Italy: Part 2

My second day in Italy, we took another free walking tour that ended at the Vatican. It was a perfect opportunity to check out St. Peter’s Basilica!

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St. Peter’s is enormous! There are markings on the floor to show how many of the world’s other large churches would fit inside this one. The dome inside is the largest in the world, reaching nearly 450 ft in height!

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Entrance to the basilica is free, and Noah and I did a Rick Steves’ walking tour while inside to learn all about it. Afterwards, we walked to lunch, passing through Piazza del Popolo:

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Lunch was something I have looked forward to for approximately 2.5 years. No kidding! About that long ago I went to Italy with my fabulous besty for a fun-filled 10 day tour. While we were in Rome, we ate lunch at a vegetarian restaurant that had THE MOST DELICIOUS BUFFET IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Part of our obsession with that lunch may have been due to the fact that we were super hungry when we got there. Nonetheless, I have thought of that restaurant ever since, and it was probably the #2 thing I was looking forward to on my visit (after seeing Noah, of course).

The restaurant: Il Margutta RistorArte.

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Could the lunch buffet live up to my idolized memory of it?!

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Why yes, yes it could. So good! I wish this restaurant lived in Minneapolis. Or maybe I don’t…it would probably put a dent in my wallet. And have the opposite affect on my waistline.

After lunch, we decided to check out the Rose Gardens.

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We sat on a bench in the garden for a while talking and enjoying the beautiful weather/surroundings. Look what we found – a beautiful heart!

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tots.adorbs.

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My second day in Italy wouldn’t be complete without….

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Gelato! Gelato is seriously EVERYWHERE in Italy. Every other storefront seems to sell it. So, obviously, by the end of the day, it’s pretty hard not to have some. Noah and I found a great little gelato place near the B&B where we were staying that had a wide range of flavors (listed in English as well as Italian), plus some interesting gelato pops and balls:

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We went to this place several times during my visit and always tried different flavors:

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Mollie: “I feel guilty eating gelato twice in one day.”Noah: “That’s okay. One time I had gelato twice in the same lunch period.”

Other Italy Posts
Italy: Part 1
Italy: Part 3
Italy: Part 4
Italy: Part 5

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Italy: Part 1

Hello again! Sorry for the long hiatus in blogging. I have a good excuse though:

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The countdown got to zero…so I’ve been in Italy! Or should I say, Italia. Traveling there went smoothly – with the exception of a mix-up regarding the bus schedule that led me to frantically take a taxi to the airport:

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Sadly, my exact change that I had so deliberately collected for the bus ride there will now need to be used for laundry:

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When, I got to the airport, I made it through security and had time to eat the lunch (almond flour pizza for one) I brought before boarding:

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Obviously, a quick stop at Caribou was necessary:

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I was going to go to Starbucks since I like their tea selections better, but it makes me mad that Starbucks expects you to pay more money for a medium tea than a small when they’re only giving you more hot water….so, Caribou it was!

After a quick layover in Philadelphia, I was on my way to Rome! The best part of international flights? Definitely the individual entertainment stations.

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Yes!!! Twilight: Breaking Dawn part 2. Doesn’t take a lot to keep me happy. 🙂 In addition to watching Twilight and Life of Pi, I also read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food which I bought a couple weeks ago at Magers and Quinn. I loved it! I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about a common sense approach to nutrition and eating.

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If individual entertainment stations are the best part of international travel, in-flight meals are the worst:

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I special ordered a vegetarian meal prior to the flight, so my rice/veggie mixture was bad but not terrible (really I was just super excited for all the delicious Italian food I would be consuming over the next week!). When I finally made it to Rome the next morning, I was SO EXCITED to see this handsome fellow waiting for me at the airport:

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While we were waiting for the train to take us from the airport into Rome, Noah got a Cappuccino at the bar (very Italian!):

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When we got into the city, it was too early to check into the Bed & Breakfast where we were staying, so we went to Noah’s apartment. There were great views from the window!

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We also visited a nearby fruit market with loads of produce, flowers, and prepared foods:

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I got some oranges and pears to eat during the week:

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When we finished at the market, it was time to head to the B&B! We were staying at a place called Parioli House near the Policlinico Metro Stop. It was very cute with tea, fruit, and snacks available all the time in the foyer:

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After we got settled in the room, we set off to take a walking tour. There’s a company called Rome Free Walking Tour, which is exactly what it sounds like. Perfect for the stingy traveler! Noah and I took two tours: one through the Heart of Rome and one from the Spanish Steps to the Vatican. The one to the Vatican was MUCH better, but we saw a lot of cool stuff on both. Highlights include….

The Colosseum and Forum:

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The Trevi Fountain:

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The Pantheon:

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Piazza Navona:

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and the Vatican:

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Stay tuned for more information on these places later….

Also, did I mention that we are silly and love Rick Steves?

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And finally, the perfect ending to the first day…DINNER! We went to a restaurant that specialized in wood-fired pizzas:

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There were neat paintings all over the walls:

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We ordered a tuna pizza and a veggie pizza:

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Plus a side dish of eggplant:

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Sooo good. And, in true Italian form, an espresso after the meal:

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Check back soon for info on St. Peter’s Basilica, biking the Appian Way, and great Italian cuisine!

Other Italy Posts
Italy: Part 2
Italy: Part 3
Italy: Part 4
Italy: Part 5