Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ciao! Italy 2014: Day 1 in Rome

Ciao tutti! I was hoping to post this sooner but I got caught up with work. This post will be about my first trip into Rome! 

We were supposed to have traveled into Rome on the second day we arrived in Italy, but we were unable to because of the strikes. Apparently, Rome is famous for having strikes. They happen often and always at random. When a strike happens, no one works and I mean no one. All public transportation ceases and if you are in Rome, you are stuck there until the strikes are over. We were told not to go there in fear that we will not be able to get back.

My friend and I decided to go on the third day hoping that no strikes will occur. We had to take a bus from Fiano Romano to Saxa Rubra (a small village nine miles from Rome), and then take the metro train to Rome. 

Traveling to Rome was an adventure in itself: buying boarding passes from cafe shops, everyone staring at you for being an American, making sure we got the right stops, trying to speak to people in Italian for directions, and having random men stop in their tracks to check you out as you walked by.

To enter the touristic/historic area of Rome, we had to enter the Piazza del Popolo ("the people's square).  

As we waited for the light to turn for us to cross the street, I could see the entrance into the plaza. I was completely giddy.

Entrance to the Piazza del Popolo
Once I entered, I was in complete awe at what a saw: a wide area with fountains, beautiful buildings surrounding the open space, and an Egyptian obelisk right in the middle of the plaza.
View right as I entered the plaza

Egyptian obelisk
As much as I wanted to stand there for hours just taking everything in, we were on a tight schedule since we had to get back in time for our workshop with Ahmed. 

We immediately started walking down Via del Corso to head to our destination goal: the Colosseum. However, we did (and I mean mostly me) get side tracked when we passed this beautiful church.
Beautiful artwork on ceiling

Vonnie by the alter
We then continued on our track and arrived at the Piazza Venezia, the center of Rome. Here we got to see the Altare della Patria, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum!
Altare della Patria

Yes, there were still some strikes but lucky everything was in business

The Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine
The Roman Forum
Statue in front of Forum

More of the Forum

Seeing the Colosseum with my own eyes was on top of my bucket list. My breath was taken away at the mere sight of this ancient amphitheater. I began to cry as I stared up at the building realizing that one my dreams was coming true. Words cannot fully explain all the feelings I felt that day.

In front of the Colosseum

Unfortunately, our time in Rome was coming to a close, but before we left we made sure to get our first pizza in Italy. 

I don't recall the name of the pizza, but it was delicious! It had mushrooms in truffle sauce, mozzarella cheese, and marinera sauce. This was perhaps the best pizza I'd ever had.

Oh yeah...We also had some awesome birra ("beer"). 

Pizza and birra

There was so much to see in Rome that we had to go back another day. My second trip there will be on another post. :)