After being “stuck” on the Venetian archipelago for one too many days, it was nice to finally pull out a map again, this time in Rome.

Funny thing: when we got on the metro from the train station, Ryan commented that there was a strangely familiar San Franciscan vibe, and when we got off, we ran straight into the gay pride parade, which we had to cross twice (with our luggages) to get to our hotel. Fun first impressions are always good, eh? Then, as soon as we dropped off our luggages and set off on foot for the famed piazzas, palazzos, and fontanas, I commented that the steep streets shaded by stone buildings showed a striking resemblance to San Francisco as well. Were we just imagining this?! Perhaps it was the Chinese restaurants, Indian businesses, and general diversity that just felt so welcoming after a few weeks in Europe — truth be told, a feeling I did not expect from Rome. Regardless, as soon as we exited a narrow alley that opened up into a giant plaza or stood in awe at the foot of an ancient ruin, we knew we were in Rome.

All within walking distance from one another is the Trevi fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna:

The Roman Colosseum, up close and personal:

Across from the colosseum is the Roman Forum, which I would almost not recommend walking through on a blazing hot 90 degree day:

On the other side of town, a short walk from the Vatican:

Just off the main path after you cross the bridge (from the castle) is a narrow road on the left, called Via dei Coronari. It is lined with cute shops, amazing restaurants, and pretty much the best gelato I’ve ever had:

If you walk to the end of the street, continue onto Via delle Coppelle, then walk to the end of that and make a left turn, you’ll run into Giolitti, the oldest ice-cream parlor in Rome:

I wish I had taken more photos of [non-ancient] Rome, too…

Buona sera!