HONEYMOON EDIT: Rome Sweet Rome
Our first destination was to the Eternal City.
I've been to Italy with my family back in 2011, but I was excited to return with my husband! It was Gavin's first visit -he was looking forward to all the history, architecture and of course, cuisine.
We stayed at Le Suite del Barone suited in the heart of the city - walking distance to Piazza Navona. It's a boutique hotel with 6 suites on the 4th floor of a five hundred year old apartment building. It was mainly residential except for the floor the hotel was on, so you'll cross paths with those who live there. The elevator is teeny! I mean, it fits 2 adults comfortably; though, not 2 adults with luggage! Gavin had to take the stairs while I squished myself with all our belongings.
Seeing as we arrived around 6:30pm, the staff had left for the day. All the information is emailed prior to your arrival. They also use WhatsApp to communicate with their guests, in the event you're unable to find or enter the building, they're at your disposal. You're also welcome to message them about recommendations on restaurants, tourist attractions, etc.
As you enter the hotel, the front desk has your name and all the tourist information you may require. Did I mention they also provide breakfast? Simply pick which items you'd like to have the night before and leave the form at the front desk - you even get to choose a specific time your breakfast is taken to your suite.
The teeny elevator - only fits me and our luggage
Rome, December 2019
Madame Butterfly Suite
Rome, December 2019
After unpacking and finally getting the plane off you through a nice, long shower - we were ready for our first night in beautiful Rome. Literally across the street of our hotel is a restaurant, but we decided to ask our hotel staff on their recommendation for our first Roman meal. We figured, if we do get hungry again, (which happens often) we'll just pop into the one directly in front of our hotel.
Osteria Da Fortunata was about an 8 minute walk. We were greeted upon arrival and asked if we wanted indoor or outdoor seating. I looked inside and it seemed that you were in such close quarters with other patrons, so we opted to be seated outside. Rome's winter season resembled Canadian autumnal temperatures. It was refreshing to have enjoyed dinner on the patio during the month of December; definitely something we can't do back home.
Since Rome is largely a tourist destination, there isn't too much of a language barrier. In Italy, they will ask you what kind of water you prefer before taking your food order. Always opt for tap; it's just as safe as drinking bottled. The cost of a bottle of (house) wine is at par with that of water. Take the alcohol! Trust me, Italian house wine is just as delicious as an expensive bottle. It's also more cost effective if you order a bottle (€7) vs. a glass each (€4)! *of course, prices vary at each establishment
Also, they'll serve you fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic, sometimes with other fixins - regardless if you eat it or not, it's added to your bill. They don't tell you the charge, it's just the custom. If you know you aren't going to touch it, have them take it back, it'll eliminate the surprise addition of €2/3 to the cheque. Gavin loves bread, ergo, we always paid for the bread.
We both ordered pasta, obviously, paired with their house red - I got the Amatriciana and Gavin got the Oxtail Gnocchi. I did warn Gavin that Italian food in Italy is FAR from the same as North American "Italian food". Naturally, I wanted to witness his reaction as he took his first bite and let me tell you, it was so heartwarming to see all the joy and contentment!
Ready for that first bite
After dinner, we decided to walk (about 20 mins) to Fontana di Trevi - in search of gelato and a viewing of a gorgeous landmark.
Well, we were wrong. It was packed; although, we were thankful for kind strangers you can ask to take your photo! We usually look out for others trying to take a snapshot and offer to take theirs if they could return the favour. When I say that we ask strangers, I really mean I've made Gavin ask - he takes rejection easier than I.
On the subject of strangers and prominent tourist spots, there will be times you'll be haggled by individuals offering "kindness" in their willingness to take your photo or sell you souvenirs. Don't give them any attention! Firmly thank them and walk away. Sometimes, they do follow you and can be persistent - at this point just ignore them and keep walking. Their "kindness" comes with a hefty bill or they're distracting you while stealing your wallet/passport.
Besides how gorgeous and historic the fountain is, there's a myth that comes with it - the throwing of coins. The myth originated in 1954 with the movie, "Three Coins in the Fountain". Stand with your back to the fountain and throw a coin in your right hand over your left shoulder.
Based on the movie, the myth was:
1 coin: you will return to Rome.
2 coins: you will fall in love with an attractive Italian.
3 coins: you will marry the person that you met.
The fountain collects at least a million euros each year - they donate this money to support charities.
On my first visit to Rome, our tour guide shared a slightly different version:
1 coin: you will return to Rome.
2 coins: you will get married.
3 coins: you will get divorced.
(his punchline: don't get divorced, it's more expensive.)
In 2011, I threw 3 coins (on separate attempts):
1 coin: I will return to Rome.
2 coins: I will get married.
8 years later, I return to Rome with my husband.
Fontana di Trevi