Christmas in Italy – Exploring and wandering through Rome

Christmas in Italy – Exploring and wandering through Rome

In keeping with the tradition of adventure, Sarah and I went on a big trip for Christmas and New Years!

This year, we met up with Sarah’s family in Italy, traveling to Rome and Florence; not quite a perfect midpoint for everyone, but it was close enough. And, also, you know. Rome. Florence. Amazing!

Please forgive me for some of these being a bit out of order… the posts are organized somewhat chronologically… but also organized by theme and location.  Some may not be exactly in chronological order, so for reference please see the initial summary post, which has a complete day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of the adventure.


Various days, between 22-Dec and 27-Dec – Exploring Rome, and the outdoor sculptures

Rome is huge.

I mean, you already knew that. But take how huge you think it is, and then make it huger. Yes, that’s a word now.

I mean, Rome isn’t the size of LA (I think), but it’s just so… dense. There’s so much to see, and so much to do. More amazing food than you could eat in a year, or in ten years. More beautiful sculptures and sconces and buildings and, and, and…

It’s impressive, let’s just leave it at that.

I wrote up some pretty concise posts about a lot of specific places that we visited earlier, but there were a lot of spots that we simply saw in passing, or stopped in for dinner at. They didn’t really lend themselves to inclusion in other posts, so I’m going to put a few of them down here. Think of this as a compilation of short stories from Rome?

Fancy dinner out, 26-Dec

One of Greta’s coworkers was unexpectedly in town, and invited us out to dinner at a restaurant that he knew nearby. Since we’d planned on doing a fancy dinner out on the town anyways, this was a perfect way to get an insiders scoop on where to go. We dressed ourselves in our finery, and headed out for an especially excellent meal (as if every other meal wasn’t also exceptional!)

The ambiance was more casual than I think we expected, but it fit in well with the expectation of Italian eating. I could see a college student bringing their Grandma here, or the Prime Minister entertaining a foreign dignitary.

The food…

Starter: The whole table split a plate or roasted artichokes, half cooked the traditional Roman-style, and the other half cooked Judaean-Style

Pasta Course: Sarah and I split a plate of gnocchi, topped with cheese and cooked almost like a crem bruilee

Main Course: The table shared a roast spring lamb with rosemary

Dessert: Chocolate cake with pear, and a tiramisu

Wine: Sparkling wine to start, followed by a few bottles of house red with the main course

Street Votives

Something I’d never seen before, but in Rome there’s constant reminders of Christianity. I mean, yes of course there’s the uncountable churches, but there are also a ton of small devotionals, inlaid into the walls along the streets. Some of these look recent and cared for, and some look like they’ve been undisturbed since the 1700s. They’re not hugely obvious or confrontational, but if you take the time to notice they appear nearly every block.


Across the city, we saw multiple tall stone Obelisks. To me, they looked almost Egyptian, but I learned from Sarah and Bill that they were basically storybooks, similar to the triumphal arches in design. They’d tell a story, winding around the tower, of some major event such as a major military conquest or annexation.

But, as time went on, ideals changed. Where the obelisks originally had statues of emperors or generals, the Church replaced them with saints and effigies of Jesus. Now, most of them will have a haloed figure at the top, crowning the ancient stories of Rome.

Man, I don’t know. Just glorious architecture.

Seriously, the architecture in Rome was beautiful. So many amazing stone buildings, crawling with ivy and flowers. Interior courtyards, and even small sewer inlays. Instead of the street drains, they’d have carved stone features. Seriously amazing.

Shopping in Rome

Whoof. This one. On our last day in Rome, we had the morning unbooked – since we’d be getting on a train in the early afternoon, we didn’t want to rush any sightseeing. Instead, we earmarked the day for a bit of fashion…

And man, fashion is expensive. My goal was a nice Italian sportcoat, and I’m not lying when I say that I found multiple beautiful ones, that I would have loved to take home. Thankfully, common sense prevailed… or more accurately, the aneurysm that I had when they showed me the price protected me. Not that they weren’t amazing, and probably worth it… and the sales people were definitely willing to negotiate… but not down into the low triple digits, unfortunately.

Aside from fashion, Rome is also known for Art… thankfully for us, since Sarah had been whipping through the supplies that she’d brought with her from the States. This was Rome, so finding an art supply store wasn’t any sort of challenge… the challenge came from trying to find the specific type of paper she needed, out of the uncountable different options available. But again we prevailed, and escaped with exactly the type of paper she needed.

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