City of Ruins

City of Ruins

It turns out flying to Europe from Australia takes a long time. In our case, 2 red-eye flights with a layover in Abu Dhabi, and 24 hours later we were in Rome. The good thing about travelling west, though, is that you become an early riser instantly due to the jetlag. Landing early in the morning, and seeing as we were in the neighborhood, we swung by good old Trevi Fountain on the way to our guesthouse. Normally the attraction is swarmed with hundreds of people, but we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Trevi Fountain, first thing in the morning

Despite the crappy overnight flights, we decided to join our good friends and fellow world travelers, Eric and Lishan, in Vatican City for a trip through the museum and St. Peters square. We captured some scenery along the way.

Castel Sant’Angelo
Photogenic wife

We really thought we’d see Eric and Lishan in Asia during our 3 months there. At one point we missed each other in Phnom Penh by just a few hours. We picked Italy sort of at random at the last minute, and it turned out they were in Rome at the same time!

Finally we cross paths

After seeing the Sistine Chapel frescoes (first time for Amanda), the 4 of us grabbed a late lunch, which became our dinner because of its massive size and our jetlag. We parted ways and crashed around 5pm. At 3am the next morning, we were wide awake and ready to take on the day, of course. Since we had hours to kill before any sane cafe would open, we made tea in the room and paid another visit to our friend Trevi. Why there were 5 others there I can only assume was due to their jetlag as well.

Trevi Fountain around 4am

We decided to spend the next day exploring Trastevere with Eric and Lishan, who had done a food tour of the area and knew some good spots to visit. Since it was Friday morning, the Jewish Museum and synagogue we wanted to visit would soon be closing for the weekend, so we squeezed it in before meeting up with friends. The Great Synagogue of Rome has some rich history dating back to the 2nd century BC. We had a chance to visit the museum, and get a guided tour of the synagogue to learn of its history and current function. We highly recommend this visit to all for the history and sheer beautify of the place.

The synagogue, Tempio Maggiore di Roma
Nice detail work outside
Inside the synagogue, which has the only square dome in Rome
Congregant’s perspective
“Formerly deported,” these chairs are reserved for congregants who survived the Holocaust
Passing by Teatro Marcello

We had lunch with our friends at a popular spot in Trastevere that turned out to be our favorite meal in Rome, Trattoria Da Enzo. Not pictured are the meatballs, which basically reset (for me, at least) what a meatball can taste like.

Fried artichoke, Jewish style, according to the menu

We then paid a visit to a great prosciutteria to experience our first cured meat in Italy. We ordered both prosciutto and porchetta along with some crackers, and enjoyed them with some espresso and war stories of travels over the past months.

Prosciutto and porchetta were divine
Last selfie at Ponte Fabricio, the oldest Roman Bridge in Rome
Overlooking the Roman Forum from Campidoglio
Capitoline Wolf at Campidoglio

After parting ways with friends (and agreeing to meet up in Croatia in March), we passed out from another packed day of food, walking, and photographing. With a couple days on our own left in Rome we paid visits to the Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, photogenic streets, and yummy food, including our first pizza in Italy.


There was a free sparkling water dispenser (what!?) right near the Colosseum, which we made a point of passing by later for a refill.

Mind blown
Largest non-reinforced dome of its time
Looks huge once you get inside
Looking Spanish at the Steps
Funky facade near Spanish Steps, seemingly someone’s private home
Standing guard
Medium meat and cheese board at La Prosciutteria in Trevi, looks more like the large
Amanda’s first cannoli
Tiramisu gelato
Trieste, our favorite pizza in Italy so far, which we’d return to later and order the exact some pies

For our last dinner, we ate at a place called That’s Amore, which was really playing up the love theme. With the photos, wallpaper, music, and menu, they may have gone a bit over the top with the cheesiness (figuratively). Nonetheless, it was cheap and still pretty tasty.

Take another little pizza my heart

The next morning, we awoke to pick up our rental car. We’ll spend the next two weeks road-tripping down the Amalfi Coast, into Sicily, then back north to Puglia and the east coast of Italy. More on that soon.

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