Life in the Clouds – Italy (Part IV – Romping in Rome)

Oh, Rome. What a CITY. It’s grand and beautiful and breathtaking… and it’ll give your heart rate a SERIOUS run for it’s money.

After Florence, we thought we knew what to expect in an Italian city. A little walking, a little site seeing, some good food… HA. Nice try kids.

spremuta and espresso in Rome

The first thing we quickly realized after stepping off the train is that Rome is MASSIVE compared to Florence. Just the train station is enormous. So of course, we immediately got lost in the maze of Roman streets. After an hour of wandering, a spremuta pit stop to borrow some wifi, and some not so nice words exchanged (nobody said traveling as a couple was all peaches and roses people), we finally found our little airbnb. When we say little, we mean that quite literally. Our room was about the size of a respectable closet. BUT, it had AC and a bathroom, so we were happy :).

Our first stop (after a nap)… a LAUNDROMAT. Sorry for the TMI, but after over a week of travel and serveral boozy beach days, our clothes did NOT smell so fresh and clean. However, this did give us a convenient excuse to stop and get a snack (as if we needed an excuse).

We met up with my brother Nick, and decided to grab an apertivo before heading to dinner. It was just too late to see any sites, and we were honestly just exhausted after the 3 hour train ride and hour airbnb treasure hunt.

The spot we stopped at was called BlackMarket Hall …. It had a super underground old school vibe with secondhand vintage furniture, tons of little rooms and hallways, and the mood lighting to go with it. They also boast a killer drink menu and while we didn’t stay for dinner, that looked pretty epic too.

We DID get some ridiculously delicious chips covered in black pepper and cheese. YUM.

Afterwards, we went to Tre Scalini. This place wasn’t flashy or fancy or upscale in any sense, but it clearly had a well earned following. Every time we passed it, it was packed, and had a crowd waiting outside to get in for dinner.

We got a good taste of the meaning ‘Italian time’ when the hostess told us she’d put us on the list, and we asked her how long she thought it would be. She gave us ‘the look’ and pointed to a table saying, ‘when they get up, you sit down’. Point taken.

Luckily, it wasn’t a long time until they got up and we smooshed our faces full of some of the best ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese we’d ever had. Ben had a field day with the pepporincini oil they gave him too.

On the way home, we discovered the Italian water fountains (basically public fountains that are always running for you to drink out of), and that pretty much made Ben’s LIFE. He became obsessed. Like, had to stop at EVERY one obsessed.

The next day, we prepared for WALKING. We had a serious agenda of exploration on our minds and of course we fueled up with carbs and coffee.

Let’s also just note here, that Nicholas is a MASTER navigator. He got us EVERYWHERE. Without him, we would’ve been walking in circles. And wouldn’t have eaten anything good. And probably would’ve abandoned each other in the streets of Rome.

So thanks for that Nicky poo :).

Roman Collosseum

First stop: the colluseum. Honestly, there’s no point in trying to explain the feeling of standing in front of this wonder of the world. It’s history and grandeur speak for themselves.

We did find a kitty inside named Nero. He was pretty cool.

Bottom line is, you NEED to see this place at least once in your life. It’s worth the lines, and the walking. It’s that f-in cool.

Next we walked ALL the way to the Roman Baths, just to find out they charged 8 euro to go in them. No thanks. We wanted to see them, but not that bad.

So instead we went and explored the Roman Forum and Palatine. While the Palatine was pretty cool, they had some strange ‘modern art’ installation in it that really just took away from the experience. We came to see history, not a sculpture of a bear pooping in the woods (yes, seriously).

Roman Forum

The Forum on the other hand, was pretty freaking majestical. Very cool and very humbling to see that much history around you.

Roman Forum


Roman Forum

At this point, we’d walked a solid 5 miles, and were about to pass out from hunger. Nick had heard from a chef friend about a cool local spot called Trattoria Da Augusto down in the Jewish neighborhoods, so we headed there. This was the epitome of ‘it looked closer on the map’. We walked for what seemed like MILES before finally making it.

It was an awesome experience though. It was a completely local, working class restaurant with no frills, and simple down home goodness. The pasta was simply done to perfection.

Next, we headed to the Piazza Navona to see the fountains and check out the church. This is where we realized 1) that the stories of the Saints are VERY intense and violent, and 2) Nicholas is indeed capable of sleeping while sitting up.

We all needed a SERIOUS caffeine kick, so we went to Sant’Eustachio il Caffe. This is a pretty famous cafe, and sometimes when you visit a place like that, it can be more hype than quality. NOT the case here. Their coffee was 100% on point. Super smooth with a great kick.

They DID have some pretty cool drinks, but they were running up to 12 euro, so we settled for simple cappucinos for 2.

Trevi Fountain

Our last stops before we took a well deserved nap was the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.

Trevi Fountain

It was beautiful, and the Trevi Fountain is somewhere we could’ve spent hours at, but at this point, all we wanted to do was sleep. And not be walking anymore.

After a solid TEN miles of walking (no, that’s not an exaggeration), we had gelato for dinner, and fell asleep in about .5 seconds. Rome, you win day one, for sure.

Day two, we woke up sore, but ready to rock it out. After a brief pastry debacle (Ben was promised his pastry had white chocolate… it was empty… he was fairly devastate and betrayed), we hit up the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Straight up STUNNING. Intricate ceilings, ornate decor, and massive size all led to one breathtaking experience.

Next we headed to the Altare della Patria – a war memorial with some seriously impressive architecture. It also offers a spectacular view of the city (if you’re in to that sort of thing, which you should be).

Not wanting a repeat of the hunger escapades, we headed over to the Roman market, where Nicholas told us we’d find the bomb sammiches. This was the UNDERSTATEMENT of the year. The place we stopped at was called Forno Campo de Fiori and it was like heaven in toasty handheld bliss form. The sandwich ‘bread’ is actually their pizza bianca. Then they filled it with delicious flavorful delights.

We finished it off with fresh market peaches, and shots of espresso at Sant’Eustachio il Caffe, before heading to the Spanish Steps.

Okay, we get that the Spanish Steps are a site to see. And yes, they’re pretty cool. But… with all that Rome has to offer, they weren’t the highlight of the day. By a long shot.

However, after climbing them, we did sit at the top and watch the rose sellers try to push their goods on poor unsuspecting tourists for a solid 45 minutes. Now THAT is entertainment.

Our last site seeing stop for the day was Borghese museum (only another 2.5 miles walking…). We honestly didn’t know what to expect from this. Nicholas was the one who wanted to see it, and Ben and I have never been super artsy people. BUT… Wow. Just, WOW. It was an incredible experience. The Bernini sculptures were absolutely unreal.

Again, it’s impossible to describe, and there’s no point in posting pictures of it. You just have to SEE it. It’s 100% an experience worth putting the effort in to.

Dinner that night was another huge win. We ate at Carbonara, which specializes in… CARBONARA! Carbonara is actually a dish that originated in Rome (thanks for the fun facts Nicholas!), as well as another dish they served there called cacio e pepe.

Well, you know the saying ‘when in Rome’?? I ate CARBONARA. I haven’t touched meat in years and years, and it was worth EVERY BITE.  It was heavenly. Ben got the cacio e pepe, and it was just as scrumptous. There’s a reason these dishes are considered regional. They do them to absolute perfection. While I don’t plan to go back to eating meat in ‘real life’, ANY time I am in Rome, I WILL eat this dish here again!

Our third and final day we had the Vatican planned. At this point, we needed to take a cab to get there. After TWO 10 miles days in a row, our feet were planning a revolt.

Our main goal was to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. BUT, to get to the Sistine Chapel, you have to go through the ENTIRE Vatican museum. Lot’s of very cool, very historical art. But it takes almost two hours to get through it, and things started to get a little silly.

The Sistine Chapel though? Worth every minute. Talk about an experience that makes you feel VERY small in that moment in time. Our necks were aching by the time we walked out.

St. Peter’s Basilica was equally impressive, but we chose not to walk up to the dome due to exhaustion and hunger.

A local tattoo artist had given Nicholas a suggestion for a nearby pizza restaurant, so we wandered (or stumbled) over there. If you can’t tell, we were starting to lose it a little bit…

But… Best pizza EVER.

I mean like… Everything pizza is meant to be and more. Maybe it was partially because we were completely ravenous, but we’ve had a LOT of pizza in our lives, and this was the top of the line.

That night we went to El Moro. This is NOT a tourist place. Even though it’s in the heart of the city, and located very close to the Trevi Fountain, it’s not geared towards tourists at all. Actually, we’re pretty sure it’s run by the Italian mafia (no joke). The menu is 100% in Italian, and they could care less if you don’t speak it.

The second we walked in, the only other table there stopped, put down their forks, and gave us the ‘are you LOST?’ look. Nicholas however, brightly said that we had a reservation, and they showed us a table in the back.

With the healthy fear that we were going to be offed any minute, this was actually one of the funnest, most unique experiences we had in Italy. The food wasn’t cheap, but it was pretty much like dinner and a show because of the characters that worked there. And the Italian mafia vibe.

Once in a lifetime right there.

Our final goodbye to Rome was a walk down to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin in.

Yes Rome, we WILL be back. And until then, keep that carbonara warm until we get there.


  • Beatrice

    September 14, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Ah, your trip sounds incredible! And woooow all of the food looks spectacular – the pizzas, the pasta, the pastries (except for the pastry debacle, haha!). You guys seem so fun and great at making the most of your travel time! 🙂 I love all of these suggestions for what to see, because not all tourist sites are created equal, hehe. I definitely would want to visit the Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum. Visiting Italy is on my bucket list!

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 14, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Haha thanks Beatrice! It was SO incredible! Even with the pastry debacle :). You HAVE to see Italy, just be ready to walk… And EAT!

  • Pauline

    September 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    This trip to Italy sounds amazing! I actually went to Rome myself when I was younger, I don’t remember enjoying it that much but I am so inlove with italian food right now so I need to go back as soon as possible!!

    HAHHA, love your photos!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 16, 2017 at 2:17 am

      Haha thanks Pauline! It was beyond amazing. I honestly think we appreciated it more now that we’re a little older, than if we’d gone in our earlier 20’s. You should definitely go again and we bet you’ll see it so differently! Plus, if nothing else, the FOOD is so worth it!

  • Tsukiakari

    September 15, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    That’s cool post!
    Can you follow me? I will follow you 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 16, 2017 at 2:18 am

      Thanks! Of course!

  • Violette

    September 16, 2017 at 7:39 am

    I visited Rome few months ago and love it! The city is beautiful, I love the architecture and the food is pretty amazing! I’m glad to see you had a great time there and cute pictures! Thank you so much for you comment by the way!! Have a nice weekend!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      It is so amazing! And we feel like we only dipped our toes in it, there’s just SO much to see! Maybe next time we’ll get bikes or something haha.
      And Thank YOU for sharing :).

  • Zung Vu Tran

    September 16, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Excellent post! If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now – a trip to Italy, and all the cities you have blogged about, is in my (and your mother’s) future! How near the future? Well … it depends on how the company (MedAware Systems) goes …

    One of the great pleasures in life is to follow your grown children’s adventures, to see see how they turn out. You are funny, witty, and smart! And Nicholas is a local tour guide! Ben appears to be an excellent travel buddy, or at least a devoted culinary partner!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks daddy! Italy is pretty amazing, and we only got to a fraction of the places to visit! Nicholas is a GREAT tour guide, I can’t wait until we all get out there together!

  • Sheena Sy Gonzales

    September 17, 2017 at 12:04 am

    You guys are so cute! Looks like a LOT of fun for sure!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks Sheena! It was a blast!

  • Eena

    September 17, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Italy looks so beautiful! It’s on my list of places to visit someday. Plus who could go wrong with Italian food left and right??? I mean, it sounds really heavy but pizza & pasta are dear to my heart, hahah!

    Thanks for sharing your adventure 🙂

    cabin twenty-four

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      It is SO beautiful, it should definitely be on your list! And the crazy thing is, the pizza and pasta there don’t make you feel full and fluffy like they do here. They use such high quality ingredients and give you much smaller portion sizes, it’s amazing!

  • Britney

    September 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

    I love the architecture in Rome. I would love to visit just for that. The food looks yummy too though. Those sandwiches from the Roman Market look so good!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      There’s SO much beautiful architecture to look at, you’d be in heaven! We were honestly just in awe of it all. And the food… You’ll STAY for that haha.

  • Sheena

    September 17, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Such a wonderful trip! Glad that you had a great time in Rome.


    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks Sheena!

  • Nancy

    September 17, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I definitely need to go check out Rome one of these years! Man, glad you were safe after that incident out in the streets. I feel so spoiled by the spacious places in the US so staying out in different countries can take quite an adjustment. The food you got looks super delicious!

    The coliseum is so big! Can’t believe how great the architects built it back then because it’s still standing today XD. Glad to see you two having a grand time out in Rome. Hope you’ll have a chance to visit again in the near future! They are the pasta capital XD.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Rome is INCREDIBLE! You could spend weeks there and still not see it all. And it really is amazing that so many of those structures are still there today. The crazy thing is, a lot of them were abandoned for long periods of time – they let the entire Coliseum become a huge overgrown garden! And trust us, we WILL be going back for that pasta haha.

  • Andrea

    September 17, 2017 at 4:42 am

    I love hearing about your adventures. And you are an amazing writer. You make me hungry.

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 23, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you! The food is definitely worth the long plane ride :).

  • Agness of Fit Travelling

    September 17, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Rome is so breathtaking and remarkable. What I can see from your pictures is that you had a blast there. Thanks for sharing your adventures and experiences! 😉

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      It really is breathtaking. It makes you feel very small, but in a great way :).

  • the adventurer

    September 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I once heard that if you throw a coin in the Trevi fountain you will return to Rome =o)

    Isn’t rome absolutely stunning! The architecture just takes your breath away and you can easily get lost in the streets. I went when I was younger with my family and we would spend hours just wandering around and enjoying food =o)

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Haha that’s the hope! It IS absolutely incredible. And we definitely DID get lost in the streets haha, thank goodness we had Nicholas. It’s like a maze! We could literally have just eaten ALL day long. So much yummy food!

  • Nevena Krstic

    September 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Beautiful photos! I’d love to visit Rome one day! 🙂 xx

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Nevena! You should definitely try to, it’ll be worth your time!

  • wendee

    September 17, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    beautiful photos. Seems you had so much fun.
    The Glossychic

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Thank you! We did!

  • Laura Mitbrodt

    September 17, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    that food looks so amazing, sounds like you had a blast

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 17, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      The food was SO amazing. Worth every bit of walking!

  • April Nunez

    September 18, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Such a great post and i love your photos, it’s look so fun! Thanks for sharing!

    April of:

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 18, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks April! It was such a blast!

  • Patricia

    September 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Amazing post!!
    I love Italy and I love your photographs 😀
    It sounds like you had a great time dear!
    Wish you a lovely week

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 18, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      Thank you Patricia! It really was a dream trip, the photos don’t do it justice.

      You too!

  • Gabby

    September 18, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    It looks like you had an amazing time!

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      It was incredible!

  • wp template

    September 19, 2017 at 6:58 am

    well i say….its all awesome realy waooo all pictures & wounderfull place nice post.. best wordpress themes free download

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 20, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Thank you! It is SO awesome!

  • Kim

    September 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Love the title, romping in Rome. You two seem so outgoing in your pictures too. Looks like a blast! Definitely a bucket list item type of place! Nero is a cutie.

    Simply Lovebirds

    1. Mile High Dreamers

      September 22, 2017 at 12:16 am

      Haha thanks! We are pretty ridiculous about 97% of the time haha, but Ben is the real extrovert, he talks to EVERYONE. 100% a bucket list destination, you and your love would have such an amazing time there! It’s all very romantic haha.
      And cats… we’re obsessed :).

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