Travel: ITALY

Rome Day 3, Galleria Borghese & Walking around Rome, Last day in Italy, 2016

It was our last day in Rome, so we got up and out early to head to Campo de’ Fiora for the morning market and breakfast. Last morning coffee on our balcony!

Along the way…

We always love browsing Campo de’ Fiori’s food, flower and other vendors and it’s surrounded by restaurants and stores.

It’s fun to watch people shop the market while you eat!

And we’re off for a long walk through Rome with the Galleria Borghese as our destination for a tour of their famous art. So much amazing architecture!

We ran across two wedding photo shoots – one at the Forum and then the Coloseum. What an awesome backdrop for your wedding photos!

Notice the cool bee over the tall green door. LOVE!

And the other wedding couple…

As we left the Colosseum area, we ran across a LONG line of people. As we got past it, we discovered it was the crowd waiting for the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Circo Massimo.

And we wandered on, getting lost along the way along the way.

We finally arrived at the Villa Borghese Park to tour the Galleria Borghese, home to Bernini’s sculpture masterpieces, along with Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and more. Art heaven, and the villa is a masterpiece in itself. The park is 226 acres and a hub of Roman outdoor life – it’s their “Central Park”. They even have a zoo! Find more info at: http://www.reidsitaly.com/destinations/lazio/rome/sights/villa_borghese.html http://galleriaborghese.beniculturali.it/en/visita/visit-the-galleria-borghese

Here’s your tour…

We walked out the opposite side of the park, which put us closer to our neighborhood by Piazza Navona. There’s great views across Rome.

By this time we were hungry again so walked back through Campo de’ Fiori and tried a different restaurant.

When we finally made it back to our apartment, we collapsed for a while and then started packing for our return home the next morning. We ate a late dinner of pizza and lasagne at one of our neighborhood outdoor cafes. It’s amazing how they set up all the tables and chairs for evening dining and then they are gone when you get up in the morning! They come through and clean the streets and prepare for the next night.

We were up and out for our flight home, and the cab driver dropped us off at our terminal and we got in line to check in. And we waited and waited and waited and waited in that same line outside the terminal doors for hours and hours. They finally started moving us inside to go through security as our flight time drew closer. Word spread that a fiery car wreck on a nearby highway had burned through the internet cables and our terminal’s computer system was down! Since they couldn’t check passports on their computer system, they interviewed EVERY SINGLE PASSENGER for about 5 minutes each, putting stickers on our passports if we passed inspection.

We got to our gate – finally – and then boarded to take off. Whew, let’s go! BUT WAIT… someone came on board and told us we had to get off, our flight had been canceled. The pilots had waited around too long and “timed out” and decided they didn’t want to fly us. WHAT?? So they made us get off and told us to collect our luggage. Now what?? So I jumped on my phone and found a nearby hotel and booked a room. And then an agent from the airline comes out to the luggage area and tells us that they have rooms for us at a hotel and would bus us there to stay overnight. We decided we better go with their hotel and arrangement as they were paying, and would bus us back to the airport in the morning. So we boarded the bus and it took us all the way back – TO ROME.

Along the way, I called to cancel the other hotel reservation. I hadn’t noticed that the hotel I reserved from Hotels.com did not offer a same day cancellation policy – and they wouldn’t refund it. Can you feel my nervous breakdown coming? So we arrive at the hotel, which is pretty nice and has a lovely pool. Now why didn’t they just tell us the first hour what the hell was going on, and send us to the hotel so we could have at least have relaxed and enjoyed the day????

So the next and last straw – we had to call and make our new flight arrangements for the following morning. Our connection changed to going through Chicago instead of Charlotte, which added several more layover hours. I think I broke down and bawled at this point, while Wally was out at the pool bar getting drunk. Is this day over yet?

We made it home the next day, and it was so nice to hug the dogs and collapse. So this completes two weeks in Italy in July, visiting Tuscany and Rome. Hope you’ve enjoyed your photo travel tour – sorry it took me so long to get around to posting!

Next up we’ll be going to Mexico and Florida, so follow along as I get caught up on our travels!

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Rome Day 2: Castel Sant’ Angelo, The Meat Market, around Rome, Abbey Theatre Irish Pub

We awoke to a cloudy morning and after coffee on our balcony, readied ourselves for a day trekking around Rome.

A few sights in the neighborhood as the sun came out…

Castel Sant’ Angelo was our first stop for the day, and this was our first time to visit it. Crossing the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge was a beggar and a group of nuns.

Love the sculptures on the bridge.

If you’re in Rome, you have to visit Castel Sant Angelo! The views over Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica are amazing. Here’s your photo tour…

St. Peter’s in the background and what a view over Rome!

IMG_7582IMG_7580IMG_7578Done with the Castel tour, we crossed back over the bridge to go in search of lunch.

We were craving burgers and a change from pasta, so after googling burgers found The Meat Market Roma in our neighborhood. Wow! What super yummy delicious burgers hand made with premium fresh meat. This is a MUST EAT while in Rome and they have more than just burgers.

Shew! – time for a nap after that massive burger and beer, and then up and out on the town again for the afternoon lightning round of Rome. First stop, one of our favorites, The Pantheon to people watch and soak in the history.

Time for an espresso pick me up…

And we’re off again… see how many landmarks you can identify!

Back home again to rest, have a cocktail on the balcony and then dinner at the Abbey Theatre Irish Pub around the corner from us. This is also one of our favorite stops for fish and chips and lamb stew. And can’t not have gelato for dessert when The Frigidarium is just a few steps further! Good thing we’re walking so much!

Time for bed! More Rome tomorrow.

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Arriving in Rome, Dinner in Trastevere at Popi Popi

For our stay in Rome, I found a nice looking apartment on Airbnb in the neighborhood near Piazza Navona that we had stayed previously. I love this neighborhood with its charming apartments, cafes, boutiques, thrift stores and fun night life around Piazza Navona.

We had to walk quite a ways from where we picked up our keys to the apartment with our luggage, and it was SOO hot in July! I thought Wally was going to cry with joy when he realized the bedroom on the top floor had air conditioning. Glory hallelujah! The apartment was on two levels with the kitchen and a little dining area on the first, and a large open bedroom and sitting area with French doors to a balcony on top. I loved all the antique furniture pieces and accents throughout the apartment!

The view from our balcony…IMG_7344After freshening up, it was time to shake off the drive from Montepulciano and get out and walk. Our cab driver had suggested dinner at Popi Popi in Trastevere, so we started in Piazza Navona and meandered our way along the Tiber River. I love the Castel Sant Angelo (the round building), and we will be visiting it on our stay this time.

We crossed the bridge into Trastevere and wandered through the neighborhood, enjoying people watching in the late afternoon. One of the things I’ve always loved in Italy is the musicians playing on the piazzas creating such an inviting atmosphere. Lots of locals and tourists about in Trastevere!

We found Popi Popi and after our walk, we were starved! We chose a little table outside and placed our order.

Some wine, pizza, pasta and espresso… Ahhh, Italy!

IMG_7406Time to walk it off on the way back to the apartment.

More Rome to come…

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Poppi Castle

We decided on a visit to the town of Poppi and Poppi Castle for our next Tuscan day trip, and would highly recommend it if you are in the area! There were fields of sunflowers blooming along the way, and the scenery is more wooded hills. Here’s a great link to find out more about visiting Poppi: https://www.discovertuscany.com/casentino/poppi-castle.html

We left early in the morning when the mists were rising around Montepulciano where we were staying. What a beautiful drive! IMG_6839IMG_6842IMG_6843And in the distance, a hot air balloon was drifting towards Montepulciano. That’s still on our “to do” list on our next visit! IMG_6844Along the way to Poppi…

Poppi Castle perched on the hill…

We strolled through some of the churches and through the streets. It was VERY quiet, with almost no one else in the historic “centro” part of town. If horsemen had come clattering up the street, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It just felt like you had stepped back three centuries in time!

It was a small fee to tour the castle and well worth it!

On the way home we stopped off in another ancient hilltop town, Castiglion Fiorentino, for lunch. The outdoor cafe The Garden drew us in, and the their diverse menu included sandwiches and burgers, which of course we were craving. It was delicious, and we enjoyed our al fresco lunch.