Well, this is it. The end of an era...Actually, its just the end of our trip to Italy!
We ended our Italian adventure by driving from Milan to Rome - this was the longest drive we made, and I feel it is worth mentioning the Autogrill. The interstate system in Italy is a bit different in that its a lot harder to come by a fast food joint for a quick bite right off an exit. Enter, the Autogrill! Truly, this place is amazing! In most cases, the building spans over the highway and will have everything you need, including a cafe if you're looking for a full meal, snacks, gifts, wine, groceries...Autogrill has it all.
We arrived in Rome pretty late at night, but Rome is one of those cities where its impossible to go more than a few blocks without seeing something amazing. This is only amplified at night when all the monuments are lit up, so by the time we had arrived at our hotel, Aleph Hotel Rome, we had our second (or third or fourth) wind and were ready to explore! We walked to the Trevi Fountain and then the Spanish steps before enjoying a nightcap, and finally, crashing.
The next day, never ones to shy away from exploring a city, we walked the mile and a half from our hotel to Vatican City. In my opinion, walking is always the simplest, easiest and best way to explore a city (its healthy too!). We took in all the sites along the Tyber River and arrived at the Vatican Museums in time for our reservation. I know I said it in Florence, but seriously, do not even attempt to go to the Vatican without pre-purchasing tickets. The lines! The pan-handlers! The LINES! Save yourself! I bought our tickets off tickitaly.com and we walked right in, bypassing literally thousands of people in the line!
After leaving Vatican City, we walked a short ways and found a quiet lunch at nearby a restaurant to begin working on our strategy to see as much of the city as possible (we really only had this one full day in Rome). Kyle discovered that Uber was offering a two hour tour for 150 euro, and we decided to give it a shot. If you're ever in city like Rome, where there is so much to see and you only have a short window of time, this is a great way to get around! We were able to see Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Capitale, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Aventine Hill all within our two hour window! Our driver took us right up to each monument, we hopped out to take pictures or grab coffees, and then we were off to the next sight. We saw as much of Rome as possible at lightning speed, but with a rain storm coming in and a very short amount of time, Uber saved the day!
That evening, we took a walking food tour in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome and enjoyed some of the best food, company and conversation of our trip. Eating Italy came highly recommended and did not disappoint! As part of our Twilight Trastevere tour we enjoyed wine and appetizers in a cellar that dates back 150 years before the Colosseum, sampled Roman street food, went behind the scenes at local bakery and enjoyed the best.gelato.ever.
How else could we end our trip than at a cafe overlooking the colosseum?! * Tip: While, the pictures were amazing, this is actually a huge tourist trap. We had one drink and hightailed it out of there to enjoy a nice meal at a jazz club and cafe just down the street from our hotel called Elegance. Sounds swanky, right?! The staff was so welcoming and friendly, there was great live music, the food was delicious and the people watching...magnifico!