- Shop the Look Above: Blouse: Ann Taylor // Shorts: Nordstrom Rack // Loafers: Aerosoles // Purse: Marc by Marc Jacobs
We spent 16 days in Italy for our honeymoon! We went to Rome, Florence and the Amalfi Coast (we stayed in Positano and then on the island of Capri). I’d never been to Italy before and it has been on the top of my travel bucket list. We got married on Saturday June 18 and left on a red-eye flight Monday June 20 after our wedding. Luckily the Atlanta airport had a non-stop flight to Rome. In Rome we stayed in the Westin Excelsior in Rome, an upscale Starwood hotel in an elegant landmark building. The Westin Excelsior is in a great location, only a 13-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain.
On Tuesday June 21 we spent half the day on a Crypts and Roman Catacombs small group walking tour. We went underground to see Rome’s ancient catacombs and crypts. We visited the Domitilla Catacomb and the Basilica of San Clemente. We also visited the Capuchin Crypt, where we saw a Caravaggio and a chapel made entirely out of human bones. It was slightly creepy but also cool at the same time. Jeremy got in trouble for trying to take photos…. We learned about past burial customs and secret Christian worship spots during this fascinating exploration into the history of Rome.
On Wednesday we went on a tour to see St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. It was really nice skipping all the lines. Raphael’s Rooms, the Gallery of the Maps and Bramante’s Pinecone Courtyard are so captivating. I loved visiting the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam ceiling fresco. St. Peter’s Basilica was larger and more impressive than I even imagined. Knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women. This dress code is strictly enforced and you will be refused entry. We also saw the famous Trevi Fountain. It was insanely crowded but worth the visit. Recently the fountain had been cleaned so the water is crystal clear. If you throw a coin in Salvi’s Baroque fountain, the saying is that you will return to Rome. We also saw the Pantheon, the circular ancient Roman temple with beautiful dome supported by arches. It was really interesting seeing statutes of the old Pagan gods that the Romans used to worship and then comparing to all the Catholic churches in Romi adde.
On Thursday we went on an ancient Rome and Colosseum tour. On this Colosseum underground tour, we had access to areas that are typically closed to the public—the Colosseum underground chambers, the arena floor and the upper tier. We started the tour visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Then we skipped the main entrance line, and explored the Colosseum with an informative guide, who shared stories about life in Ancient Rome. We got to see the underground tunnels, where the gladiators and animals stayed and walked all the way to the top tier of the Colosseum (that is still standing and safe to stand). We enjoyed an amazing panoramic view of the entire Colosseum where women and the lower class used to sit.
We had a lot of fabulous dinners in Rome, especially in Trastevere. I have tons of recommendations if you plan on visiting. Hosteria Del Moro is great, a bottle of wine at Colle del Gianicolo during sunset (it’s this beautiful high point in the Trastevere that overlooks the city) or a mid-afternoon coffee or gelato at Campo di Fiore (they also sometimes have markets there).
On Friday June 24 we checked out of the Westin Excelsior Rome and did a half-day Angels & Demons tour based on Dan Brown’s book before we took our train to Florence. Inspired by the book, our tour guide took us on a journey through the Eternal City as we searched for messages from the secret society known as the Illuminati. Along the way, we got to admire Rome’s beautiful art and attractions like St Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona and Castel Sant’Angelo. I was bummed because we had to cut the tour short to make our train, but it was a great way to end our visit in Rome.
We booked all of our tours through Viator; however, all the tours are actually through a local Roman company, City Wonders. All of our tour guides were amazing, and I would highly recommend booking any of the tours that we did.