After a breathless 24 hours in Switzerland we crossed into Milan and Lake Como… on our way to the eternal city.
Lake Como is the freaking bomb. Simply put… if you’re in the area, you MUST GO.
It exceeds the hype unlike most everything else in life. We managed a four-hour regional train excursion from Milan to Varenna, arriving before dawn. It was worth every bleary eyed moment of lost sleep to see the rose-colored sky as it hit the snow-capped peaks of the epic Italian Alps.
Imagine a picturesque Italian village nestled in a surreal mountain landscape, add the most beautiful lake possible and then sprinkle some pixie dust. 🙂 That’s Lake Como.
After a two stage breakfast of homemade fruit croissants and local cheese, bread, and cappuccino we hit the rails back to Milan for our ultimate destination. The views of paradise firmly etched in our hearts for a lifetime.
Roma didn’t disappoint. At the risk of living a touristy cliché’, we had chosen to take our kids to see the eternal city and the quintessential history of Rome and Vatican City. We stayed at a great little hotel near the Colosseum for three nights and made the most of every moment.
We bought the sightseeing bus (hop on off) passes and they were surprisingly helpful to have! Distances and weather often kept us from easily walking from downtown shopping in Rome to the Vatican or Forum areas without a ride and the narrated audio headphone option gave us a greater appreciation for the architecture and significant history hidden all around us.
In Rome… EVERYTHING is beautiful and old and historical. You cannot see or grasp it all… so you have to pick what and where you will go and commit.
We did exactly that. We bought tickets to tour the Vatican Museums / Sistine Chapel and Colosseum along with the Roman Forum. (a full 3 days for anyone to tackle!)
We walked the cobblestone streets around Trevi Fountain, toured the Iconic Pantheon, and we ate a lot… drank wine, water with bubbles and pounds of bread. We soaked up a golden sunset on the Spanish Steps (view below) and shopped the unique boutiques of the old city.
I would highly recommend each site or area mentioned as ‘must see’s for any who visit Rome. It’s a cliché’ for sure, but they are all breathtakingly beautiful and somehow an essential experience for gaining a better understanding of the world and it’s abundant cultural diversities.
In Rome you will hear dozens of languages, see every kind of style as tourist from Asia to Africa, Russia to Brazil and nearly every culture in-between. There are so many diverse groups, families from every corner of the globe and all of us are in ‘awe’ of the wonder that surrounds. No one pretends it’s not affecting them… we all openly stop to stare and gawk. Inspired and overwhelmed by the power of this eternal city… as the history and beauty cast’s a profound spell over any who take the time to see.
I cannot speak of Rome without mentioning the food. It’s everything you hoped it would be and more… our favorite was a little tiny landmark restaurant, La Carbonara. (English is not a guarantee here, but struggle on and order the house specialty, you will not regret it.)
The various eateries and coffee shops that dot every block are all little treasures in themselves. Food is freshly prepared or baked on the premises… it takes time, forces you to slow down and savor the moments. Another wonder of Rome… the pace of your life shifts and suddenly you’re not in a hurry, not anxious to be somewhere… like time is standing still.
That moment of slowed pulse and renewed joy is the pure beauty that is Rome.