First-Timers in Rome

March 26, 2019, 5:03 p.m.

What do you do when your boyfriend comes to visit you in Europe? You take him to the most romantic city in the world, of course!

To be fair, going to Rome was more Gage’s idea than mine. Either way, we knew it was a must-see during his week here. I’ve been to Italy before, but the city of Rome is brand new to both of us.

So, as first-timers, we spent our first day in the Eternal City checking out all the biggest sights. First up was the Colosseum!

We got to the Colosseum right as the inside tours were ending for the day, so we took it as an opportunity to walk around and appreciate the structure from the outside.

The Colosseum was built in 70 AD, so we were gazing at almost 2,000 years of history in this place. Even though this massive arena isn’t as tall as it once was in most parts, it still takes your breath away.

We circled the structure until we got dizzy, then decided to move on to find a different landmark.

If you visit Rome, you’ll immediately notice the tall umbrella-looking trees scattered throughout the landscape. The stone pine tree has become a symbol of Rome over the years. These trees are great for finding some shade and also supply pine nuts--no wonder they've kept them around!

A stroll around any given part of Rome will also inevitably produce a great view of ancient ruins.

‘The Altar of the Fatherland,’ built in the late 19th century, is a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. It is nearly adjacent to the Roman Forum which creates quite a distinct juxtaposition between the old and new in the city. This great big “wedding cake,” as some locals call it, does stand out a bit from the historical landmarks of Rome, but it is still a gorgeous edifice nonetheless.

Though we didn’t know what it was called at the time, Gage and I freaked out when we saw this monument on our cab ride into the city. Even when we happened upon it again on our walk from the Colosseum, we had to look it up to know what it was called. I'd call it a not-so-hidden gem.

The views from atop provide a nice photo opportunity as well!

Our tourist instincts took us to the Pantheon next. That experience is better in person rather than through a lens. Right down the street from the Pantheon is the iconic spot that I was most excited for: the Trevi Fountain!

I have dreamed of coming to Rome ever since I was a little girl watching 'The Lizzie McGuire Movie’ on Disney Channel. Every female growing up in the early 2000s era can relate to that. This particular spot in the city hosts one of the most romantic scenes. So, I dragged Gage (my own movie-worthy heartthrob) through the crowd in order to view the masterpiece.

In my opinion, the most beautiful time of day to visit the fountain is right as the sun starts to go down. The lights come on and the colors become much brighter. The city dies down after dark, but in another way, it comes alive.

Eventually, the smell of authentic Italian food lured us away to a restaurant just around the corner. Time to indulge ourselves in some pasta!

We went back to the Trevi Fountain afterward to get the full nighttime experience there. This time we went down to the water's edge to throw a coin in and make a wish. Obviously I can’t disclose what I wished for, though I can tell you that being in Rome with my love was already a wish come true. Sorry for being so cheesy!

On our starry walk back to the hotel, I may or may not have played Dean Martin’s “On an Evening in Roma” through the speakers of my iPhone... Yeah, this is the stuff that Gage has to deal with on a daily basis. Good thing he is so loving because he still has one more day of this Italian nonsense with me. I can’t wait to tell you about it. Ciao!