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The Coliseum dates back to the year 72 AD - 80 AD, is the largest amphitheater ever built and was selected as one of the 7 Wonders of the World in 2007.
It has been a long time since I have been to “Roma.” I don’t want to say how many years, but it was in high school! What a different perspective I have on it now. I love it. It is a quaint New York City with freshly made pasta and just-picked tomatoes oozing from every crack in the cobble stone streets. The people are friendly and hospitable and welcoming, and if you get to know them, they like to kiss you on both cheeks to greet you or say good bye.
Our family fits well in Roma. Not only is our last name Costello, but the men in our group all have dark hair and could pass for Italian. Okay, to be honest, my husband is 50% Italian and our children are only 25%. But we felt very comfortable in this city and loved sitting down to our favorite food on every menu. Homemade mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a staple at every ristorante.
I feel like we just skimmed the surface in our two-day stay, but we did hit some outstanding highlights and had lots of great meals. Not getting two of our family's suitcases from Czech Airlines could have put a damper on things, but there were shops in every direction and clothes were easily found for dinner and beyond.
The Coliseum was a great introduction to this Italy trip where ancient ruins were all around us. It was an education on how unimportant gladiators' lives were versus the sports figures of today. Inside the ring were many stalls where animals were kept before they were let out into the above stage where a gladiator would fight a bear or lion.
What a treat to watch an Italian chef hand roll the pasta before it was cooked for our dinner! See below for the finished product.
This was one of the best meals we had in Italy. They love to put thick chunks of bacon and prosciutto in their pasta, something we don't use as much back in the States.
One of the most classic appetizers in Rome that you can find in restaurants or sold by the street vendors is fried artichoke flowers. We were unsure if it was customary to eat the entire thing, stems and all. But we had no problem eating it! So delicious and also not a common way to cook artichokes in U.S. establishments.
As we drove to our hotel the first night in Rome, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, or more commonly known as the "Wedding Cake," is one of the first monuments we saw, and what a huge impression it made! It is extremely oversized for a city monument and not a lot of green space around it for an admiring view. So it is quite overpowering and intimidating but nonetheless a feast for our eyes every time we drove by it.
The Vatican was at the top of our family's list on this trip, and these incredibly ornate tapestries from the 1600s were one of the things that caught my eye the most. They are almost the size of an entire room and are made of wool, silk and gold and silver thread. There are Flemish tapestries on one side of the museum hallway, and the Italian ones directly across the room.
St. Peter is said to be buried below this cathedral named after him where only the Pope can perform mass under the bronze structure in the middle of the cathedral.
All of the paintings in St. Peter's Basilica are actually made of miniature mosaic tiles to avoid the possibility of the regular paintings fading over time.
Rome prides itself on its fresh and cold water all over the city. Wesley enjoyed a swallow from this fountain provided by the Vatican.
We ended up our stay in this beautiful city at the Trevi Fountain in the Trevi district and just chilled there for a while. So refreshing to feel the mist of the water while looking at this incredible sculpture. Throw three coins in and make a wish!