Italy is one of those places that you can truly feel the history coursing through the ground as soon as you step foot on it. For the longest time I wanted to go to Italy, more so Sicily but I’ll get there soon, but I never had the money, time, or courage. I spent all of my youth in the city, never traveling anywhere besides Pennsylvania, the Philippines with my family, and once to Mexico. Having never left NYC without a family member, it was only after dating my boyfriend for several years that I decided that that year for his birthday gift (and somewhat of a gift for myself) we would go to ITALIA 🇮🇹. But, this all had to be done on a budget. I had worked the whole year saving up whatever I could and everyone kept telling me that the kind of trip I wanted would cost me thousands of dollars. Now this wasn’t necessarily cheap but I will explain why I consider this affordable.
So, for $2K I got us a flight and hotel to Rome, which I think was an absolute score because I got to see a LOT of Italy, in a short amount of time, for a few hundred more bucks. In comparison to the questionable groupons, the tours that seemed to not fit my personality, and the extremely expensive Italy packages and cruises, I consider my Italy Itinerary and Vacation to have been perfectly affordable and suited for the type of people E and I are. (Not to mention how much money some other vacations have cost me!) Now, is this to say that it is affordable or suitable for everyone? Of course not. Everyone’s got their own options and there are cheaper hotels and cheaper flights you can select, this is just what worked for us and I am hoping this will give you some ideas or inspiration to take the trip you always wanted.
Upon landing in Italy, it was already mid-day and we were pretty jet-lagged so we decided to spend the evening walking around Rome. Our hotel was only a few blocks from the Colosseum so we headed in that direction to see what we could find. We found beautiful sculptures, quaint roads, this gorgeous little passageway, and we passed a beautiful building and castle that was not on our original itinerary but we decided to add it on anyway. We then stopped by this adorable decorated restaurant and had an incredible dinner then returned back to our hotel for a few glasses of wine.
On day two, we put our cozy shoes because it was Rome Exploration day with our good friend Google Maps. We left our hotel and walked towards the “Altare della Patria” (Altar of the Fatherland) and soaked in this majestic beauty not even fully understanding what it was or even how we got there. It didn’t even matter because it was beautiful, historic, and FREE. We then walked over to the Fontana di Trevi ( queue Arrivederci Roma song) and made a wish. It was way too packed for my liking, so we did not spend much time there but instead kept walking towards the Pantheon. The Pantheon is everything you read about and then some. I wish I could explain the grandeur feeling you get as you pass through those humongous doors.
From there, google maps guided us to Piazza Navona, which on the way we made a stop at the Campo de Fiori. Campo de Fiori is an outdoor market and it is PHENOMENAL. Think Chelsea Market or Quincy Market-but smaller and italian style. While they may not have all the variety of options like proteins and what not, they make up for in abundance with spices and fruits. I have never, ever, had a lemon as big and as sweet as the lemon I bought from Campo de Fiori. Once we got to the Piazza Navona, I was extremely pleased because in this Piazza there were four phenomenal fountains with 3/4 less tourist crowding them. We were able to sit down and have a gelato by one of the statues and I found it to be really heart warming. We sat there and looked around at the Piazza and all the people in awe of this place as we all were just absorbing the culture.
Once we got up we began roaming again, this time just free-balling it and not referring to Ms. Google at all and we ended up at a castle, which in hindsight is a pretty popular tourist spot and we just stumbled upon it. We paid a small entry fee of 15 Euros each and we were roaming around this astonishing castle with views that were breathtaking. As we walked back to our hotel we found an adorable little sandwich spot and we grabbed a quick bite before we turned in for the next fully jam packed day
This is all on the very first full day we spent in Italy. I had a full itinerary to get as much of Italy (not just Rome, although I could probably spend a happy lifetime there) as I could in the eight non-traveling days we had there. I feel like this blog has gone a bit longer than anticipated because I am an excessive rambler so I will be sweet and end it here and if you want to continue reading about the rest of the trip follow along and CLICK ME.