I absolutely love to travel and have the opportunity to do so frequently with my husband, who’s an international airline pilot. We are empty nesters so we travel as much as possible by air or by land.
We love going to different destinations, meeting new people, learning about various cultures, eating local food and just exploring the world. I keep a suitcase packed and my passport in my purse. I’m always ready to go
Often I’m asked, “In all of your travels, where is your favorite place”? Honestly, that’s very hard to answer because every location has something charming and unique about it. I tend to respond by saying the place I last traveled. It’s usually my favorite because it’s fresh on my mind. In this case, it’s Rome!
I’ve been to Rome five times and have just spent 10 days there. Every time I travel to Rome I see and learn something new. In my opinion, it’s truly the most amazing and fascinating city in the world because of the ancient history and spectacular architecture. As many times as I’ve been there, I still haven’t seen it all. I’ve discovered there’s always more to learn and explore in Rome.
There are three main areas to focus on in this amazing city that has many faces. First, there is Ancient Rome; Second, the spiritual Vatican City; Third, the scenic Walking and Dining Tour. In an attempt to do this city justice, I’m going to write a three- part series.
“Roaming around Rome” is actually my favorite thing to do there. I always find little hidden gems like magnificent churches or buildings on side streets that get overshadowed by all the top attractions. Actually, Rome can be a little overwhelming as there is so much to see and do.
I personally think the best way to see Rome is by foot. It is a great city for walking. But, be certain to have some good walking shoes packed. Ladies, this is not a city for high heels! The streets are mostly cobblestone and there are lots of uneven surfaces. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to just wander and let yourself get lost. The locals are very nice and friendly and are always happy to help. Those who want more direction in your exploration might enjoy a guided walking tour.
A few of my favorite places to walk to are the piazzas, and there’s many to pick and choose from. Piazzas are the gathering place for locals and tourist. Of course, they all have historical significance. My favorite is Piazza Navona. This area is very large and is the most famous of Baroque Rome. It’s spectacular architecture and features three large fountains.
The most famous and beautiful fountain in Rome is Fontana Di Trevi – we call it Trevi Fountain. It was built in the mid 1700s and is not to be missed. Be sure to have your camera ready.
One of the most impressive buildings in Rome is the “Vittoriano.” It’s a monument that was built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. It’s only 103 years old, very young for Roman standards. The sparkling white marble structure is extravagant and massive. The monument has been given the nickname “the wedding cake”.
Food plays a major part in discovering the best of Rome. There are lovely, quaint and romantic restaurants all over the city. My favorite are the terrace and roof top restaurants and bars. They all feature spectacular panoramic views of the city. Italians eat at 8:30 or 9 every night and, once you are seated, you have the table for the evening. Most nice restaurants feature exquisite Italian and international food paired with a fantastic local wine.
For lunch, locals love their pizzas. Most pizzerias make them with very thin, crispy bases. Pizza-al-taglio (pizza sold by the square) is also a great way to get a quick snack or a cheap lunch if you’re on the go. This pizza is the best in the world! And for a sweet treat you must go to a “gelateria,” There’s one on almost every corner. Italians are truly food lovers and are serious about their gelato.
It’s fun to eat like a Roman and then walk off the calories as you discover unforgettable historical attractions. If you love history, love good food and love beautiful places, this is the place to go!
My next column will be on Vatican City followed by Ancient Rome.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Terri Guthrie, a world traveler, shares her adventures in this new online column, TERRI’S TRAVELS, offering traveling tips, photos and more. This is the first installment of a three-part series on Rome, the latest of her travel adventures.