The Perfect 1 Week Rome Trip

We went to Rome, Italy and we’re sharing the must-see highlights and attractions! We share all the attractions, what is worth the entrance fee, and how to see and do it all with just a few days.

If you want to take this exact trip, you can download our Rome Itinerary, or book the same tours we did and hotels we stayed in:

If you’re looking for a flight deal to Rome, we recommend signing up for Thrifty Traveler Premium to get daily flight deals (points & cash) emailed directly to you! Use our promo code TS10 to get $10 off your first year subscription.

Rome – Episode Transcript


Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast.

Today we’re talking all about our recent trip in January to amazing Rome, Italy.


This was a perfect six day trip, travel time included just exploring the Italian capital.

This was actually a Gate One Independent tour, which was our first independent tour we’ve taken with them, and we’ll tell you all about that a little bit more once we dive right into the tips.


Yeah, so this was our second time in Italy and honestly we bought this trip on a whim.

One day I woke up, I saw a gate one sale.

I got really excited.

We ended up paying 800 bucks a person that included our round trip flights from San Diego and our hotel, and that even included our upgraded hotel from like the basic package.


But Rome has so much to offer, whether it’s architecture, ancient ruins, food, wine, museums and I think it’s a city that everyone can enjoy.

Oh my God, I love Rome.

I didn’t go to this trip with you all, but I have been to Rome a few years before pre COVID.


I had the time of my life there.

I love Rome.

You know, you hear a lot of people talk about Italy sometimes and they they don’t always rave about Rome compared to a lot of the other cities.

But I loved it.

Yes, it’s a city, but I love the bustle of the city, the energy.

There’s ruins all over the city.


It has a such a lively culture.

The food is amazing and the table jugs of wine are so good.

I liked Rome.

What did you guys think of Rome?

You know, upon first impression of Rome, I thought to myself, you know, and I hate to say this because the whole city itself really isn’t grungy, but it’s not necessarily clean, right?


So if you go with that mindset into it and just expect that, I don’t think it will disappoint you because where Highlights is really, yes, it is kind of a metropolis, but then you walk somewhere, then you just see this ancient building from 600 AD or even before and all this architecture and history and design and so it’s sprinkled in there with that mix.


So if you can really just appreciate that aspect of it and have, I don’t want to say low expectations, but you’re right.

If you compare it to other Italian cities, maybe it’s not necessarily going to be the best, but in general, as a whole, Rome, we loved it.

I’m glad to hear that, especially coming from you, Jamal.


Well, I didn’t have very high expectations.

And I think I’ve really learned this on a lot of places where I have high expectations.

I really set myself up for disappointment.

And I’ve heard from many people, even my sister included, who said, oh, Rome, Rome and whatever, you know, So I didn’t expect much.


But like I said, really, if you can just get past the fact that it’s not this clean, pristine place.

There’s a lot of history there.

There’s a lot of history.

There’s an old city.

Exactly, exactly.

And plus with the culinary aspect of it too, and we haven’t even really touched upon this, you have Vatican City in Rome, which in and of itself is its own country, and you have that kind of Christian and religious history there too.


So lots of things to really enjoy about Rome.

When I had visited Rome, it was in April 2018 or 2019.

I found the weather to be quite nice, very temperate actually.

You all went in January.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the weather and then of course, let’s slide right in with the tips.


Yeah, weather was actually really nice.

So we had no rain.

Our entire time that we were in January.

It was sunny out and we were comfortable in like jeans and a long sleeve shirt and like a light jacket.

So it was perfect weather for us.

Like, it wasn’t hot.


I found the weather to be great in January and less crowds because it’s January.

It’s too.

It’s offseason.

And just real quick before we dive into the tips, Kim, you mentioned April, was it crowded there, Was that like the start of when peak season comes, you know, leading right in tail, end of spring to summer, How are the crowds?


The crowds were crazy at the big attraction, so the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain for sure are the ones that I remember.

But other than that, I don’t remember crowds being a big deal.


Well, we’ll touch more about our experience with the crowds ’cause I guess that is really one of our tips.


So we might as well dive right into that is really go during non peak season.

So late spring summer, it’s going to be really crowded.

January it was still crowded for us, just a little bit like you said in the peak attraction areas.


But All in all I wouldn’t say it was ridiculous.

We had a couple guides on things that we did who said like this is nothing compared to other times of the years, like you should be really, really fortunate, so go during non peak season.

Another one of our tips is to always download Google Maps offline.


It’s a great way to just get a view of the city in case you don’t have connectivity and it can help you get around.

So I always do that.

But the city itself is so walkable.

There is a metro and bus system, but I feel like walking just gives a whole another like layer to exploring the city because around every corner you’re going to see ruins and things to do and see versus bus and metro.


You don’t get that as much.

But there were a few where we did take the bus and metro and you know they do have public transport.

It’s not the best because every time they try to expand the metro system they find more archaeological sites and they have to stop the project.



So there really is only two legitimate lines in the city of Rome for the metro system.

So there are a few of the main highlights that are along that path, but not necessarily a lot either.

So you’ll really do a mix of if you take the metro, maybe in One Direction but to where you want to go next, it’s going to do you no good.


You’re going to have to take the bus.

It’s going to take longer and sometimes the wait for the bus and transfers is equivalent to if you just invest the time to walk.

So feel that out.

But you do have those options, bus and metro.

Two things Brittany.

Did you know that on the iPhones you can now download offline maps through your Maps app?


No, I never use a maps app, but that’s.


Oh, I do.

Yeah, I just saw it pop up.

So new feature for anyone that prefers Apple Maps over Google Maps.

And the other thing I’ll say about Rome’s transportation.

I don’t think that I used the bus too much either when I was there.

But the train system to get to other cities in Italy?


Five star?


I feel like that’s everywhere in Europe.

The train system is always substantially better and an experience to ride it that way.

So the airport is about 30 minutes away from the city of Rome and so we you do take a train, or you could take a bus, but trains fastest to get from the airport to the main train station and super easy to use, easy to buy the tickets while you’re actually just there.


You don’t have to buy them in advance or anything, but one thing to keep in mind is anytime you buy metro bus train tickets, you need to validate them.

If not, they charge like a ton of fees and they’ll they’ll get you no one checked on our way to Rome, but on our way back going to the airport, our tickets were checked.


Yeah, so be sure to validate it.

You’ll see a lot of the stuff on TikTok, Instagram of people saying don’t make these mistakes in Rome and that’s one of them validating them.

They have, once you buy the ticket, small little kiosks, kind of at the entrance area where you would wait for the train, They’re really unsuspecting, so you got to keep an eye out for it.


Just put your ticket in there, let it get validated.

Because if even if you have a purchased valid ticket, the conductor comes by and he looks and sees that it’s not validated, you’re slapped with like an 80 to 100 year old fine on top of that price that you already paid for the ticket.

You don’t want to do that.


If you do plan on visiting some main attractions like the Coliseum or or guided tours within the Vatican, be sure to buy the tickets and tours online in advance and if you can get one with the skip the line option because that’ll save you a ton of time.


What would the travel squad be if we didn’t talk about the bathroom situation?

This is Europe, so do expect to pay at least a minimum of €1.00 to use public restrooms, unless you’re dining really in a restaurant.

But most public restrooms don’t have toilet seats.


I really felt like I was so shocked.

I haven’t encountered this really in Europe.

They weren’t squatty toilets or anything like that.

They’re regular toilets, but no toilet seat.

Just the bowl.

Just the bowl I’ve experienced.

Just the bowl.

That’s all you need.

I’ve experienced this that well, for me as a guy, if you’re standing it doesn’t really matter.


Of course, if you have to sit it’s one thing, but for girls you got to sit either way.

And the the no toilet.

Seat Oh no, no, Tomorrow we we hover.

We don’t sit.

We hover, OK, well, good you.

You guys got your quad and thigh game going and real hard on that one.


Last thing I’ll say is it may be worth it to look at a gate one independent tour.

None of the tours actually like guided, it just books your flights in your hotels and I felt like that for us, especially coming from the West Coast, was cost effective and saved us a lot of money.


I feel like 800 bucks for a hotel room for four nights plus the flight itself from San Diego.

I feel like 800 bucks was a great value.

I know that all of the hotels came with free breakfast, but how were the hotels being that you didn’t pick them?


How would you rate them?

What was good?

What was bad?

Yeah, so gate one had three options.

There was a one that was originally concluded in the regular price.

We looked at the pictures, we thought it just looked OK, so we didn’t book there.

We went with the next one up, which was like a $70.00 upgrade for the four nights.


Not per night, but just in total. 70 bucks I want to say.

And it was a really nice hotel.

We liked it.

It’s standard European room.

The rooms aren’t too big, but it was big enough for us to do what we wanted.

Had a heated towel rack in it, had a bidet, had a shower and then it had free breakfast.


It had a little nice breakfast buffet spreads, so.

And location wise, was it close to things?

It was a 5 minute walk from the main train station.

And from the main train station to several of the main sites, you know, 1520 minutes walking, so really close.


And Central and Brittany mentioned gate one had a third option two.

That third option was more a luxury place, but it was outside of the city center of Rome, right?


I It was closer to like Vatican City, but on the outskirts.


Which Vatican City is already far to get to from central Rome.


So add that in to other stuff.

And that one didn’t really make sense.

I think where we were at centrally located, I loved it.


This is a good time to mention squatty’s that we do have several travel itineraries available for you to download on our website.


We get a ton of requests for our trips.

What did we do?

The details of it, So we built them into PDF downloadable itinerary guides so you can take these exact same trips.

Speaking of Rome, in this episode we just created our Rome trip itinerary that covers this exact trip.


Gives you even more of the details that we couldn’t fit into this episode, but we have so many more international and domestic trip itineraries for you.

Our most popular ones include Japan, Banff, Greece, upcoming Utah’s Mighty 5, National Parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone.


And like Kim said, these are PDF guides are 20 to 30 pages.

They’re available for instant download, and it tells you all of the details where to fly into, where to stay, the exact route to take, where to eat, all of the things to see and do, and how much time to allot for each one.


And we have a lot of links in there too, so you can just click and book directly from the itinerary.

So check that out.

We’ll link it in the show notes, and as always, you can find it on our website, travelsquadpodcast.com.

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So, day one of our trip, Let’s just dive right into it.

We departed on a Wednesday.

We left from San Diego.

It was not a direct flight.

It was San Diego to New York and the New York to Rome.

One thing that we did not mention is that on this trip we had our honorary squaddies, Kasha and Ryan join us.


So this was a couples trip that we ended up taking.

So they got to enjoy all of Rome with us.

But like I said, day one was really a travel day.

You know we utilized lounge access in San Diego airport that we have through our Chase Sapphire reserve credit card gives you the priority pass.


And then even when we were in New York, I just want to say this New York’s JFK Airport just opened up a Chase Sapphire lounge and that was maybe one of the better lounges.

I won’t say go as far as to say the best lounge we’ve been in, but really enjoyed it and nice catered menu, catered cocktails to the region in which you were in.


Problem was, by the time we landed and got out and got close to our gate, we really didn’t have a lot of time to bend in there, but Chase Sapphire Lounge and JFK New York Airport was really nice.

Just want to throw that in there.

JFK has a hidden Speakeasy bar.


From what I’ve understood, it’s like built into an old train and I have been dying to check that out next time I go to JFK.

I heard about the Speakeasy, but I thought it was part of the MX Lounge collection.

Hey if it is worth getting an MX for.


We’ll have to check it out.

I did not know about that, but day one just travel with the time change.

We landed on a Thursday in Rome in the morning, 8:00.

We had the full day in front of us when we landed.

Yeah, so we landed, we got to the train station, we walked the 5 minutes to our hotel and they didn’t let us check in early, but they let us drop our luggage off and they had a bathroom near like the bar and like restaurant area that we were able to go into and just like kind of freshen up.


So that was perfect.

And then we just hit the ground running from there.

The first thing that we saw in Rome was the Spanish Steps and we just hit the ground running.

Kim, when you went.

Literally, you hit the ground stepping.

We we did.

I mean, what What were we going to do?

We can’t take a nap in the lobby of the hotel.


So we had.

I have well.

Yeah, I mean, I guess we can, but we didn’t want to.

So we got to move on it to go ahead and really see the sides.

Kim, when you were there, did you go to the Spanish Steps?

Of course.

I have to imagine what the most iconic things in Rome to do.

Had a little sit there and enjoyed some people watching.


O the Spanish Steps, I will say this again.

An iconic spot.

Pretty anticlimactic if you want me to be really honest, I feel like you have to see it.

What makes it really popular is there is a church at the top of the steps, There’s the 135 steps and I think it’s the longest and widest staircase kind of in historical European cities, is it not?


Brit name, yeah.

So it has that theme to it too.

But those steps really connect a church at the top and a straight path to Vatican City in ancient times, along with the Spanish embassy.

So there is a lore of this, these steps just connecting everything together of importance at the time in which they were built.


But you got to go get your photo there.

You got to do it for the gram, as they say.

Of course.

From there we walk to the Trevi Fountain.

Of course, during the day it’s going to be crowded so that if you want to go and avoid the crowds, the best time to go is at dawn.


But it is so beautiful, so big.

It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the entire world.

I thought it was just very beautiful.

I loved it.

It is very beautiful of when we were roaming around, of course we had said to ourselves, yeah, we want to see it in the morning to avoid the crowds, but just by the time we landed, couldn’t check in and we had tours set for the other days, we’re like, all right, well, we’re forced to really go at this time.


And Even so I enjoyed it a lot.

There are a few steps that kind of lead down to the base of the fountain.

So if you stay at top, it is very crowded.

I really didn’t feel like a lot of people went lower.

Yes, some did.

But if you just push your way a little bit lower, we found great spots and openings to get photos of the entire fountain without people in it.


So just be patient.

Now granted, we went during offseason time too, but you can make it happen.

Don’t fall for staying at the top.

Take the steps down a little bit to get to the base of the fountain.

The fountain’s huge.

It’s like 85 feet tall.


It’s 160 feet wide.

There’s big statue of Oceanus in the center and he has like a chariot that’s being pulled by seahorses.

It’s a very beautiful fountain.

I had no clue about this.

Why it was called Trevi Fountain, but apparently from Trevi, which means three roads because it’s at the intersection of three roads.


But what’s really also cool about the history of the Trevi Fountain is that apparently they had old Roman aqueducts that led to like a fountain here previously and Roman bass that were in this area.

But in the 1600s, Pope Urban the 8th, he thought that’s the fountain.


And what they had there was insufficiently dramatic, as I believe I read it listed online, of course of whatever, you know, Italian or Latin translation is how they described it.

And he wanted to do something new in that area, but he ended up passing away and never came to fruition during his time.


But Pope Clement, the 12th in the 1700s to honor Pope Urban the eight’s desires, put forth a competition, and it was designed, and this is the Trevi Fountain that we know today, that everyone goes crazy about.

So you know, one thing I we forgot to mention in the tips is you don’t need a water bottle in Rome.


Like, you don’t have to purchase water there because there’s free water all over the city because of the aqueducts.

And there is actually an aqueduct here at the Trevi Fountain.

And so this is the first place I filled my collapsible water bottle.

Let me just say this was not the spot to fill it.


The water did not taste good at this aqueduct, but around the city in other spots.

I gave it another try.

Water was good.

So little tip for you guys.

Kim, while you were there, did you throw any coins into the fountain?

I can’t recall I I remember not spending very much time at the fountain though, and it was pretty crowded when I was there.


So apparently you’re supposed to throw 3 coins into the fountain.

The first coin is for you to return to Rome, the second brings the promise of a new romance, and the third will ensure marriage.

Well, that would certainly explain my luck over here now wouldn’t it?

I guess I didn’t throw those 3 coins.


I mean, we only threw in the one I didn’t know that you were supposed to do 3 until we did a little bit of research.

But you don’t need a new romance.

Or a new wife?


Oh wow.

Then there goes that.

I guess.


There goes the Sister Wives plan.

But apparently around €3000 of change per day gets thrown into the Trevi Fountain.


Oh wow.

And they clean it out.

Yeah, they clean it out Mondays and Fridays and.

Oh, wow.

They’re just rolling in the dough from the Trevi Fountain.

No, they they donate it to charity.

Very nice.

So from there we walked to the Pantheon.

We didn’t go inside the Pantheon.


Did you go in, Kim?

Yes, I did.

What did you think of the Pantheon?

Because all four of us, Kasha, Ryan, me, Brittany, we were able to see through the front doors.

It’s open, it’s the building with the big Dome.

But we did not go inside.

What did you make of the inside having been in there?


Did we miss out on not doing it?

I think you’re going to see a lot of similar things.

Like I went to the Vatican either the day before or the day after and all those things kind of start to look similar.

In my opinion.

There’s nothing from thinking back to my trip in 2018 that stands out that you missed.


So if you saw it with the doors open, then you’re probably OK.

I think so too, but if somebody is a real big history buff and you want to do it, you want to go in there.

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple.

It’s been standing in this very spot and built since 6O9AD, so really, really old.


I mean we’re talking clearly 1400 plus years then at this point that it’s been standing there.

It’s famous for its big Dome that it has.

But what was really interesting and maybe the only reason why I really regret not going in is at the top of the Dome there actually is a open circle that they have And so when it rains, it snows, water comes into there.


So even the floors have drainage systems that they put in place and it’s built in such a way that that hole with the natural sunlight coming through acts as a sundial for telling time is from what I’m understanding on it too.

So beyond that, like the engineering of IT I think is impressive and learning this after the fact, I think I may have wanted to go inside.


I think the outside is really impressive for for me, and like loving ancient ruins so much, the outside is gorgeous.

Yeah, because in the front you have the old columns.

You can just see the classic Roman columns that you expect standing right there.

And what’s really cool is, you know, we were talking about this earlier in the episode.


You have all this modern sprinkled with all this history.

Well, there’s a big Plaza just right here in this area, so everybody’s sitting, dining, enjoying an Aperol spritz or your pizza or whatever you want and these newer buildings.

And here’s this building built in six O 9 AD.


It’s It’s wild.

And then we continued our tour of Rome by going to the Piazza Navona.

And this is like a big open space.

There’s three fountains in this space, but back in the ancient times, Romans would go there to watch games.

This was their area that they used as like a competition arena and the fountains there are worth looking at and visiting for sure.


I really like all the plazas and areas that they have in Rome.

Again, like Britney said, it gives you really a lot to look at.

But what’s really cool about the Piazza Novano is like she said, this is built on top of an old like arena that they have not Coliseum level, but in the Plaza area you can’t see anything.


But if you leave outside the Plaza and round the corner, they have the underground of the old arena just sitting right there.

So you have this modern Plaza with all these high end shops and restaurants and fountains and then you just go underground a little bit.

Then you have an underground tour of the old arena just sitting right there.


We did not do that, but they have an opening where you can see some of it, but they have an underground tour that you can do.

So look into that if that’s an option that you want.

And you can’t visit Rome without getting a Lotto.

So we went to go get some Gelato from a place called Gioletti’s and Oh my God, it was the best Gelato I’ve ever had.


And we went back twice because it was so good.

The pistachio and salted caramel, those are the flavors you need to get.

They were to die for.

I’m trying to remember the name of this restaurant.

I probably won’t be able to remember it, but it was in this Plaza where we sat down at one of those outdoor dining places so you could see the fountain in the side and had this amazing jug of red table wine, house wine they call it, which I can’t believe you guys haven’t even mentioned this yet.


This is.

Where we ate.

We’re getting there.

Kim, you’re you’re jumping the gun.

But I love your enthusiasm on it though.

I had the best meal ever in this area.

It was Gorgonzola stuffed gnocchi.

Oh my God, they were so good.


And that wine, this little Plaza right here has my heart.

Oh, very nice.

Well, I wish we would have known that because we would have maybe looked out for that one and tried it.

Because I love myself for Gorgonzola gnocchi.

But yeah, I mean, if you’re in Rome, go check it out.


Try to find Kim’s spot.

So after we went and got Gelato, we went to a church called Saint Ignatius of Loyola and it’s famous for this big beautiful ceiling painting, the Fresco on the ceiling.

It’s a broke style church and it was built between 1626 and 1650.


And there’s this very large mirror that you can stand in front of and it’s angled to look up at the ceiling so you don’t have to strain your neck.

But it’s also like an optical illusion when you look up, because one portion of this painting looks like a Dome, but if you look really closely, the ceiling’s flat.


It was really, really interesting.

You know, we passed this church without really realizing the significance of it.

But then we went inside and we’re like, why is everybody queuing up?

And they were queuing up, waiting to take a selfie, even in front of the mirror.


Because then the mirror is at your level.

You could take a picture of the mirror.

It puts you into the ceiling.

It allows you to see all the things that Brittany had just mentioned too, but it was a really interesting church that we had stumbled upon.

But even if we didn’t stumble upon it, this is listed as one of the highlights of churches that you need to see in Rome.


And at the time when we walked in, we didn’t really realize that.

But it’s one of those things where you can go to Europe so many times I feel like if you don’t live in Europe, right?

And eventually on a trip, maybe you’ll get tired of seeing churches, but if you’ve seen a lot of them and then you haven’t been to Europe in a while and you go back, you’re always just so impressed with the first one that you walk back into.


And this was it.

And it was really nice to see.

I just love all the paintings here.

Every square inch of the ceilings and side walls are all painted.

It’s like back in the day, they must have just been painting non-stop.

And they’re always so detailed and Immaculate.


I love the detail that they put in them and like the thought that goes behind making these scenes as well.

So this day we were pretty exhausted from our travel so we ended up eating at a restaurant near our hotel.

We had our first taste of Cachet, De Pepe and House.


This is where I fell in love with Cachet de Pepe too.

Isn’t it amazing?

And it it comes from Rome.

It’s so good.

It’s so good and we had lasagna and it was really nice meal.

I will say we had our first shot and only shot of Meloncello, not Limoncello, but not Limoncello, Meloncello and it was so good.


I think about it every day now.

Wow, she.

Thinks about it every day and so much that we even brought some of that Meloncello back with us.

Ironically, we have yet to open it to this date, but believe it or not, we will sue.

But this restaurant that we went to, it was really delicious.


Of course, when in Rome, you got to get the pastas, and we ended up getting house wine this night.

Jug of wine on the table, Kim, So don’t think we let you down.

We ended up doing it.

And then our waiter asked if we won a dessert.

We said no, ’cause, you know, we had the we had the Gelato earlier.


And then we were thinking ourselves like, are we going to go get Tiramisu?

And I, you know, we didn’t know yet, right?

But we said no.

We’re like, oh, OK, guess what he comes back with after meal shots?

I think they were complimentary because they weren’t listed on the bill.

So he comes out with the pistachio cello, then the melon cello.


No limoncello like Brittany had said.

But it was a quite enjoyable experience at this restaurant.

It was right by her hotel.

Do you remember what it was called, Brittany?



I would go to neurone again and any of you squat is listening.

Nirone is right by the termini area, the train station, which is where we were staying by.


So do check it out.

It’s also one of the only restaurants that gives you free water because there was a natural fountain that was built around the restaurant and so you don’t even have to be a diner.

You can go and stop and get free water and fill up your your actual water bottle as well.


But they do offer free water and don’t charge you for it.

That is also another very solid tip, because everywhere in Europe, and pretty much everywhere other than the US charges you for water when you dine out.

So this is the one place in Rome that we know of free water in a restaurant.

And while we’re talking about hydration, I just wanted to bring up Liquid IV is one of our favorite travel products that keeps us hydrated while we’re flying, traveling and roaming around Rome.


They’re full of electrolytes, and that hydrates you two times faster than water alone.

Even when they’re coming out of those ancient Roman aqueducts, we use them while flying, feeling jet lagged after a long hike or a long night out in a new city.

Super easy to use and carry and keep stocked in your suitcase, carry on day pack or purse.


Liquid IV comes in a ton of regular and sugar free flavors.

The tangerine with immune support, sugar free Peach, sugar free lemon, lime, they’re all really good.

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So the next day was all about going to the Vatican and Vatican City.

So the first thing we did in the morning was go to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.


We booked a skip the line entry ticket, got in right when everything opened at 9:00 AM.

You can spend literally all day in the Vatican if you wanted to.

There’s so much to see with all of the different offshoots of the museums.

We probably spent about 3 hours or so here, and I really wish there was a map that they gave you at the entrance to all of the different rooms so that you can kind of like guide yourself, because I feel like without that you feel a little lost.


It’s so big, but then of course one of the highlights is going to the Sistine Chapel.

Right, Abby, we we totally got lost in here.

There’s different wings of different areas.

It’s not really well laid out, so to speak.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

I mean it’s an ancient historical building.


And then they just were like, well, let’s put the artwork here for display.

Of course people want to see it, and rightfully so.

So that was kind of the problem.

However, you can book guided tours of the Vatican Museum, so you can avoid the hassle that we had.


We chose not to do that, but real quick before we delve into it and talk about, of course the highlight of it, which is the Sistine Chapel.

We got our tour tickets from getyourguide.com.

I would highly recommend them because it did give us the opportunity to skip the line and get our tickets directly.


To go in the line to purchase your tickets day of of the Vatican Museums is disgusting.

You will.

Literally, I waited in it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ll like.

So here you have two things that happened.

We did it and just avoided.

It got right in, and I don’t want to even know how long you waited, Kim, but we saw a disgusting line and it was gross.


Yeah, it was very, very long.

But guess what?

While I was waiting in that line, someone had an extra ticket and gave it to me for free.

Oh, there you go.

Well, so it played out well for you.

If you’re not going to get as lucky as Kim got, which I think is going to be very unlikely, you want to purchase it in advance.


The skip the line, walk right in.

So we had this tour, so to speak.

We met at the steps in front of the the Vatican City and they just gave us the tickets and we got to walk right in past security and get in.

After I went through the Vatican though, and you just mentioned it too, I kind of feel like a guided tour where someone can explain things to you would be really beneficial.


When I was in there, I saw, of course, a a tour guide in there explaining things, and you can kind of hear a few things here and there and I felt a little FOMO that I didn’t do it.

I’m surprised you all did it.

Yeah, I mean, we didn’t do it.

You can have an actual person like you said you saw or they even have audio guides to pay.


I think it was what, €10 more, maybe €8 more to do it.

But I think the reason why we didn’t do that is the audio guide I’m sure is going to be very thorough and we’ll keep you there a really, really long time, you know, And we had another tour later that day that we were doing, of course wanted to get out and go to lunch.


So I enjoyed the artwork and everything that we really saw in there.

But the highlight is once you get really out of the museum areas, you start really wandering the halls and get into the Sistine Chapel.

Yeah, but we didn’t really see what’s inside the Vatican Museum.


But it’s a whole collection of works.

There’s 70,000 works that they own, but only about 20,000 are on display.

But it’s just this huge collection from the Catholic Church and there’s some of the most well known Roman sculptures in there and and some really amazing Renaissance artwork that’s there as well.


So we saw everything.

We saw, Sir.

Gothic kisses, paintings, tapestries, sculptures.

There’s artwork everywhere.

The ceiling is, you know, decorated as well.

I believe the pluralist sarcophagi Brittany, but you know I but I the only reason why I say that is that really threw me off.


Was not expecting to see anything from ancient Egypt in there at all.

But when I think about it now, it makes a lot of sense because in front of all of the major churches that they have in Rome are the obelisks, and obelisks come from Egypt, and all of those were taken from Egypt and put in front of the main churches throughout all of Rome.


So that does make a little bit of sense.

But that totally threw me off seeing, you know, mummies, even in the Vatican Museum in their sarcophagus itself.

You know, the more I learn about the Roman Empire, the more I realized how buddy, buddy, they were with the Egyptians and how much Romans learned from the Egyptians.


I I didn’t really realize that.

But you know, the Roman Empire’s on everyone’s minds these days.

Oh yeah.

Well, not only that, I believe it was Alexander the Great.

Was was he not with Cleopatra?

That’s right.

That’s right.

We made our way from seeing the artwork finally to the Sistine Chapel.


Everyone knows what the Sistine Chapel it’s made famous because of the beautiful fresco paintings that are on the ceiling.

But beyond that, everyone forgets what’s also on the altar wall.

They don’t really look at that because they’re looking up.

But the frescoes within the Sistine Chapel were painted by the famous Michelangelo.


The most famous, probably fresco that is in there is the creation of man, which is God touching the hand of Adam at the time of creation.

But what really makes the Sistine Chapel famous is this is where they have the papal conclave.


So whenever they elect a new Pope, this is where they actually meet to decide who the new Pope is going to be.

Oh, I didn’t realize that I I always thought it was same As for the painting with God and Adam, their little fingers touching.

Yeah, we actually got that as our Christmas ornament is the ball with that image on it.


Oh, that’s cute.

When you were in there, did you feel this like, eerie vibe at all?

Like did, did it feel different to you?

Jamal actually asked me that while we were in there and I said no, not really.

Did Julie?


I did, because they they quiet you down, even though they’re still the murmuring of the crowds and whatnot.

It just felt different to me.

It was very crowded.

And did did they?

Did you happen to share the the people that are part of the Vatican telling people not to take pictures?


Of course.

It’s the only place where you’re not allowed to take photos on the Vatican Museum tour, which leads you to right here.

I I won’t lie, I did snap a shot or a ceiling.

I did snap a shot of the ceiling.

How can you go there?


And not so I did do that.

I really wanted to snap a shot of the altar, because on the altar you again, like I said, everyone’s looking up at the ceiling, but no one’s really paying attention to the altar.

And it’s the final judgment and coming of Christ up there, which is the painting that Michelangelo did.


And that was beautiful itself.

But instead of holding my camera and reverse selfie and just getting it of the ceiling, I would really have to put it up.

So I failed to get that one.

But if you can Google online, see Google Images and see what I’m talking about of the altar, it’s beautiful.


They have people patrolling and making sure that people aren’t taking pictures, and they will come up to you and tell you to stop if you are.

So the Sistine Chapel was the last thing that we saw in the Vatican Museum.

And then we went out to lunch.

We went to this place called Hosaria Pizzeria Tony and Dino, And it’s this like family restaurant.


It’s owned by two brothers.

They cook.

They’re very lively.

They come out and take orders.

But it’s one of the places where you don’t really get a menu.

They just tell you what they have and they, like, force you to get pretty much everything.

And so you get to try like little bits of this and a little bit of that.


And I think it was a really good experience for us because we got gnocchi and it was a gnocchi cashie de Pepe sauce.

And then we got carbonara, best carbonara we had.

We had a little pizza, we had the fried artichoke.

It was like a little bit of everything.

And then at the very end, they had like, they had a very sweet dessert wine and some other like free alcoholic beverages that they just like left on our table.


And you can, yeah, just drink and enjoy.

Well, see, they say they’re that they’re free, but I don’t really know about that because again, there is no menu, right?

They just kind of tell you what they have.

They’ll give you a choice of maybe like 5 different pastas.

We’ll try, depending on your party size, we’ll try to push two or three on you.


Of those pastas.

They’ll also try to push two or three appetizers.

You just got to tell them yes or no to what you want, right?

It’s not really like they’re forcing you, but you don’t have a menu to pick.

It’s a try it all, which I really did enjoy.

So they put that wine and alcohol and liquor down at the table and we have it, of course.


Why are we not going to try it when we’re there?

But when they come by to tell us how much it costs, he just brings a calculator out and he gave me like a total in the numbers of what it is.

And he exclaimed.

I didn’t put the alcohol on there for you, but I don’t see anything itemized, so I don’t really know.


You know, is it free?

Is it?

Not into the price.


So I mean, just know that going into it, it’s one of those things where you’re not really going to know the price because there’s not a menu.

But in general, everything that I’ve read online of people who have gone and even with our own experience too, you could expect anywhere between 25 to €35 per person, that’s with you cumulative total that’s going to be that bill, that’s the approximate.


And go there hungry because they’re they’re going to want to serve you a lot of food.

And Brittany said the best carbonara we had there.

I will attest to that.

You know usually you see carbonara with the long noodles, right?

They brought it out here with a Rigatoni, so the long round, open ones, which threw me off a little bit.


And not only that, carbonara is very specific with the egg yolk and the cheese.

And you’re not supposed to really break the sauce.

If you break it, it kind of looks like a little bit of scrambled eggs, and that may gross people out.

Tell you what, the sauce came out broken.

I saw a little bits of scrambled eggs in there.


Plus with the Rigatoni I was a little thrown off.

But let me say this, the best carbonara.

We had an all of Rome and I think every restaurant that we went to that got pasta.

Brittany and I would always split.

We’d always get a carbonara.

This place is the best.

I will attest to that.

Don’t let the image throw you off.


It was so good.

But after lunch, we had another tour.

It was called the Scabby Tour.

My dad and his girlfriend Stephanie, told us about this.

This was Jamal’s favorite thing that we did the entire time that we were in Rome.

This was my highlight.

It was the highlight because very few people get to see this. 10s of thousands of people are in the Vatican Museum every day, and it’s public, OK?


There’s nothing really private about that.

And yes, you want to see the Sistine Chapel, the scabby tour.

On the other hand, I don’t think more than 50 to 100 people are able to do this a day.

There’s nowhere general online for you to find these tickets.

You have to e-mail the Vatican specifically and tell them you want to do this tour and you could be one of the select few 100 Max per day that get to do this.


And we were.

I feel really grateful.

It was freaking awesome.

How far in advance did you have to book that ticket?

So I emailed them probably in like August and they told me that they weren’t going to release each the tickets until October and we went in January, so.


About 3-4 months.

Four months in advance, but the tour itself, it goes underneath Saint Peter’s Basilica and you get to tour the necropolis because there is a city of the dead that is underneath the Saint Peter’s Basilica.

So you get to see some of the old tombs that they’ve excavated on this tour, you in the necropolis area, you can’t take any pictures in this area.


And apparently the Romans back in those days, they used to spend a lot of money on tombs and visiting their ancestors that had passed away.

They would actually like go there and have celebrations and parties with them and it was just like this big thing.

So the bigger your tomb was or is that the right word tomb?



Yeah, or Crip, whatever you want to say.

So the bigger it was, the more extravagant, the better statues you had outside of it.

You’re showing like how wealthy you are and like how much you care for your.

Aunt, they were telling us if Brittany said this, I may have missed her saying this, that families would go and have picnics there, so they wanted large amount of space because they would go honor their dead there.


And if you listen, there’s a whole history here about the Vatican and Saint Peter’s Basilica itself and then why it’s built on top of the necropolis.

And then of course the highlight that we’re going to get to on why people who are really religious find this tour specifically to be so special also.


But if you look at a map of Rome, you will see that Vatican City to some degree of everything that’s kind of central of the major archaeological ruins.

Vatican City is on the outside of that, OK.

And as across the river.

So before the Vatican stood there and the church stood there, Romans believed in burying their dead outside of city limits, not within the city limits.


So that is why there is the necropolis, the city of the dead in this area of Rome.

Now, as Rome expanded, they needed to move out and they eventually built what they call the circus.

You’ve heard the Roman circuses there, right?


So just another arena in that area and they would have events, spectacles, etcetera.

Well, eventually, at some point in time, Peter, who was an apostle of Jesus Christ, was crucified in this circus area.


And that is why they ended up building the Vatican and the church there.

Because Peter then became the first Pope that ever existed after the passing of Jesus, the founding of the Christian and Catholic Church.

And he was killed and crucified in this area.


And they believe that he when they don’t know specifically what happened to his body, but they believe that he was taken and buried in this area.

But that’s beyond the point.

The Roman necropolis is there and the church is built on top.

So we get to go underground and still see the Roman necropolis.


Yeah, there’s like 3 layers to the the church.

There’s the church part that you get to go under and then there is a grotto underneath it.

And then what we went to see with the scabby tour is the necropolis underneath the Vatican grotto.

So we were like 2 layers deep underneath the ground level of the basilica.


And so let’s talk a little bit about the necropolis, best preserved necropolis and City of the dead of Roman times that you will see simply because no one really ever goes down there.

It’s a historical site and of course the church is built on top, but you can still see a beautifully paved Rd. gilded through mosaic work.


The necropolis themselves, two of different ones, are still in really good pristine conditions.

I mean, it was just really something special to see because if you want to talk about really well preserved Roman ruins, this was the spot where it was.


Was it dark down there like a cave?

Yes, it’s dark like a cave down there, so it’s kind of eerie.

You’re walking through a city of the dead, essentially, and the highlight though is you get to see what they believe to be our Saint Peter’s remains, like bone fragments that were left from him.


And wow, his bones are just laying out there like raw bones.

Well, they’re preserved in a box now, but they do have them.

And then right above for that is where they have Saint Peter’s tomb in the Vatican Grotto.

So we had a really good guide.


He was a Deacon and he told us exactly where to look, where to look for it.

And he said, like, I want you to be able to look and know exactly what you’re looking at.

Because he said he the first time he did the tour, he felt like he didn’t really see it.

So he wanted to make sure we all had the opportunity to like really understand what we were looking at and the significance of it.


But you know, they did some research of the bones, and they the bones they wanted to look for a male that was about 70 years of age with no major health issues.

And they found bone fragments from all of the bones in a person’s body except for his feet.


And Saint Peter was crucified upside down.

The easiest way to get you off a cross upside down is to chop you off at your feet, which would make sense on why those bones were not present there.

And so all things of what Brittany had said, I forget which Pope it was in what the 1940s or 50s who pretty much came out and said with the degree of certainty we can say that we believe that these are the bones of Saint Peter.


And I mean, he’s one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

So we had people on this tour, of course, who are very religious.

Once they saw, they started crying, getting really, like, emotional.

I mean, they’re looking at what they believe to be the bones of someone who knew their savior, right?


And that was, I would say, you asked a question about how we felt in the Sistine Chapel.

Even if you’re not a religious person, when you’re in that space that we were in, you can’t help but feel the weight and heaviness of that moment and experience when you see that.


And so they believe, of course he was buried there and that’s why they built the church, but they could never really ever confirm it before.

But again, with Peter being crucified upside down, the missing feet, they know for certainty that was in this area in which he was originally crucified.


And they don’t ever really know what happened to the body.

So they’re like, well, they had to probably bury him somewhere close.

And of course there’s a whole major story to this too that we can’t really get into because that was an hour and a half long also.

But if you can make it to Rome and Vatican City and do the scabby tour, I think this is the coolest thing that you’ll do in Rome.


It was Jamal and Cash’s favorite thing that we did.

Both of them were like, this was the highlight for for me.

And so I’m glad we got to do it.

I’m glad my dad suggested it.

It was amazing.

And then when you’re out of where the necropolis and where his bones are, you get to go into the Vatican grotto and you get to see a lot of the tombs of the previous popes and other church dignitaries that were laid to rest within.


So there was actually like even a queen that was buried underneath there.

But it was really cool to see that part.

You didn’t have a guide.

You just get to walk through and kind of like read the different little information boxes next to it.


But then you pop out right next to Saint Peter’s Basilica and you can go into it without having gone through security, like if you were to normally enter.

So that was really cool.

We got our first look at Saint Peter’s Basilica on the inside there, and by this time it was in the late afternoon, probably like close to like 5:00 PM.


From here we walk to Castell Saint Angelo.

We walked by it.

It’s this huge mausoleum of Hadrian.

And he built this huge towering Rotunda in Rome, and he built it for himself and his family.

But now it’s it was used by the Pope’s as a fortress and a castle, and now it’s a museum.


Yeah, we only looked at this from the outside.

It’s sitting on the Bank of the river across from a bridge, so it’s a really cool photo spot.

You want to see it, you can go in.

We opted not to do that.

Yeah, there’s a really nice bridge that connects Rome to the mausoleum as well.


It was completed in 134 AD, so very beautiful bridge.

We came out and it was like starting to be golden hour, so the sky was beautiful.

It was really nice and the castle in the background, so it’s definitely worth walking by at least, which is what I loved about Rome is like.


You can walk by and be impressed by the architecture.

Yeah, I do remember you saying something about a crazy lady on the bridge.

Can you tell me a little more about that?

There was a lady on the bridge and she was just like preaching.

She was like screaming and it was saying crazy stuff.


Like, I don’t even know what she was saying.

Like Jesus doesn’t love you.

Oh, well, I mean, oh, cool.

Well, she was religious.

Or so she claimed to be, from what you heard her saying.

But she was there talking smack on Catholicism and really pushing more towards like American Christianity.


I I don’t know which denomination, so to speak, but she was really, really against Catholicism, but also preaching Christianity, if that makes sense.

And talking in English in.


And you could tell she was an American.


So it’s given American’s bad names out there, yeah?

You know, there’s like these types of people that go at the end of festivals or street fairs, things like that, where they have the big signs.

It says God loves you, whether like on a sound speaker it’s saying crazy things.


This is the vision I have in my head of Crazy Lady on a Bridge.

That is her.


They’re all over the world.

And then we had to have some tiramisu because you can’t go.


I know you can’t go to Italy and not have it.

We went to this place called Mr. 100 Tiramisu.


They have 100 different flavors of tiramisu.

And that’s not just a selling point.

They literally have 100 flavors.

And when you look at the menu, it’s labeled one through 100 of different flavors.

And let me say this, I am not a tiramisu fan.


Usually I’ve had tiramisu here in the States.

I’m just like, you know, it’s not so good.

I don’t know what people like about it.

Maybe it’s they soak the lady fingers too much.

I don’t know what it is.

I didn’t like it.

So, like, I really wasn’t too thrilled to have tiramisu in Rome.


But I was like, I’m in Rome.

I gotta try it.

And let me tell you something.

Bomb Delicious.

I loved it.

I’m on the tiramisu train right now because this was our first time getting tiramisu.

But every place that we got Tiramisu, it was so good.

I don’t know what we’re doing here in America, but it’s not good at all.


But the Roman Tiramisu, I’m assuming authentic.

Yeah, 10 out of 10.

It’s not the same as America.

I learned that when I was there too.

So in America you can get a nice square, clean cut piece of tiramisu, but over there it’s more of like a mud pie dropping.


And it’s so good, especially with a teeny tiny espresso.

Especially after having your meal, lunch, dinner, all of the above.

Yeah, we ended up getting the pistachio and banana as well as the Nutella, and Brittany and I ended up sharing that.


So we got a good mix of different flavors.

You have to.

Pistachio and banana Nutella.

Oh, what?

Then what was the other one?

Because we got a second one.

Did we?

Not went to a different place and then we got a peanut butter one.

I’m already long.

I mean, they were so good, good mix of flavors.

I’m thinking that they were different ones because they were all coming in there so subtly, but yes, so prominent.


The perfect combination it was.

Well, you’ve got me all hungry now.

And before we go on to the rest of your Day 4 here, I just wanted to remind the squaddies quickly about our website and the things that we have available for you on there.

We’ve already mentioned itineraries.

We also have trip planning worksheets.


So if you were doing this room trip on your own and you wanted to plan out everything you were going to do, where we going to go?

We have that there for you.

We have tons of free templates guides on how to start your own podcast.

You can sign up for our bimonthly newsletter which has all of our trip information and like links to things that we did and what not a ton stuff.


More so head over to our our website travelsquadpodcast.com.

You can see all of that over there.

So day four of our trip was my favorite day.

We started the morning off with a tour of the Coliseum and it was the my favorite thing that we did.

So Jamal’s with the scabby tour.


The Coliseum was my favorite thing and I would highly recommend doing a guided tour of it.

Kim, did you do a guided tour or did you do it on your own?

I did it on my own and I would have done guided in hindsight.

Yes, very worth the guided tour.

We got to do the underground, we also got to do the arena level and then we got to go up to the second level as well.


So we got to see it from the underground where then on the arena level where they actually had the competitions and then from above where you can see like down into it.

So I really liked that.

And the underground, I want to say is, you know, when you’re in there and looking at it, you can’t help but be impressed.


But I really enjoyed the underground for this reason.

I mean, a lot of people who know the Colosseum or don’t even know what have probably even heard, though they had like battles in there with ships, They would flood it, you know, and do these things and which is very true.

But unless you are in the underground, which is not available to the general public, you have to have a specific tour that takes you to the underground.


You’re not going to see this.

We saw the area where they had the boat dockings, where they would dock the boats.

You could actually see the entrance to the aqueduct where they actually have the water that would run in to flood the arena.

And then you can see the reverse one, where it was used as the drainage.


So you really get the catacombs of the underground plus the inner workings.

This was impressive, I won’t lie.

And then on the arena floor, sometimes they would release like wild animals onto the floor.

So we got to see the cages where they would load the animals up so that they would release them onto the arena floor as well.


So we got like a whole history not to like go underneath that, then come up onto the arena floor.

She talked about all of the battles that happened there, how gladiators were there.

We got to see some of the tunnels the gladiators walked through.

She said that they for a long time still had sand because it was like a sand bottom and they would replace the sand, but people would come to the Coliseum and just pick up sand and like take it home.


So much so that they had to continuously replace it.

So now they no longer do that, but I I think we dove right in.

But the Coliseum is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built, and still the largest standing one in the entire world.

Yeah, it was completed in the year 88 D So I mean that’s really how old it is and for how well preserved it is.


If you look at it, it’s also really not.

One thing that I did not know is a lot of the limestone and facade of the Coliseum.

It’s still really prominent in one spot of it, but not in another because Saint Peter’s Basilica, when you go to the outside and look at Saint Peter’s Basilica and has that whitewash and limestone, they really took it from the Colosseum and eventually they stopped taking it from there to build it.


So when you’re looking at Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, that is rock and limestone taken from the Colosseum, which I thought was pretty cool too.

I would highly also recommend when you do get your guide book, one that gets you the skip the line tickets as well because we just got to like Mozi on through and we got there first thing in the morning at 9:00 when it opened.


So we had a lot of it to ourselves, which was amazing for a place that can get so crowded in peak season.

And we didn’t say this yet, but we ended up getting this tour from Get Your Guide.

We’re going to link it in the show notes for you guys, so be sure to check it out.


Click on it to do this exact one.

But Brittany is so right and Kim even learned this even though she got the bill out with someone who had the extra ticket when she was waiting in the line for the Vatican Museum.

You do not want to be waiting in the lines anywhere when you are in Rome, even during non peak time.


By the time we got out of here, the line to get in was just gross and even to buy tickets and do this.

You don’t want to mess around with that.

You’re going to waste your valuable time that you have in this amazing city, so be sure to check out our show notes where we’re going to lean to this.


This ticket also included going to Palatine Hill, which is one of the more ancient parts of the city.

It was called the first nucleus of the Roman Empire and it was the location where a lot of the imperial palaces were.

And then it also included entry into the Roman Forum, which is the valley between Palatine Hill and then Capitol Lean Hill.


This area, it was like very bustling.

There was like a lot of political, economic, religious.

It was like original religious core of the ancient city.

And so there was a lot of like really amazing lavish temples and basilicas and open public spaces.


And it was just where?

A lot of business affairs happened in Roman times.

If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, their shops are called the Forum Shops.

It is named after this, the Forum not.

Didn’t realize that you.

Didn’t realize that.

Did you realize that, Ken?


I didn’t put it together now, but it makes sense.

Well, I just put it together for you guys that it’s named after this.

Like the Forum is very prominent and well known in Roman history.

If you delve deep into it, beyond just the sights, the Forum was the center of everyday life.


And I thought that the Colosseum was amazing.

It’s awe inspiring, right?

So big, so crazy.

But it also is pretty crowded.

And the Valentine Hill is just a little walk down from this Coliseum area.


I actually really, really like this area because there is so much to see, so much to explore.

You can walk amongst the ruins and there’s still pretty big buildings that are standing and it’s cool.

It’s a big walking day.

Yes, it was a big walking day because then from here we walked all the way to like grab our lunch and then we took a bus to Saint Peter’s Basilica where we got to do the tour of the Dome.


So this was a guided tour that we did also with get Your guide and we’ll link it as well.

But it was not a skip the line tour and we were really feeling it.

It took us like an hour and a half, almost 2 hours to get in because we had to stand in the general entrance line and we’re standing at the big large group.


You know, there was probably like 30 of us in our in our group, but our guide was really good.

There was not a moment while we were standing in line where he was not telling us about the history of Rome or Vatican City or the Basilica.

So we learned a ton of history from him just by like standing and people asking him questions and all of that while we were there.


So he was very He was a very good guy.

And I don’t know if there actually is a skip the line to get into the Basilica specifically.

Of course we know for the museums there is and the Colosseum, but for the Basilica, I’m not entirely too sure about that.


So in that case I would even highly recommend again going to our show notes getting this.

Because if you’re going to have to stand in line anyway, you might as well get the history briefing one to kill time and just general information about this historic area and significant area which it really killed and ate up a lot of the time.


And I really appreciated a lot of the stuff that we learned and that he went over in that amount of time.

And we talked about Saint Peter’s Basilica before, but it is the largest church in the world and it is one of the most renowned works of Italian Renaissance architecture.

Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines as well.


I actually got my mom holy water from the basilica as well.

I got her rosary from inside the Vatican and then we got her holy water from inside the basilica.

When I told my mom, my mom is pretty religious, she was crying.

She was so happy.


But you know, you get to walk inside into this huge church.

It’s so impressive.

We had this part guided and we went up to the Dome first, actually.

How many steps to the top, Jamal?

Well, it’s 321 steps to the top, but you may take an elevator up at one point and then from there it’s 321 steps.


I do believe that you can choose to not take the elevator, but do we know how many steps it is if you don’t take the elevator?

I think it’s an extra like 100 and something step.

Which I can’t even believe that because I felt like the elevator took us up pretty high, that I’m surprised that the majority of the steps are after the elevator.


But nevertheless, it’s really cool because you know, when you start getting in there, I mean, you’re climbing up a Dome, so it’s not like they’re they’re just these switch back stairs, back and forth.

Eventually you’ll get to a point where it starts spiraling around, getting a little bit narrow.

You’re walking in a passageway where you can see the top side of the Dome, but the building is coming sideways so that you’re kind of like feel like you’re walking crooked through there.


It was an interesting experience, but you get to the top of the Dome, you look up, you can really appreciate it and then it gives you a viewing area of the outside, which I actually liked a lot more.

Yeah, once you get on the outside of the Dome you have views, 360 panoramic views of all of Vatican City and into Rome.


It was really awesome and amazing.

I would highly recommend going up to the Dome.

Once we were done with the Dome, we climb back down and then our guide introduced into the church and he showed us some of the renowned like artwork that was in there.

He actually showed us one of the sculptures.


What was the sculpture called?

I don’t remember I.

Think it was called La Pieta and it’s a marble sculpture of Jesus and Mary and.


Oh, it’s the Madonna de la Pieta.

Yes, the Madonna de la Pieta.

Yeah, well, people call it just la pieta.

Oh, it is so hip.


Abbreviating it.

But it’s so famous, it’s actually enclosed in glass now.

Because someone a few years back, like, tried to, like, go at it with a Was it a hammer?

Yeah, I think this person, if I remember the story correctly and you can Google it and find out specifically, but her guide was saying they think he was what, mentally ill?


But he came in and he took a hammer to the sculpture and he broke either Jesus’s head or Mary’s head.

I’m not too entirely sure.

Of course they have fixed it.

They have the glass in front.

But if I remember too, they were saying that this is actually the first work that Michelangelo ever did on his own when he wasn’t under an apprenticeship or anything like that anymore.


This was his first individual piece of artwork that he’s ever made, sitting here in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

And then you have to like, I don’t know, Kim, when you were there in the Basilica, did you go down into like the crypt area or no up to the Dome?



I feel like unless you really know about these things and do the research like they were easy to miss, like you can just be like, oh, I’ve gone into Saint Peter’s Basilica, but you don’t realize you can go up into the Dome or down underneath into the crypts.

So our guide did to take us down into the crypt, the crypt in between the Necropolis and then the church.


So we had to walk through that part the day before, but this time we had a guide, and he was so good, like we had said earlier.

And he explained a lot more of the historical significance and who was in the crypt and why.

And actually, our current Pope right now isn’t going to be buried in that crypt, even though a lot of other popes are.


He wants to be buried in another church in Rome that we visited on our last day.

So we had a really good guide.

He gave us a lot of insight about the history and the popes, and I felt like it was worth going back through, even though we had just been in there the day before, because we had a new appreciation and we knew what we were actually looking at, which is what I love about guided tours in general.


So the next day, day five.

This was our last full day that we had in Rome, but technically we didn’t spend it in Rome.

We were like, we want to take a day trip to Pompeii.

Now we mentioned this earlier, we did a Gate One independent tour, but on independent tours with Gate One, they do sometimes give you the option to purchase through them paid guided tours to do little added extras.


So they had a day trip to Pompeii that they were offering and we were like, well, should we do it through them?

Should we find a different vendor, see and compare?

And after doing our research, we felt like the one that was offered through gate One was pretty good.

So that’s what we elected to do.


It was how much, $159 per person.

Yeah, it was a 12 hour day.

It was a full day.

We met up kind of near the train station.

We got on a bus.

We stopped for coffee and breakfast, which wasn’t included.

Then we drove some more.


We stopped a second time in Naples for Nepalese pizza that was included.

Yeah, the so lunch was included and Naples is the birth place of pizza.

So we’ve had the original pizza.

Well, I shouldn’t say the original pizza, but pizza and the birth place of pizza, let’s put it that way.


O we got to try that, and then they took us on a drive around the city of Pompeii.

It gave us beautiful panoramic views of the coast, the Mediterranean Sea.

But if you don’t know what Pompei is, Pompeii, of course, is a city right by Naples.


Lots of people know Naples, of course, but what makes Pompeii famous is that it’s at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, which is one of the most active volcanoes still in the world.

Well, in the year 79 AD it had actually erupted destroying the city of Pompeii and of course the volcanic ash, because it wasn’t a lava eruption, it was a volcanic ash eruption.


That ash has really preserved the Roman ruins and city there very well.

So now it’s very excavated and you could go see the tour.

And on top of that, what was really awesome.

And I mean, it’s obviously really sad because of course people died, but the ash has actually preserved people’s bodies in the position that they had died when they were protecting and sheltering themselves from the pyroclastic cloud that came in.


So you can still see people in certain areas throughout Pompeii who are in their bracing position of when the impact actually hit.

You’re seeing somebody stuck in time, so to speak, in that window.

Yeah, Pompeii was buried under 13 to 20 feet of volcanic ash.


So I just imagine how much they’ve had to excavate to get that city back to what we’ve seen.

Now, like Jamal said, it’s, I don’t know, it’s a weird feeling because I deal with death every day as a Hospice nurse.

But like seeing people in what you think are what their final moments are and to see like, what that’s like.


And like the positions that they are, most of them are like crouching down, putting their face down into like the ground or into their hands.

And they’re pretty much saying like everyone died of asphyxiation.

And what you’re seeing is the skeleton of their body in that shape.


So what has happened is there’s a whole bunch of ash, and then human bodies decay, right?

So the human body decays under that leaving cavities.

So all of the flesh is gone, obviously, but what is left is skeletal remains.


So what they’ve done is they’ve porn like a mold into those cavities and then chipped the ash away from that and now you have a mold of a person.

Oh, wow.

And it does contain their skeletal remain.


There was one where you can actually see part of the skull, a tooth, even as they had taken it out from the ash, and it’s on display in that one area.

So I mean what?

About hair, did they put hair back on?

No, no, it’s not like that.

Like they put it back on and these are like the models.


These are literally just cast models of the cavities that were left after the body decayed.

But the like, it’s in the perfect mold shape because the ash has solidified then at that point preserving that cast so to speak.

But beyond the bodies, you get to see this, this Roman city that was there, you know, there’s ruins there.


There was public buildings.

They had a gym and like a bath house there you get to see houses and like what they think is a restaurant and a bakery.

They also Kim.

They had a brothel there.


Oh, that.

Well, that’s right up my alley.

It was.

It was really well known to be a city of sin, so to speak, Pompeii.

And you know, funny enough, they have a lot of phallic pieces sticking out of the walls.


Like if a if a phallic thing was sticking out of the wall, it was an indicator that that area was a brothel or close to like district.

They even have phallic mold in some of the original show and road that’s on the floor there.


And the penises that are on the ground, they point in the direction of the brothel.

So it kind of like leads you to the brothel, ’cause there’s like all of these penises on the cement on the ground, kind of like angling you to that area.

That’s one theory, but another theory could be that it was made for women.


Made for women.

Yeah, like opposite of a glory hole situation.

Quite possibly.

But you know what?

What did you say earlier, Kim, that you liked about Rome?

And in general, do you remember what you said?

I mean, I know a lot of things.


I said Food, wine, culture, bustling city, liveliness.

You missed the frescoes that you were talking about earlier too, liking the frescoes, but there are tons of frescoes that are left here in Pompeii because of course, covered in ash, it’s actually really preserved.


This is the original paint.

Well, guess what?

You walk into the brothel, there’s not girls standing there for you to look at.

But there is a menu of frescoes of different positions that are still well preserved that you that they’re saying that this is what you would point to.

And you would tell the girl this is what position that you would want to do it.


And that artwork is still up there, but beyond the sex aspect of things, they have other.

Well, let’s not move on yet.

I just wanted to know like, what kind of positions were they?

Some wheelbarrow positions, some pile drivers like you know.


Pile drivers.

There was some tack teaming, if I’m not mistaken, on there.

Yeah, yeah.

We were wild.

Crazy debauchery going on over there.

You got some new ideas for later on that night.

I’ve already lived with those ideas, I guess.

But Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


It’s one of the most popular attractions in all of Italy and I would recommend you can go without a guide.

But again, this is a situation where you want to go with a guide because you would have no idea what you’re really looking at otherwise.


And I, we didn’t talk about how we went into the spa.


The spa had a lot of frescoes that were still really well preserved in there too, outside of the sex frescoes, right.

You know ones of the gods and images and things of that nature, non X-rated oriented, but this was a really cool and unique thing to see because clearly this is a city that wasn’t just abandoned, it was stop people, stop living there.


Because, of course, the volcanic eruption.

So it was an all day thing.

We got back to Rome at around like 7:30 at night with traffic and the bus and all of that.

And the next day we were leaving and cash and Ryan left pretty early.

They were up and out of the room by like 6:00 AM.


We had a little bit of a later morning.

Our fight was a little bit later.

So Jamal and I had an opportunity to go back to the Trevi Fountain, see it with pretty much with no crowds, but they were cleaning it, so they were taking out all of the coins and all of that.

It’s still really beautiful, worth seeing again.


And then we went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, which is the church where our current Pope wants to be buried.

Once he died.

So we just roamed around a little bit that last day I was disappointed.


Again, Monday is the day that they cleaned the Trevi.


So if you’re going on a Monday and want to see it before the crowds, don’t go on a Monday because you’ll see it without the water flowing.

I mean, if that was our only experience, I would have been disappointed.

Luckily we had seen it before with water flowing and everything.

But All in all, I mean, I really did enjoy Rome, despite what you mentioned and alluded to earlier, Kim, about people having differing opinions, if you go into it appreciating the history, appreciating the food and jug wine, who doesn’t appreciate the jug wine?


You’re going to have a great time.

All in all, with everything we paid for our flights, hotels, tours, food, we paid about 1500 a person, which I don’t think is a bad price.


I mean we were originally at 800 with the independent tour with Gate one, with the add-ons of the tours, food etcetera.


You know that’s where we ended up getting to that total.

But yeah, not a bad price at all for exploring Rome.

That’s fantastic.

I always think about 1500.

Is a week trip a reasonable week long trip, especially when you’re doing things morning, noon and night.


Well, if y’all are ready for this, it is time for questions of the week.

Hit us with it.

Oh, I’m hitting you with it.

The hard hitting questions are coming in.


We have two first one’s coming in from Dana.

Dana’s actually going to be going to Rome later this year and she’s asking how many days do you need in Rome?

I really felt if you are just going to the city of Rome, you need about three to four days to see most of the highlights.


I would agree we had four full days.

One of those days of course was a day trip to Pompeii.

So if you’re not going to do Pompeii, you could do it all in three.

But you know that 4th day would be nice to just get anything that you may have missed or take your day a little bit more at leisure.


I mean, there’s still so much to explore and see that we did not do.

I don’t feel like we missed anything in that sense, but little cool highlights.

But three to four is definitely more than enough.

How many days did you stay there, Kim?

I’m thinking.


It was around 3:00 and I would say more if possible because I didn’t do the Dome, I didn’t do the underground areas.

I did do a little bit more nightlife.

I saw the Colosseum at night, went out for drinks and if you’re going to do that plus all the tours, I would say like four or five days to really enjoy yourself and not feel rushed.


Yeah, I would agree with that, for sure.

Second and last question, what are some must eats and drinks in Rome?

Oh my gosh.

Well, pretty much everything that you see, you want to go ahead and try, but we’ll try to list off some of the highlights.


We mentioned it earlier, the carbonara.

You have to try the carbonara.

Cache de Pepe was my first time ever having that.

And which is so simple.

It’s just basically like a white sauce with pepper on pasta.

And you would think, OK, what’s so special about it?

But it’s absolutely delicious.

The simplicity of it.


Plus with some cheese on top.

Oh my goodness delicious.

You got to do lasagna and gnocchi.

You’ve mentioned a Gorgonzella stuffed gnocchi.

All of the pasta’s really good in Italy and in Rome.

Of course, pizza.

Although I will say this, we didn’t really touch upon this.


I was not a big fan of the pizza that we had when we were in Rome.

It looks absolutely delicious.

The crust looks on point and you know, fire really crispy.

The toppings look really good flavor wise.

Like I don’t want to say like, oh I didn’t like the pizza, but it looks better than it is.


And I felt like at least when we were in Rome every time we had it.

And I know they like to do it very thin at the bottom, which that I can appreciate it.

But I wonder if there’s so many tourists there that they just put them in the oven enough for to get cooked to crank them out for speed.


Because every time that we sliced it, the bottom didn’t feel like it was ever really fully cooked, but the edge crust was.

Delicious, but pizza did not really do it for me as much as the pasta did in Rome, I will say that.

The Gelato you have to have a tiramisu cannolis.


You have all the dessert and then, of course, Kim’s favorite, the house wine.

The house wine don’t go for the bottles of wine.

They’re way more expensive.

The house wine is very, very affordable.

And if they don’t have a house jug to put out there on a craft, they have a house bottle, which the house bottle is fine.


But yeah, don’t go just, oh, let me go pick a bottle of wine.

You know, just get what the house has.

And then my favorite thing was the Meloncello drink wise.

I also recommend bruschetta.

They make all the different kinds of bruschetta with different types of toppings.


So try them all.

And the espresso.

Nothing’s better than a tiramisu and a little espresso to end your meal.

Coffee culture is alive and well in Rome.

I can’t believe we didn’t talk about that.

Of course, we got our espressos, but good call on that.


And avocado is a really good too.

Oh, you have to have avocado.

So good.

I want to go back to Rome so badly.

Now I know I passed up on this trip originally because I’d already been to Rome and I was, you know, wasn’t hyped up on it.

But now I’m feeling the FOMO.

Next time we hit you with it, Kim, you just got to say like, yes, you know, you think like, oh, you know, I don’t want to.


Then just remember this moment.

You’re going to be like, yeah.

I know, I know.

Well Squatty, thanks so much for tuning into our episode this week.

Hope you enjoyed Rome.

Hope it’s inspired you to to check it out for yourself.

Make sure to follow us on all the socials at Travel Squad Podcast and DMS your Questions of the Week.


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