The Stay: Roma

My first departure from the Eternal City was one that came with mixed emotions, emotions of sadness but also a new found confidence that I was ready to deploy back Stateside.  A triumphant return to a city that gave me an unforgettable experience and created my sense of wanderlust, I finally made it back to Rome after 2 long years.

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The minute I got off the train in Termini, it all came back to me. It was like I had been living here for years, I hopped on the Metro and headed towards the Barberini Metro stop so I could check into my hotel.  Situated at the top of the famous Via Veneto, The Marriott Grand Hotel Flora was my beautiful resting place for the week ahead. A short walk to Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti, the location of the hotel was ideal. It was also located right next to one of my favorite places in Roma, the Borghese Park, home to one of Roma’s largest parks and Scipione Borghese’s immense art collection that boast’s art and sculptures from the likes of Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian just to name a few.

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I don’t like taking cabs or the metro to get places because I would rather get lost in the streets while trying to find my way around on my own two feet. I would hike down the hill from Via Veneto, down the  Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps),  and head towards Piazza Venezia. You can either walk the scenic route and walk by the Trevi Fountain and throw your coin into the fountain or you can take the shopping route and head straight down Via Del Corso, either way it’s a great walk.  Piazza Venezia is at the center of the city and all of the famous attractions are in walking distance from here such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, Largo Argentina, and the Roman Forum.

Right around the corner from Piazza Venezia, you will find my favorite structure in Roma, the mystifying Pantheon. Every time I step foot into the Pantheon this feeling of awe overcomes my body the minute I look up into the oculus. No other place in Roma gives me the same feeling then the Pantheon. Looking at the architecture from the outside gives you a misinterpreted view of what lies behind the daunting columns that stand guard at the entrance.  Mystifying is the only thing I can think of when walking around because even when you are visiting Raphael’s tomb you still somehow manage to just look up and stare in awe at the oculus above.

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My advice when heading to the Eternal City for a getaway is to ditch the maps and just get lost in the cobblestone streets and wander around until you stumble upon one of the famous attractions. Grab some espresso from one of the great coffee shops everywhere in Roma and just wander. If you want to get some amazing pics of the sunset over the city, grab a bottle of wine and your camera and head up to the Bhorgese Park overlook of Piazza del Popolo and just take it all in.

No matter how long I am in Rome for it never seems like enough time but I will be back again in the near future. A dopo Roma!

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Ryan Neeven

|Editor at Large, A&H Magazine| Travel Well, Travel Often.