Day one of my three day journey began in the heart of Rome. Landing early in the morning, I hit the ground running and made my way from the Leonardo DaVinci Airport all the way to the city center - roughly 30 minutes from the airport by bus. The shuttle bus transportation isn't a bad option if you are on a budget.
After checking into the hotel where I was staying, I set off to see as much as my legs and back would allow. Prior to leaving for Rome, I had mapped out and planned my route. However, once I was there I found myself wandering through the old city streets, mesmerized by the history and beauty that covered every inch of this place. Thanks to Google Maps, it's a lot easier to let yourself just "get lost" and explore.
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Piazza Navona was my first stop. Here I made my way over to one of the many cafes where waiters are waving you in to enjoy an overpriced meal (for Italy). I succumbed to the tourist bait and sat for a coffee while looking out over the piazza. I've had better coffees for cheaper, but it was worth it for the atmosphere alone.
Once I had a jolt of caffeine in my system, I carried on winding my way to the Fontana di Trevi which was filled with people trying to get photos of this beautiful landmark as well as, of course, a selfie with it. After a brief pause here to admire the overwhelming amount of people I made my way over to the Pantheon - also crawling with people - and then down to Il Vittoriano where I checked out the Botero exhibition that happened to be taking place during my trip.
My final stop was to the Trastevere neighborhood. If you are going to Rome, Trastevere is a place you should definitely plan to explore. Restaurants and cafes line the narrow streets of this quintessential Italian neighborhood. Here you will find the outdoor patios filled with people eating and drinking, as well as some of the locals passing the time with card games and small talk. Although still a tourist filled location, it had a bit more of a local feel to it. A perfect last stop before slowly making my way back to the hotel to rest my aching legs, feet and back. Walking around with a heavy camera is no small feat.
One thing to note is that if you decide to go in the summer, you will be one of a million others winding through the narrow alleyways, and trying to get photos of the many sites. Low season might be something to consider if crowds aren't your thing.
Since the goal of my trip was to capture photos (ones that did not include herds of tourists), I opted to scout and discover as much as I could throughout that first main day, and then to wake up early the next day to get the images I wanted - people free and with beautiful morning light.
Being a morning person, after coffee has been fully consumed of course, waking up early to get the best of the morning light is always a treat for me. There is something very peaceful about the stillness and quiet of the city, just before people start making their way to work or to their local cafe. In Rome, the smell of freshly baked bread and pastries filtered through the air as I captured it's beauty bathed in the soft morning glow. It was a perfect ending to my stay in the city center, taking away some incredible images.
A day in Rome is not enough to see all it has to offer. I left wanting more, and with a strong desire return to the Eternal City.