Rome, Italy: A Storybook Guide


It all started at my fifth grade birthday party when my eleven year old friends and I watched “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”…and that was that. I was smitten with Italy. As a teen, I spent hours looking at flights on the Kayak Explore search page, dreaming of one day setting foot on the cobblestone streets of Europe, eating fresh local food and being swept up in the hustle and bustle of the city. After a friend posted about an amazing deal he’d found on flights to Italy, my husband and I were able to travel to a place I’d visited in my mind countless times before…

Rome was everything we’d imagined it would be, especially at night. It felt like we were walking on a movie set once the streets were emptied of tour groups and the city lights gave the piazzas a romantic glow.

We decided that all small cars must have been created to exist in Rome, because I have never seen more adept parking jobs and drivers than those I saw there! Curbs? No problem! Crowds of people? Not to worry, just run them over!

Everywhere I’d look I was met with some of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen! All of the colorful plants and flowers I saw in many windowsills actually inspired me to fill my own home with living plants.

Speaking of homes, visiting the unearthed ancient Roman Forum was absolutely MIND BLOWING…

We toured the Colosseum, trailing behind a lovely Italian guide who spoke rather quickly…

And channeled our inner spy kid in order to hear her properly…

And learned that gladiator sandals, despite their culturally appropriate name are in no way proper for the amount of walking you will do in Rome.

We elbowed our way though a sea of selfie sticks and tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain in the hopes that we’d someday return to Rome!

We visited the Vatican City, walked through dimly lit, art-filled rooms in the museums, gazed upward at the Sistine Chapel, and experienced the magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica within just a few hours. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

We imagined what it would be like to see the Pope emerge from his balcony…

And stumbled upon our favorite meal in Rome at a little spot called Pizza Zizza. We got a sampler of fresh pizza on focaccia and it was so fresh and tasty!

Italians are my kind of people! Everything revolves around food and good company. I especially loved our waiters at the restaurants who shouted and sang and laughed so loudly together, it made us feel right at home.

We ate gelato. Real, creamy, sweet, Italian Gelato….

…and I am now RUINED forever. San Crispino stole my gelato-loving heart. My grapefruit and melon sorbetto was so fresh and flavorful, by far the best I had in Italy!

I’ve always had a passion around traveling, experiencing culture in its most authentic and pure form, and eating my way through the kitchens of the world. What a blessing it was to be able to hop off the plane in Italy and realize that my little 5th grade dreams were coming true! Having hoped and planned and saved for so long, I feel very grateful to have had this chance to travel knowing there are many, like me, who camp out on the flights page on google, read endlessly about distant countries, lean in closer when others start talking about places they’ve been…and then after taking a look at their bank account, work and school schedule can never seem to make it happen. I’ve totally been there! I had a friend who would always say, “Where there is a will, there is a way…and there is a WILL!” So find the way! To anyone who dreams of wandering, exploring, and seeing the wonders of the world, I say go ahead and buy the flight you’ve been looking at, pack your bags, and write your own story.

Work out the details as you go, or go with no plans at all, and don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from doing something you hope for in your heart. If you’re planning your own trip and have specific questions about Rome, send me a message and I’ll do my best to help you. I’d also love to read your own travel stories in the comments below! Ciao Ciao!

This post was originally published on Sisters & Sage in 2017.