Rome

All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 2.

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‘When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls – the World.’

– Lord Byron, Childe Harold

I feel like going to Rome without  ever getting to see the Colosseum is a little like going to Paris and not ever seeing the Eiffel Tower so I was really excited to get a chance to spend a morning there. You may wonder what else there is to do other than walk around and admire the brilliance of the Roman architecture but you’d be wrong. Around the inside of the Colosseum they have heaps of display cases filled with all sorts of fascinating items; from sculptures of the Colosseum as it was when first built, to items excavated from the site.

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It’s hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring the Colosseum really is, the scale of the stands, the magnitude of the amount of work the whole building would have taken to design and then construct. It’s difficult to envisage something of this size and intricacy being built now but to know that it was built almost 2000 years ago is mind-blowing. As you walk around the walls you can’t help but imagine not only the huge number of people who have sat here over the many years – the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 70,000 people but also the somewhat sobering number of people and animals who fought and died in the arena below. There is a buzz as there are so many people all excited to see the great building but there is also a sense of hush as people contemplate exactly what it means to be standing in the Colosseum.

It’s amazing to be able to stand in a building almost two millenniums old which despite its age is still greatly intact!

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We spent a long morning in the Colosseum before returning to the area around our hotel for a late lunch. As you can imagine the food options in Rome are incredibly plentiful, and it’s difficult to know which of the many restaurants to stop at for food. After a few minutes of wandering we came across a really traditional, authentic looking Italian trattoria which served great pastas and some of the most fantastic desserts I’ve ever seen on the same menu. After much deliberation Aimee and I decided to pick two and share them, a classic tiramisu and a delicious truffle ice cream bomb. I wish that my camera hadn’t already been packed for the flight because I think the photo alone would be enough to make you hungry!

Then suddenly, the weekend was over far too soon and with heavy hearts we had to haul our suitcases onto the coach, head off to the airport and leave behind this amazing city. Italy is just simply stunning  and I cannot wait to return as soon as I can and discover more of its wonders, there is still so much of Rome to visit, let alone the rest of the country…

Sophie x

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All Roads Lead to Rome – Day 1.

Several years ago Italy stole my heart for the first time when I visited the beautiful city of Florence in the Easter holidays with my family, and since then I have always dreamed of visiting more of the beautiful country. Top of my somewhat extensive list was Rome, the stunning capital of this wonderful country. I dreamed about getting to see all of the ancient Roman ruins, the statues and art, and the Vatican of course. Every year my university runs a history trip which is open to everyone studying arts, this year the trip was planned for Rome and I just could not miss the opportunity!

We arrived in Rome on the Friday evening so just got settled in to our hotel rooms and had a little wander around the surrounding area, but the following morning we were up bright and early, ready to explore the wonders of the city.

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We all hopped on the metro to the St Peter’s Square and round to the Vatican Museum. It is an enormous, labyrinthine place filled to the roof with astounding art which crosses the centuries. In a way though, whilst the art is amazing, the building itself was even more impressive. The ceilings alone are a true work of art…

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit it, the Vatican Museum is definitely worth a visit, if only for the marvel that is the Sistine Chapel. You don’t get long to take it in as the museum guards keep you moving as you cross the place due to the sheer number of people in there but it is simply stunning to look at. Having seen endless recreations and prints of sections of the painting it is incredible to get to see the original Michelangelo ceiling which was painted between 1508 and 1512.

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We were at the Vatican till well after midday so we got back on the metro towards the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain where we had a few hours of free time after lunch to wander around and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Strangely out of character for me I didn’t get round to snapping any photos of my food because I was too excited to get tucked in! But I ate a delicious pizza marinara at lunch and then had a delicious spicy tomato spaghetti for dinner, followed of course by gelato. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, the gelato does rank pretty highly in the list of my favourite things about Italy… I had nocciola (hazelnut) and café and both were just mouth-wateringly tasty.

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The Trevi Fountain was one of my favourite sites in Rome, it is absolutely beautiful and there is something slightly magical about getting to see it all lit up at night and throwing a coin into the water. Florence may have my heart but Rome is definitely fighting for it!

Stay tuned for my next post with Rome day 2…

Sophie x

7 Happy Things.

Sorry I’ve been rubbish at posting this week, I have spent two days in bed and my pain levels have been extremely elevated. Things are difficult but I don’t want to dwell so here are this week’s 7 happy things and hopefully a promise that you will get a second blog post this week!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from j-siddhartha tumblr}

1. Having a lovely dinner at Wagamama with the beautiful Ellie. It was her birthday a few weeks ago and we hadn’t had a chance to meet up and celebrate but we found the time this evening and I got to give her her present.

2. Finally getting my hands on the NARS creamy concealer (in vanilla for anyone who’s interested), it’s really difficult to find and Ellie got it for me in Bath so I’m excited to use it!

3. Spending the weekend at home with the family. As I’d been feeling so rough all week I thought it would help and I have to admit my motivation to come home was partly down to how ridiculously comfortable my double bed is, you just sink into it, it’s such a luxury compared to student living.

4. Eating the traditional Swiss dish called Raclette, what can beat melted cheese, potatoes and charcuterie (cooked meats like ham and salami)?

5. Doing a morning in a Year 2 class in a primary school. Helping the class to learn about directions and right angles was so fun and I just adore the children so I’m really pleased that I get to go back there this week.

6. My dad’s toffee apples. I may not have been able to go to Bonfire night because of my pain but I did get to munch on one of the best toffee covered apples.

7. Looking forward to next weekend with bated breath – I’m going to Rome and I can hardly contain my excitement! I have a deep love for Italy ever since I visited Florence for the first time when I was 14, I love the country, the scenery, the culture, the food, the classical music, (although perhaps not so much the politics). I’ve never been to Rome and I can’t wait to discover the city, we’re visiting the Vatican and many celebrated monuments. We might only be there for what seems like a couple of hours but it’s going to be amazing!

Hope you all have a good week, after a bit of a right-off week I’m looking forward to hopefully having a much better one 🙂

Sophie x