10 Must-Do's For When You're In Rome

10 Must-Do's For When You're In Rome

The hardest part is just waiting to arrive.

Although its been quite some time since I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Rome, Italy, I find myself thinking about my time there more and more frequently. I hope that that was one of my many times traveling to some place I have never been before, and as my junior year of college approaches faster than ever, I am researching tons and tons of study abroad programs to further that dream. Its unimaginable what the rest of the world holds and the fact that I've only seen a very tiny fraction of it is devastating.

I long for that feeling when you are walking down any random street that looks good to you, when you are popping in and out of local stores without a care in the world, and just being immersed into another culture altogether.

So, I've compiled a list of 10 things to see and do when in Rome..

1. The Pantheon

The Pantheon, once a temple and now a church, is absolutely breathtaking. Its structure, architecture, and design, was the first of its time and this remarkable building is still standing today. To put in perspective quite how old Rome's historical sites are, there is bird poop on these places older than the United States itself. Its unbelievable. I still remember learning about the rose petal ceremony--where firefights climb the dome after a mass and the raining of petals parallels the first Pentecost experience. (And although my dad insisted on going back to the Pantheon five times, I would give anything to be back there right now.)

2. The Colosseum

Of course the Colosseum is a must-see! And beyond that, knowing some of the history behind it is shocking. Little did I know what truly happened within those stone walls until I heard it up close and personal, and was standing where history had occured. Barbaric is an understatement, as I stood where others had watched the worst criminals and slaves be eaten by wild animals, like lions, alive--as a form of entertainment and torture depending on who you were.

3. The Vatican (St. Peters Basilica)

This is a place you definitely want to visit--if not spend the day here. There is so much to do and see its hard to fit it all in to a few sentences. But by a stroke of luck, I was there the same day as the Pope. Which from there, he came forward into the crowd to bless babies and spread his love, and I was within fifteen feet of him! Pope Francis can speak 7 languages (Yes, SEVEN!) and was an inspiration to all of the Roman people there that day.

4. Trevi Fountain

This is a beautiful place for pictures, exploring, and sight-seeing. I strongly recommend at least walking by to marvel at its size, baroque architecture, and take in the whole feel of Rome. Unfortunately, when I visited the fountain was closed, but still being able to see what it looks like and what it has been, was an experience in itself. (On a side note, also be sure to see the Roman baths--I had one on the lower level of my hotel even--and it was astonishing to know what lied just beneath my feet.)

5. Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel, also located in the Vatican and the home of the Pope, shows the amazing artistic talent of the time and history of Rome itself. The high Renaissance art covering every inch of the ceiling left me in awe. Although its astounding enough to want to take pictures, that is not allowed, and you are expected to stay quiet when viewing. There are guards who will yell at you if you are talking too much, and the amount of respect in the chapel was like none I had ever felt before.

6. Piazza Navona

Street art, fountains, and a famous piazza all in one. Piazza Navona is a gorgeous, open space for all to enjoy. Its a place to relax after walking through the districts all day, to take in the day-to-day lifestyle of Rome, and to see all the people who think of this as "normal" in their hometown.

7. Altare della Patria

As my family and I adventured through the Roman twists and turns of streets, we had no idea what would be right around the corner. We were stunned, and stopped dead in our tracks as this amazingly gigantic building loomed before us. None of us knew what it was, how it was significant, or why it was there--but we soon found out. It is not only a monument to the first king of unified Italy, but holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

8. Walking Food Tour

The walking food tour was one of the coolest, most interactive things I did while in Rome. For a few hours we walked the cobblestone streets of Italy, heading into the smallest nooks and crannies of food shops, and tried true Italian treats, drinks, and meals. The most influential part for me was going to a wine cellar, where every step you took to get down the stairs, was going 100 years into the past. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

9. Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is exactly what you find when you picture Rome. There are temples, pillars, and crumbling architecture all around you to observe and take in. Its a great photo opportunity and a very iconic place to visit.

10. Castel Sant Angelo

Yes, go to a castle! Although my family and I did not venture inside, the outside was enough to keep us intrigued on what the history, the structure, and the culture that the Castel Sant Angelo represented. It is a great spot for pictures as well as just walk around and view some other parts of Rome that you hadn't seen before.

It was hard to limit this list to only 10 things to see and do in Rome--because there is so much more! As well as being able to travel, by train or a quick flight, not only to other places in Italy, but Europe. There is more than enough to keep you busy--tours, restaurants, historical landmarks. I strongly recommend checking some of these things off your list, as well as venturing out on your own every now and then. Depending on how much time you have, you could experience these things and so much more. I can't wait to experience life in a whole new way with the next place I travel to--the hard part is just waiting for that opportunity to arrive!

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Day Four In Italy: Florence

This is the day we learned the history of everything


Waking up bright and early we first took the tour bus to the country side of Florence where we visited a medieval town full of shops that lined a beautiful countryside.

CountrysideBrooke Burney

We spent about three hours here just looking around, buying things, and taking pictures. Once the three hours were up, we went to a winery where they explained how they made wine with the grapes in their vineyard.

In the vineyardBrooke Burney

After the tour, they fed us lunch with some of their wine. Then, after we ate, we passed through their wine shop and took the bus back to the Piazza della Signoria. On the way back, our tour guide was telling us about Michelangelo and his time creating the Statue of David. We had to stand in a line for about thirty minutes but when our time came, we were thrilled. We entered and saw artwork from many different artists. However, Michelangelo had a hallway of his own that was mostly filled with unfinished sculptures of statues with David being at the very end.

Statue of DavidBrooke Burney

After the tour of the art museum, our tour guide took us to the square where the churches were and gave us a history lesson on them. He gave us a background on the pictures that were painted on the doors and what they represent.

Brooke Burney

After this tour, we went back to our hotel where we were able to go eat dinner. My friends and I went back to the small square we first went to and ate in a small pizza joint.

Italian pizzaBrooke Burney

If you ever go to Europe, keep in mind that they have a hard time splitting orders. As we were sitting at this table, we asked for separate checks but they made us pay separately on a single check, which was kind of funny watching three American girls pick through their euros.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel to pack for the next day. To the train station, then Pompeii!

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