It was just the two of us for this trip, Renae and I. The plane landed in Rome, Italy and we were greeted by the handsome Donavita, our chauffeur, with a Mercedes Benz as our taxi. We headed to our boutique hotel and checked in. The Hotel Farnese is beautifully decorated and has an elegant charm about it. Jet lag had not set in. We were ready to freshen up, hit the streets and explore!
Our first trek was to the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, it was closed for repairs. We continued walking. (Sidebar: You definitely need at least two pair of comfortable walking shoes and plenty of socks. Although the women wore heeled sandals, we looked like the typical tourists in our walking and gym shoes. We were still cute though!) We found the Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) in the Piazza Novano! It is a gorgeous fountain in the middle of a plaza. Yes! Photo shoot at the fountains!
By this time, we were hungry. We stopped off at a restaurant near the plaza. You guessed it! Pizza! It did not have a strong tomato base that we were familiar with like similar pizzas in the US. Goodness! It was freaking delicious!
We had to walk off the pizza and found the Quirinale Presidential Palace by mistake while heading back to our hotel. The heat was ruthless! It was so hot that I hid under a red umbrella for protection from the sun. More photos were snapped! From the distance, I spotted a presidential guard or policeman. He was a Roman Sean Connery. Gorgeous! You know we had to get a photo of him!
The next day, we went to the Vatican Museum. Huge! The lines were even longer! (Advice: Get tickets online ahead of time to avoid the lines. They were around the massive building!) The museum was crowded but we were able to navigate inside. The spiral stairs are a hazard if you are not careful. They are slightly flat but with wide steps. I almost tripped walking down them. The Braccio Nuova Gallery contains magnificent busts and statues of famous emperors, Romans, gods, etc. HOWEVER, it was extremely difficult trying to figure out which busts or statue belong to whom. Many of them are mislabeled or contain the same label.
The gardens are absolutely beautiful and perfectly manicured. Due to the long lines, we did not enter the Sistine Chapel or the Basilica of St. Peter. We took more photos outside in the courtyard. In another courtyard of the museum, we were enthralled by the Sfera con Sfera or “Sphere within a Sphere” created by Arnaldo Pomodoro. It is a beautiful bronze ball. We did not know it rotated until a tour guide turned it. It is a must see!
After we left the museum, we were on the search for thrift stores. Yes! We are true Thrifters! We will find a thrift store anywhere! We had mapped out stores that were near the places we were going to visit. The best find was Pifebo Vintage Shop. Unlike stores in the US which are larger, these stores were equivalent to large closets. Pifebo is known as a warehouse. It is a much bigger thrift store with several rooms. The discount bin contained slightly worn leather purses for 10 Euros each ($10.93 USD). Renae and I found several purses! We were in Thrift Store Glory! The owners were extremely friendly and we took a group photo. May as well make good use of my selfie stick! We were exhausted from our thrift shopping and caught a cab back to the hotel.
NEXT – Coliseum and other Adventures!