I’m off to Rome! (And Paris, but let’s tackle Rome first…) I haven’t been to Rome in almost 30 years, when I was post-college and pre-real job. I had a few things going for me at the time– a pretty good handle on conversational Italian, a previous visit a few years earlier, a degree in Classics and a Blue Guide and fantastic cardio conditioning after a year of skiing and waitressing. But pretty much no money, no game plan and a suitcase full of all the wrong clothes. This time, I’ll be traveling with my 20 year-old son Colin who loves history and art and his Latin is sharper than mine. And, one school night when he was in middle school, I told him he could skip doing his homework and come with me to see Angles & Demons on opening night, so Rome is Our City. (I don’t recall why I thought that was a good idea, but he recalls it as one of the great nights of his childhood.) It’s his first trip to Rome and I’m treating it like mine. But, when I take off for Rome this weekend, I’m doing a few things differently than my previous trip.
The Right Clothes. My goal is not to compete with the women of Rome, but just not to offend the women of Rome. My whole suitcase is Black, Navy Blue and Cream. There will be layers– long sleeved t-shirts, tanks, one lightweight down vest, two lightweight jackets and fresh socks. I’m saying yes to a basic blue dress at Modcloth. (Use promo code Sisters for discount on purchases over $100) and a long sleeved black dress from J. Jill. Also bringing along my fave travel pants from Athleta in both black and blue. There will be scarves for a pop of color and to cover the red sauce stains.
The Right Shoes. Who is kidding who? There will be no daring heels or adorable flats. My shoe game will focus on peak mileage and peak comfort without offending anyone. Hat’s off to Clarks for making a cute, comfortable low boot and some trusty Cole Haan sandals I bought to go to Rio 2016 and am taking to Rome for warm days. Plus, I ordered a fresh pair of Nike Huaraches in black for maximum comfort with a touch of style. And My trusty Munro fancy sneakers, worth every penny over last 8 years of urban travel. I won’t be clubbing but I will be able to walk all over the Eternal City.
Pre-trip Media Binge. Brushing up on my Roman History with Mike Duncan’s low tech but highly entertaining The History of Rome Podcast. Also enjoying Cambridge Classicist Mary Beard’s video series on Prime, Meet the Romans. I’m also going to eat pizza where Giada tells me to eat pizza. And I finally watched Roman Holiday on the advice of my friend Nancy. How have I never seen that brilliant movie starring Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck and a Vespa? If I come back with a short haircut and a penchant for kicky neck scarves, you know why.
The Itinerary. One of the reasons for my trip to Rome is to root around for my next book idea. I have a few stories starting to take root in my brain, but I’m open to letting the muses strike me in an unexpected place. I’ve gotten lots of great recs from friends and Facebook. And I told Colin to ask his professors for their fave spots. I do have a few tours lined up. We’re going to a Small Group, Early Entrance Vatican Tour with Livitaly Tours, a company that does tours all over Italy with local experts. The last time I saw the Sistine Chapel, its was with 6 million other people who were all ignoring the “Please Be Quiet” signs. We’re getting in early and I hope that the space feels a little more holy. And, we’re doing a food tour via app (Bitemojo) that sounded fun, delicious and doubles as a walking tour of Trastevere, which Cathy from our Facebook called “the Brooklyn of Rome.” We picked the Contemporary Italian food tour. I think my Millennial will like the App Tour with small bites at various restaurants and markets along the way.
We’ll be following some of Cardinal Dolan Rome tips . Our Cousin the Cardinal really has the churches covered, including San Luigi Dei Francesi with a bunch of Caravaggios. You better get nervous, Rick Steves. The Cardinal is coming for you.
And thanks to some intrepid travel bloggers, I’ve figured our how we can do a day trip to Pompeii under our own steam. (We also saw the movie Pompeii on opening weekend…) This is a Bucket List item for me, people and Colin was enthusiastic to make this happen. Shout out to Cathy from our FB page who wrote this: For Pompeii, there’s a little spiral bound book you can buy in the little shop where you get your entrance tickets — called something like Pompeii Then and Now or Pompeii Past and Present. Cost about $12, I think – it has pictures of lots of the buildings as they are now and has acetate overlays so you can see what the buildings looked like before the eruption. Very cool — my daughter and I spent hours going around Pompeii with that book. They have an English language version in the shop. Thanks, Cathy!
There will be Gelato. And there will be Pasta. And fried artichokes. Plus, Aa few restaurant tips from the Satellite Sisters Facebook Group:
Elizabeth suggests Roscioli
Pat recommends: Right near the Pantheon is a fantastic restaurant called Armandos. Despite the tourist area….it’s great!
Virginia included a URL with her tip: After the Vatican http://www.ristorantearlu.it/en/
Trisha: Fiascheterria in Rome near Spanish Steps. Down one of those shopping streets, pinkish… family style meals. 😍 Rome is my favorite city.
Julie The BEST mozzarella I ate in Rome (all were good- this was amazing) Casa and Bottega in an adorable little side street in Rome. Also, if you want to do something random, we did the nighttime Segway tour, and it was really fun and a great way to see a lot in a short period of time. It was also a good way for us to get acclimated with the city.
Thanks for all the good wishes and the great suggestions. Ciao, Bellas!
Rome Museum Pass: http://www.romapass.it
Rome Blog: https://anamericaninrome.com
Rome Blog: http://heartrome.com