In Feb/Mar of 2018, Rob and I took a 10-day trip to Italy and Spain. We went to Rome, Florence, Milan, Barcelona and Tenerife in the Spain owned Canary Islands.
We got a really good deal on a flight from Seattle to London Gatwick by way of Iceland thru Icelandic Air. We landed in London around 10:45 am we continued our trip to Rome on EasyJet which left at 2:30 pm. These type of trips really only work if you pack light. We were able to take our 2 bags as carry-on and honestly if you are going to Europe, you should pack light, otherwise you will have problems. If you can fit a place in mid-way with a washing machine, you can get all your clothes washed and ready for the last part of the trip. EasyJet is cheap but charges for bags, so book early, upgrade to the FLEXI fare so you can get an extra bag for free and a bit more leg room and seat selection. The price is so cheap for this upgrade, its silly not to do it.
Once we landed in Rome around 6 pm, we had a bit of an issue. We had planed on taking the train, which is always easy and affordable in Europe, but some smooth talkers tried to talk us into taking a cab for 15 EUROS, which seemed like a good deal. After they took us to their counter, and what seemed like forever with making us wait for the drivers to show up, and they did not want us to pay first, but to wait to pay later (this is a red flag right here) they then walked us out to a cab driver who tried to charge us like 75 Euros. I made sure to ask how much it would cost before we got in. They tried to make it like we misunderstood, when I asked the guy at the counter no less than 3x. Maybe they try to tire you out so you’ll do it, i don’t know, but we walked away, they were totally bait and switching us. We then walked to the train, got our tickets, and arrived later then we expected after messing around with these guys. I put this here as a warning. The train was comfortable, it took over 30 minutes or so. We got off at the Roman Forum/Coliseum , which was incredible looking at night, all light up. It was a bit more difficult walking around looking for our street which was very small, to find our hotel, but we found it and were so happy to finally be in Rome. It was a very long trip at this point!
We stayed at Residence Argileto, which is a boutique hotel, with a healthy bistro on the main floor, and it had a spa, sauna and you could get massages if you wanted. It was in a great location, literally in the same block as the Roman Forum.
The first full day in Rome, we took a bus over to the Vatican and saw the line going into St. Peters Cathedral and decided we would go to that early the next day. We had a difficult time finding the entrance to the Vatican, the area is so big. We started seeing the first group of people trying to get you to sign up for tours. If you have your ticket pre-purchased, you can almost just walk right in, the long line is for the people who just showed up. The Vatican is huge and beautiful and highly recommended. You will see Renaissance frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling. The Spiral Staircase. paintings by Raphaels like the School of Athens, Leonardo Di Vinci, Salvador Dali and the Gallery of Maps, I highly recommend you watch a video, read a book or take a class on the Renaissance before going so you can really appreciate what you are seeing.
The next day we went back to see St. Paul’s Cathedral then returned back to our hotel area and used our pre-book tickets for the Coliseum and the Forum. This is best if the weather is nice, our day was nice but super windy so I was glad to have a ponytail holder. Bring water and comfortable walking shoes too.
The last full day in Rome we went to a K-Pop store (my first at the time) so I could buy some albums. We also went to the church Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria which I leaned about in my Renaissance class that held an incredible installation piece called The Estacy of St. Teresa by Bernini.
At the end of our 3 full days in Rome, we took the train to Florence which was about 90 minutes.