• Italy

    How to Choose Which Neighborhood to Stay in in Rome

    Rome is a giant city, and your decision about where to stay will have a huge impact on your enjoyment of everything there is to see and do there. There are a few major districts in Rome, each with their own character. While you’re in Rome, make sure you check off the Rome Bucket List! Staying in Rome’s Modern Center The “modern center” of Rome is defined by Roma Termini, the main train station. The Modern Center is filled with boutiques, restaurants, and hotels – it’s a great place to stay, especially if it’s your first visit to Rome. It’s convenient to many of the attractions, and it’s convenient to…

  • Italy

    Rome Bucket List: 10 Things You Must Do in the Eternal City

    Rome is a sprawling metropolis with enough to see and do to keep you busy for months. From ancient history to modern treasures, here are ten things you must do when you visit Rome. 1. The Colosseum The Colosseum is one of the few things that you can’t go to Rome and NOT see. It’s worth seeing up close and admiring the architecture of the ancient Romans. 2. The Vatican Scavi Tour Yes, technically The Vatican is its own country, but it’s still contained within Rome. The Vatican Scavi Tour takes you deep underneath St Peter’s Basilica through the necropolis and to the bones of St Peter. It’s a different…

  • Italy

    The Colosseum: The 8 Wonders of the World (Part 4)

    The Colosseum is one of the easiest of the 8 Wonders of the World to get to. Just because it’s easier than the others doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing! Located in the heart of Rome, the Colosseum is a monument to the Roman Empire’s architectural skill – and, at some level, their brutality. General Info About the Colosseum Location: Rome, Italy Nearest Major Airport: Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) Overall Difficulty to Visit (ranked among wonders, 1 is the most difficult, 8 is the least difficult): 8 Why That Difficulty Rating? Rome is a major city, with lots of public transportation (incredibly crowded transportation, but it’s…

  • Books,  Italy

    15 Books to Read While Visiting Italy

    Italy. It’s the place of pasta and Puccini, and hundreds of stories. If you’re visiting Italy, you should be reading books about Italy and books set in Italy! Here are a few to consider: Non-Fiction Books About Italy The House of Medici: It’s Rise and Fall If you want to understand modern Italy, start understanding the Medici family. The great patrons of many of the arts, this book brings much of Tuscany to life. You’ll look at Florence with new eyes, and see Siena anew, not to mention Milan! If you’re headed to Rome, you’re also going to be surrounded by the papacy – and understanding the Medicis is great…

  • Italy,  Tips and Tricks

    The Vatican Scavi Tour: What It Is & How to Get Tickets

    The Vatican Scavi tour is one of the hottest tickets in Rome – the Vatican only allows 250 people in each day as part of a guided group! The tickets are also incredibly reasonable – they’re 13 Euro a person, which (in my opinion) makes this the most incredible steal of a tour in any country! My mom and I both LOVED this tour – it was the absolute highlight of our Italy trip (and also something of a “life overall” highlight). So first things first: What is the Vatican Scavi? The Vatican Scavi is the necropolis that’s under St. Peter’s. It’s where they’ve excavated to find details from the…

  • General Travel,  Italy

    My Ranking of 34 Italian Gelato Flavors

    I love ice cream. And I love gelato. So I knew I’d love Italy! This is not a comprehensive list of all of the gelato flavors I tried (alas, I forgot to write some down… whoops!), but suffice it to say Italy has pretty amazing gelato. I heard people say before that “you get like a ton of gelato for like one Euro!” and I don’t think that’s true any more – or it wasn’t true where I went! It was more like you get a nice serving for 2-4 Euro, depending on where you are. The chains are more expensive, as are the super-nice gelaterias in Florence, Rome, Venice,…

  • Costs,  Italy

    Spreadsheeting: How Much I Spent in Italy

    For a country that I’d originally planned to spend a week in, I got somewhat “lost” in the amazingness that is Italy on this trip. It’s the country I spent the longest time in – over three weeks! And every single day was amazing! (Yes, even the days I was laid up with a bad back!) In all, in 22 days in Italy, I spent $2702.82. How did that work out?

  • Costs,  Italy

    Spreadsheeting: How Much I Spent in Central Italy (Venice, Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Rome)

    Early on in my trip, my mom decided she’d be spending the last week of my trip with me in Italy, visiting Venice, Florence and Rome. I was looking forward to this for almost the whole trip! My mom is great at joining me in the search for economical travel (and was an excellent sport!), so we tried to do the best at seeing as much as we could, but economically! In all, in 8 days through Central Italy, I spent $1,144.45. How did that work out?

  • Italy

    Rome and The Vatican

    It’s funny to think that the whole itinerary for my mom’s and my trip to Italy was actually planned around the last day! A few months prior, I emailed the Vatican Scavi and managed to get us tickets on a tour of the Vatican Necropolis. For the best chance at getting a spot, you have to give them all the dates you’re going to be in Rome. I sent all the dates Mom would be in Italy, knowing we could then figure out the itinerary from getting this.