I have been dreaming about Rome since 2003 when my childhood idol, Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff), went to Rome after her 8th grade graduation. Anybody who really knows me that the Lizzie McGuire movie is my all-time favorite movie. I’ve been dreaming since I was 7-years-old about going to Rome and falling in love and making a wish in the Trevi Fountain.. and my dreams came true! But not only did they come true…I got to experience them with one of my favorite people.
When trying to decide where we wanted to go on our little weekend getaway while he was visiting me in Spain, I suggested Rome and he agreed because he really wanted to see the Colosseum, so that’s where we decided to go! It wasn’t until after I had booked our flights and gotten us a place to stay before he found out the true reason I wanted to go.
We left my second class early so we could get to the airport. However, I made the mistake of taking a bus that I don’t normally take so I didn’t know the route.. We ended up clear up past my house which is a good 30 minute walk to the train station at least. We walked to a different bus stop that I knew would take us to the train station and we made it there eventually. But because of this little delay, we were pushing it for time. I was super stressed and worried we wouldn’t make our flight. It was deja vu for me after the weekend before going through the same thing with almost missing my flight to Paris. We made it just in time, thanks to security being easy to get through and our gate stayed the same so I didn’t have to run across the airport again like I did the week before.
It wasn’t until we were on the plane that the excitement really started to kick in. I was going to ROME. With my BOYFRIEND. Honestly, how many people my age get to say that unless they’re married? I WAS SO EXCITED. I was literally bouncing up and down in my seat and Ryan just rolled his eyes at me. Part of it was that I was listening to the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack also so that was also getting me super hyped. I was going to get to have my “Lizzie McGuire moment”! With my “Gordo”! I had been waiting my whole life for this!
We had a layover in Paris (which didn’t really make any sense but it was the cheapest flight I could find so that’s what we went with). We flew AirFrance and I really enjoyed it. We got these little baguettes on the flight with cheese and butter and they were really good! Ryan loved them. We also got free drinks so I got some wine and he got some whiskey and coke. I was a little more calm on our second flight (which was strange cause that was the actual flight to Rome). We got more baguettes and drinks on the second flight also.
We finally made it to Rome around 11 pm. I had done some research earlier in the week and knew what we needed to do transportation wise to make it to our bed and breakfast we were staying at. However, when we were buying tickets for the train, a man informed us that the metro would be closed by the time we made it there. He asked where we were going and we told him. He had a badge and a suit so he looked professional and like he worked at the airport. Turns out, he was a taxi driver. He offered to take us to our bed and breakfast for 35€ which the train for both of us would have costed 28€ and then we would have to pay another 3€ for the metro so it was only a couple more euros. He was going to try to find some more people to go with us so we followed him to T3 and sat and waited while he did that. Ryan and I got a little nervous about this being a scam but we didn’t really have any other option because it was late and public transportation was ending soon. The man found two other girls to go with us and so we went to his car and started for our bed and breakfast.
The girls were really nice. One of them was Italian which made me feel a little better because she talked to him in Italian and I figured if a native was okay with him and his taxi driving, then it was okay for us to go also. They were from Boston but were studying in France but they were in Rome for the night and had a flight out the next day. They didn’t have a place to stay, so the taxi driver was going to help them find somewhere. He called our bed and breakfast for us to see if there was another room for the girls to stay in but there wasn’t. We eventually made it to our place and paid him..but when we went to the door, we couldn’t get in. Luckily, the taxi man and the girls were still sitting on the street and so we went and asked and he called again to see if the guy could let us in. The owner of the bed and breakfast wasn’t even there but he said he would be there in 5-10 minutes. So we waited for him. However, a man came and opened the front door because he was going outside to smoke and he let us in. We went up to the floor we needed and rang the doorbell. Another random man came and opened the door. He was British and he was in his underwear, so we could tell he definitely wasn’t the owner. He asked if we were also staying there and we said yes and so he let us in. He went back to bed, but showed us where the wifi password was so we could connect to it. By the time we did that, the owner came in and asked how we had gotten in. We told him someone staying here let us in and he was kinda surprised but didn’t seem to really care. He showed us our room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and told us a couple of things we needed to know and then he left. Our room was HUGE. Which was surprising because everywhere I’ve stayed in Europe has been pretty small. For breakfast, there were some croissants and espresso for us. Each day, someone came and made our bed for us..so that was nice also.
On Friday morning, we headed for the Colosseum. We knew it wasn’t far from where we were staying..but we weren’t exactly sure what direction we needed to go. We got a little lost but we eventually found it! We got approached by a lot of street vendors and Africans who tried to guilt us into buying the bracelets they “gave” to us. We also got asked about 30 times if we wanted to “skip the line” and do a group tour through the Colosseum. We said no and went on our own. It was a lot cheaper than we thought it would be. We got audioguides also so we could learn some of the history because I learned a lot when we got them at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona so I figured it would be a good investment. Ryan loved the Colosseum. He was so excited! It was cute because I’ve never seen him that excited before. I thought it was really cool! I’m not into that whole “gladiator/fight to the death” kinda thing, but it was cool to see something with so much history and something so old that was still standing.
After the Colosseum, we stopped by the Arch of Constantine which is the oldest of the Roman arches. From there, we went to find some lunch because we were starving. We went to a small café near the Colosseum and Ryan had a pizza and I had some tortellini with ham and a creamy sauce. It was very delicious!
We then went to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Our ticket for the Colosseum also covered these two places so that was really nice! The Roman Forum was full of ancient Roman ruins. We wandered through the Forum and learned a little about what we were seeing, before eventually ending on top of Palatine Hill and seeing over everything we had just looked at.
We then headed for this giant white structure that we noticed while we were in the Forum. We saw people on top of it and so we wanted to see if we could get up there too! It turned out to be an art museum/Piazza Venezia/the Monument of Vittorio Emanuelle. We climbed the stairs but couldn’t get all the way to the top unless we wanted to pay to take an elevator ride. So we ventured back down and ended up accidentally sneaking into the art museum. We didn’t mean to but that’s just what happened! We walked right by a ticket window and the man didn’t stop us, so we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong..
From there, we headed for the Pantheon. It was really cool! We didn’t spend much time there but we did go inside for a minute to see the inside of it. When we got there, there was a man playing electric guitar and singing and when we went to leave, there was a man who was singing opera. He was INCREDIBLE. The acoustics of that area were really good and his voice bounced off the buildings but it enhanced his performance so that was cool. We went to find this coffee shop near the Pantheon that was supposed to have the best coffee in Rome. It was decent but I had had better. I was slightly disappointed because I had been told multiple times that Italian coffee is the best coffee in the world..and I wasn’t overly impressed. But oh well! I can say that I tried it.
Finally, it was time for my dream to come true! We headed for the Trevi Fountain. I can’t even describe my feelings. I was so excited and awestruck and in love with it. It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. We made our wishes together, and I made Ryan take a lot of pictures (but is anybody really surprised by that?).
It got really crowded after the sun went down, so we went to find some gelato. One of my friends from Dubuque told me about this place she went that was right near the fountain and she said we HAD to go there, so we did. It was really good! I got Oreo and coffee (surprise surprise) and Ryan got Snickers and cheesecake. From there, we headed for our bed and breakfast because we were exhausted. We stopped for dinner along the way and we split a pizza. To be honest, we both probably could have eaten a whole pizza ourselves because the crust was really thin, but since we just had the gelato, we just split one and called it good.
On Saturday, we headed to Vatican City to see St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. We waited in line for about an hour/hour and a half to get through security, which wasn’t too bad considering how long the line was when we got in it. But, it rained a little and I didn’t have a coat because the weather the day before was really nice and sunny and I got warm in my long sleeves.. so I figured I would be really hot in my sweater and leggings, but the outfit ended up being perfect for the day! (Minus not having my coat. But it only rained a little so I dealt with it. At least I didn’t have to lug around a coat all day when the rain did quit.)
We decided to go to the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral. We could either pay like 5€ to climb the stairs or 7€ to take the elevator halfway. We decided just to climb the stairs but holy cow. I didn’t realize how many there would be. I knew there were like 551 to get to the top but it easily felt like we climbed about 700 if not more. We got to the base of the dome and went inside and it was cool to see into the cathedral from above. Then we continued and climbed all the way to the very top where we could see over Vatican City and Rome. It was really windy and chilly but it was cool to see! I was very thankful to be done with stairs though when we got back down to the bottom.
We went into the cathedral and looked around. I was excited because this was something I had learned about in my art history class at UD and Ryan was excited because he loves cathedrals. Apostle Peter’s tomb was located inside, so that was really, really neat to see, even though the actual container with his ashes was very small. We tried to get a good picture of it, and I even got on Ryan’s back to try to get up high enough to snap a good one but it didn’t work.
After the cathedral, we went to find some lunch because we were hungry. We went to a small restaurant and we both got pasta. Ryan got ravioli and I got fettuccini with some mushrooms. This pasta was almost better than the place we ate at the day before because I could taste the homemade noodles.
We then headed for the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. We got stopped along the way by more people asking us if we wanted to “skip the line” and that if we didn’t go with them we wouldn’t be able to get in because the last entry was at 4 pm. But it was only 3 pm when we were heading there, so we ignored them and went on our own. We had plenty of time and the line was short. The main thing we wanted to see was the Sistine Chapel and The Creation Of Adam. We had to walk through a ton of different exhibits to even get to it..and when we got there, we saw The Last Judgement but we didn’t see The Creation Of Adam. We walked out super disappointed because we didn’t even see The Creation of Adam. So we decided to go back and try again to see it. We when we finally made it back, we saw it and it was way smaller than we thought it would be. Both of us thought it’d be this large mural on the ceiling but we were terribly mistaken. I was kind of disappointed by how small it was, not going to lie. Pictures and videos were not allowed.. which I learned the hard way. I got in trouble because I tried to be sneaky and take a photo and I got caught. I had to delete them and give the security guard my passport so he could radio in my name. It was a little scary because I thought I was going to go to jail or something but I didn’t. Oh well, it could’ve been worse!
We left and took the metro back to Rome to go find the turtle fountain. This is how I knew Ryan is a keeper, because even before we started planning anything to do in Rome, he texted me saying that there was a turtle fountain there! So, we went. I, of course, loved it! But I love anything that has to do with turtles so that’s not really surprising. We had a “love lock” with our names and the date on it that we were going to put somewhere around the turtle fountain because “you love turtles so we should put it there.” But it was too small to fit around any of the poles near the fountain and I was too cheap to buy a bigger one. So we ended up keeping it until we could find a better spot.
We decided to go back to the Trevi Fountain and see it at night. We stopped for gelato along the way at this shop that had 150 different flavors. I got espresso and chocolate, because the coffee one I got the day before was really bitter and strong so I figured something like chocolate that would be sweet would create the perfect balance. (I was right.) Ryan got Kit-Kat and Twix and neither one tasted like what they were supposed to but he still enjoyed them.
When we got to the fountain, the poles around there were also too big for my lock..so we decided to throw it in the fountain together. Ryan had suggested that earlier but I really didn’t want to because whenever they clean out the fountain, it was just going to get thrown away..but we didn’t really have any other choice. So we threw it in together and it was really cute.
After that, we headed to see the Colosseum at night. We stopped at some more ruins along the way and then stopped for dinner. Ryan got another pizza and a liter of beer, I got more tortellini with ham and some wine. Once again, it was delicious! I don’t think it’s possible to eat bad food in Rome but maybe we just got lucky and chose good places to eat.
We made it to the Colosseum and got to see it lit up. It was pretty and so much different than during the day when theres hundreds of people surrounding it (not even just waiting to get in but also the street vendors and the tour guides that harass you).
During our time in Rome, we also stopped in two random cathedrals that we found. They were both really cool! I definitely recommend going in random cathedrals in Europe because they’re all so incredible and similar but different all at the same time.
Rome was everything I had ever imagined it would be and more. I was so lucky to have been able to experience it with Ryan. It was a very ROMEantic (lol sorry, I’m really good at bad puns) weekend overall. I had so much fun and was so happy! I would love to go back someday, but there are other places in Italy that I would like to see first. My “Lizzie McGuire moment” was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. It definitely was what dreams were made of.