Well as they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. This is very true but I sure saw it in one. You know how I always preach living in the moment and being positive? Well, I got the chance to practice what I preach. I had a connecting flight in Rome which was on time until we boarded the plane. They came on the intercom right as we were supposed to take off and told us there were maintainence issues and we had to deboard. After sitting around the Rome airport for 7 hours, they finally cancelled the flight. After rebooking my ticket on the next flight, I realized the situation wasn’t so bad after all. Yes, I have places I need to be but I am reminded once again that it’s not always up to me. God always has something bigger and better waiting when you least expect it.
Now, I’m sure you’re all dying to hear how I spend my 24 hours in Rome?! Let me start off by saying I have always dreamed of going to Rome but had never exactly planned my itinerary since I thought being able to visit was a far fetched idea. I had heard of all the places you need to visit while in Rome but didn’t know much beyond that. I was traveling alone so I was very nervous about going out to explore a new city- something I normally don’t do alone. But there is no way I could let this opportunity pass me by. So off into the unknown I went!
First, I visited the colosseum. One wrong train stop and a trolley ride later and I made it to my first stop! There were a few things I didn’t know about visiting the colosseum that would’ve made me more prepared. You have to have a ticket to enter- I figured it would be open to the public but not the case! There are of course plenty of tour agencies that will try to talk you into purchasing a guided tour. Normally I would forgo this option but I opted to take the tour since I was on a time constraint and I wanted to learn as much as possible while I was there. It ended up being a really good tour. I made sure to get there really early in case it was busy and I’m soooo glad I did! When I started my tour at 8:30, there wasnt a line and we went right in. When I left, I could hardly make my way through the sea of people. I am so glad I went to the colosseum. I feel like it’s a classic Rome experience and it was absolutely incredible to see how much detail went into the structure. Not to mention how crazy it is to be in a place where gladiators fought and up to 50,000 people would watch! It truly feels like you have gone back in time and are in a completely different world.
Next, I made my way to the Trevi Fountain. I wasn’t planning on walking because it was over a mile but I just started in that direction and kept going. Mainly because of the beauty of the city. It was an incredible walk in between filled with history and amazing architecture. If I had more time I would’ve loved to go into some of the museums that I passed along the way.
I got to the Trevi Fountain around 11 and knew beforehand it would be packed. I could hardly get down to the steps to get a good view but people were clearing out fairly quickly. I spent about 30 mins there which was plenty. It is iconic and beautiful but very crowded and too busy to be able to sit and enjoy it.
I had lunch at a side street near the fountain and decided to check out the Spanish Steps after. I was intending to walk up the steps but somehow I got on a side street that took me about 20 steps up and I was at the top of the Spanish Steps staircase! So I took in the view from the top and walked down the steps towards shopping. I look around some of the stores quickly on my walk to Vatican City.
The walk from Spanish Steps to Vatican City was by far my favorite of the day! It was long (over a mile) but was so amazing. I feel like being able to walk to Vatican City really set the scene and made me feel submerged in Rome instead of just going from point A to B. If you can, I highly suggest walking as much as possible so that you can take in as much of the city and architecture as you can.
So, where do I begin with Vatican City?! I opted to do a tour for this one again since I had no idea what I was doing. Tour sizes were large compared to the colosseum tour I had done earlier in the morning. We had about 30 people on the Vatican tour. I loved that our guide explained to us the history of the Christian Religion and how it played such a huge part of Italian culture. There is so much religious history within the Vatican and even Rome itself. The tour was the Vatican museum, then Sistine Chapel then St. Peter’s church.
The museum was incredible because every where you looked there was a mural, tapestry or sculpture. There was so much art and history. Without a guide, you wouldn’t really know what any of it was because it wasn’t well labeled but it was beautiful to look at without any information.
After getting some background knowledge and history of the Sistine Chapel, going in was a surreal experience. The ceilings and walls are covered in murals and you really feel submerged in history. There was no talking or pictures allowed in the museum which I appreciated because it allowed you to take it all in.
St. Peter’s church really shocked me the most. I had no idea how massive it is and how intricate every detail is. It is such a spiritual and moving experience. I felt so overwhelmed with emotion being able to experience something so powerful. Not only is it beautiful but it is a key part of the foundation of the Christian Religion. That is so hard to wrap my mind around but somehow when you walk in, you feel it. Like everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be and it was filled with people in awe of something bigger. What a beautiful place to worship.
Rome was fantastic. I am so proud of myself for daring to be adventurous and explore such a huge city by myself. I learned a lot about myself in Rome and am very grateful for the experience. The more of this world I see, the more I want to see. I can't wait to go back!