Buongiorno from Rome!

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After a nine hour flight from Atlanta to Rome, my family arrived in Italy around 9 a.m. (that would be 2 a.m. in Orlando). We tried our best to sleep on the plane so we could hit the ground running and really enjoy our first day in Rome.

The time change was a bit of an adjustment, but I think that after a good night’s sleep this evening, we should be good to go! It felt so weird eating “breakfast” at 2 a.m. when I wasn’t hungry in the slightest.

I then found myself snacking on peanut butter M&Ms and Combos that my mom brought along just to keep my energy up.

After meeting up with our Globus tour group, we made our way to our hotel where we quickly changed and headed out onto the streets of Rome. Today is a “free day” from the tour group because everyone is arriving at different times.

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Our first mission was to get some authentic Italian food in our bellies. 

We bought pizza from a little café outside of our hotel and inhaled it!

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My dad and I both commented on how we really enjoyed how this pizza seemed to really put the emphasis on the tomatoes, vegetables and spices rather than the gobs of cheese. Now I’m not saying that a ton of cheese is a bad thing, but this pizza tasted so incredibly fresh and flavorful and not heavy and overly greasy like the pizza I am used to eating.

I can’t wait to try some other flavor combinations. I saw one pizza that looked like it had thinly sliced potatoes on it and another topped with artichokes that were calling my name.

After our bellies were full of pizza, we walked toward the Vatican. Though we will be enjoying a full tour of the Vatican tomorrow, we couldn’t resist exploring and beginning to see what Rome is all about.

En route to the Vatican we stopped for some gelato.

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Guys, I don’t even know what to say. I think I found my mother ship. This stuff is unreal. My family and I sampled a ton of different flavors before ordering our own cups and every single one we tried we loved.

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My personal cup included a combination of panna cotta and Nutella gelato and I practically licked my bowl clean.

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I plan to eat 5,000 cups of this stuff throughout the next 12 days. Thank goodness I packed my elastic-waist pants and flowy dresses.

After eating our gelato and walking a couple of blocks, we stumbled upon St. Peter’s Square…

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and the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica.

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We waited in a brief line before entering St. Peter’s Basilica where we were blow away by the beauty inside.

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The ceilings, the detail, the marble… everything was incredible. I can’t wait to learn more about it tomorrow!

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Oh! And great news, Ryan! I found the place where we can renew our vows in a few years…

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The feeling in this church was truly unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. People were walking around with their mouths open and their eyes wide trying to understand how much time, detail and talent was required to make the most amazing Christian church in the world.

I am so excited to absorb as much information as I can about this church and its history tomorrow!

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After spending quite a bit of time inside, we wandered outside and out of the square toward Castel Sant’Angelo, the building there the Pope retreated during times of danger. It was quite the site!

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We then walked a ways until we reached Piazza Navona, Rome’s most popular piazza, originally built for raceway chariots!

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We also have plans to return here tomorrow!

Now we’re relaxing back at the hotel before we join with our tour group for a four-course dinner in Rome. I am beyond pumped for this and am planning on calling in my second stomach!

Ciao for now! Smile

P.S. The Fashion page was updated!


  1. says

    one pizza combination I tried in Rome had a sweeter cheese and honey drizzled on it. it was UNREAL.

    Also, gelato? it’s impossible to eat enough of it. in my glory days of high school latin class trips to Italy, I dominated our class contest to see who could eat the most scoops of gelato over the course of the trip. the boys didn’t stand a chance against me.


  2. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    My mother in law took a trip to Italy last October and it is kind of neat to see your pictures because her pictures are so similar! Very cool.

    That gelato looks amazing. Enjoy!


  3. says

    I didn’t realize you were doing a tour! That’s great because the history is so rich that you’ll really appreciate having all that background. The tour of the Vatican is amazing..so so good.



    • says

      I agree! I think tours are one of the best ways to travel… plus, you meet *so* many neat people, from all over the world! I did a 18day tour in New Zealand when I studied abroad in Australia, and I was one of two American’s on the bus! I still keep in touch with a lot of the people I met to this day, we’re like family! Can’t wait to see how you like it. Oh, and i had no doubt you’d love gelato… it’s amaaazing!


  4. Kim says

    I had my honeymoon trip to Rome 3 years ago. The pizza is AMAZING! Mine had sliced boiled eggs and olives. OMG… so good. I’ve tried recreating it with the Flatout bread, very yummy!

    I too ate my weight in Gelato. I literally ate it EVERY day we were there. And we were there a week!

    We rented a flat/apartment instead of opting for the hotel. The rates were actually VERY reasonable and we were a 3 min walk from Piazza Navona. It was really neat to wake up and step out onto the street like the “locals” were. Having a kitchen in our flat it was really neat to be able to step out to the street market and buy fresh stuff to make a few meals ourselves.

    Have a great time!


  5. says

    WOW Julie, what an experience! It looks like you guys are having a blast so far! I’m really not much of a cheese fan, so that pizza looks like it would be just right for me. Enjoy the rest of your day – I bet you’ll sleep well tonight!


  6. says

    Julie!! Wow, you already seem like you’re having the time of your life!!

    I thought maybe I’d have to wait a couple posts to see you eatin’ some gelato. I was wrong 😉 Believe me, I won’t be waiting that long either!!

    Ahhhh, so awesome!


  7. Stef says

    This post makes me so jealous:) Just fyi, potato pizza is the jam. I’m Italian and my mom makes it often:) There is usually an onion-y surprise under the potato, depending on where you get it lol.


  8. says

    1. The gelato looks amazing! And I love that they put a pizzelle in it!

    2. There’s a great restaurant in Piazza Navona, on the east side right past the fountain that has some of the best pizza I’ve ever had.

    3. Something you may learn tomorrow at the Vatican: In St. Peter’s the sun shines for at least 1 second on every fresco and sculpture in the entire place!!! I learned that the last time I was there in 2008!


  9. says

    Sooo jealous! I love gelato – fell in love last year when I visited Costa Rica where there was an little Italian pizza place that had gelato – ever since I have not found a place that has come close to how good it was! My friend just visited Italy though and confirmed it gave the CR gelato a run for its money 🙂
    Have a great trip and eat lots of gelato for us all!


  10. says

    Rome looks absolutely beautiful! So jealous right now! That gelato looks incredible too!!! Mmm..I think I would taste every single flavor too! Enjoy your dinner tonight! 🙂


  11. Steph @ Live Laugh Love says

    You’re pictures look fantastic Julie!! You all look so refreshed despite the fact of flying for the previous 9 hours. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip 🙂


  12. lauren says

    an italian family used to run an amazing gelato shop in the lake eola area, but they closed it a few years back 🙁 it was definitely my high school hang out! i’m surprised orlando hasn’t had any new gelato places open since then!


  13. ellalinea says

    Oh dear, I miss the gelato from Italy so much!! :)) That pizza also looks amazing.. I generally don’t like pizzahut style pizza’s ( american way of eating pizza) but I love thin crust Italian one.. You must try one with artichoke or aubergine.. amazing!


  14. Sarah says

    Living vicariously through your blog posts as I study for finals! Hope you’re enjoying it 🙂

    Fun fact: look up when you’re in St. Peter’s tomorrow, the letters that wrap around the entire basilica which look quite small from the ground are actually over 6 foot tall each — food for thought & something I found pretty wild


  15. Vanessa F says

    Nutella gelato?! I’m so jealous. LOL. It’s weird seeing your pictures because my parents got back from 11 days in Rome, Florence, and Paris the same day you flew there. hahaha. Have fun!!


  16. maddie says

    I lived in Rome for 6 months and my favorite gelato shop (besides Giolitti’s) was Old Bridge, right next to the Vatican. I used to walk 45 minutes from the Trastevere neighborhood just to go there!! You must try it! Hope you have the best trip ever! You will adore the food.

    p.s not sure if anyone has told you about aperitivo? You buy one drink (about 8 euro) and get a buffet of delicious food for free! My favorite places in Rome for this “happy hour” deal were Freni e Frizioni and also Pepato, both in the Trastevere neighborhood. It is a foodie’s delight, seriously. Aperitivo is also popular in Milan and Florence. Golden View is the best one I found in Florence and right on the river.

    Enjoy! xox


  17. says

    Ahhh I am SO jealous!!!! I studied Ancient Roman History/Art/Arcitecture in University (got my degree in it actually) yet have never been!!! I’m DYING to get there one day when we have the money!!!

    Enjoy yourself!! 🙂


  18. Stephanie says

    Yay! I am doing a Globus tour in September with my hubby- Italy too!! I cannot wait to see the rest of your trip and hear how the tours were.


  19. says

    I learned how to photograph with a DSLR camera in dim lighting in St. Peter’s Basilica on my honeymoon. It was an amazing trip I’ll never forget. 🙂 Have fun!


  20. cait says

    I remember going to Rome and literally SITTING in St. Peters Basilica just staring at the ceiling. It’s breath taking and you really can’t understand its beauty or it’s massive size unless you’re there! So glad you’re having a great time!


  21. says

    Hehe, I’m going to be the European snob here and say that I’m so glad you get to experience the amazing flavours of real food for the first time 😉 Enjoy it while you can!!!! Can’t wait to see how the rest of your trip goes! HAve fun!


  22. Mel says

    Sighhh so nice. I was in Italy almost exactly 2 years ago for over a week as well. The gelato is incomparable. Mmm. ENJOYYYY!


  23. says

    AHHHH i am loving these updates! i didn’t think we’d here from you much while you were on vacation, but i’m so impressed with the stories and pics you have already provided on your first day there! it’s like we’re traveling with you girl! how fab! have a GREAT dinner 🙂


  24. says

    The pizza looks delicious! When I was in Poland last summer I loved gelato! It is so fresh and like nothing I had ever had before. Enjoy soaking in the culture and food ^_^


  25. Amy says

    Wow is about all I can say right now! I’m sure pictures can’t do seeing these sites first hand but still, wow! LOL Thank you for sharing the pictures and your experience on your blog!! Can’t wait for more Rome posts!


  26. carlee says

    Holy mother of ice cream! Is this your first time having gelato? I have never had it and I’m DYING!! It looks amazing! I am seriously way jealous! it looks so fun!


  27. says

    Seriously?? The combo of Nutella and gelato is like better than, well, better than anything I can think of right now. I’d probably skip the Vatican and hang out in the gelato shop for the rest of the trip.


  28. says

    Ahhh the sights, food, everything is making me want to go back! Nutella gelato is the best! and the Pizza is for sure fresh and not greasy like American pizza! lol Have so much fun!


  29. says

    oh my goodness i’m so jealous!!! looks like you’re having a blast so far!
    BTW there is an awesome gelato place in downtown st. petersberg called pacuigo! so if you’re still craving gelato when you get back to florida, you’re in luck! 🙂


  30. carrie says

    wow! so awesome – looks like you and your family are off to a wonderful start!! can’t wait to see more! have a lovely vacation!!!!!


  31. says

    I spent my summer in Italy last year and your pictures are making me miss it!

    Isn’t their pizza divine? Even the simple pizza marinara (pizza with just tomato sauce and nothing else) is beyond comparison.

    A word of caution with gelato: when looking for a good gelateria, look at the color of the banana gelato. If it’s yellow, move on. If it’s greyish, you’re in the right place! My favorite flavors were malaga (rum raisin) and pomelo (grapefruit).


  32. says

    I did a verrrry similar tour with Globus a few years back. You’ll love it! I hope you get the same tour guide and bus driver – they were beyond amazing! I forgot the guide’s name but the driver was Salvatore…he was a trip!

    PS….i’m not sure if it’s on the itinerary but definite hit up Versailles in Paris… absolutely breathtaking! OH and water is really expensive in Europe but if I remember correctly, gas stations tend to sell big liters for about the same price as a small bottle (at least the ones we came across traveling between cities). So stock up if you can! 🙂


  33. says

    Those sites look amazing!!! Italy is definitely on my go-to list. I’ve already done Paris, Madrid, Zurich and Dublin. Next up: London, Rome and Prague. 🙂


  34. Justine says

    Wow that looks amazing!! And that gelato holy my goodness yumminess 🙂 I can’t wait to visit there one day/


  35. primrose says

    Ahh it all looks so beautiful!! Good on you for not giving into jetlag…I would have gone to the hotel straightaway to have forty winks! (or ‘rest my eyes’ as I like to call it).


  36. says

    Wow, looks like a dream! The weather looks perfect too and that gelato, ermmm HEAVEN! I always load up on samples before ordering- those don’t count right ;)!


  37. Nicole says

    Best gelatto place in Rome is named Marriott – yep, like the hotel chain. There is one just off of the Piazza Navona.


  38. Andrea says

    If you’re going to Florence during this trip (or anytime in the future), you must eat at Gusta Pizza on Via Maggio. You have to get there right when they open for dinner at 7 because there will be a line (maybe get there a bit early). AMAZING! Have a great time!


  39. says

    How cool- you’re blogging from Rome! I love this city, it’s where I studied abroad and lived for 6 months. Gelato is HEAVEN- but you’ll be surprised with the non processed food and walking, even eating globs of gelato really won’t make you gain weight. Okay so you may not be able to get there, but if you can, in Piazza Navona there is an alley way – at the top of the alley is a fancy gelato store (Keep walking), walk and walk (you’ll pass a little museum thing), and then there are two gelato shops. One has music and you can see the flavors. The other has no music, and just a silver metal wall and you can’t see the flavors. Order Nutella, and whatever flavor you want. I promise, on my life, it will be the best gelato you EVER taste.

    Ciao bellissima


  40. says

    Have so much fun Julie 🙂
    It is sooo gorgeous..I cannot wait to visit there one day! I hope you & your family enjoy every minute of the trip!! 😀


  41. Allyson says

    Girl, you look like you’re having a blast already! I don’t know if you know this or not, but gelato is actually really healthy compared to ice cream! I lived in Italy and also worked at an authentic Italian gelateria here at home & can 100% vouch for this – it’s half the fat of regular ice cream and a smaller cup usually runs at about 150 cals & less than 5 grams of fat! Not that it matters, because you’re in Italy & it’s all about the food! When I lived there I ate it every day (ok usually 2x a day) and ended up losing weight because of all the walking.

    Mangia! Mangia! 🙂


  42. Amber K says

    Oh wow, it’s so beautiful! When I went to Europe I only got to spend five hours in Italy, in Venice. Definitely not enough to fully enjoy it. I never even got to sample any gelato, but it sounds so good!


  43. says

    looks amazing! Gelatttoooo! I went to Rome with my Mother and a tour group when I was in High School. It was such an awesome experience, and I know you’re having a fantastic time!


  44. Becky says

    Oh!! I have the best memories of being right where you are with my mom 8 years ago!! She and I took a mother daughter trip to Italy when I graduated college and I still think it was my favorite trip ever!!! Especially Rome. Sigh!



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