... because it's Rome. Get it? I had the incredible opportunity of ringing in 2012 in Rome with my boyfriend and it was pure amazing. I know I've said this before [and I likely will again], but Ryanair, I love you. Others may mock you, but I understand your twisted genius. I'm even learning to tune out the hostess' attempts to sell us smoke-free fake cigarettes, $10 sandwiches, and Justin Bieber cologne every chance they get.
But I digress.
The Roman Forum was once the center of Ancient Roman life, acting like a main square that connected people, government buildings, and business. It's all ruins now but still pretty cool. Rome is full of ruins. So much so that they only have two metro lines [surprising for such a big city] because every time they dig to build more lines they hit a major Roman ruin site that turns into a historical excavation.
Token tourist shot inside the Colosseum.
The beautiful Trevi Fountain. I know it sounds strange, but this fountain SMELLS SO GOOD. Really, there was this lingering fresh scent in the air that was just so unexpected and nice [maybe something they use to treat the water??].
Weirdest travel commentary ever?
We also visited St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican [AKA the Pope's stompin' grounds]; a must if you ask me, even if you're not religious, because it is such a historically significant place, and of course really beautiful. Plus it technically counts as another country for your list.
Michelangelo's world-famous Pieta Statue.
St. Peter's again.
Castel Sant'Angelo, a really cool emperor mausoleum/military fortress/palace thing. We got to go in for free because we bought the RomaPass, which I would completely recommend. For 25 euros, you get unlimited free public transit for 3 days, plus totally free entry to 2 sites of your choice, from a long list available [we chose this thing and the Colosseum], plus discounted entry to every other site, PLUS line-skipping at all the busiest sites! In-cre-di-bi-le!
Il Vittoriano, which was designed for Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy after it was reunified. It's also where Mussolini led his government.
One night we had a long walk along Via Del Corso, one of the main shopping streets, and it was so nicely decorated for Christmas/Italy's 150th anniversary! That night we also ate at Spizzico, a little pizza chain I have wanted to eat at ever since I started visiting Davide in Italy, but for whatever reason we never managed. It's hilarious, like the Italian version of Pizza Hut, but SO MUCH CLASSIER. Normally I don't do fast food but Spizzico is just too cute.
The rest of the trip [5 days total] we ate such delicious authentic food, for soooo cheap! We are talking pizza/pasta + wine/beer + desert for 12-15 euros per person. In the Italian capital! You can't even eat well in Stuttgart for that! If anyone reading this is planning a trip there, check out this place for pizza. There were others too but they're so cute and wee they don't even have websites! [Plus, on an unrelated note, it's possible that I forgot their names.]
The Pantheon! Just so impressive in all its Greekness.
Piazza Della Repubblica lit up in a splendor. I squeal every time I see a Smart Car!! Yes, i live in Europe. No, they're not exciting anymore. It's just a habit. Don't judge.
Here we are on New Year's Eve [sporting matching lipstick, I wonder why :D ], getting ready to watch fireworks across the top of the Colosseum, in a crowd of 30,000 people. It was hands-down the most impressive fireworks display I've ever seen; it lasted at least 25 minutes [that's a lot of fireworks, people] and we kept thinking, 'This must be the finale.' But it wasn't, guys, it wasn't; they just kept going! This was such a special moment and I couldn't have thought of a better way to ring in what will be a strange but wonderful year! Happy 2012 to all!
Looking forward to reading all about your New Year's adventures too!