With the Delta plane landing right on time, we excitedly arrived in Rome. On Thanksgiving Day, we were at the Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport. No problems going through customs. We didn't have any trouble locating the charter bus. Once seated on the charter bus, our wait almost became almost unbearable.
Appearing at the front of the bus, Gate One's blonde tour guide exclaimed, "Happy Thanksgiving!"
After the greeting and a few words, the tour's charter bus departed the airport. With the bus driver maneuvering the streets of Rome and stopping at the various selected hotels, our hotel was the last stop.
Before the trip's deadline, we changed the hotel choice to the International Palace. We weren't upset that our hotel was the last stop. Without a doubt, the hotel choice was a wise decision. Ideally located, the International Palace was within walking distance of many of Rome's attractions.
Understandably, some people would cringe at the thought of touring a city or an international city independently. While Gate One offered tours, we wanted to see Rome and the Vatican at our own pace. Being the adventurous type, we wanted to explore and experience Rome and the Vatican on our own.
After checking into our luxurious room at the Palace International, we decide that we needed to have a bite to eat before we went exploring. While dining at the hotel's restaurant, the credit card that was cleared for international transactions wasn't in my possession. As a matter of fact, my wallet contained a credit card (my Discover) that hadn't been cleared for travel, and only a few places actually accepted it, back then.
Of course, my Traveler's Cheques definitely saved my skin. Once fortified, we headed to the Colosseum. While we saw the Colosseum from the charter bus window, we followed our AAA spiral guide and admired the Collesum first from Colle Oppio, a park northeast of the monument.
Walking around the whole Colosseum, we were able to embrace the ancient and majestic monument. With the entrance closed, we decided that the view from the exterior would be sufficient.
By this time, it was evening. According to the AAA guidebook, their tip was to admire the Trevi Fountain late in the evening, and that's exactly what we did. With the crowds thinner and the floodlights, the fountain was impressive. The fountain was the most beautiful and breathtaking sight to behold.
Conveniently located, a little gelato shop caught my attention. Eating gelato at the Trevi Fountain, life doesn't get much better than that. This was our first trip out of three to view the most famous fountain in Italy.
Yes! We threw a coin into the water. According to tradition, if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome. Regrettably, so far, we haven't.
The following morning, the hotel's concierge was helpful in scheduling a reservation for the Galleria E Museo Borghese. On Friday, we were headed to the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, there were renovations or repairs taking place, but that did not dampen our spirits. We walked up and down the Spanish Steps. Walking the streets of Rome, window shopping, and people watching provided us with a small glimpse of everyday life in the city.
Around the corner from our hotel, we ate a fabulous Neapolitan pizza and received a free taste of limoncello, we ate several meals at the pizzeria. Of course, the limoncello wasn't complementary to us on our return visits.
Friday evening, the concierge handed us our timed tickets for the Galleria e Museo Borghese. Our reservation time was set for Saturday morning which worked out perfectly.
Indeed, the grounds of the museum are as opulent as the museum itself. Considering the museum is small, the art collection was spectacular. The Galleria e Museo Borghese's outstanding artwork consisted of exquisite pieces. My personal favorites were Bernini's statue of David and Antonio Canova's erotic reclining statue of Paolina Borghese. According to our AAA guide, a must-see was the mysterious and outstanding painting by Titian. Titian's Sacred and Profane Love (1514) was inspired by a strange dream romance.
By the Tiber river, we walked around the Castel Sant'Angelo visiting the castle museum which started as a mausoleum around AD 130. Saturday evening, we were able to attend an Opera at the first Anglican church in Rome.
Sunday morning. we saw the awesome Christmas tree in the hotel's breakfast buffet room. Everyone welcomed us with Buon Natale. The scant thought of it brings tears to my eye.
Planning on taking the bus to Vatican City but that didn't turn out as expected. Forced to take a taxi. We barely made it into the Vatican Museum on time. Normally, the Vatican Museum is closed on Sunday except for the last Sunday of the month. On the last Sunday of the month, the admission was free. However, you had to enter the museum before 12 noon.
At a fast pace, we walked through the Vatican Museum. Suddenly, we were in the Sistine Chapel. The painting on the ceiling was amazing. In fact, pictures do not capture the splendor and beauty of Michelangelo's celebrated ceiling frescoes.
Saving the best for last, there was an incredible view that we were about to behold. Visiting St. Peter's we climbed to the top of the dome. It is easier said, than done. Lacking exact change to ride the elevator, we were forced to take the stairs.
From St Peter's dome balcony, we had a magnificent view of the city. The balcony provided a panoramic view. Seeing the city below and as far as the Museo Borghese with its hot-air balloon, we were ecstatic. Admittedly, this was a perfect and romantic way to end our Roman Holiday.
Writer's notes: Thank you for reading. You are appreciated.
About the Creator
Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab