I didn’t like Rome. I’m probably one of only a handful of people who you’ll ever hear that from, but let me tell you why.
Rome was a city I’ve wanted to visit ever since 2002. That was the year Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen’s “When In Rome” film came out. My adoration for gelato and gorgeous Italian boys increased again in 2003 with the release of “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”. Yeah, yeah, I know, real life isn’t like what you see in the movies. But I felt like my trip to this city so full of ancient history was one completely smudged with selfie stick sellers and skeezeball men on the streets. I’m as disappointed as you are.
Upon arriving to Termini Station, I found that when it came to getting directions, everyone was selling information. €2 for a map, €5 to talk to customer service, wifi that cost money… EVERYTHING. In every other city I’ve been to, there was at least one person more than willing to help me find my way. Since I had to navigate my way to my hostel without a map or directions of any sort, I ended up getting lost for two hours in the complete opposite direction of my hostel. Finally, upon crying to a hotel receptionist, I was given a free map and pointed in the right direction. I lugged my bags in the 72 degree heat and made it to my hostel drenched in sweat.
I laid in bed and relaxed for a few hours, getting to know some of the girls in my dorm room. Mind you, I didn’t hate the friends I met in Rome at all. In fact, now I have friends to go see in both South Korea and Australia! That makes me so ecstatic.
Throughout my 40 hours in the city I managed to see the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, The (under construction) Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps.
The Colosseum really got me. Adjacent to the Roman Forum, the buildings and ruins were absolutely breathtaking. I managed to snag some gorgeous pictures after sunset, despite the countless men coming up to me asking 800 times if I wanted to buy a selfie stick.
Vatican City was breathtaking as well. Thank God for online ticket purchases, because my friends and I entered without waiting a minute in the 3.5 hour line. The tapestries and paintings on display were really outstanding because they showed how important the artists’ faiths and beliefs were. The Sistine Chapel had a higher ceiling than I imagined and I loved seeing the portion of David reaching out to touch the hand of God. However, despite being a chapel, the area was loud, visitors shoved into one another, and guards repeatedly yelled “Shh!!!” into a microphone. We walked outside and more selfie stick sellers mobbed St. Peter’s Square…
I tried to meet up with my one friend during the day, but because of how busy the city was, we couldn’t find eachother. While waiting outside of our determined meeting point, I was repeatedly cat-called and creepily stared at. If there’s one thing I learned in Rome, it’s that big sunglasses and a nasty pout on your face keeps the boys away. No one wants to hit on a girl who looks like she might knee you where it hurts.
I made my way to the Trevi Fountain, knowing it was under construction but wanting to see it anyway. The size of it stunned me! If I ever return to Rome in the future, it will be solely to see the Trevi in all its glory. While in the plaza, I got gelato at the same place where Lizzie met Paolo (yeah, I stalked the movie and figured it out) and it was fantastic. Yet again, “Selfie stick?! For you, cheap price!” was heard in repetition. Although I’m unsure of why anyone would buy one to take a selfie with scaffolding.
Following the gelato, I headed to the Spanish Steps. If there’s any place where I felt an icon of Rome was over-crowded, it was here. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I do have to give credit where it’s due; Rome had some spectacular food. I had pizza by the slize and paid for by weight. It was to die for. My friends and I also had a fantastic dinner at a Trattoria, known for serving local Italian cuisine.
All in all, the hardest part about Rome was probably the fact that I came from such a relaxing town and threw myself into city life again. Even so, I think it was crazier than Barcelona, Paris, and London. They say everyone is entitled to their own opinion so hey, this is just mine. For now, it’s arrivederci to Rome and ciao to Pisa, my last stop for Spring Break.
I hope the tower holds up for one more day… Stay tuned.