For Valentine’s Day weekend, my friends and I jumped on a train to Rome, the Eternal City (*cue the Lizzie McGuire soundtrack*). As soon as we arrived, we headed across the river and up the hill to the Vatican City — home of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Pieta, St. Peter’s Basilica, Stanze di Raffaello, and of course, the Pope.
Though Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, millions of people from all over flock to see the remarkable architecture, paintings and sculptures. Because it can get very crowded, you should book a tour with a guide before you arrive in order to skip the lengthy entrance line. After having marveled at all of the famous pieces of art on our tour, there was only one more activity to complete: climbing the 500+ narrow and spiraling steps to the top of the Cupola di San Pietro. Though it is a bit of a hike, the experience of taking in the 360-degree view of Vatican City and Rome is priceless.
Famished from the long day of walking, we headed to Campo de’ Fiori, a popular piazza for both Italians and Americans, serving as a market place during the day and a trendy spot for bars and restaurants at night. We came across a restaurant called “La Carbonara,” which specializes in a typical Roman dish, carbonara. Consisting of pasta, pancetta (Italian bacon), and an egg sauce, carbonara is a creamy pasta dish filled with a variety of savory flavors with a pinch of salt.
To make carbonara, there are four basic steps: first, cook the pasta in boiling water. Next, fry the pancetta in a pan, then beat egg yolk and cream together with some cheese, and last, combine all of the ingredients and serve with extra cheese. This heavy yet delicious meal energized us for all of the activities we had planned for the next day. For our second and final day, we explored the Coliseum (#fighton), the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps.
To top it all off, I was lucky enough to discover one of my new favorite gelato shops in all of Italy near the Trevi Fountain called San Crispino — a must when visiting Rome. All in all, it was a weekend of famous works of art, ancient Roman buildings and, most importantly, delicious food.