Rome is filled wth great pizzia, pasta, history and sights


The Trevi Fountain in Rome where wishes can be made.

ROME — The one flaw in my family’s winter break trip here was we didn’t get any sleep before the plane ride. And the plane was terrible. We got no sleep on the eight hour flight. We left at 5 am and arrived at 7 pm in Rome (1 pm in New York).

The first day we got to the hotel and slept from 8 am to noon. After lunch, we took a Sightseeing Rome bus tour. We saw almost everything, though we didn’t go inside any of the places. We did get to see the Trevi Fountain. Of course, we didn’t go inside that. Legend is that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain, your wish will come true. So, like everyone else, I made a wish.

If you go to Rome, most of the food is very good. The first day for lunch I went to Leonardo’s, where the pizza was very good and the coffee was the best we had the whole trip. For sandwiches, try La Zazonne. They were big but good. For another lunch, go to La Numachia or La Pollarola. La Numachia’s bucatini was amazing — some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. Pollorola had good bucatini too. If you’re there don’t have the pasta with cheese because it’s way too cheesy.

Pizza and pasta you can find anywhere in Rome. I recommend Taverna Dei Fori Imperiali and La Bucca de Rapetta for dinner. At Bucca, the food is good but don’t have them change the order of the way the food is brought out. At Imperiali, the front is unassuming in a way and the garlic bread is very oily. If you have it, cool down your mouth with normal bread. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about breakfast, because we had it at my hotel. For more on Roman food buy the app Rome for Foodies on your tablet or mobile phone.

On the second day, we met up with our guide, Katie Parla (creator of the Rome for Foodies app), at a church built in the 1200s. It has a great apse and two other churches beneath it. The second church was built sometime from the late 4th century to the early 5th century. The third was small and partly a warehouse. I would have taken pictures but I wasn’t allowed. It is easy to get lost and I am happy I had a guide. We also saw the Colosseum, the Forum and Palintine Hill. We found a cannoli shop (I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza) when we were actually looking for gelato. Leave the gelato and take the cannoli. Or both. Gelato tastes good.  I love connolis.

Later that day, we saw the Pantheon. It rained that day so they had to rope off part of the floor. On the third day, we had a new guide. Agnes Crawford. Agnes took us to the Vatican. It was amazing! I absolutely respect Michelangelo. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was so cool. The wall of it was disturbing, though. St. Peter’s Basilica was one of greatest things I’ve ever seen. I even got to watch some cardinals leading mass.

Shopping in a European country is always fun. I can’t tell you how many times my mom, my dad and my sister stopped in shoe stores and slowed us down. I liked the Ferrari shop, but I don’t think anything there is under €30 ($40). My sister bought two pairs of shoes (at Carlo Cecchini and at Barrila Boutique), while my mom got three (two at Barrila Boutique and one at Calzature). Then my dad bought two (at Sanna and at Calzature). There are tourist shops everywhere, but some of the shirts aren’t that appropriate. Not only in tourist shops; you have to be careful.

There are also stands everywhere, especially in Piazza Navona. I got a hat that I really like from a stand. Everywhere there are street vendors offering everything from sunglasses to laser pointers that reach 50 feet away. These vendors also sell purses, small things that look like pigs, and when you throw them to the ground, they come back up, as well as cooked walnuts and iPhone covers. At least that is most of what I saw.

We stayed with Agnes for two more days. The second day with her we saw the Christian and Pagan catacombs. I would have taken pictures but I wasn’t allowed. These are tunnels underground where dead people were left. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any bones because some school boys in other tours had picked them up. We also walked down an ancient road, the Appian Way, from the time of Caesar Augustus (Avgvstvs in Latin). The fifth day of our trip, our  third with Agnes, we met up at the Capitoline Hill and stayed there for a day. Everything was really cool. Lots of statues. There were two statues of Emperor Constantine that were probably around 10 times my size, and I’m around four-foot-eleven. There was also a Hall of Emperors, which I liked. I named a lot correctly, thought I did get mixed up with Claudius and Nero (Nero was Claudius’s son). Also that day we went to the top of Altare della Patria. The view was so awesome. Before that but after the Hall of Emperors, we said bye to Agnes.

History Lesson No. 1: Julius Caesar was killed by his friend, Brutus. In his will. he said he would adopt his grand-nephew, Caesar Augustus, who became the first emperor. Julius Caesar’s cremated ashes are lost to everyone. No one knows where they are. But it’s rumoured they are at the top of the obelisk in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

History Lesson No. 2: The story is that Romulus and Remus, who were twins, were sons of war god Mars and were abandoned to be raised by a she-wolf. A farmer found them and then raised them as his own. Romulus killed Remus and went on to found Rome. But is that true? Many archaeologists believe not. That’s because there is no proof and Rome started keeping track of its history in the fourth century (BCE or BC). What do you think? “It’s a question of faith,” Agnes said.

The next day we went to the Borghese Museum. The Borgheses were a very important family in Rome during the Renaissance. They even had someone in their family become pope, Paul III. Someone from the family also became a cardinal, Scipio Borghese. There were a lot of statues and paintings in the museum, and most of them were R-rated. After room nine, my arm fell asleep and my legs started hurting. From then to lunch, our day went a little bit haywire. After that though, we went to see Emperor Hadrian’s tomb. It was so big.

The Castel Sant’Angelo was used as a place for the Pope to hide during attacks. We didn’t see it, but there’s a tunnel going all the way from Sant’Angelo to St. Peter’s. We woke up early the next morning. It was time to go home. I finished packing the things I didn’t pack the night before and got ready to go to the airport. I was tired, really tired. I was tired of the idea that it would be a 10-hour plane ride. But I did get to meet a new friend. His name is Gaicomo Eisler. He is fluent in Italian and was flying by himself. He is thirteen.

I loved Rome. It held some of the best memories of my life. Good times, bad times. I hope to come back, but as much as I loved Rome, I love being home too. But the food in Rome is a bit better.