I am no stranger to Italy it is an amazing place with lots to see and even much more to explore. I once visited the beautiful city of Florence the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region on a school trip back in 2007.
Even back then I wrote a vivid travel diary about my time in Florence and I was only 15. I randomly stumbled across it a few years ago and let’s just say reading it to myself as an adult was ridiculously awkward. The kind of awkwardness you feel reading your Facebook statuses from 2009, lol.
Looking back my time in Florence was enjoyable as I did so many great things. I climbed the Leaning Tower of paisa all the way to the top and even ventured out on a mini day trip to Rome. Where I got the chance to toss coins into Trevi Fountain and make a wish. I can’t recall what I wished for, but I do remember making a bold promise to return to the city and as the saying goes “so said, so done.”
The opportunity to retrace my steps was presented to me by my cousin, who wanted to celebrate her upcoming graduation, my girl got herself a Masters degree (yasss Girl). I accepted the invitation to return to Italy after 11 years and this is how it all went down.
Destination: Rome for 5 days
Travel Partner: The Lovely_Tiff♥
Mission: To sight see,fine dine,make memories & SLAY
British Airways had the pleasure of flying us to Rome from London Heathrow Airport. As we were booked on a midday flight, we had a chance to grab some pre-flight breakfast. BA is a ‘Boujee’ airline that feeds their passengers on both short & long haul flights. As good as this sounded, I never take such risks with plane food.
I always eat before I fly just in case the food doesn’t tickle my fancy. Being as this was my first flight of 2018, I felt hella presidential paying £8.95 for my vegan breakfast (I am not a real Vegan, so please don’t judge me lol).
The flight was 2 hours 30 mins long and it was easy like a Sunday morning. We kept ourselves entertained with a Netflix film (The man in 3B) and slept for the duration of the flight. We arrived at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in no time and I must say it is one of the nicest airports that I have been to.
The airport was super clean, modern and easy to navigate through. In saying that though the weirdest thing happened to me in the airport on our way out to grab a taxi. For the FIRST time in my life, I was stopped by airport security and it is safe to say that your girl was shooketh.
The only words that I can say in Italian are Ciao bella so I wasn’t too keen on getting detained before even stepping out the airport. I frantically started showing them my passport and it was obvious that I wasn’t fluent in Italian, so they let me go with no further questions, whew. We slid right up out of there just in case they changed their minds and made our way to the hotel.
After a multitude of drop offs we finally arrived and was able to check in to our new home for the next 5 days. The building hotel is a Chic 4 star establishment located in the central part of Rome in Via Montebello. Fully equipped with all the essential travel amenities:
- Welcome drinks
- 24 hour Gym
- Spa facilities
- Breakfast package
- Pay as you go restaurant access
- Easy travel links
I must say that the hotel was intact and filled with well-mannered attentive staff, who were willing to be our on sight camera crew. There were a few annoying things that we didn’t enjoy, but with the good always comes the bad.
For example, the poor lighting in our room had us struggling to beat our faces. The limited supply of toilet tissue and bath towels required us to call reception daily just to request a re-up*Side-eye*. In saying that though, they were minor issues that didn’t overshadow our hotel experience. I give this hotel is a strong 7 out of 10.
Check us two out below looking all Christmas gift wrapped.
Time to hit these Rome streets
On our first full day in the city there was no time to waste, so we grabbed a map and headed out to do some sightseeing. The first stop was the Colosseum as it was the closest to the hotel. The trains in Rome run on a smooth operation, nothing like the shenanigans that I see back home in London.
We headed down to the local train station Termini and I must say the station is humongous and is filled with great retail and food shops, similar to Grand Central in New York or Kings Cross in London.
There were some things significantly noticeable and not so easy to ignore at Termini station. It was the large groups of black males trying to sell us things. Men young and old, from the shores of Senegal right through to Nigeria. Many have their own reasons for coming but for the majority, it simple was the chance of having a better life.
I admired their determination so I couldn’t knock their hustle or turn up my nose when they called out to us. We were approached many times and some even had the courage to strike up witty conversations. Often referring to us as “my sisters” and even though we didn’t buy anything from them, they were so kind enough to gift us with handmade bracelets. Those small acts of kindness were a gentle reminder to me that I must strive to do good by others without expecting anything in return.
When travelling I try my best to blend in with the locals but somehow I always end up sticking out like a sore thumb. I get noticed a lot and especially by tour guides it is as if they can smell my blood in the distance.
Within seconds of being in view Tiff and I were approached by and had all sorts of offers being thrown our way but we didn’t cave in. The bottom line is this, tour guides have one job and one job only and that is to finesse you by any means necessary so stay woke.
We arrived at the Colosseum, in no less than 15 minutes, the atmosphere was electrifying and the streets were filled with people. From buzzing tourist trying to capture the best pictures or the local street vendors trying to haggle chargers for 25 euros that I secured for only 5 lol.
I truly felt the buzz of the people and became overwhelmed with excitement. Only to then realize that the Colosseum was closed to visitors for the day. To think that we got dressed up, told everyone on Snap-chat only to arrive and find out it was closed after 3.30pm.
Two very important lessons were learned that day, always do research about a place before you go and never speak on things prematurely. At this point all we could do was laugh and of course take a few pictures just in case we didn’t come back before the end of our trip.
Since the Colosseum was closed, we weren’t going to let the day or our outfits go to waste. So we flagged down an open people carrier, jumped in and got strolled all the way down to Trevi Fountain. Riding through the town had us feeling like the women from The Real housewives of Atlanta when they take a girls trip during the season.
I felt like we were filming scenes for our own reality TV show. Tiff and I honestly couldn’t stop grinning the entire time. The ride through the town gave us the chance to really admire the great architecture of the city, untouched and authentic in every way, shape and form.
Look at us two below Doing it for the culture.
Trevi Fountain gave me heavy nostalgic vibes and I couldn’t contain my attitude of gratitude. In the 11 year gap since my first visit so much had taken in place in my life. Despite everything that I have been through, I knew right there and then in that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be.
So for that reason Trevi fountain will always be a special place to me. If you ever get a chance to check it out, go early in the morning to avoid hundreds of people trying to snap pictures. Just so you know it is free to visit at any time and the surrounding area have some great shops where you can purchase lots of authentic Italian goods.
This is what we served up on our second night in the city. Be sure to stay tuned and look out for #JennasWorldView’s Travel glam look book.
As we were running on limited time we had to keep the ball rolling to ensure we did all of the things, that we set out to do. We set out early on Sunday, purchased a travel ticket (7 euros only) and headed straight to Vatican City. The day was beautiful and as the sun shined in the sky you could feel the peace of a Sunday morning, lingering through the streets.
I ran into some of the Gal-dem on the square and had time to pose for a quick pic. Check out my girls serving major looks, I couldn’t keep up lol.
We had to choose between visitingSistine chapel or hearing the pope speak. With only 5 minutes to get inside the square we rushed to queue up. The pope was scheduled to recite the Angelus prayerat 12pm overlooking a beaming crowd of visitors and this moment just couldn’t miss us.
Once granted access, we sprinted out into the square, eager to get an unobstructed view. When I finally heard the voice of the pope, I lifted my head in total amazement. The uproar of the crowd echoed in my ears and all I could do was saturate myself in the atmosphere to fully take it all in.
The WOW factor didn’t stop there, as soon as we stepped foot into St Peters Basilica church it was safe to say that our edges got snatched, AGAIN. Being one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site, it was nothing short of amazing.
I can only commend the creativity of the genius’s behind the masterpieces that stood before my eyes. I was truly blown away and my excitement nearly got me kicked out, because I was going to extreme lengths to take pictures.
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Vatican city was better than we expected and it was FREE so what better way to celebrate then to break out into praise and worship, African style.
Look out for the cameo appearance at 41 seconds 🙂
We gave the Colosseum another spin, after Vatican City. This time around though it was a success that only cost us 12 euros for entry without a tour guide. We used the internet and had our own history lesson, thank God for Wikipedia lol. I even snapped a decent panoramic picture using my iPhone 7Plus
The transition from our day to night looks was everything and more. Take a quick peak at our evening wear from the penultimate evening of our trip.
Can you believe we only used the spa facilities on the day before we went home and yes we payed extra for it *sigh*. I love the Spa as I find that my spirit is so receptive to the calm atmosphere. There is always a sense of peace that is soothing and it is safe to say I love that.
It is really a bad habit of mine to book hotels with spa facilities. I am such a sucker for luxury and these types of hotels are far from cheap lol. I truly wish that we could have spent more time at the spa but time was of the essence.
We didn’t plan to shop in Rome we just accidentally ended up shopping, lol. If you ever plan to shop on holiday, you have to ensure that your coins are right. If you’re a sucker for a good bargain like me, you will never let a good deal pass you buy. We grabbed some exclusive pieces and of course some good ole key rings for family and friends. Ask yourself this, if you don’t buy key rings or fridge magnets on holiday did you really go on holiday? lol
Our trip was drawing to a close when it suddenly hit us that we haven’t even tried any authentic Italian dishes. In saying that Tiff and I mutually agreed it would be outrageous to come all the way to Rome and not taste a real Italian Lasagne.
Please believe I asked for garlic bread to accompany our Lasagne and the waitress at Caffe Pasticceria U. Giuliani looked at us as if we were crazy, LOL. I don’t exactly know where the garlic bread combination came from, but the Italians don’t get down like that.
I thoroughly enjoyed it but did feel like it needed a touch of scotch bonnet pepper and additional seasonings. I guess you just can’t take the Caribbean out of me lol. I do now have an even higher level of respect for the way other cultures prepare their food. You can learn how to cook dishes from other countries, but no one can slay that dish like the people it originated from.
Our love for Italian food didn’t stop there because we were on a quest to fine dine. With our heels on, elaborate dresses and no dinner reservation we made our way to the exquisiteHosteria La Stazione.
We were welcomed into the restaurant with a smile by the owner who offered to give us full access to dine privately. With no negations or prior words exchanged he gifted us with an act of kindness at no extra cost. Inside the décor was chic, moderately lighted, with bottles of vintage wines placed perfectly in the surrounding cabinets. It looked like a romantic scene in a movie, but in the reality there was not one Bae in sight, just the lovely Tiff and I. Our food was definitely 10 out of 10, from the starter’s right back down to the serving of our drinks.
Gelateria La Romana, was an unexpected gem that we randomly came across thanks to the help of google maps on our first night. It is a fresh ice cream and dessert place that will have regular dessert places back home in London looking like a Novice. I have never encountered such sweet flavors in all my days and by this point our edges were holding on by mere strands.
You other ice cream and dessert places whats good?
The Last Lap
#Travel Tip: On the last night of your trip, it is your duty to go out with a bang. You must put on your best and bring forth your SLAY.
Here at #JennasWorldView we call that closing the show: the Last Lap.
For our last night in Rome we spent our evening at the popular European hotel chain the NH Collection Roma. The dining experience was 10 out of 10 but our outfits were the most important component of the night.
The lead up to our final dinner required efficient team work and of course strategic preparation. Everything was done according to precision, right down to the amount of highlight we applied to ensure that our faces stayed popping.
It was a long gown affair because we aimed to showcase elegance, class & sophistication. Red was our theme colour as it is bold and it spoke on our behalf without needing any introductions. Of course to seal the night we did what we do best and thats take some bomb ass pictures, lol.
Please believe that we hijacked the piano bar at our hotel and conducted a mini photo shoot courtesy of the hotel staff. Not to mention the live performance with the pianist to accompany our live show.
and tonight Ladies & gentleman Jenna & Tiff will close the show. Lights, camera, action!
Our trip to Rome ended on a high, we laughed, we smiled, we explored and we came through with the SLAY. We managed to do so many things in Rome without spending lots of money.
This trip has set the tone for my travel trips that are yet to come in 2018. I am more than ready to embark on my next travel adventures and of course I look forward to sharing them with you here are @JennasWorldView.
Who knows I might get a chance to return to Rome in the near future. You know what they say, the third time is always a charm.
Thank you ever so much for reading my FIRST ever blog post, I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
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Lots of Love