So it was quite an early start – we set the alarm for 7.20am, but that’s ok because Alex and I are both morning people thank god. We took the metro from Termini to Lepanto and went to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. I booked all our tickets for the museums and bits online prior to the trip to avoid queuing and our hotel kindly printed the vouchers off for us to present. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful and looking at the ceilings was amazing! It was all so intricate and they used this marvellous gold paint for us to use. Outside of the museum we saw the pope giving an address which was pretty lucky. We then went for a wander and had a a fabulous panini (at Cotto Crudo) and gelato for lunch.
We walked along the River Tiber to Castel Saint Angelo. This was actually our favourite part of the trip for several reasons. Alex had been to Rome before on a school trip but hadn’t actually been to the Castel, and as this was my first time to Rome, the castle was a new experience for both of us. It was surprising to us how they also had really cool things inside the castle, such as one of the Pope’s beds and some more beautiful ceilings like in the Vatican. At the top there is a gorgeous cafe where you can sit inside or outside. Even though it was windy and a little chilly we sat outside to take in the views – I reckon the best views in Rome. The coffee was the best we had the whole trip, and as coffee lovers, this is always important to our judgement of a place.
My Italian friend Freddy from Uni had recommended to us his favourite restaurant in Rome which he goes to every time he is in the city – Giacomelli. I would recommend booking ahead (which we didn’t do) if you decide to go. We had to wait for about half an hour by the door for a table but it was really worth the wait. This place was everything I had imagined about Rome. It is a family run business with the grandma on the door printing bills, the owner greeting all the regular customers like best friends. We were the only tourists in there and Alex and I were feeling a little smug at how we were going against the usual tourist movements. We had bruschetta, pizza and wine. Be warned the pizzas are quite big, but Alex was starving and impressively got through the large one to the waiter’s surprise.
We walked/metroed back to the hotel via the Vatican because we wanted to see it at night. There were only 4-5 other people there and listening to the sound of the waterfall in the middle was magical. It was only then that I realised how massive the Vatican was. I even tried to stand close to the building to see for scale how big it was against me until a guard came out as soon as I got a bit too close.