Two Nights in Rome, Italy

As a wine and food lover, I have always dreamed of going to Italy. We have an Italian friend, Lucia, that lives in Mexico and is our favorite masseuse when we visit Soliman Bay. She goes home to Naples a few times every year to visit her family in Italy, and we had talked about visiting several times. With her encouragement and the thought of having an Italian friend to guide us, we began planning our trip to Italy.

Having read numerous books about Tuscany, I wanted to spend some time there, as well as the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. After months of research online and studying my travel guides I had been collecting over the years, I made a plan.

Some of my “research” on Italy…

Italy books

Two nights in Rome, two nights in Orvieto located in Umbria just north of Rome, five nights in Tuscany and a week in Massa Labrense. I’ll break the trip down so you can journey along with us without getting overwhelmed. I hope you will follow my links so you can plan your own dream trip!

From Nashville, we flew through Charlotte, N.C. to Rome on U.S. Airways. This helped us avoid going through Atlanta’s nightmare of an airport via Delta.

And we’re off… on the plane for our nine-hour flight from Charlotte to Rome…

Jamie & Wally on plane to Rome

We had booked a room at the Pantheon Inn, { } just a block from the Pantheon in the heart of Rome. They offered a car pickup service at the airport which was comparable to taking a cab. Our driver was waiting for us outside the door where we left the airport with our name on a sign. He couldn’t speak English, but did lead us to a very nice Mercedes, so I was assured at least we would ride in comfort.

It’s about a 15-minute drive from the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport to Rome and once in the city we were boggled by the drivers and scenery. We passed from the grafitti-covered suburbs into the historic heart of Rome, all the while our driver was zipping and zooming in and out through the traffic. When we reached the historic area, monuments and ancient walls and amazing sights were flashing past us in every direction. Wow!

Our driver delivered us to the front of a large green door, helped us unload and awaited his payment. Since he didn’t speak English, it was difficult to figure out that he wanted his payment in Euros right then. We had thought we were to pay through the hotel, and unfortunately we had not changed any dollars to Euros yet – but he did take our dollars when he realized that was all we had.

There isn’t a sign to show you the Pantheon Inn is inside, but their name is on the call box outside the big green doors.

Rome Pantheon Inn doors & wally

Rome Pantheon Inn door call button

We pushed the button and the door was released for us to enter into a large hallway..

Rome Pantheon Inn hallwayNow what? Guess we have to go up… and it was the tiniest little elevator that you had to open and close the gate to before it would do anything. We arrived upstairs to be greeted by the friendly receptionist, Veeru. He said we could leave our bags and gave us a map of Rome to go out and explore until after lunch when our room would be ready. Throughout our stay Veeru, who was from India, was very helpful, even calling about tickets to the Vatican for us (which were sold out for that day). He speaks several languages and loved talking with us about America.

By the way, be sure and book your Vatican tickets online before you arrive. If you don’t want to wait in long lines, use a tour guide service to help you skip the line and maximize your experience. We’ll have to do that tour next time.

Veeru and their nice housekeeper (I didn’t catch her name)

Rome Pantheon Inn staff

So we headed out into the streets of Rome to see some history – sadly it was a rainy, dreary day, but luckily it just sprinkled.

Some ancient Roman walls incorporated into later buildings just a block from our hotel.

Rome alley with roman wall ruinOur neighborhood street

Rome alley:streetArco di Costantino next to the Colosseum

Rome arch side carvingsHail Caesar!

Rome Caesar statue

Rome church and columns on hillThey were conducting extensive restoration on the Colosseum and several of the area monuments. I love this picture with Wally to the left and the happy family on the right.

Rome Wally, Asians, colosseum

Rome Colosseum & arch view

Rome Colosseum 3:4 view

Rome Colosseum construction Rome colosseum side viewMonument of Vittorio Emanuel

Rome horse & temple monument

Rome Jamie & monument

Rome monuments side viewThe gladiators want you to pose with them for photos, and of course, some money…

rome statue & gladiators

Somebody’s tired…

Rome Wally leaning

Rome, horse monuments

Area Sacra

Rome Roman buildings, excavation

Rome streetsYou can refill your water bottles and water your dogs in the public water fountains

Rome water fountain refillStarving, we made our way to a cafe with outdoor tables near the Roman ruins. This was our first Italian meal, and we couldn’t wait to dig in! I think we had pizza but we were so hungry when it arrived, I forget to take a picture. I do remember it was great, and I had eaten so much I didn’t have room for any of the gelato that looked so tempting in their display case.

Rome Bistro 318 Cafe tables

Rome Bistro 318 gelato

Rome Bistro 318 pizza & sandwiches

Worn out, we wandered back toward our room. We kept getting disoriented using our map and on the second day I figured out why. The landmarks on the map don’t always face the way they do in real life! I was trying to find our way back to the Pantheon on the map and it faced the opposite direction from reality. We knew we had finally stumbled back into our “home” area when we spied the Bernini elephant statue in front of the Santa Maria Church that was next to the Pantheon Inn. The Pantheon is the round dome right behind it.

Rome Bernini Elephant Piazza della Minerva

It was time to check in and we so wanted a nap! We had specified we wanted a room with the balcony, and it looked out over the interior courtyard and the red tile roofs of Rome.

Rome Pantheon Inn balcony rooftopOur little balcony was perfect!

Rome Pantheon Inn balcony vertOur view across the courtyard. I loved hearing those bells ring!

Rome Pantheon Inn courtyard bells

Rome Pantheon Inn dresser:door

So now that we’re checked in… it’s time for a NAP!

Rome Pantheon Inn bed:wally

Join us next when we head out to explore Rome at night… progressive dining, a stroll through the Piazza Navona, and the charm of the Pantheon Piazza at night.

Categories: Travel: ITALY | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Two Nights in Rome, Italy

  1. Albert M. Wilkinson Jr.

    November 12, 2013. 6:20 p.m.

    This is quite a travelogue and interesting.

    Several years ago my then wife, our two daughters and I visited Rome for two weeks. We stayed at a small hotel in the Piazza de Populi, the People’s Plaza, within walking distance of ancient Rome, the Spanish Steps, and the surrounding area. We took several bus trips outside Rome to visit various places and toured the Vatican.

    Thanks for the tour by a E-mail. Mims Wilkinson

  2. Jill

    My husband and I stayed at the Pantheon Inn in May 2013 and found it very charming with a friendly staff and filling breakfast. We liked its proximity to both the Pantheon and two of our favorite coffee spots: Sant Eustaccio and La Tazza d’Oro! Thanks for the travelogue!

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