Spotlight Destination: Rome, Italy

Roaming Through Rome!

Rome is rich in history, culture, fashion, and food. 

The “Eternal City” is a destination that never fails to impress visitors with its stunning architecture, iconic landmarks, and vibrant street life. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Rome has something for everyone!

Rome, the capital of Italy, is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the world. Founded in 753 BC, this vibrant cosmopolitan city is famous for its iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican City. 

With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your trip to Rome. But don’t worry, here is a list of things to do in Rome, hidden gems to discover, and off-the-beaten-path attractions that make this city so special. 

Rome Italy

Top 5 Sightseeing Things To Do in Rome

  1. The Colosseum: The Colosseum was built in 80 AD and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
  2. The Pantheon: The Pantheon is a temple that is dedicated to all the gods of Ancient Rome. It was built in 27 BC and is famous for its impressive dome, which is the largest unsupported dome in the world! It’s an incredible sight.
  3. The Vatican City:  The Vatican City is another landmark that should not be missed when visiting Rome. It is the smallest independent state in the world and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is home to many famous landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. 
  4. The Trevi Fountain is also a must-visit landmark in Rome. It is one of the most famous fountains in the world and is known for its stunning Baroque architecture.
  5. Villa Borghese: The Villa Borghese is one of the most famous parks in Rome and is home to many museums and galleries. The park also has a lake where you can rent a boat and enjoy the scenery.

Top 5 Hidden Gems of Rome

  1. The Catacombs of San Callisto: Another off-the-beaten-path attraction is the Catacombs of San Callisto. These catacombs are located on the outskirts of Rome and are home to many ancient tombs and crypts. The catacombs offer a unique glimpse into the history of Rome.
  2. The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma: This opera house is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and has a rich history of hosting some of the best opera performances in Italy.
  3. The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is another famous theater in Rome and is home to many classical music performances.
  4. Shopping streets: Via Condotti is one of the most famous shopping streets in Rome and is home to many luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. Another famous shopping street is Via del Corso, which is a long street that is lined with shops and department stores. 
  5. Monti Boutiques: If you are looking for something unique, then head to the vintage boutiques in Monti. This neighborhood is famous for its vintage shops and fun, bohemian vibe. Some of the best vintage shops in Monti include Pifebo, Humana Vintage, and Flamingo.

Rome Italy

Top 5 Must-Try Foods in Rome

  1. Roman-style pizza:  The Roman-style pizza is thin and crispy! It is a must-try when in Rome. Some of the best pizza places for your to try include Da Remo, Pizzarium, and Pizzeria La Montecarlo.
  2. Carbonaro: Another famous (and delicious!) Roman dish is carbonara, which is a pasta dish made with eggs, bacon, and cheese. The best place to try carbonara in Rome is at Roscioli, a famous restaurant that is known for its delicious pasta dishes.
  3. Roman Wine Bars: The city has many wine bars where you can try some of the best Italian wines while relaxing amongst gorgeous views. Some of the best wine bars to try include Il Goccetto, Enoteca Cavour 313, and Trimani.
  4. Roman coffee: When it comes to coffee, Rome has a rich coffee culture, and you can find many coffee shops all around the city. Some of the best coffee shops include Tazza d’Oro, Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, and Roscioli Caffè.
  5. Alesso di Bollito: This is a simmered beef dish that has been around for ages! It consists of tender juicy meat that is placed on bread and dipped in its own juices. Truly delicious. 

Enjoy your time exploring the beautiful city of Rome! 

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Romantic Venice, Italy

Italy is one of those places in Europe that is a must see.  I know that a lot of people go to Italy for their first European adventure.  Why not, there are so many great cities to visit.  Venice is one of those great Italian cities and in this article I am going to tell you why.

Our hotel room in Venice


Venice is in northern Italy along the Adriatic sea.  Venice consists of the mainland and the historic city.  The historic city has the beautiful canals and endless bridges. If you decide to stay in the historic city you will pay more but it is worth the experience. There is nothing like walking out of your hotel in the morning and seeing the gondolas lined up in the water or seeing the vendors getting ready to open their shops.


Venice has been around for over a thousand years and some of the buildings date back to this time.  The hotels not so much and they are limited on space.  There is a picture of our hotel room and you can see our luggage is against the cabinet and almost touching the bed.  Also, make sure that you if you want your privacy that you book a hotel room with a bathroom en-suite.  Otherwise, you will really get to know your fellow travelers in ways you weren’t expecting!

Piazza San Marco

Our hotel was located just a few steps from Piazza San Marco or as some people call it Saint Mark’s Square.  This square has been famously shown in many movies including one of my favorites The Italian Job.  There are shops, cafes, and alleyways that lead to those beautiful canals all around the Piazza.  Early in the  morning there is nobody around, not even the pigeons.  By lunch time there are swarms of visitors feeding thousands of pigeons that seem to come from the water.  If you are afraid of birds, I would highly recommend staying away from this area from mid-morning to evening.

Also, part of this large Piazza is the astrological clock.  If you enter into the alleyway under the clock it takes you into a labyrinth of shops, markets, cafes, gelato stands, and restaurants.  It feels like it is never ending and one can easily get lost.  Just enjoy the treats that are offered to you along the way.  On of my husband’s favorite stories to tell is that even though we got lost, we always ended up finding the same gelato stand!  He didn’t really complain since he loved the tiramisu flavored gelato and I didn’t mind it too much either.

One of the most eye catching parts of the Piazza is Saint Mark’s Basilica and Saint Mark’s Campanile (the bell tower to Saint Mark’s Basilica).  The bell tower is an iconic symbol of the this historic city along with the winged lions that symbolize Saint Mark, see picture below.

Astrological Clock

Saint Mark’s Basilica is part of the Catholic church and is open for anyone to take a tour.  In the hot summer months when you may be wearing a sleeveless shirt the Basilica requests your shoulders and knees be covered.  If you don’t have something to cover with they will provide you with a cloth.  Once inside you are mesmerized by marble floors, bright mosaics, and a treasury that boosts one of the largest collections of preserved Byzantine objects.  This is a very popular site and lines can be long.  According to the Basilica’s website, the average wait is 45 minutes.  But they do offer reservations so plan in advance!


Bridge of Sighs

Right next to the Basilica is another well-known landmark, Doge’s Palace.  I didn’t know what a Doge was until I went to Venice but a Doge is an elected official.  Typically this was the eldest male in the city and the position was a life-long position.   If you were elected you and your family lived in the Doge’s Palace.  Now the Palace was both a home and work area for the elected official.  It also housed the jail from which the infamous Casanova resided until his escape.  Many prisoners walked over the Bridge of Sighs which was given its’ name because it was the prisoners last glimpse of the beautiful Venetian lagoon before going to jail.  For an amazing experience, ask about a private tour!  We had splurged and taken a VIP tour of the palace.  We went into the work chambers of the all the past Doge’s, which is not typically seen by any tour, and we took secret passage ways around the palace.  We even came out of a tour where a tour group was behind the red rope and thought we were famous people.  Very exciting!


Rialto Bridge

Venice is definitely known for it’s beautiful and plentiful canals but the main canal is the Grand Canal.  You can walk up and down the canal and enjoy the site of boats, gondoliers, shops, restaurants, and brightly colored buildings.  The Grand Canal is one of the wider canals that originally split Venice into San Marco and San Polo districts.  The bridge that connected these two was the Rialto Bridge.  Even though there are multiple bridges along the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge is the oldest.  Many visitors stop along the bridge to get their photo taken over the canal.  Now I really enjoyed see the Grand Canal but I preferred the more intimate canals through the rest of the city.  They had charm, and honestly were not as polluted as the Grand Canal.  I am not sure if it was the time of year, but there was a lot of food and bottles floating in the water.


When it comes to souvenirs in Venice purchasing one of the famous masquerade masks or Venetian masks is a must!  We were told to make sure you ask around which are the authentic shops.  There are a lot of stores that sell beautiful porcelain masks but the authentic ones are made from paper mache.  These stores will also ship them for you so you don’t have to worry about making sure your fragile purchase makes it home in one piece.


Whichever cities you choose to see on your trip to Italy make sure that you fit in Venice.  If you decide to take a gondola ride make sure that you have the Euros to pay for it.  They can be quite expensive but it is a great way to see the city.  There are a lot of cafes and restaurants so make sure to ask your concierge which ones they recommend.  Whatever you eat will be the best meal of your life but make sure that you save room for some gelato, preferably the tiramisu flavor.



Venice was my very first European city and I want to say thank you to this beautiful, well-preserved, and romantic city for helping me understand why Life is Better Traveling.

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This Ancient Italian City is Worth the Visit

Pompeii, Italy should be on the list of 100 places to see before you die.  If you ever take a Mediterranean cruise this is always one of the optional tours or included as a portion of one of the optional tour.  Pompeii is very close to Naples.  To get there by bus it usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending if you have any additional stops along the way.

This Roman city was thriving until the volcanic explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD which buried it under volcanic ash for centuries.  Pompeii was considered to be a modern city with an amphitheatre, a public gymnasium with a swimming pool, and an aqueduct.  The aqueduct would supply water to street fountains, public bath houses, and if you were really rich you would have water in your house.  The city streets were also very modern for their time.  They had curbs and there were houses or shops on both sides of the streets.  To ensure that people would stop at intersections when on horse or horse-drawn carriage they had circular stones at the end of the streets.  This was like a modern day stop sign or speed bump.

Now I truly believe that Pompeii was a city that wanted to be alive.  Even though it was buried for almost two-thousand years, due to the lack of moisture and oxygen it remained very well-preserved.  A large percentage of Pompeii has been excavated but there is still some of the city that wants to be re-discovered.  Today there are millions of visitors to this ancient city every year.  Now Pompeii is a large city.  Some people think that when they take a short day tour to Pompeii that they are seeing the whole site.  You really need a whole day to see the entire excavated portion of the city. 



I have yet to take a whole day tour.  I have always been on a tour where we are there for just a few hours.  Regardless of which tour you choose you will still be amazed by the site.  Most tours will take you to the outdoor warehouse which houses some artifacts and moldings of those who were frozen in time by the ash.

If you are lucky enough to get to walk through some of the houses you will be able to view the beautiful mosaics.  We were told that this was a sign of wealth.  So the wealthier you were the more mosaics you would have in your home.  These mosaics also told stories so they were unique.  All I could think when viewing these mosaics is what the excavation process was like.  You really have to be extremely patient and meticulous to ensure that you don’t ruin it.  I will say this over and over again in my blogs but when you are standing on a site that is thousands of years old you really appreciate your life and realize how fast it goes by.  Pompeii is one of these cities where I realized that Life is Better Traveling.

Mosaic in a Home


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