Tag Archives: Rome

Vacation rentals

22 Dec

Although we enjoy staying at hotels, Sebastian and I really like renting apartments on vacation. We love feeling like locals, plus rentals typically have more space and are less expensive.

If you’re new to the rental scene, some of the well-known sites are Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. We prefer Airbnb and have stayed at some pretty awesome places.

This duplex near Avignon, France, was so lovely. The owners, Emma and Herve, were beyond great, and we loved cooking meals at night and relaxing in the garden.

Rental in #France | www.the-wild-child.com

Avignon rental apartment #France  | www.the-wild-child.com

Rental duplex in #France | www.the-wild-child.com

The apartment we stayed at in Rome was perfect – just a few blocks from the Vatican and not far from a Metro stop. Our host, Cory, was so sweet. He even provided us with a map of the city with restaurant suggestions.

Rome Kitchen  | www.the-wild-child.com

Rome Apartment  | www.the-wild-child.com

Airbnb has some awesome roundups if you’re looking for a truly unique vacation. Here are some of the places I’d love to stay:

Treehouse in Hawaii

Treehouse  | www.the-wild-child.com

Converted train caboose in Malibu, CA

Caboose | www.the-wild-child.com

Houseboat in Amsterdam

Houseboat | www.the-wild-child.com

Clock tower suite in London

Clocktower  | www.the-wild-child.com

If you could stay anywhere, where would you choose?

P.S. All photos are from Airbnb, except the one with Sebastian.
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Eating Italy

13 Aug

Have you ever been on a food tour? For a long time, I wasn’t entirely sold. Why would you spend money to have someone take you to restaurants when you could go on your own? I was oh so wrong.

When Sebastian and I were in Rome last fall, I was trying to find something unique to do for his birthday. I found a food tour company and decided it might be a fun gift. If anything we would eat some great food together.

The tour was way more than food. Eating Italy provided an incredible experience filled with amazing food, great wine, awesome locals and tons of history. We went on the Twilight tour in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. The best part was visiting an area in Rome we might not have gone to otherwise. Trastevere is really lovely. It doesn’t feel like you’re in a big city, but rather a quaint Italian community. We enjoyed getting away from all the tourists and feeling like one of the locals for an evening.

Here are the stops we made along the way if you’re interested:

Da Enzo al 29
Address: Via dei Vascellari, 29

Our first stop was a small trattoria on a side street in Trastevere. We had burrata with prosciutto and melon, as well as some prosecco to kick off the tour. Sebastian and I loved this restaurant so much that we came back on our last day in Rome.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Spirito di Vino
Address: Via dei Genovesi 31 a/b

Our second stop included some fantastic red wine and appetizers. More incredible than the food was the location. We spent our time in Spirito di Vino’s wine cellar, which is actually 150 years older than the Colosseum. Fun fact: one of the statues we saw in the Vatican Museum (see below) was found buried in the cellar.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Innocenti
Address: Via della Luce 21

I love sweets so this was a perfect stop for me. The Innocenti bakery is still run by the same family who opened it in 1920, and the cookies are still made in the same oven from the 1950s.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Antica Caciara
Address: Via di San Francesco a Ripa 140

Another family-run joint, this salumeria delicatessen is well-known to the Trastevere locals. We sampled several meats and cheese and talked with the owner who started working there when he was 13.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

 –Osteria der Belli
Address: Piazza Santa Apollonia 9

I loved this restaurant situated near the center of Trastevere. It had a great patio where we sampled several dishes off the menu, including smoked swordfish, ravioli and carbonara. This was also a return spot during our trip.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

La Renella
Address: Via del Moro 15

This lively bakery was one of the coolest stops on the tour. Before we sampled some of their delicious pizza, we visited the oven room. We met Massimo (seen below) who is 82 (82!) and still baking up bread, which we learned is served in many restaurants across Rome.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Fatamorgana
Address: Via Roma Libera 11

The last stop of the tour was the best gelateria in Rome. They offer real gelato made from natural ingredients. We could sample two flavors, and I tried the honey lemon and ginger as well as the almond apple and cinnamon. Some of the flavors were very unique like rosemary and chocolate or goat cheese and coconut. We came back here again on our last night – you know, when in Rome.

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trastevere food tour #Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Not only was the food out of this world, but we learned some cool facts about the city and spent time in an incredible neighborhood. I definitely recommend Eating Italy if you find yourself in Rome.

Eating Italy
http://www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com/
1-215-688-5571

P.S. Sebastian and I will be in San Francisco for a few days in September. Any great food recommendations?

Falling in love with Rome

23 Jan

It’s been almost three months since I visited Rome, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. What a beautiful, stunning, wonderful city. It took me all of one hour (probably less) before I was head over heels in love. Rome is incredible, and I can’t wait to share all the details from our trip – I know I’ve been a bad blogger, but I’m getting back on track!

The bf and I spent a lot of time wandering down side streets, and we always found something interesting around the corner. Rome is the perfect city for getting lost. We spent five days exploring different neighborhoods and checking out the touristy spots. Maybe it was how old everything is, but I couldn’t get enough. Even the touristy spots were lovely to me. Here’s a look at touristy Rome…

–Piazza Navona–

Piazza Navona in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Piazza Navona in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Fountain of the Four Rivers at Piazza Navona in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

The church of Sant'Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–Campo de’ Fiori–

Campo de' Fiori flower stand in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Campo de' Fiori market in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Campo de' Fiori flower stand in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–Pantheon–

Pantheon exterior in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Pantheon interior in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Piazza della Rotonda fountain in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–Trevi Fountain–

Trevi Fountain in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Trevi Fountain in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II–

National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–St. Peter’s Square–

St. Peter's Square in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

–Colosseum–

Colosseum in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Colosseum in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–Circus Maximus–

Circus Maximus in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Circus Maximus in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

–Tiber Island–

Bridge to Tiber Island in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Tiber Island in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

I have more detailed posts to share, but for now please enjoy the views of Rome. More to come soon!

That one time I met the Pope

21 Jan

Well… OK… I didn’t actually “meet” the Pope, but I was ten feet away from him so that counts for me. Whether you’re Catholic or not, I think we can all agree Pope Francis is a pretty cool guy. When I knew Rome was a reality, I did a ton of research on Vatican City and all the amazing things we could see there. I soon discovered the Pope holds a General Audience every Wednesday morning in Saint Peter’s Square.

I couldn’t miss an opportunity to see the big guy, so with little notice, I sent a request to the Bishops’ Office for U.S. Visitors to the Vatican. I actually didn’t hear from them until we were already in Rome.

Tickets for the Papal Audience in Saint Peter's Square in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Dear Mary Jo,

Thank you for your email. We will be happy to request 2 biglietti (ticket invitations) for the Papal Audience on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Please come for your tickets on the Tuesday afternoon before the Audience between 3-7 p.m.  Tickets must be picked up in person either by you or your representative. When you come to pick up your tickets, we will give you a full orientation about what to expect at the Wednesday audience.  May you enjoy safe travel and a spiritually fruitful visit to Roma.

Respectfully in Christ,
Sister Mary Christa
Coordinator of the US Bishops’ Visitors Office

I was super excited! And luckily Sebastian and I had plans to visit the Trevi Fountain on Tuesday, which is right by the Pontifical North American College – where you pick up the tickets. We found the office and went through the quick orientation. Some things we were told to expect at the audience: arrive super early (you have tickets but they aren’t guaranteed), pick an aisle seat so you’ll be closer to the action, watch out for the little old ladies who’ve waited their whole lives to see the Pope, beware of children crowd surfing to get close to the Pope and prepare yourself for a big Catholic pep rally. The orientation had me even more excited!

Long line to Saint Peter's Square | www.the-wild-child.com

Wednesday morning we arrived at 6:45a.m. to a long line already forming to enter Saint Peter’s Square. People were anxious and we had a quite some time to go since the audience didn’t start until 10:30a.m. After throwing a few elbows navigating the crowds, we found seats along an aisle not too far from the front. Now we just had to wait, but it was one of those mornings where you didn’t mind waiting (well at least I didn’t). I was sitting in beautiful Saint Peter’s Square with the Basilica as my backdrop, surrounded by thousands of people excited to celebrate with Pope Francis. Everyone was buzzing with excitement, flags were being waved and children were chanting “Papa Francesca!”.

Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Saint Peter's Square in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

Papal Audience in Rome Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Excited crowds at the Papal Audience at Saint Peter's Square | www.the-wild-child.com

And then we heard cheers from the other side of the square – the Pope had arrived. Before taking his seat, Pope Francis drives around and greets individuals, receives gifts and blesses the children. There is literally one attendant who hands toddlers and babies to the Pope – it is his only job. After watching everyone else get a chance to see him, I was worried he wouldn’t come down our aisle, but soon he was turning the corner and heading our way. I was about to be right next to Pope Francis! I had my phone ready to capture the moment, and then as he passed I waved like an idiot at him. What else do you do when you see the Pope? You wave, haha!

Seeing Pope Francis at Saint Peter's Square | www.the-wild-child.com

Pope Francis at Saint Peter's Square in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

After the Pope had greeted everyone along the aisles – the audience began. Pope Francis gave a greeting, then a representative of each language in attendance gave a reading. There were several different languages spoken that morning, including English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Polish, Arabic and Portuguese. After the readings, Pope Francis gave a homily in Italian and finally he blessed everyone in attendance. It went by quicker than I expected, and before we knew it the audience was over and people were leaving the square.

Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome | www.the-wild-child.com

It is truly an experience I will never forget. I wish I could bottle how I felt that morning standing in Saint Peter’s Square listening to Pope Francis and feeling so at peace.

Whether you’re Catholic or not, I highly recommend attending the Papal Audience in Roma. It is so, so lovely and a beautiful way to start your day. If you want to learn more about the General Audience and how to get tickets, visit http://www.pnac.org/visitorsoffice/.