How To Make The Most Of A Week In Rome

How To Make The Most Of A Week In Rome

Seven days can last a lifetime, if you do them right.

Rome offers so much that trying to cram it all into a trip even as long as a week can be a challenge. My sister came to visit me this past week and, knowing that it was unlikely she would be back in the Eternal City any time soon, I wanted to make sure she saw everything she wanted to.

Throughout the week, I started to realize that making the most of a short time in Rome is completely reliant on letting your curiosity and sense of adventure carry you throughout. If you're visiting Rome, go ahead and make a schedule, sure, but don't be afraid to stray from it. Every part of Rome wants to be seen, and denying yourself an extra moment of serenity in an empty part of the Palatine Hill or the chance to explore the city's hidden streets and secret histories simply because you want to make it to dinner at a certain hour won't just force you to miss seeing parts of the city, but will leave you feeling rushed and irritable.

Instead, give up a schedule for a list. Give yourself priorities, until you have created a group of sites and things to do that you feel you have to hit in order to feel satisfied by the time you leave. If you do choose to opt for a list, be sure to include some of what was on ours:

Make sure your first meal is a good one.

In Rome, it can be easy to fall into a tourist trap when you're near the city center. Across the Tiber, Trastevere offers a better selection. Its restaurants may be far from the sights, but that means its food is normally more authentic. Get pizza at a place like Dar Poeta or a take-out place like La Boccaccia, or find pasta and live music at Ombre Rosse. Walk Trastevere's maze of side streets with a full stomach, and sit on the steps of the in Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Let your first moments in Rome be a colorful introduction apart from the crowds in the city center.

When you do go to the center, do not rush.

Piazza Venezia can easily become a throughway toward the Roman Forum, especially because the Forum and Colosseum are in sight as soon as you enter the piazza. Take a moment to stand at the foot of the Altare della Patira (AKA "The Wedding Cake") and look up at the stark white columns, so tall that they can be seen from almost every one of the seven hills. Climb the 124 steps to Santa Maria in Ara Coeli and gape at the difference between the brick exterior and the decor inside. Stand on the top balconies of the Wedding Cake and count the domes of churches, scattered throughout the city and turning the sky to a series of cloud-patterned triumphal arches.

The Colosseum has its home amid hundreds of ruins.

They lead you straight to its doors. Do not ignore them. Take every moment to admire them as you walk. Once inside, circle the bottom level first. Rest on fallen columns and climb what steps aren't blocked off on the flattened remains of staircases. Go to the upper balcony only when you are satisfied that you have seen everything below. A bird's eye view of the inner tunnels accompanies exhibits filled with bones and decrepit pillars and a view of the Forum, blazing bright white against the deeps greens of the surrounding hills and trees. The view changes as you glance under each arch in the Colosseum's side, each becoming more beautiful than the last.

Do not ignore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Your ticket to the Colosseum includes two consecutive days in the ruins adjacent to it, and an entire day could easily be dedicated to the vast amount of temples, arches, and homes that have been left behind. Reconstruct the Forum in your mind and then climb the Palatine Hill. Make an unnecessary amount of Emperor Palpatine jokes, and search every nook, crevice, and cave in the ancient architecture until the sun sets and the grounds close. Swear you missed something, no matter how long you spent inside.

Spend a rainy Thursday at the Vatican Museums, when the crowds are scarce.

The rainier the better. Keep your eyes distant as you pass another man trying to sell you an umbrella. Start with the Pinacoteca and come face to face with paintings by Raphael and the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in Rome. Loop through every museum. Do not dismiss anything. Just before you need to leave, give in to the signs for the Sistine Chapel. Stand beneath "The Creation of Adam" and study the ceiling until its frescoes seem to move on their own and your neck starts to hurt.

Most importantly, explore Rome every night.

That magical, romantic version of Rome you come expecting is best seen under moonlight. Watch the sunset over Rome from the top of the Spanish Steps, then watch the way blueberry ripples change the faces of the statues on the Trevi Fountain. Toss three coins into the fountain now that the crowds are gone: one to return to Rome, a second to find true love, the last to ensure a happy marriage. Go to the Pantheon before it closes and stare up at the stars through the oculus. Imagine a world of gods looking down on you. Get gelato at Giolitti around the corner, and walk toward the Colosseum while its melts into the crevices of your fingers. Sit on the stone wall that loops on one side of the Colosseum, and let your legs dangle over the steep slope below. Race down Via dei Fori Imperiali after midnight, when the Roman Forum is spotlit and empty, and the Colosseum's golden eyes illuminate the track at your back. Let Rome take you where it likes, no matter the hour, because though Rome is a city built on ruins, they will come back to life for you at night.

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The 10 Best Things About Rhode Island

Who said RI is not Awesome!

With Rhode Island being such a small state people wonder what is so great about it. There are so many attractions that lead people to "Little Rhody" from the Newport Mansions to the RISD Art Museum. RI's beautiful beaches are also a plus for the locals who live here year round. But what is the best things about Rhode Island? With so many great things to choose from here is what I thought was the best things Rhode Island has to offer.

1. Del's Lemonade

With its numerous flavors and iconic cup imagery Del's is a Rhode Island staple. My personal favorite is mixing watermelon and lemon together!

2. Caserta's Pizzeria

Located on Providence's historic Federal Hill. If you are looking for a good slice of pizza Caserta's is the place to go.

3. Providence

It is basically the smaller version of Boston! No really, and that is where the city gets all its charms from.

4. Scarborough Beach

Forget Newport, this is the prime place to catch some waves. Personally, I think the water is better and Narragansett tends to be a litttle less touristy.

5. PPAC (Providence Performing Arts Center)

When you are too poor to catch a Broadway show so you go see the national tour instead. PPAC has become an awesome venue in recent years with lots of different plays, musicals and dance troupes coming to perform.

6. The Cliff Walk

Preferably after the tourist season because then you can actually walk on it. The Cliff Walk offers some breathtaking views and a little adventure.

7. Waterfire

There are a lot of Waterfire's during the summer and early fall so you can always catch one. Plus, it is free and provides great pictures.

8. Party Pizza

Some make think it is a disgrace to pizza everywhere, but it is still good. Nobody really understands why party pizza exists, but we never question it. Especially, after you stuff five pieces into your mouth.

9. Crook Point Bascule Bridge

It has become somewhat of a local monument for the locals. My friend and I always do a bit of site seeing around here.

10. Allie's Donuts

Home of the Donut Cake! Allie's makes probably the best donuts around here and that is not an understatement.

And there you have it! While, I think these are 10 best things about Rhode Island there is obviously so much more. If anything RI's quirky local eateries, beautiful landscape, as well as up and coming attractions are what make it special. Rhode Island has so many things to offer it is hard to choose. Personally, I think the food is the best, but my New York/New Jersey friends beg to differ.

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12 Major Differences I've Noticed Living In Hawaii Vs. Alabama

I'm a southerner from head to toe, and Hawaii is NOT Alabama.


I recently moved to Hawaii because I married a Marine. I most likely would never have lived here otherwise. I was born and raised in Alabama, and Hawaii is NOT Alabama. I could probably write a very large book about the differences between the two, but I decided I would keep it simple and just give you 12.

1. The Roads

Hawaii has all of, like, three roads. I'm not kidding. Their main road names are extremely weird on top of that. Alabama has lovely backroads to avoid traffic, Hawaii does not.

2. The Weather

Hawaii has fantastic weather. It's always 75-80 and I love it. Alabama is the most moody state around when it comes to weather.

3. The Ocean

Savannah Lawrence

Yes, Alabama has Gulf Shores. No, it is nothing compared to Hawaii. The water is crystal clear here.

4. The Politics

I'm Republican. Hawaii is... not. That's something I have to adjust to, and it's extremely hard coming from Alabama.

5. The Pet Laws

Hawaii claims to be a "rabies free" state, so your poor pets have to go through a bunch of crap to actually get here. Alabama doesn't care. Hawaii does have random chickens walking around everywhere though.

6. The Size

The island I live on is basically the size of my hand. I can get from one side to the other in about 25 minutes. It's unreal. It took me a good two hours to get to my grand parents' house in Alabama.

7. The Prices

Yeah, I'll be honest, I hate how expensive Hawaii is. Most everything I buy is on base because it's a little cheaper. Hawaii has incredibly ridiculous prices. I came from Alabama, where everything's fairly cheap. I miss that.

8. The Houses

Two things on this. One, Hawaii's houses are all extremely close to one another. Two, Hawaii's houses are almost all a million dollars or more. Alabama is polar opposite of both of those.

9. The Accents

Guys, I came from a state where "y'all" is a very used word. I get looks like I'm an idiot for saying that here. It's extremely weird!

10. The Language

Yeah, Hawaii is part of America, but they still have their own language. Nearly every word you say here, all the vowels have to be pronounced. I'm terrible at it, considering I came from Alabama.

11. The Traffic

Savannah Lawrence

I'm used to close-to-nothing traffic. Hawaii is almost worse than Atlanta because they have zero roads to use. I hate traffic by the way. It's awful.

12. The Wildlife

Alabama has like two kinds of birds, and they all sound the same. I kid you not you might think you're being robbed when you hear some of the birds in Hawaii. They sound terrifying. I am also used to all of Alabama's wildlife in general. Hawaii has these weird fish, and little animals running around that look like nothing I've seen before.

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