rome

The 8 Things that Surprised Me During My Trip to Rome, Italy

The Beauty of Rome

Rome, Italy was my second sojourn into Europe. Having visited Paris the year prior, I thought myself very fortunate to be going back so quickly. I had been intrigued with Rome for awhile, mostly through the lens of a movie camera.

There were so many great films like “Three Coins in the fountain” and “Roman Holiday” that set the tone for my romanticized (pun intended) and lofty expectations.

As wonderful as the city is, when I finally got the chance to visit this beautiful country, some things were not as I expected.  Not everything one envisions matches the fantasy, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have a fantastic time anyway.

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Here are a few surprises that greeted me as walked around this beautiful city:

  • Limoncello is a very popular Italian liqueur that is made from lemons. It is produced in southern Italy in places like the isle of Capri which is where I got my first taste of this ‘delicacy’. I realize that there are many fans of this drink, but personally, I found it to be just awful and hated it. I think what turned me off what the extremely thick and gooey viscosity of the drink that made me feel as though I was drinking lemon-flavored motor oil. Perhaps, my palate isn’t refined enough to appreciate it and you, dear reader may end up enjoying it.

limoncello

  • You can take an excavations (or Scavi) tour underneath the Vatican’s Basilica.  The almost two-hour tour allows you access to the Vatican Necropolis where you can view the final resting place of St. Peter, who was martyred circa 64 and buried outside the walls of the city of Rome.

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  • Like many people who have seen The Trevi Fountain in travel photos or online, subconsciously, you get the impression that the fountain is massive and larger than the mind can conceive.  However, standing in front of it in the flesh leaves a lot to be desired.  You can literally step right up to it and practically kiss the statues. It felt like a bait and switch or maybe I have a faulty depth perception and I’m getting ornery in my old age.

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  • You can literally walk anywhere because the city is very pedestrian friendly. The shops are in close proximity and very centrally located because I never had to use public transportation once.  I did pine for the opportunity to ride one of the ubiquitous Vespas that were jetting around the city. Our visit was at the height of the gas crisis, so this idea was appealing in more ways than one.

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  • The Vatican has it’s own post office where you can mail postcards/letters and get a nifty Vatican postmark in the process.  I bought a postcard and wrote a short synopsis of the day’s activities at the Vatican and mailed it back home.  It’s a nice souvenir keepsake that’s meaningful yet costs very little.

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  • The last two days of my trip to Rome I was really ill.  So much so, that I had to have help getting ready to catch our flight back home.  I got sick, courtesy of a woman who joined us on a group tour to Capri, Sorrento, and Naples.  I had the misfortune of sitting right behind her so I caught every germ that she had.  I knew that I needed something serious to combat what was to come.  Stat!  I decided to visit one of the pharmacies that is literally on every block (or so it seems) and decided to tell the pharmacist exactly what had happened and could he recommend an over the counter elixir for me.

It was difficult to discern what was what since most of the medication was written in Italian.   The pharmacist actually mixed me his own concoction…something that would never happen in the states given our strict drug regulations/laws.  He explained what it was and when and in what dosage that I should take it.   I was happy that the laws are a bit different in Italy, even though a day had passed before I could really attack my impending sickness, I do believe that his cold medicine made my suffering a little more bearable.

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  • I’ve written about this before, but I think it bears repeating.  Be wary of Romans bearing gifts!  You will see these faux Roman soldiers milling around the Coliseum which is a great photo op, but it will cost you if you want to take a pic with them or even if they ‘catch’ you taking a pic of them (like this one!) one may approach you for money.  Not the most pleasant experience to have, so be aware.

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  • While planning my trip to Rome, I learned about a wonderful concoction called “Gelato”. It seemed everywhere I turned, people were extolling the virtues of overdosing on gelato, the more flavors the better! The best way to describe this sensational dessert is to say it’s a cross between ice cream and sherbet. The texture is light; not as dense as ice cream and the flavors are more vibrant. It reminds you of a chunky sorbet because if you are eating a pineapple gelato, you will find chunks of pineapple in it.

gelato

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Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
24 Comments
  • SoloFriendly
    Posted at 12:30h, 25 June Reply

    The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/CMo9WPvmop via @aviewtoathrill

  • aviewtoathrill
    Posted at 12:30h, 25 June Reply

    New Post! The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/8OtlNxd7KJ via @aviewtoathrill

  • aviewtoathrill
    Posted at 12:30h, 25 June Reply

    The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/cfiWbpB0Rf

  • Vickie Lewis
    Posted at 12:53h, 25 June Reply

    And the food my dear??? Tell us about the food…was it? Is it?
    Do tell!!

  • Toemailer
    Posted at 13:07h, 25 June Reply

    RT @SoloFriendly: The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/CMo9WPvmop via @aviewtoathrill

  • Alesia King Montgomery
    Posted at 13:15h, 25 June Reply

    Alesia King Montgomery liked this on Facebook.

  • geekycooker
    Posted at 13:36h, 25 June Reply

    RT @SoloFriendly: The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/CMo9WPvmop via @aviewtoathrill

  • InspirngTrvlrs
    Posted at 19:03h, 25 June Reply

    The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/ewdWr7zoSc via @aviewtoathrill

  • Andrea
    Posted at 19:05h, 25 June Reply

    I was also a bit underwhelmed by the Trevi Fountain…but I LOVE Rome
    Andrea recently posted…Big In Texas: The Galleria, HoustonMy Profile

  • aviewtoathrill
    Posted at 09:09h, 26 June Reply

    @SoloFriendly @InspirngTrvlrs Thx for the RT,guys! The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/GK3Z3vgb6J

  • chickybus
    Posted at 16:47h, 26 June Reply

    RT @aviewtoathrill The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/JoMFJOIQ7l

  • Patti
    Posted at 20:10h, 26 June Reply

    We have not yet visited Rome but our son has and while he enjoyed parts of the city – overall he wasn’t that keen on Rome, a lot of mixed emotions such as you experienced. I think a good term he used was disillusioned. I still look forward to visiting Rome, but would not plan to spend a great deal of time there.
    Patti recently posted…The Last Queen of France ~My Profile

  • Danny
    Posted at 20:37h, 26 June Reply

    Ugh, I dislike it when it is forced upon you to pay for pictures. How much is it usually in this case?
    Danny recently posted…Explore the Trans-Siberian Railway: 7 Stops Along the WayMy Profile

    • Renee King
      Posted at 12:55h, 28 June Reply

      I think he asked for 10 euros, if that makes any difference. He was getting zero from me. Ha Ha!

  • Gray
    Posted at 22:23h, 26 June Reply

    I had the exact same reaction to limoncello! Hated it. Way too strong for me. I’m so sorry to hear you got sick, but really interesting about the pharmacist mixing up his own medicine for you!

    • Renee King
      Posted at 15:14h, 28 June Reply

      Glad to see that I am not alone in this. Yeah, the pharmacist really came through for me in a pinch!

  • SimonFalvo
    Posted at 06:57h, 29 June Reply

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  • aviewtoathrill
    Posted at 12:50h, 29 June Reply

    @chickybus Thanks for the RT, Lisa!! The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/cfiWbpB0Rf

  • aviewtoathrill
    Posted at 12:50h, 29 June Reply

    Thanks for the RT, Simon! @SimonFalvo The 8 things that surprised me during my trip to Rome, Italy http://t.co/cfiWbpB0Rf

  • TravelingWithS
    Posted at 13:39h, 29 June Reply

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  • Shanna Schultz
    Posted at 12:56h, 01 July Reply

    I was only briefly tempted to ride a motot scooter through the city (when I heard the sheer number of ambulances throughout the city, I could only think that they must be heading to pick up people who has been squashed on motor bikes because of the insane traffic 🙂
    Shanna Schultz recently posted…Travel Off the Beaten Path: 6 Tips for Finding Authentic, Local FoodMy Profile

    • Renee King
      Posted at 13:17h, 01 July Reply

      Shanna! You bring up an excellent point. I have to say that they were jetting around like bats out of hell. I can certainly see where they would be in dire need of ambulatory assistance. lol

  • Rhonda Washington
    Posted at 16:28h, 22 July Reply

    Great post. I’ve been to Rome twice. I don’t eat ice cream in the States, but like the Gelato. I did taste the lemoncello after hearing so much about it. A very distinct taste I must say.haha!! I have not made it to Capri or the Southern Italy area yet. I will the next time I go.
    Rhonda Washington recently posted…BETravel Twitter ChatMy Profile

  • Escapist
    Posted at 04:18h, 11 January Reply

    Interesting article! Rome is indeed pedestrian friendly and you can reach so many places simply by walking on foot…
    Yeah, I know how it is with the “fake Roman soldiers”.
    By the way: what surprised me is how small Rome really is. I imagined it much bigger. You can walk from here to there quite easily…
    But they don’t have the best subway system… So you will have to walk quite a lot.

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