nearby Castle of the Holy Angel. We returned to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. We braved the massive crowds and we were happy to get out of there. We found a bakery for lunch and took the metro back to our hotel. We were drenched when we finally returned. That evening we made up for the previous dinner as we dined on the rooftop of the hotel. The food was excellent and the fresh Burrata served with marinated tomatoes was superb.
We wandered a little more around Rome the next morning, having breakfast again at a nearby cafe. Carol threw a coin in the Trevi fountain and we picked up our rental card and left for Umbria.
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