Rome will always hold a place in my heart, after visiting this city multiple times it never fails to offer a completely different experience everytime I go there. Rome is full of unbelievable sites and places to visit. If you are looking to see the Vatican, or the coliseum or even just go there for all of the great Italian food, it is all worth it. Rome is a very surprisingly easy city to navigate, Neither Christine or I speak any Italian but after comparing this trip to our France trip (we don’t speak French either) Rome was by far more accommodating and much much much friendlier people.  Our first time in Rome was during our first trip backpacking Europe and it was one we will never forget. Upon arriving to the Airport we immediately made way to our Hostel. We have just come from Verisilla France where we just got engaged and we were about half way through our 3 week adventure. When arriving to our Hostel we got there a little early and could not get into our private room we booked so we left our bags with the front desk made our way onto the street and started eating everything we could find. I am not exzaderating when I say we ate everything, there was one point where we actually sat down for dinner had a 3 course meal with drinks, left and within two blocks of the restaurant went to another one and ordered another full meal.

Eating in Rome:

Some of you maybe reading this and say wow you two are huge fat asses, but let me explain. We did this for you, so your welcome…Well not completely for you we did this because of my one and only complaint in Rome, Rome is very very touristy, so coming from a big Italian family I am used to (what I think) very authentic Italian food. So whenever we walked into a restaurant in Italy and the whole menu is in English we felt like we were not getting the full experience, hence the fact we went to an enormous amount of restaurant, Yes we didn’t have to finish the whole meal but lay off us we were on vacation. My advice is to stop ordering pizza in Rome and go outside of the city limits and find an authentic Italian restaurant, trust me it will be worth navigating outside of the city

The Colosseum Rome:

In my opinion few attractions live up to the hype, but I have to say the Colosseum 100% does, Don’t be scamed into buying one of the tours just get a ticket and go in and be amazed. It is truly a special moment when you look down into this massive structure and think of the history, culture and lives lost in the arena. Plan extra time here as there is seriously so much to see and yes I will even admit it…bring a self stick…

The Vatican Rome:

Another great experience in Rome is to visit the Vatican, when booking our trip I did some research on how to actually attend a mass. Tickets are needed, so we emailed our bishop and arranged for us to pick up two (free) tickets the day before the mass. So while staying in Rome we picked up our tickets and left really early in order to get to mass with plenty of time to find a seat. Fun fact, your never too early we arrived hours and hours before mass and there was still a mile long line. Fun fact, once they open those gates there is nothing holy or loving about the heard of people pushing and racing to get a seat. Apparently if you don’t get a seat Jesus does not forgive your sins. Christine and I got a seat so we will be in Heaven while you slow, small people think about how you should have dropped kicked that small child in the face to get there quicker.

Mass at the Vatican:

This was truly a once in a lifetime experience because I have no plans on attending it again. Don’t get me wrong Christine and I are both believers but the way the mass is setup we didn’t take much away from it. Pretty much the way it works is the climax of the event is when the Pope drives around in the Pope mobile and gets out to shake hands and kiss babies like the rock star that he is. From there he will do a reading which is then translated one after another into what seems to be 1 million languages. So after the 5 hour event you understand about 20 mins of it. Call me old fashioned but I’d rather worship Jesus in my church at the Calvary Chapel in Chattanooga TN

Cooking Class in Rome:

To this day one of my best experiences/excursions I have done on any trip is taking a cooking class in Rome. (Thank you to my beautiful wife for planning and making me go on it) During this trip to Rome we were on a cruise, so we got off the boat took an hour train trip to the city, navigated a brisk power walk to the meetup location (almost lost my wife a few time is the intense hustle) For those of you who do not know me, I love to cook. I can eat Italian food everyday of my life and have worked in the restaurant industry for a good majority of my life. So taking a cooking class in Rome was on my bucket list although my only fear was it would be advanced enough. To my surprise the class was perfect.

Once we met up with our instructor Francasico we talked with our group and made our way to the public market. I do not know how we missed this market the first time we went but it was huge, authentic and very cheap. We picked out the ingredients for our meal with our instructor who although spoke broken English was very informative, we continued our walk to our kitchen (about a mile away) and this is where we spent the remainder of the day. We cooked red sauce from scratch along with Gnochi, Eggplant, Ravolii with an artichoke filling and a chocolate lava cake. Oh and we had wine, lots and lots of wine. Everything was made from scratch we learned the proper techniques and the instructor did a great job of having us do everything so it really felt like we cooked the meal and not just watched.

After cooking the meal the best part is eating everything we made with our small group of about 7, We met some great people at this class and I wish we could have stayed longer. But of course like Christine and I do best when there is unlimited drinks, we always do our best not to leave any behind like the degenerates that we are. This was certainty the case at the cooking class with the unlimited wine. After dinner we were defiantly feeling it and since we took a cruise this trip we had to navigate back to the train station and take another 1 hour train back to the port to catch our boat. After ditching out on dinner early (even though I scarfed down mine and Christine’s chocolate lava cake before leaving) we made our made dash out the door only to be strucken by sunlight and almost crumbled like vampires. Looking at the time, I and my wonderful alcohol induced decision making process was ready to call it quits right there and submit to the fact there was no way we were making this cruise ship. My wife however was not having it, at all. We ran down the streets like we were being chased by Godzilla and flagged down the first taxi or desprete looking human willing to give us a ride, luckily it was a taxi. He rushed us to the train station (nicest taxi driver ever) When we arrived to the train station we drunkenly hustled to the lobby only to realize again we are in a foreign country and no idea what the signs say or what train to take.

At this point in my life I learned a very important lesson, “never judge a book by the cover” As Christine and I are running around the train station like a mouse looking for cheese, a toothless sketchy man that looked like a beat up drunken Nicholos Cage sent straight from heaven flagged us down and not speaking any English took us to a screen on the wall and showed us where to go, apparently we weren’t the first drunken Americans lose in a train station. Although I didn’t believe him at first and thought he was just looking for money or sending us on a sick scavenger hunt, this man had no ill intentions towards us and simply trying to help, so like the asshole I am I go the opposite direction that he told us…He again flagged us down and with a smile pointed us again in the right direction, this time I had nothing to lose and trusted him.

This is the point when the train station sprinting started. I was resistant at first, only because I wanted to spend more time in Rome and just catch a train to our next port but again my wife was not having it. So my wife jumped the gate in a full sprint like a damn hyena and before I knew it was 25 yards ahead of me, I quickly followed with my heisman caliber moves dodging small children and leaping over wheel chairs. We made it to the train dripping in sweat. Luckily the right train.

Summary of Rome:

Rome truly has it all, this is one destination that I can never get enough of and am always wanting to go back for one reason or another. Although it is on the touristy side, if you look in the right places you can get a true feel of the history and culture. From amazing feel to once in a lifetime experiences, Rome needs to be on your travel list.

On a side note, when traveling to Rome the first time Christine and I were very nervous about pick pocketors on the train, we didn’t see any (I guess that’s the point) but we carried our cash in a Fanny pack type of thing that went under our shirt. I do believe the threat is not as bad as alot of what you read on the internet but better safe than sorry and recommend you take extra caution and be aware of your surroundings.