Posts Tagged ‘Roman Holiday’

Well overdue post from November last year when I surprised my mum with a trip to the ‘Eternal City’. It has always been her big dream to visit Rome at least once in her lifetime. I have been several times when I was younger and am passionate about Italy and the Italian culture so I knew Rome quite well and what’s a better occasion to show this stunning city to Mum than for her 60th birthday.

I flew there from London, she flew from Budapest and luckily I managed to choose flights that arrived at similar times. I was there first and couldn’t wait for her to get there and be overwhelmed. I booked a flat through AirBnB, very close to the Colosseum which was very convenient as next day we could start there nice and early to avoid the crowd.


Mum was very emotional..a dream came true. I like making people happy.

The next obvious sight was the Forum Romano. It used to be the centre of Roman public life.  We also visited the Palatine and Capitoline Hills.


After the Forum we headed to the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. This is the sight that Romans respect the most, you are not allowed to sit down on the stairs or do anything that is disrespectful. We went up to the top and had a stunning view. It was very warm on those 3 days we were in Rome, about 20 degrees, which for November is great.



One of the best scenes from the Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck was by the ‘Bocca della Verità’ or Mouth of  Truth. The material  of the round medaillon is Pavonazzetto marble. This marble comes from Docimium in Frigia (today’s Turkey). The weight is 1,200kg and it’s 2,200 years old believe it or not.

The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector.  Starting from the Middle Ages it was believed that if one told a lie with one’s hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. I can confirm we both arrived back home with 2 hands:)


After these we just got lost in the little beautiful narrow streets or ‘stradine’ of Rome.


I think I made mum walk at least 15km per day, but that’s the best way to discover the city.

And of course we fuelled up with the tasty food that the Roman cuisine offers.


In the evening we walked around Piazza Navona.


The next day, all recharged, we went to the see the Vatican. I think this was the highlight for Mum.



The other beauty is the Castel Sant’Angelo, just at the end of the Passetto from the Vatican. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the Popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome.


On the last day we visited Campo de’ Fiori (Field of Flowers). The name was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow. Campo de’ Fiori has never been architecturally formalised. The square has always remained a focus for commercial and street culture: the surrounding streets are named for trades—Via dei Balestrari (crossbow-makers), Via dei Baullari (coffer-makers), Via dei Cappellari (hat-makers), Via dei Chiavari (key-makers) and Via dei Giubbonari (tailors).

It’s an overpriced market now, a bit of a tourist trap but the shopping in Giubbonari is great (not Gucci and Armani type of brand shopping but affordable everyday clothes and shoe shopping).

At night, Campo de’ Fiori is a meeting place for tourists and young people coming from the whole city. In the years after 2000 it has turned into one of the most dangerous places of the city during night, with reports of repeated assaults and affrays by drunk tourists and soccer supporters.



As Mum was leaving in the afternoon we did another little stroll around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, I gave her another little surprise – a Swarovski necklace and earring set that she was very happy with. The necklace chain was too short but luckily we could change it in the Swarovski store in Rome.


She then left and I spent an evening shopping 🙂 In the evening I went out for a superb meal and tried the famous carciofi alla giudea at a restaurant called Ba’’ Ghetto in the Roman-Jewish Quarter.

The next day I flew to Malta for a gaming conference.

I think it was an unforgettable trip for both of us; Mum certainly remembered as her feet hurt for a few days after the marathon walking she was not used to.