The past weekend Steve and I took the train from Pordenone to Rome. I had been to Rome a few months ago (it was our first stop on a cruise from Genoa) in May and was fortunate enough to visit the Colosseum as well as Vatican City, where I, along with thousands of other people, got to see the Pope! Who cares that I could barely see him in his balcony and I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying?! It’s the Pope!


Flashback to May 2015 when I saw the Pope!–from half a mile away.

Prior to our trip we had been contemplating going to Florence. I had already been to Rome and I had liked the visit, but it wasn’t a city I had loved at first site/visit, so I was still leaning toward Florence. However, after my second visit to Rome, I realized why it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.

We arrived in Rome at about 11 a.m. and after sitting on a train for almost 6 hours we did the most rational thing–took a nap because we were so exhausted (to be fair we had woken up at 4:30 a.m.) After our lovely nap we (by we I mean Steve) decided it would be a good idea to go for a run through the city. I complained almost the whole time, but in hindsight it was a fantastic way to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time.

We ran through the gorgeous Villa Borghese gardens, the Piazza del Popolo, along the Tiber River, past the Castel S’Angelo, through the famous Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.


The Pantheon is an amazing structure, and its giant dome, with oculus, was the largest in the world for 1300 years and remains the largest unsupported dome in the world. The diameter of the dome is 43.30 meters or 142ft (for comparison, the United States Capitol dome is 96 feet in diameter) and is in perfect proportion with the Pantheon by the fact that the distance from the floor to the top of the dome is exactly equal to its diameter. (I did not get a good photo of it, so I borrowed one from my friend-the internet).

That night we walked around the city and it was splendid, you can round almost any corner in Rome and see a new, ancient site that’s lit up with warm, amber floodlights that make impossibly beautiful architecture even more mind blowing. We saw the Trajan Markets, the Largo di Torre Argentina (where Julius Caesar was assassinated), the Trevi Fountain (which Steve hates because it’s a little too touristy), and the Forum of Augustus. I especially loved all of these sites because there were so few people around (minus the Trevi Fountain that was extremely busy like always) it felt magical.


The Forum of Augustus was built because the existing forum was too crowded and couldn’t handle the amount of legal cases that the city and empire were generating.

Day two in Rome consisted of hitting the big three: Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill. I won’t go in to detail about those because 1) there’s so much to say and this post is already very long 2) it would probably be more educational to google them. Suffice it to say Rome was a wonderful surprise–it’s hard to believe (and a little embarrassing to admit) I thought one visit would be enough.


A panorama of the Forum with the Colosseum in the distance on the far right edge of the image.


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