22 September 2018

Roman Holiday

A photo diary from four sunny days in the Eternal City last summer. 

Emma Louise Layla at Villa Borghese, Rome - style & travel blog

Julien and I had been to Rome separately before - I went with one of my best friends for a long weekend way back in 2008, so I was long overdue another visit - so we had a relaxed approach to sightseeing: we revisited a few places together, didn't have an itinerary or book anything, and instead spent most of the time just wandering, eating and drinking our way around the city. The best kind of long weekend.

The Trevi Fountain, Rome - style & travel blog

Adam and the Hand of God at the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City - Rome travel blog

Pink bougainvillea, Rome - style & travel blog

Blogger Emma Louise Layla in Rome - style & travel blog

We battled the crowds at the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam fresco and the 120-metre long Galleria delle Carte Geografiche at the Vatican, which is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  The Gallery of Maps was commissioned in 1581 by Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni, who called upon the famous geographer Egnazio Danti for the ambitious project of representing the whole of the Italian peninsula on the gallery walls.  Danti brought a large team of artists from his native Perugia to create forty huge maps covering the Italian regions and islands, in vivid green and blue with antiquated names and curious details, trimmed with ornate gold.  It is absolutely stunning.

Colloseum, Rome - style & travel blog

Champagne at the Stravinskij Bar, Hotel de Russie, Rome - style & travel blog

Gallery of Maps (the most beautiful room in the world), The Vatican, Rome - travel blog

The Vatican, Rome diary - travel blog

We saw some of Raphael's most famous frescoes, which marked the beginning of the High Renaissance, in the Vatican, couldn't face joining the queue of hundreds to go inside St. Peter's Basilica so just wandered around the outside with its domed roof and fourteen roofline statues, made a wish at the Trevi Fountain, climbed the Spanish Steps, walked around the Colosseum, sat and watched the crowds at Piazza Navona, visited the Pantheon, hired a pedal car to go round the gorgeous landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese, and went inside every church and cathedral we passed.

Views of Rome in summer - style & travel blog

Fresh tomato and mozzarella salad in Rome - style & travel blog

The Gallery of Maps at The Vatican, Rome - travel blog

Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome - style & travel blog

This being Italy, we of course ate (and drank) very well - highlights included bellinis followed by trofie pasta with cheese, black pepper and Norcia truffle at the iconic Harry's Bar on Via Veneto, aperitivo in the secluded garden at Caffe Ciampini near the top of the Spanish Steps with golden hour views of Rome (and a fountain filled with turtles), and gelato at the green marbled, gold lettered traditional ice cream parlour Giolitti Roma dal 1890which has been making ice creams with the best quality ingredients and fresh fruit for over 100 years - there were hordes of tourists, but the queue goes quickly and it's worth it; the stracciatella was especially delicious.  One night we shared a bottle of prosecco at dusk at Le Jardin de Russie, a beautiful terraced oasis in the five star Hotel de Russie next to the bustling Piazza del Popolo and its elegant basilica.  We'll definitely go back for dinner next time.  We stayed at The Church Palace, which is a nice four star hotel but a little out of the way, so we got Ubers back and forth.

Blue skies in Rome, Italy - style & travel blog

Aperitif at Caffe Ciampini, Rome - style & travel blog

Making a wish at the Trevi Fountain - Rome travel blog

Pantheon, Rome - style & travel blog

On our last day, we fancied a bit of beach time so spent the afternoon at the private V Lounge Beach in Ostia near the airport before our evening flight back home.  After checking in at Fiumicino, we were looking for a place to eat and were thrilled to discover Attimi by Heinz Beck, which was certainly the best airport meal I've ever had - why don't all airports have express menus from Michelin-starred chefs? - and a fantastic way to finish a bellissimo weekend.

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Gallery of Maps, The Vatican, Rome - travel blog

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V Lounge Beach Club near Rome, Italy - style & travel blog
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