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THREE DAYS IN ITALY WITH CITY WONDERS

April 23, 2019

Ciao, Rome! I just returned from an amazing week in Italy where I spent three full days exploring Rome and the Amalfi Coast with City Wonders. This was my third visit to the Eternal City, but my first time using a private guided tour, and it added so much value to my experience as a tourist. We visited several sights I'd been to before, but I walked away from this trip having learned so much more about the history of these incredible places, especially The Vatican, Roman Forum, The Spanish Steps, The Pantheon and Piazza Navona. I know I want to visit Italy again in the fall, and I've already started looking at the tours City Wonders offers in other cities - it's the only way I want to experience historical sights now in Florence, Pompeii, Milan, etc.

 

Cheers to an amazing week exploring Italy with these lovely ladies.

 

THE CREW

A trip is only as good as the people you travel with, and the crew for this City Wonders trip was AMAZING! Loved the three days I spent exploring Rome and the Amalfi Coast with Catarina Mello / Professional Traveler, Hannah Rheaume / The Sunny Side of Things, Michelle Rene / Live Like It's the Weekend and Lindsay Stein / Nom Nom Blog.

 

 Soaking in the view from my balcony at Palazzo Montemartini.

 

THE HOTEL

My home base for three days in Rome was the Palazzo Montemartini, a beautifully restored 19th century palazzo and the Eternal City's first Radisson Collection property. Newly opened in 2018, the hotel was ideally located in the heart of historic Rome. I arrived by train from Puglia, and was delighted to find the palazzo located just two blocks from the Roma Termini. This trip was a mix of taxis and walking, and for both the location was perfect -. 20 minutes or less on foot to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Colosseum and Pantheon (and even quicker by cab).

 

Our first stop with City Wonders was the Colosseum, one of most iconic spots in the city!

 

 Our guide took us to all the best viewpoints inside the historic Roman Forum.

 

Walking through the Roman Forum was like stepping back in time. We were surrounded by so much history!

 

Arch of Constantine.

 

Inside the Colosseum. 

 

Rome was in full bloom this time of the year.

 

 Sunset with panoramic views of The Eternal City.

 

 City Wonders found the most amazing drinks & dinner location for us at Terrazza Borromini.

 

 Roman sunsets.

 

DAY I: THE COLOSSEUM, ROMAN FORUM & PALANTINE HILL

Our first tour with City Wonders took us to the heart of historical Rome - The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palantine Hill. With the sights conveniently surrounding the Arch of Constantine, it was easy to pack a lot into one afternoon. I felt like we experienced a day's worth of sights in just a few hours! We met our amazing guide Michaela just outside the Colosseum where we were granted special Skip the Line privileges, one of my favorite perks of the private City Wonders tours. 

 

I'd visited the Colosseum last year for the first time without a guide, and left feeling like something was missing - the history. This visit, however, felt complete thanks to Michaela. Michaela taught us so much about the history, everything from gladiator tales to infrastructure trivia.

 

After a quick stop at the Arch of Constantine, we headed into the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill. Now, I've visited this place twice before, so I know how expansive it can be, especially without a guide. Thankfully, Michaela knew the best entrance, exit and route between the two. She took us to all the best viewpoints of the ruins, and to some of my favorite monuments including the Temple of Vesta, Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Septimius Severus.

 

 My favorite City Wonders tour was the VIP Vatican Breakfast Tour with Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica

 

St. Peter's Basilica.  

 

 Vatican City.

 

 

 We spent part of our afternoon at The Pantheon.

 

Such a treat to explore The Vatican before it opened to the public.

 

 The cutest outdoor dining lined the charming alleyways. 

 

Cheers to gelato at Trevi Fountain!

 

Good vibes all around at the Spanish Steps. 

 

I made my wish ... along with 1,000 other tourists!

 

Love this city.

 

One of the prettiest sights in Rome.

 

150 flavors at my favorite gelato shop in Rome - Gelateria Della Palma.

 

DAY 2: VATICAN & ROME WALKING TOUR

Ah, yes. The Vatican. My favorite morning with City Wonders. This was my third time at The Vatican in eight months, but this visit will be the one I remember 10 years from now. And it's a testament to the power of a good guide. Our guide Sev Borzak was a true rockstar - the best tour guide I've ever had, in fact. No, I'm not exaggerating. With a PhD in Archaeology, Sev works as a professor at one of the universities in Rome, and also supervises archeological digs around the city. It was an absolute treat to learn about the history of The Vatican, Michelangelo and Rome from Sev with all of the knowledge, passion and academia that he brings from his background as a professor. Honestly, I was ready to sign up for Sev's classes at the university after our tour with him!

 

We met Sev bright and early, just outside of the The Vatican City walls for our VIP Vatican Breakfast Tour with Museums, the Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica. This tour was particularly special because we had access to The Vatican Museums before they opened to the general public. This meant no lines, no crowds and we were treated to a special breakfast inside the Vatican's Pinecone Courtyard. Essentially we had a 90 minute head start to seeing the museums, which made a world of a difference with visitors numbering a high of 30,000 per day.

 

After our morning at The Vatican, we spent the afternoon enjoying a leisurely walking tour of the city. We met our third guide of the trip, Salvador, who took us to see some of Rome's most iconic spots including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. 

 

 Soaking in the iconic scenes of Positano. 

 

 We took a daytrip down to the Amalfi Coast on our last day with City Wonders.

 

How cute are the little streets of Positano?

 

Hot chocolate in the rain - perfect!

 

DAY 3: AMALFI COAST

On our last full day in Italy, we embarked on an exciting daytrip to the Amalfi Coast. Four times I'd been to Italy, and I had no idea that Positano and its surroundings could be visited in a single day from Rome. I always thought it required a multi-day excursion! But we left Rome at 7 AM with City Wonders, and we were back at the hotel before dinner! 

 

The weather was pretty rainy for our daytrip, but we made the most of our coastal adventure. Our group caught a high-speed train down to Naples where we boarded a private bus that took us to coastal viewpoints, a limoncello factory, Positano, Amalfi town and mozzarella tasting from a family of cheese-makers. It was a whirlwind day, and I know we couldn't have seen as much as we did without City Wonders.

 

Special thanks to City Wonders for arranging my trip to Italy and sponsoring this post! 

 

All honest opinions are me own. xx

 

 

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