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10 awesome days in Rome and Florence! Part 1

We left LAX for Rome on May 24th. We had a direct flight with Norwegian airlines. Arrived at airport at noon for 3:30 takeoff. Check in was easy with our checked bags weighing the exact amount because we bought a luggage scale. Landed at 12:10PM Rome time. After leaving plane, tram to customs/baggage claim. Very confusing. Make sure if you have a USA passport that you get in the electronic line for customs! We had our hotel arrange a taxi to pick us up on arrival. He was waiting with a sign for us along with 100's of other drivers. Seemed worth it to have someone waiting for you! We were in the taxi by 1:15 and arrived at Hotel Smeraldo at 2:00. Very nice hotel and area. Checked into room, took a power nap, and then headed across the street to Antico Forno Riscoli bakery for some pizza and wine. Then we attempted the Heart of Rome Walk. Had trouble finding the starting point for the walk. Made our way to the Trevi fountain, had some gelato, and ended up at Campo De Fiori for our 7PM dinner reservation. It was a nice area on a side street. The Cacio e Pepe was good. After dinner we returned back to our hotel and went up to the rooftop bar. Had a drink and snacks along with a plate of Italian cookies. Fun vibe and a nice hangout area. Great first day! Day 2 we woke up at 8:45AM and had a great breakfast at our hotel. Left hotel at 11 to the Victor Emanuel Monument. We paid to take elevator up to the top for the lookout. Great 360 view of the city. Started to rain. Took a taxi to the Borghese gallery which before entering we were told was 35 euros. Later we realized that was a rip off. Had advanced tickets for a 1-3 tour. Then we took a taxi to Appian Way to see the catacombs. 45 minutes tour and then bought a bus ticket in bookshop for return trip. Followed other people to the bus stop. Took bus back to town but we weren't sure where to get off. Just made a guess. Walked across to Trastevere. Enjoyed an Apertivo at Pimm's Good. $8 each to enjoy a Borchetta platter and two drinks. We also shared a lasagna. Fun and busy place. Nice hangout place for a light meal. I know, interesting first day but our kids are showing up on Day 3 and we have a tour of Rome scheduled for Day 4 so we tried to find other things to explore that are not covered on the tour! It was fun and such a variety of things! Day 3 - still catching up on our sleep! Slept in till 8, breakfast at hotel. Checked out but stored luggage at hotel and then walked to the Roman Forum. Enjoyed exploring the Forum until 1:30. We had rain off and on. Walked back to the hotel and took a Taxi to the next hotel, Hotel Modigliani. Our kids arrived 5 minutes after us. We checked into our rooms. We had an awesome room on the 6th floor with a balcony! Lovely hotel and room but I preferred the location of the first hotel! Tonight we had reservations at Ai Tre Scalini. We were seated at the front table in the window. Seemed like the reserved table. Really good meat and cheese platter for the table, lasagna, ravioli. 85 euros for dinner for 4. Smaller menu and great service. Make reservations! After dinner we had Gelato and walked to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Day 5 another great breakfast at hotel and then took a taxi to the meeting place for our Walks of Italy Rome in a Day Tour. Started off at the coliseum at 8:45 until 9:45. Then walked to the Trevi Fountain. Then to the Pantheon. Took a bus at 12:10 to the Vatican area. Lunch break until 1:30. Then we toured the Vatican. Museum first then Sistine chapel where we had 20 minutes inside. The tour ended at St. Peter's Basilica. Then we did the Cupola climb for 10 euros each. Elevator up and then 250 stairs to climb. View was awesome. Climb took effort but fun experience. Went to Vatican post office at exit and mailed some post cards. Took Taxi to La Carbonara Osteria Con Cucina Dal 1906. Taxi ride was 16 euros for the 4 of us. Delicious! Off to Florence for the rest of the trip! Part 2 coming up!

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My daughter is 25 and her husband 27. They were invited to a wedding in Italy. They invited us to enjoy the vacation with them. That’s how we ended up in Italy ☺️