Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Valentine's Weekend in ROMA!
We took a short 1 and 1/2 hour flight to Rome and arrived at our hotel, the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese, late on Friday evening. We started our day of sightseeing early on Saturday at the Vatican Museum in Vatican City. We booked tickets in advance online, which I recommend doing in order to avoid the queue. The museum collection is very impressive and includes Egyptian artifacts along with an unbelievable collection of Renaissance art, including its "crown jewel", Michelangeo's Sistine Chapel. It's a jaw-dropping experience to stand in front of works of art that you stared at in a text book in school and have lasted for hundreds of years!
After leaving the Vatican museum, we headed over Piazza San Pietro and the Basilica, also known as St. Peter's. Rome is one of those places where you run out of adjectives for "amazing" pretty quickly! Once again, I was blown away by the architecture in the piazza and the detail that went into every single inch that decorates the interior of the basilica. Michelangelo's famous sculpture, the "Pieta" sits behind glass here. The papal alter is beautiful as well. I recommend just sitting in the square and taking in the view.
We left St. Peter's Square and headed towards Castel Sant'Angelo, then headed on to Piazza Navona, which has multiple famous art/architecture located there, including Bernini's famous Fountain of the Four Rivers. Our next stop was the Pantheon, an amazing temple dedicated to the gods and known for it's dome that has an open oculus that allows light into the building. We continued walking until we came to the site of the Trevi Fountain, which is an unbelievable site. The size and detail of the fountain is truly magnificent! We stopped to take pictures and throw a coin in the fountain, which the legend ensures will ensure our return to Rome. :) Our final sight for the afternoon was a walk up the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna before heading back to our hotel for a break.
Saturday evening, Mark and I enjoyed a romantic Valentine's dinner at Ristorante 4 Colonne in Piazza Navona. Our hotel made the recommendation based on our craving for a seafood dinner! It turned out to be a great restaurant. We were one of the first patrons of the evening at 8:30 pm, as Italians are known for their late dinners! We started off with a class of champagne, and an appetizer. I had some delicious fried pawns. Along with a very nice bottle of wine, we chose the seafood risotto. It was fantastic! And just when we couldn't eat anymore, our very nice Italian waiter comes over and says to us "Va benne?! You make room for dessert!" He brings us back a plate full of bite size pastries, a shot of grappa for Mark and a shot of limoncello for me! Well, when in Rome....!
Sunday was dedicated to checking out the ruins. We took the metro to the "Colosseo" stop. The Colosseum is a sight to be seen as you walk out of the metro exit. It is pretty fascinating to see the interior and picture what it must have been like when the citizens of Rome came to watch the gladiators fight. Once we left the Colosseum, we headed over to the Palatine Hill and the Forum to see the ruins. With a creative imagination, you can picture yourself in the middle of the ancient city of Rome.
The Forum was our last stop of the day, as we had a flight back to Geneva Sunday evening. I already can't wait for our next trip back to Roma! It is such a historical, cultural and romantic city!