It has been a while but that is because my family was here!!!
They got here on Thursday night and we met up at the hotel!
It was actually pretty funny, I took the Tram over to meet them because there hotel, Trilussa Palace, was only about 30 minutes away from me. I went and sat in the lobby banking on the fact that I beat them there and sat there for about 15 minutes. I was about to get up and look around for them when I heard my mom and dad talking down the hallway! So I peaked down the hall and sure enough they were there! YAY! It had been 3 months since I've seen my family (aka the longest time I've been away from home/my family) so it was really good to see them.
They were here for 10 days, so if I get some things out of order, I apologize!
This was out first vacation that was really touristy so it was a really new experience!
We've all been to Europe before, but at separate times so this time we were all together!
So on Thursday, we just grabbed dinner at our favorite pizza place, Mirror, and then they came back to see my apartment!
Friday, it was pouring rain but we were not going to let that stop us from seeing all the Roman sites!
We started with a tour of the Colosseum. I hadn't been inside of it yet, so that was cool to see! We did that for about 45 minutes and then went and had lunch on the Vittorio Emanuele building at a little cafe. For future study abroaders, the Vittorio Emanuele (or the wedding cake building) is pretty much the essential landmark to identify Rome. But, if you have the chance, climb up to the top and the view of Rome is AMAZING. We then went to the Vatican and took a tour of St. Peter's Basilica which was wonderful. I have come to love seeing churches here because they are so beautiful and have so much detail that you could spend hours in each church. St. Peter's was beautiful. After that, we decided to hit up the local bad Pimm's and grab some Cioccolata Calda (the best invention in the world, Italian hot chocolate) and grab dinner at Triade, the restaurant on Via Della Penitenza (my street). Rome has two dishes that are special to Rome. One is Amatriciana (bacon and spicy sauce) and the other is Carbonara (egg and bacon). Triade does the Amatriciana really well so I made my family try it, and the loved it!
The next day, Saturday, we started off by going to the Trevi Fountain! It was raining AGAIN but we found a quick break in the rain to take some Trevi pictures.
After that we did a bunch of things and basically ran around the city. We went to some Bone museum, and to be honest, I could not tell you what it really was. My brother found it and it was something to do with monks. It was called the Capuchim Crypt. The catching part of it was that they had a crypt full of the bones from thousands of monks. It was pretty spooky, but also really cool. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but I snagged one really quickly.
After that, there was a little casino that we stopped into! That was fun, even though we didn't win anything. And then we got some more Cioccolata Calda! YAY
After that, we went to Caffe Greco, the oldest coffee shop in Rome to relax for a little. Then we went to see the Spanish Steps. I personally don't find the draw to them, but it was cool to walk on them I guess.
After this, we were starving and stumbled upon a delicious Italian restaurant! After that, we headed over to see the Pantheon. It was still pouring so when we were in there, it was a nice break from it. The Pantheon has a big circle in the ceiling so all the rain came through and it was so cool to see. That was the one perk to the rain.
After an exhausting day, we all parted ways to go to sleep because the next day we were going to mass at the Vatican!
My dad's nephew, Jack, has a friend who is a priest at the Vatican. Jack so kindly reached out to Fr. Geno and got us tickets to go see a mass. I got a couple extra so Kat, KVH, and Mark came along with us!
We got there and little did we know, our seats were about 10 rows away from the altar. It was one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of. I got to go to mass with the Pope and have Communion there! It was an awesome experience.
The Vatican was a great day, but we had to get up early so we were all wicked tired. We tried to go into the Sistine Chapel, but it was closed so I went back to do some homework since I still had school. Later that night, I met up with my siblings, KVH, and Kat and we headed to the Irish Pub Scholars, which was really fun! Danny and Tara are both older than 21 and I am not so it was nice to be able to go hang out with them and my parents at a bar since I can't do that at home.
Monday, I had class so they went to the Sistine Chapel and Piazza del Poppolo which they say has the best gelato so I have to go find that.
Tuesday, we headed to Boiano to see our family member, Ria! Ria, as previously mentioned, was like a second nana to me and has been with my mom since my mom was a kid. I saw her in October, but the rest of my family hadn't seen her in 8 years!! So it was a very happy day!
We had our Thanksgiving on Tuesday in Boiano. Once again, we had about a 10 course meal. I'm glad my family got to experience that because we were in the depths of Italy, not just in the tourist center of Rome. Now though, instead of the rain, it was snowing! I usually do not like the snow but I was so happy to see it! It felt like Christmas!
Ma brought a paper turkey and signs with her so we had fun with that. What was especially funny was that the italians had no idea why we had a turkey or signs.
We stayed at a quaint little bed and breakfast! The next day, we were heading off to Naples/Sorrento. Ria's visit was so short and the goodbye was really sad because we don't know when we will see her again. But, nonetheless, I am so happy that I got to see her twice while I was here, and that I got to spend Thanksgiving with her. I wish I could have seen her more but with school, traveling, and a lengthy train ride, it took a lot to get to her.
We said arrivederci to Boiano and headed back on the train to Naples!
Naples was great for one reason: the pizza. Other than that, I didn't love it too much. I'm glad I got to see it though! It was very different from Rome, and there was a lot of garbage everywhere which was not too nice. But, the pizza truly made up for the city.
We went to see Il Duomo di Naples and after that, caught a subway to Sorrento.
Sorrento was my first trip here and I loved it. I was excited to go, but a little weary because it's cold now. But, I am SO HAPPY that we went. The only thing more beautiful than Sorrento in summer is Sorrento at Christmastime. The lights were breathtaking.
It was actually Thanksgiving now, so ma brought the turkey back out.
Our hotel had a huge fireplace so it was really nice to just have a relaxing night. My parents sat by the fire while Danny, Tara, and I went out to see the town. We got some limoncello, Sorrento's specialty, and headed back to the fire. The next day we went down the see the sea and went to a restaurant to get some Buffalo cheese, another Italian specialty. We ended our day with limoncello before our long trek back to Roma!
We grabbed a quick Thanksgiving dinner back in Rome at T-Bone Station, the American steakhouse so we could have something American for the holiday!
The next day was their final day in Rome. We headed back to the Colosseum to take our family Christmas picture. Ma brought signs and Christmas hats to decorate... she packed more decorations than clothes. We met up with our family friend Rita, who I had again seen in October, but we had a wonderful lunch with her.
At the Colosseum, we were walking around and ran into someone my mother has been waiting to meet since August. This man, was the Gladiator. A little backstory: on our first day here Katie and I went exploring at the Colosseum and this man dressed as a Gladiator asked if we wanted to take a picture with him. Obviously we said yes, and after some pictures he ended up charging us 20 Euros... EACH! Okay, we should have ran away but it was our first day as scared American tourists so we paid. When I told my mother this, she was LIVID and made a vow to find this man and give him a piece of her mind (which if you know my mother, can be a scary thing). Anyway, we had went to the Colosseum before and she didn't see him.. THANK GOD. But, when we were there with Rita, low and behold MY BROTHER SPOTTED THE GLADIATOR! I hadn't seen him any other time at the Colosseum. So my mother walked by shaking her finger at him. Rita knew the story and she actually went up and started yelling at the guy! He got so scared that he actually ran away from us. It was absolutely hysterical. Ma even made this sign for him. I actually felt kind of bad for the guy.
Later that night, we went back to Mirror to celebrate Tara's 22nd birthday which was on Monday! We went with the Harrisons and KVH and it was a very fun time! Once again, ma had decorations and decorated the restaurant!
Happy 22nd, Tar!!
We grabbed gelato and since they were leaving early the next day, we said our goodbyes.
I was sad to see them go, but I will see them soon and we had such a great visit. They even brought me some candy from home! (The bird was a joke from them because I complain about the birds here so much)
Sadly, the candy is already gone.
I am leaving in 9 days which is INSANE. I have had such a great time here and I really would love to stay but I'm pretty done with school so a break will be nice.
I am leaving tonight for Switzerland! It is our last trip of the semester so it is bound to be a good one! Next weekend, I will be back in NJ which is surreal to say.
I'm leaving with this picture of the streets of Rome, which are lit up so beautifully.