I know I'm a month late in posting this but life happens... After weeks of stunning Italian country side, we've finally made it to beautiful Roma, the last city to cover from our Italian getaway. There is so much to share from this city and these are only my Nikon photos... I didn't realize how many I actually took on my phone.
We arrived in Rome by train from Venice and right from the start it was an adventure. Our Airbnb directions gave us two options of buses to choose from but when we got outside the station, neither bus options were available. After a few minutes of butchered Italian we hopped on a bus and prayed for the best. I was literally watching my GPS as we drove through the city hoping to come across what stop we should get off. About 30 mins later we jumped off the bus thinking we had grossly overshot our apt when I realized we had actually arrive on the exact road of the apt. God was exceptionally helpful during this trip :) Piazza Navona We get into the apartment, relax for a few and make our way out to find Piazza Navona. We could not have picked a better location to had stayed in. We were only a few blocks away from the piazza and the cobble stone alleys leading up to the square were filled with sweet trattorias, wine shops, vintage shops & the best gelato shop in Roma. We stopped for a pre dinner drink and then made our way over to Piazza Navona and then went on a scavenger hunt for the Trevi Fountain. While we were a bit disappointed to find it under construction, it was still an impressive site to see! (We love Piazza Navona's fountains better... they are the originals) The next day we woke up with the sun - seriously - to make our way to the Scala Sancta, also known as the holy steps. One of the most difficult and humbling experiences I've ever encountered. The steps are said to be the same set of stairs that Jesus crawled up prior to being crucified. They were brought over to Rome during Constantine's reign by his mother Helena. They have sense been covered to be preserved but there are glass windows for kneels to view what is to be considered the blood of Christ still on the steps today. It was simply incredible.
After Scala Sancta we made our way over to the Basilica of San Clemente which is one of the best places in the city to view the layer-cake effect. Underneath the current sanctuary you are able to take a tour down into some of the oldest layered remains of the city, where the current church was built upon another church which was built upon a pagan temple. The oldest of these ruins dates back to the 1st AD.
Both San Clemente and Scala Sancta are not usually on a first timers list of Roman sites to visit but are so glad that we made the time to find them. They were hidden gems among the chaotic sites like the Colosseum and Vatican. Which leads me to our next stop in our Roman adventure.
Robby was in charge of all the tour planning while in Rome and he found, hands down, THE best tour company via Tripadvisor - LivItaly. It was a small group with 3 couples and we had an amazing tour guide who knew every bit of history regarding the Vatican and Rome. He took us through the museum and pointed out so many amazing pieces of art and share so many random nuggets of information that we never would have heard had we not been with him. We could have spent all day in the museum alone but we only had about 3 hours so we made our way through the Vatican Library and then into St Peter's Basilica.
Vatican Library Awesome. Magnificent. Breath Taking. Impressive. The grandeur of this place is unreal. The attention to detail is beyond anything I've ever seen (and every church in Italy is similar in that way). Walking through the center doors is a moment I will never forget as I tried to take in what I was looking at. I think we wandered around here for another hour or two then made our way out of the country (yes Vatican City is it's own country if you didn't know this) and back into Roma. After such a long day we grabbed dinner at a little restaurant near the apt and called it a day.
St Peter's Basilica Piazza San Pietro The next morning we made our way to the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. All were impressive in their own way. The Pantheon, to this day, baffles architects with it's unreinforced concrete dome. It's remarkable.
The Roman Forum One of Robby's all time favorite movies is Gladiator so naturally his favorite spot on the trip was the Colosseum. From a distance it looks like this massive arena, similar to any college football stadium, but once you are standing next to it, looking up or looking out into the arena from the stands, you realize it is so so much more. I've said this a few times in my posts but it is truly amazing what these people were able to build during Rome's early years. While inside the grounds we listened to our handy dandy free Rick Steves walking tour of the Colosseum. We learned that they had tailgating.. even back then AND when the weather was bad they could put up a roof, aka a retractable roof before the age of technology. Brilliant. Robby could have spent all day in the dome alone but we had so much else to see in the Roman Forum so we moved on. The Roman Forum is a rectangular area/forum surrounded by tons of important ancient government ruins that used to be considered the city center. We used the Rick Steves app again and had a full tour of the forum. So much history can be seen within these 4 invisible walls... elections, speeches, trials, battles, architecture, art.. so much life. It was impressive. Well that's it for the Buffington's Italian Getaway.... I've got a few posts coming up from our recent travels but can't wait until next summer when I get to share our adventures from South Africa!! #BuffsAfricanAdventure2016