9.04.2012

rome: the end. (finally.)


I love traveling. I love it. But I'm the worst at sitting down right away to filter through photos and write about my trip. Maybe because it's so fresh, it's overwhelming? Who knows. But then, when I do try to write about a visit, it gets so wildly lengthy that I can't help but think,

"No one is going to read this, Beth. People just want PHOTOS. Shut your mouth up and post some cute photos."

So, incase I haven't already convinced you to visit Rome...I'm just going to bombard you with this final, photo-heavy post...with a little text in between. Feel free to skip the text. Just consider this one last plea to take a trip to Italy as soon as your budget allows. ;)

 
For reference, I hung out within this beautiful triangle of space which enveloped Piazza del Popolo, Fountain de Trevi, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, so most of these photos are from wandering in that area...with a sidestep over to the Vatican. I did visit the Roman ruins and the Colosseum...the famous spots, but this area was what I truly enjoyed most of all.


Full disclosure, I took mostly iPhone photos on this trip. Not my usual travel groove, but I was traveling alone. Most days I walked 6-7 miles in beasty heat and humidity! By day three, toting a DSLR with an extra lens, plus normal purse contents had given me serious purse arm. And, the streets are packed...even after dark. It makes stopping to pull out your camera, adjust your settings less than easy. Since I was alone and often walking home after sunset, I opted for comfort and safety.

So, I only took my DSLR out on shorter trips, less busy day trips. Because sometimes you just need to enjoy yourself.

 
The Vatican (above) is...amazing. Unfortunately you cannot take photos in the Sistine Chapel, and the place is crazy full of people. Oh, and it's boiling-lava-hot inside. But definitely worth a trip. Just be sure to buy tickets in advance, otherwise you risk standing in line (in the elements) for an hour or more!
 
 
Every day I walked past this adorable bookstore that was packed to the ceiling. Literally. An old gentleman sat inside, often talking to someone on the phone. So I'd pause, page through the stacks of books and listen to him speak in Italian.

 
Sidewalk cafes are around every, single corner. Perhaps this is why I loved Rome so much. An opportunity to eat every 10 feet? Why not! In the busier areas, there were often men whose only job was to lure you into their cafe, shouting at every passerby:
"Bella! Miss! Stop and eat! I'll give you a very nice table!"
 
 
Since I'm not a fancy foodie, I often chose my lunch and dinner cafe by whomever said the funniest, sweetest or most interesting line as I passed. Yeah. I'm a sucker like that. ;)
 
 
There is so much shopping to do. I window-shopped, as I didn't have space or cash for anything extravagant. But the finest stores line these streets...some even guarded by buff Italian men. I kept my distance from those, but did come close enough to snap a few photos of lustable Miu Miu shoes + coats.
 
 
Most streets genuinely DO look like the above photo. Charm and creeping ivy are around every single corner. At night, the sidestreets stay quite busy...some are guarded by police, too, so I felt pretty safe wandering about!

 
 
Trevi Fountain was perhaps the most busy area of Rome I encountered. It took me five minutes to get close enough to the water to toss in a penny + make a wish! But it's very worthy of a stop. The streets nearby are lined with vendors selling Roman Holiday posters and all kinds of trinkets. It's a wonderful area in which to find yourself lost. Oodles of restaurants offer outdoor tables here...it's a fabulous people-watching location! :)
 
 
And finally, a word to my single ladies: Go to Rome. Go. Since I was eating alone, a few charming waiters brought me lemoncello + wine on the house...then hung around to chat. One waiter offered to take me dancing after his shift ended. (Obviously I declined. My friend, Lauren, was right...wedding rings just seem to be an invitation for Italian men to try harder!) On my final night in Rome, I was eating solo in Piazza Navona when a guy on a bike stopped to ask if I'd like company. I'd read that this happens frequently if you eat alone...so I politely, and yet awkwardly, told him I was married, but he was welcome to pull up a chair + chat. He laughed, and did anyway. Turns out he was an American expat, living in Italy for five years. So, we had fun discussing the perils + tribulations of expat-hood!

No funny business. Totally respectable, just friendly. Swear on a stack of Domino Magazines. But, after a week of talking to myself, it was so nice to have a conversation with a stranger!

From my experience...the people are so, so nice. The men were flirty...but not sleezy. If you're single, your chances for meeting an Italian heartthrob are pretty high. Just be smart + keep your wits about you!

And that, my friends...was Rome. :)

15 comments:

  1. It's one of the first times after reading your blog that i'm happy to be in europe and only need to sit in the car and drive down to italy! ;)
    and i will do that - someday!

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  2. great post, love your photos + stories about the Italian men! It's nice when people just want a chat and you can make a new friend without worrying about what they think about you being married, etc!

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  3. it sounds like so much fun! I've heard that Rome is beautiful and you've definitely convinced me. and I love that the men are so friendly :)

    when I went to Milan last year, it was kind of the opposite. they were so sleazy and gross. when my group of friends and I were on the roof of some chapel, there were guys taking pictures of us from the other side and one guy followed us around, video-ing our butts. so that was not so awesome.

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  4. I went to Rome when I was 14. I was with a big tour group, 40 teenagers, guides, craziness. Reading your posts about Rome made me see a different side to it, that romantic side that I got none with when I was there. I'd love to go back. And I'd love to be more gutsy about traveling alone. Maybe one day :)

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  5. @Gloria: Lucky duck! You should definitely take advantage of that closeness!

    @Eve Maria: Thanks! And yes! If I were stateside, I probably would have reacted differently to a dude wanting to share a table...but I guess when you're in a foreign country, why not take the opportunity to chat, right? :)

    @Jackie: Haha, well the men are flirty-friendly. Even the old ones! So, there's an ulterior motive! But I seriously didn't see any guys acting really inappropriately towards girls in Rome. I was surprised...because I totally expected that sleazy behavior! They'd call out compliments after pretty girls, but there wasn't anything creepy like butt-videos. YIKES!

    @Anita: Oh, I bet it's so different when you're younger and in a large group, and therefore on someone else's time schedule, too! Definitely go back now that you're older and can do your own thing! :)

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  6. I loved every photo! but i do enjoy lengthy reads as well, and i'm pretty sure i am not the only one, so never hold back on your writing=] I'm so glad you had the opportunity to go to Rome and explore as you please. Something I would love to be able to do one day.

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  7. I've really enjoyed seeing all your pictures from this trip!

    Thank you again for sharing :) It really looks like you just had the best time! I can't wait to go!

    How do you edit your pictures? Do you do it through your phone? I love the light + breezy quality they all have :)

    xo! eliza

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  8. I love the way you write and your pictures are always lovely. I love hearing about Rome but can't wait to hear what you've been up to in Kuwait :)

    http://charminglittlelifeinphilly.blogspot.com/

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  9. So glad you went and so glad you loved it!

    I have to agree with what Jackie said above that men in Milan were totally different than the guys in Rome and elsewhere. In Milan, they were kind of rude and persistant, even though I held Chester's hand practically the entire time we were there just to try to get them to go away!

    This also reminds me that I still have posts to write about our time in Milan and Venice...four months later. So, you are way better than me in keeping up with stuff.

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  10. And now 'spending a week in Rome as a young single female' is going on my Before I Turn 30 Bucket List.

    I am VERY excited about all the things on there, this in particular now, it just sounds so...quaint and perfect!!!

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  11. The strangest thing has happened after reading your posts and seeing these gorgeous photos. I want to see Rome. I've never actually wanted to before. Im more of a state park kinda girl. Read:dork. But this looked amazing and the photos made it even more dream like. And I love that you had the gut to tell the guy you were married but he could chat. Its always nice to have a little platonic company.

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  12. I so look forward to your posts and am sometimes a bit sad when there's not a new one to read. I love your candor and overall ease of sharing. Now I just need some extra dough to go to Rome!

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  13. I always enjoy all of your photos, as well as all of your words! This post was lovely, and my heart now longs to revisit Rome someday soon <3

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  14. Gorgeous pics and description of your adventures in Rome. <3

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  15. It's official - I need to plan a trip to Italy.

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Every time you comment, a unicorn gets his wings. Also, my phone beeps and your words bring me joy. :)

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