My family and I are finally back from our 2 week Mediterranean vacation. This was one of those vacations where we did a lot every day. I got to see and learn so much history and to use some of my ancient Rome/Greece knowledge (thank you Classical Mythology and Greek and Roman Epics).
So here was our itinerary:
- Day 1-3: Rome
- Day 4-5: Venice
- Day 5-12: Cruise!!!! On this cruise we made stops in Kusadasi, Turkey, Split, Croatia, Mykonos, Greece and Katakolon, Greece.
Very busy! We flew into Rome the morning of July 30th and didn’t waste any time (jet lag? not for the Baier’s!). We checked into our hotel around 10 and promptly went out exploring. We ran into the Spanish Steps, a shopping district and a few churches. I got kicked out of one for wearing a tank top (whoops!).
All of the water that comes into Rome is from the Aqueducts (some ancient, some rebuilt) so it is perfectly safe to drink from all of the public fountains. Melissa told me about the fountains ahead of time, and said it was the best water I would ever taste. Its definitely up there! Having fountains all over the city was sooo helpful because it was hot!!! Apparently Europe is having a heat wave unlike any other, but compared to CT this past summer, it was nothing .
Spanish Steps. Commissioned by the French in and built by Italians. They get their name from from being next to the Spanish Embassy. They open up to Piazza di Spagna which was built with the ancient Romans in mind. They wanted to have an open space for the people to just be.
In the afternoon, we visited Castle Sant’Angelo, a huge fortress inside the city. It was originally built for Emperor Hadrian from 130 –139 AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Captain obvious moment, but everything in Rome is incredibly old. This is one of the more modern things we saw. Yeah. His ashes were kept their with his family and all succeeding Emperors were also laid to rest there.
Later on, the castle was used for popes to hold up in if they or the city was in any danger from barbarians or other threats. A bridge was built to connect it to Vatican City so they could flee there without sacrificing safety by entering the city. They are about 1/2 mile apart so it’s a pretty long bridge.
Fun Fact: There was an angel statue that was made in all bronze that stood on the rooftop and was struck by lightning. It was rebuilt, and then re-struck. Then rebuilt again, and struck again. All in all, this statue was remade 6 times and the last model now resides in a courtyard, rather than on the roof, and only has bronze wings with a marble body. You would think that after the 3rd try, they would skip the bronze.
Leading up to the Castle was a beautiful bridge across the Tiber river that was covered with angel statues. We left at sunset to go grab our first Italian meal! We ended up going to the first place we saw because we were starving and I don’t think we could have made a better choice. Everything was fresh and delicious. I got gnocchi and the only time I ever really loved it was when my roommate Meredith made it, and I have to say I fell in love again.
After dinner we went back to our hotel and crashed. Hard. We had two more full days in Rome, so look for part 2 coming soon!