What will pop out in your head when someone shouted Italy? Mine will be Colosseum, of course. I know this historical landmark maybe since I was a child, from interactive children encyclopedia my parents gave me. But turns out, Italy is so much more than the world’s famous amphitheater. Here I gave you some reasons why I (and you should) fall in love with Rome.
- The Piazzas
Italy and its piazza, it’s like a salt and pepper, never separated. Piazza means square, where people gathered. History said, not only for socializing, but the piazza is also an important part of the city’s historical, religion, and civilization. In Rome, there are so many piazzas and I bet all of them are beautiful. But since I was there for only a day so I just managed to visit some of it. It was beautiful anyway.
The first piazza I visited was Piazza del Popolo. I was meant to visit the Villa Borghese Park, then I passed this piazza. Piazza del Popolo means People’s Square. In the middle of the piazza, you could see an obelisk. I didn’t know the history behind it back then, but now since I could Google it, the internet said it is an Egyptian obelisk, called Flaminio Obelisk. At the same piazza, there is also a famous church Santa Maria del Popolo, but since I don’t have that many time I just took some pictures and proceed to the other destinations.
Walking distance from the Piazza del Popolo, passing the famous Villa Borghese Park, there is Piazza di Spagna. It is indeed my favorite piazza in Rome. The vibe, the crowds, the colors of the building, the sound of the fountain, I just fell in love at the first step. You might recognize this piazza because of its famous Spanish Steps. The staircase leads to a barroque style church, Trinita dei Monti. They said the square was also crowded back to hundred years ago and become the meeting point.
In the center of the square, you can spot a fountain, Fontana Della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat). The fountain indeed looks like a weird shape boat. The establishment was inspired by a sinking boat through the flood caused by Tiber River in 1598. The other things that make me fell in love with the piazza are the shops around. You can find many high-end stores like Chanel, Valentino, Furla, you name it. If you the money, then you can go spend your cash or in my case, just window-shopping.
There is a saying, all road leads to Rome, and I feel like all road in Rome leads to another piazza. When I just walking around the city and didn’t know where to go, I checked the map and it shows that Piazza Navona is like 12 mins away. So there we go. This piazza is also famous because it was featured in Julia Robert’s Eat Pray Love. The piazza is so charming with its barroque style. Like any other piazza in Italy, Piazza Navona also have fountains. Yes, it’s plural. Unlike any other, Piazza Navona has three beautiful fountains, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno. The other things I love about this piazza is it is surrounded by so many cute cafes and restaurants. Also, many streets artist and street performance just add ups the vibes.
My last piazza in Rome was Piazza Venezia. It was in the center of four major roads in Rome. Rules as the center of the attention, Altare della Patria or Altar of the Fatherland. A monument built to honor Victor Emanuel II. This piazza doesn’t look like any other piazza in my opinion. When I passed the area with the bus on my way to Colosseum, I thought the building was some kind of palace or presidential house.
Another Seven Wonder of the World ticked off my bucket list! Actually, I didn’t know much about the great history behind it. I just know that Colosseum was served as a bloody gladiator fight arena. This massive ancient building also used as a venue for beast shows, where lots of wild animals were slaughtered, from lions to elephants. Imagining it makes me cringe that such a beautiful building has a bloody history behind.
I also didn’t enter the Colosseum, because I arrived around 6 pm and it gonna closed soon (or it was already). My comment on this site was, the Colosseum was big! Tips: took photos from the stairs and the bridge uphill the Colosseum. I didn’t know how to explain the exact location, but you will know what I mean once you get there!
- Trevi Fountain
Visiting Rome without visiting Trevi Fountain is just useless. Rome has so many fountains, yet this one is one of the most visits and becomes the landmark of the city. I always thought that the fountain is so big and located in the center of the city, but it was all wrong. The fountain is located on the narrow street and the crowd was so packed! But don’t worry it is still beautiful but isn’t as big as the one you saw in the picture.
In the fountain, there are some statues symbolizing some elements, like Oceanus portray by Neptune in the middle of the fountain, two tritons and two horses, woman holding vases symbolizing abundance and health, and other statues that I didn’t know the meaning behind it. You might also hear the myth about tossing coins into the fountain. Legend said if you tossed the coin into the fountain, you could return to Rome.
- Beautiful alley
I might only spend a day in Rome, but I walked a lot during the day. I only took one journey of the metro, from my hotel to Piazza del Popolo and it wasn’t far. So during my walk, I passed so many beautiful alleys. One alley leads to another beautiful alley and more piazza. In the alley, you could find so many stores, to high-end stores to local curated stores, all in the beautiful building. Don’t forget to also count the beautiful restaurants. The pebble stones street also makes me feel like belong to some kind of ancient story. It was just too lovely.
- The foods
Italy is famous for its food. Pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, you name it all. But I’m not gonna talk much about it since I just visited a restaurant once during my time in Rome and once in Pisa (this one isn’t Italian restaurant tho). My parents are so strict about the halal requirement for our food, so I need to find a halal Italian restaurant. I found one and it’s really good, the name of the restaurant is Luna Caprese. Don’t imagine a chic classic Italian restaurant, because it was far from it. It was kind of a small restaurant in the alley near Trevi Fountain. They sell many variants of pizza. I had lasagna and it was the best lasagna ever in my life!
While you were in Italy, don’t forget to eat gelato! I am not a sweet tooth, but I feel it is mandatory to buy a gelato while I was in Italy. So I came across a small shop near Trevi Fountain, Gelateria Valentino. I had my gelato in three scoops. I forget what flavor I chose, but all of it was good!
- My hotel
I only spend a night in Rome and the hotel was the best during my stay in Europe. Okay, it may not a famous luxury chain hotel, but the hotel that I book is pretty in its own way. The name of the hotel is Cesare Balbo Inn. The location is just 15 min walking from the Colosseum. When I read the description on the website, I thought they just talking big, but it was true! And my walk from Colosseum to my hotel is too lovely. It was at night and I have to walk along a lovely vibrant alley.
The room is not really big for four persons, but it was enough, unlike our hotel in Paris which is so small. They provide free flow drinking water, tea, and coffee. The WiFi was fast. And the building is like hundred years. The location is the highlight of the hotel, near the Colosseum, metro is 5 mins walking, and Roma Termini is 10 mins walking. Also, there was a weekend market in the alley next to the hotel.
- Last but not least, Pisa Tower
I put Pisa Tower in the last of the list because I was too busy talking about how lovely Rome was. The next day I took a train from Roma Termini to Pisa. My brother booked the ticket from the website days before. The train is really neat, just like an airplane. The three hours ride was convenient because I got to sleep and see the sea line scenery.
Pisa is really that lean on the real life. I thought people do some kind of photo tricks to exaggerate the leanness, but they weren’t. Apparently, during the construction, they meant to build a vertical tower, but it started to lean during the construction because of the contour of the land. The Pisa Tower is one of the four other buildings around, all of it were cathedrals and the area is known of Field of Miracles. It was so hot and crowded during my visit to Pisa so I didn’t enjoy it very much. I just took a typical tourist photo, like holding the tower with my hand but I failed.
Amo l’Italia. I have to go back to Italy and explore other cities. My dream is Amalfi, Verona, and Milan. Maybe next summer 😛
So that was my reasons why I fell in love with Rome. Mind to tell me yours?