Spring break had finally arrived, suitcases were packed and essays submitted. We were ready to burst the bubble and longing for Vitamin-D, so fled cold and windy St Andrews, in search of some sunshine on the continent. Sadly this was not to be…
1. When it rains it pours
Five excited students ended their first day looking more like drowned rats than tanned spring-breakers. The street vendors, ever ready to make money from the elements, were flogging umbrellas by the dozen and the snaking queues outside the Vatican Museum became covered by a multi-coloured waterproof roof. This would have made quite an attractive sight had it been possible to look up from the torrential downpour. But happily, the sun came out for the rest of the trip and the street vendors replaced their waterproof wares with armfuls of selfie sticks to pass on to eager tourists.
2. Eat Pizza, lots of it.
It might not seem possible having gone to Italy’s capital, but my biggest regret on returning to Fife was the lack of Pizza I had consumed during my trip. Since my return I have been mournfully eyeing up the Tesco frozen food section, which is just not the same! Regardless, we did find a gem of a pizzeria, La Soffitta Renovatio. It had a cosy tucked away feel, despite its central location, and catering for both vegetarians and Gluten-Free diners, it fitted our needs perfectly. I sat down to enjoy the perfect blend of carbs, tomato sauce and mozzarella whilst my flatmate got hit on by the waiter!
3. Everyone needs their Lizzie McGuire moment
Sadly we managed to coincide our trip with the restoration of the Trevi fountain. And as Italian pop stars with Vespas and terrible accents were also in short supply, what better way to get our fix of movie magic than to venture out of the city to Tivoli? The Villa D’Este is a must see on anyone’s itinerary. The bus journey takes just under an hour, but the tranquil haven of gardens and waterfalls, with a majestic view of the Italian countryside, make it entirely worth it.
4. It’s not just the French who make good pastries
If you find yourself near the Vatican City you must look up the ‘Dolce Maniera’ bakery. It is just by the Ottaviano Metro stop and we were lucky enough to walk past it every day. Maybe not so good for tight fitting jeans, but a joy for the taste buds and with such reasonable prices, you really can’t say no! Open all hours, they had everything from custard filled croissants and slices of pizza, to donuts that were bigger than your head! Even if you don’t go in it is worth walking past just for the amazing smells of freshly baked goodies.
5. Look up
Another reason to visit Rome the Renaissance art, and during our stay I found a new love for ceilings! Whilst I personally found the Sistine chapel a little anti-climatic, at every gallery, building and museum I never failed to be awed by the beautiful frescos above us. I wish it was socially acceptable to lie on the floor of the Basilica, just to get a proper view of the beautiful art work. I think my favourite were the frescos at the Galleria Borghese. There was such a sense of humour in the mythological figures who interacted with one another across the room. I came home feeling quite inspired to paint my own, although explaining that to the landlords might be a challenge…
Images courtesy of the author and sourced from Pinterest.