We arrived in Rome a little after noon. We grabbed our bags and purchased train tickets from machines that were conveniently located in the baggage claim area. It was quite the hike to the platform, but the plentiful signage along the way reassured us that we were heading in the right direction. Our train was waiting at the platform. We stowed our bags and settled into our seats.
The view from our seats was mostly obstructed so we only caught brief glimpses of the Italian countryside along the way. The ride from the airport to Termini station is right at 30 minutes. It was just long enough for our travels to catch up with me, and I found myself nodding off RIGHT when we pulled into the station. I had to force myself to wake up, grab our bags and head out to get our bearings.
Our B&B was only a few blocks from the station so with the help of some directions from our phones, we headed off into the masses. The area near the station can get very congested. There are vendors selling things on the streets, a lot of people coming and going, and all the while, you’re rolling your giant suitcases over cobblestone streets and bumpy sidewalks.
We narrowly missed the window for an early check-in with our B&B by about 15 minutes. We were also under the impression we would be able to store our bags in the lobby while we went out to explore. Nope. None of the above. We couldn’t even get upstairs to the B&B and couldn’t get anyone to answer the buzzer downstairs. We were exhausted, hot, and thirsty. We dragged our bags next door to a tiny cafe for a water and to kill some time. We were a little frustrated at having to sit around and wanted nothing more than some quiet privacy and a shower.
We also didn’t want to venture super far since we had our crazy heavy suitcases with us. We were also warned about the threat of pick-pocketing and theft in Italy and didn’t want to be easy targets. We found a great restaurant the next block over and had our first authentic Italian pasta experience. Our minds were blown and it was only the first meal. Fueled by some great food and espresso, we felt like new women. We headed back to the B&B and had to hunt down the staff again, but eventually made it to our room.
We unpacked, showered, and got ready to meet our guide at 5:00. We got downstairs only to find it had started raining. We ran back upstairs for our rain coats and then met our guide, Gabriela who we would be with for the rest of the week. As it would turn out, it was just the three of us for the first few days in Rome, and we would meet up with others when we left for the coast later that week. Score. Our own personal tour guide.
The purpose of the first night was to help us get ourselves acquainted with the layout of Rome and give us a bit of a primer on the culture and city. Our first stop was around the corner from our B&B, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. I wasn’t actually prepared for how jaw-droppingly beautiful everything was inside. The details were incredible, and I was stunned from moment one. We continued our walk around the city, and thankfully, the rain mostly cleared up.
The Colosseum was our last big stop before dinner. I think that was the defining “We are really here” moment for us. You see photos of it. You read about it in history class, but standing in front of the thing is something completely otherworldly. It’s so old, and so big, and completely unlike anything we have here in Atlanta. (Aside from the football stadium, but it’s also not 2000 years old…you know what I mean.)
We had an early (by Italian standards at least) dinner with Gabriela. Pasta round two. Are we seeing a trend here? I tried a traditional Roman dish, Cacio e pepe, and definitely made the right decision. The name translates into “cheese and pepper” and it was delicious. We also had wine and dessert, and got to know our guide a little better. After dinner, she walked us back to our B&B and we called it a night. To be continued..next time – Rome, Day 2!