Day 1

ABOUT halfway into the tour, I started counting the days to see how many had passed. I wasn’t looking forward to going home. I was sad to see how quickly time was flying! Rome was the last stop on our tour, and we had only two days left. During a stop between Florence and Rome, Jennifer gathered our group together to thank our driver, Sylvaim, and give him a little gift.

We had some time on our own after arriving in Rome. We had pizza for lunch with several from our group. A little while later, we regrouped and met our local guide, Francesca.


  • Our first stop was the Capitoline Museum, which became one of my favorites from the entire tour. Francesca talked about architecture, art, sculptures, etc. to help us understand it from an ancient Roman’s perspective. She gave exhibits context that you wouldn’t otherwise get from going through a museum on your own.

  • One example from the Capitoline: We were in a room with various sarcophagi, and some of them had little cherubs or statues of baby boys on top of them. Francesca pointed out that the little statues would never have been placed atop the sarcophagi in ancient Rome. The statues were actually ancient Roman “garden gnomes” - lawn ornaments! And the little cherubs likely would’ve been placed next to fountains and birds.

Background image: Roman Forum

Below: Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius outside the Capitoline

  • The Pantheon was the next big thing on our list. I was really excited to see it, too. It’s an ancient architectural wonder!


  • Trevi Fountain. After dinner, the entire group met back at the Pantheon and headed to the Trevi Fountain. Gorgeous fountain, especially lit up at night. It was a lot more crowded than I expected, but we squeezed in a few pictures and tossed in a few coins.


  • More gelato! We went to two different places. One of my favorite flavors, pistachio!



Day 2

WE met with Francesca again the next morning - this time, to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.


  • At the Colosseum, Francesca told us to imagine what the structure must’ve looked like back in ancient Rome. She did the same as we walked through the Forum, too. She wanted us to think about the scale of the buildings, the awe an ancient Roman must’ve felt when looking up at these buildings or at a certain statue.

  • The Roman Forum. I was shocked at just how many structures were crammed into one place, especially considering how large and imposing they all must’ve been. 

  • After the Roman Forum, the rest of the day was free. Omar and I paired up with Emily and her son, Noah, and took a taxi to the Vatican. Emily and Noah already had tickets to go inside the Sistine Chapel later that day. The tickets were date and time stamped, so they went ahead of us into St. Peter’s Basilica. Omar and I tried to get tickets to the Sistine Chapel, but the line to get tickets from the Vatican Museum was incredibly long. So we went back and took our time going through St. Peter’s Basilica.


  • St. Peter’s Basilica has been the largest church in the world for centuries. It’s beautiful.


  • Michelangelo’s Pietà is prominently displayed there.

  • Our last dinner together as a group.

Image above: Panorama of the Colosseum

Below: Swiss Guard outside of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican


  • Not all hotels in Rome occupy an entire building. Sometimes, they occupy only a few floors, like ours. Other floors could be another hotel altogether. The front desk was in a little office located next door to our building’s lobby. And the elevators aren’t very big. To get all our luggage upstairs, one of the gentlemen from our group offered to ride the elevator with all of our luggage.

  • Crossing the street. Jennifer taught us that as a pedestrian, there must be an understanding between you and the approaching driver. Make direct eye contact to communicate to them, “I’m going to cross the street.” And then walk with a brisk, steady pace. Don’t stop and start, or you might cause or become an accident.


©2017 by Rachel & Omar San Antonio.