I spent eight days in Rome the week before Easter with my husband and two friends. I've written a very lengthy trip report with photos on my travelogue web site, but I think it's too long to post here! :-)
The trip began as a conversation with friends on our way up to a weekend in the mountains in February ’07.
Me: Ok, here are my top 5 next trip destinations.
One, two weeks in Vietnam…
Two, two weeks in India…
Three, a week in Rome…
Before I can say, “Four” the backseat contingent interrupts: “Rome! We want to go to Rome!”
And so it begins….
I didn’t even have to "sell" the trip, though my suggestions of an apartment in the historical district with a terrace and a view and evenings spent with wine, cheese and prosciutto didn’t hurt.
After much discussion of when to go and the discovery that summer airfare to Europe would require a second mortgage, we settled on Spring Break, the week before Easter in March 2008.
Me (K) and my husband (D); late 30-somethings living in Southern California. Our longtime friends (J and T) were our travel companions for this trip. Neither of them has traveled in Italy and this is T's first trip out of the country. D and I have been to Italy many times before, but not to Rome since 1995.
I did the bulk of the research and planning of the trip (because I'm obsessive like that) which included booking the apartment (we used www.RentalinRome.com), airport transfers via www.romecabs.com, reservations for the Borghese Gallery, RomaPass research, Scavi Tour tickets, and booking private guide Francesca Caruso for the Colosseum and Forum.
I also researched day trips for Orvieto and Ostia Antica and car rentals.
For the details of the planning process, including the hunt for the perfect apartment for four, the drama of the rise of the euro and its’ effect on our travel choices, and all about buying an international cell phone and SIM card, please see the "Planning" page on my web site.
In addition, while planning the trip I wanted to keep my friends involved so I started sending them emails called “Rome Daily Tidbits”. They were interesting things I’d found during my research or things for which I wanted to get feedback on from them. They can be seen on my website on the "Rome Daily Tidbits" page.
I also created the 5 “Golden Rules” of travel for our trip:
1. Always eat lunch before it gets too late.
Most restaurants in Italy are not open between lunch and dinner. (Hint: Make sure K gets food before 2PM. or she gets cranky).
2. Speak up.
If you are unhappy about something, want to do something else, don’t want to go somewhere, it’s your fault if you don’t communicate. The rest of us aren’t mind readers.
3. Don’t be a martyr.
No one will respect you for it and you will be miserable. This goes hand in hand with rule #2.
4. Be brave when it comes to food. Taste everything.
5. Roll with it.
Plans can go awry. Strikes happen. Museums close randomly. Have a back up plan.
Everyone was required to abide by the rules or risk banishment.
Finally, I created “20 Questions” for the trip which included things like “How many gelati can 4 people eat in 8 days?”, “How many times will J say, “I can’t believe we’re really here!” like a gleeful schoolgirl?” or “Who will have the first jet lag induced meltdown?” For the rest, go to the "Questions" page. The questions have not yet been answered, but will as soon as I can find the time to tally up the number of cups of coffee we drank and the number of photos of food among the 2000+ photos taken.
The (very) short version:
Day 0-1-Flight from LAX to Rome, the apartment review (great!) and walking around the historical district; Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain.
Day 2-Campo di Fiori, Torre Argentina, the Scavi Tour and a personal tour of St. Peter's with a seminary student we met on the Scavi tour.
Day 3-Vatican museum tour, booked though the Vatican.
Day 4-Day trip to Orvieto in a rental car.
Day 5-Borghese Gallery, hail on the Spanish steps, Piazza del Popolo and the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit.
Day 6-Testaccio Market and Ostia Antica
Day 7- Tour of the Colosseum and the Forum with private guide Francesa Caruso.
Day 8-Easter Sunday in Rome
All of our dining choices (too many to list here!)are detailed and because I'm an avowed foodie and photographer there are pictures of everything, even the meals.
Note:Days 7 and 8 are not posted yet, but I'm working on it!
If you'd like to see the full report and photos then go to http://www.wired2theworld.com and click on "Rome 03/08".