Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was this blogpost. In fact, it's been at least a year since Ingrid, Alexa, Trish, and I made (ate) our way through Europe, and wrapped up in the Eternal City. The only things eternal about that city were gelato, pasta, and the scathing August heat. Okay okay, so were the memories. Some captured below, including many photos I had to dust off in my external hard drive.
When in Rome: Go on a Walking Tour and learn to make pizza
Upon arrival, we brushed up on our local knowledge with Rome 101 classic, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and practiced some Italian via Aziz Anzari's Master of None Season 2. Allora!! We also left our room to explore and learn on the ground, because we brought cute outfits to take pictures in. That said, we booked a walking tour through Viator (the night before). My previous experience using Viator was in Iceland on a Golden Circle tour, and it was a very easy process. Among the many tour options, we finally decided on something that started early enough (9:30am) and wrapped up with a pizza-making class.
Here is the exact description from the tour page, Best of Rome Walking Tour and Master of Pizza Class:
See Rome’s major sights and learn how to make authentic Italian pizza during this walking tour that combines history and culinary culture. With a guide, check out attractions like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Piazza Navona before a pizza-making class at a nearby restaurant. Select a morning or afternoon tour when booking.
We were sold! Our tour guide was a graduate student finishing her arts degree, so she gave tours in between classes and homework. Not only was she super knowledgable about the landmarks, she was also a very generous photographer, ready to snap solo and group shots for each of us. We definitely lucked out with a small group of six people – us four and two other American girls visiting from New York.
Trevi Fountain literally translates to three roads fountain, meaning it was at an intersection of three roads. Practical naming convention, I dig. Before running water existed in every home, water for private and public use were supplied through aqueducts.
Imagine being 16 and thirsty af (in all dimensions of the word), and you had to go all the way to the fountain just to get water. But that water isn't even filtered. I also wonder how many people ended up with their significant other by meeting at the fountain. And was there a crew that just hung out there all the time, like a college lounge?
> insert the thinker statue <
(who is actually french)
Not going to lie, I thought the Pantheon was a place in Greece. So, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Pantheon comes from an Ancient Greek word. Also, the landmark in Greece (Athens) is the Parthenon.
You know the building is ancient because they didn't have electricity back in the day, and no one thought to build any windows... until the last second.
Which is probably why they left the oculus (it legit looks like an eye in aerial view) as the only source of light at the very top of the building, which serves as... a hole. In the ceiling. Maybe the saying 'Rome wasn't built in a day' comes from the fact that there were lots of architectural oversight.
Oh, and in case you're like me and like to ask obvious questions such as, 'Doesn't it rain?' or 'Does this building come with a lid (or a boba straw)?' The answer is yes and no, respectively. Our tour guide had the nerve to lie to me and say 'It doesn't rain in the Pantheon' as an old saying to tourists, but a simple Google search proved her wrong.
All banter aside, this one-windowed (holed) ancient landmark is actually almost 2000 years old.
OG surveillance cameras. Throughout street corners in Rome, Mother Mary images were lit up with oil lamps at night. They were meant for people to pray to as they traveled through the city, but also strategically placed to discourage ill-intent like stealing and prostitution.
To me, they were kinda creepy in a 1984 Big Brother kinda way.
All I remembered about this place is that it used to be a race track.
Now for the real views ;)
While none of us ended up in the arms of a con-musician, or stuck in an alleyway yelling, Allora! we did end up in a basement restaurant full of Filipino-Italians singing karaoke, speaking Tagalog with Italian accents, and everyone wanted to add us on Facebook. But that's a story for another day. :)
- evelyn, not asking paolo to sing to me