Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Roman Holiday #2: Scooteroma Vintage Vespa Tour, Pantheon and Giolitti

 photo 1a7a4b7e-ba59-4ae0-8a7e-1beaffe2d7b3_zps4830317f.jpg

Day two of our Roman Holiday consisted of Scooteroma's 'Roamin' Holiday' Vespa tour.

This was the highlight of our entire trip.
No, scratch that. 
This was one of the best experiences of my life.

What better way to discover the Eternal City than to experience it on the back of a vintage Vespa? Jordan and I have always been a huge fan of the two-wheeled scooter so I didn't hesitate to book a surprise 4-hour tour as his birthday present.

Wanna see my makeshift Photoshop job that I printed and framed ready for him to open?

Audrey and Gregory, is dat chu?


Annie and Giovanni are the wondrous couple behind Scooteroma - whilst we didn't have the chance to meet them, there was constant communication to ensure that everything was booked and well looked after. As it's a private tour, it's completely tailored to your personal preference. We asked to be shown the hidden gems of Rome - the attractions that weren't always included in a typical tourist guidebook.

We were left in the (very) capable hands of their tour leader Michele and friend Claudio. They rolled up at precisely 9AM on a monochrome set of vintage wheels, introduced themselves, invited us to hop on, fired up their engines and away we went!

 photo vintagevespaclassicmini_zps86d6118e.jpg

Being a klutz and a magnet for embarrassment, I had visions of me tumbling onto the road wailing at the others to save me from the Roman traffic. Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened. Claudio was a great driver, made me feel completely at ease and I even managed to take a sneaky selfie whilst riding at the back. That glorious picture is a-comin' up - no shame.

Our first stop was the Colosseum as it was only a stone's throw away from our hotel.

Now, this was a complete surprise. Although I had booked a 4-hour, it didn't click that we'd actually stop off at the attractions and be talked through it all. Being a complete history and architecture buff, I loved it. 

As a born-and-bred Roman, Michele was very passionate about his city's past and his love for Rome completely shone through and just made everything even more exciting than it already was. I later found out that he was a foodie too and bugged him to mark down all the best places to eat ;)

 photo colosseum_zps6d7d8c92.jpg  photo vespatour_zps3dbe928b.jpg

Look at dat grinnin' face.

We strolled around the Roman Baths and stopped off at the Appian Way (the earliest and most important roads of Ancient Rome) before our visit to the Cimitero Acattolico, a peaceful resting ground for non-Catholics and notably English poet John Keats. 

The greenery, flowers and blossoming trees that surrounded the cemetery was truly breathtaking. This was somewhere that truly celebrated the lives that were lead rather than mourn the deaths from the past. 

 photo flowersspring_zps8332622f.jpg

Shortly afterwards, we zoomed over to Testaccio to rub elbows with the locals for an espresso and cornetti pit stop. I can only describe the neighbourhood as the equivalent of London's Shoreditch/Hackney/Brick Lane when the East was still an up-and-coming area.

There was plenty of street art, an abundance of bars and a great selection of restaurants to pick from. 

Next stop? The Aventine Hill - my favourite neighbourhood of Rome.

 photo scooteromaroamingtour_zps728935a9.jpg

(yes, I felt like Lizzie McGuire)

 photo romearchitecture_zps54015767.jpg  photo vintagefiat500_zps75efe00f.jpg

Brightly coloured apartments with a spectrum of blossoming trees lined the Aventino, it was surreal to ride along with our sunglasses on and the heat of the sun warming our skin.

If there's one place that I would recommend after you've done all the typical tourist visits, it's the Aventine Hill Keyhole. I had marked it down as a priority on my little holiday notebook and wasn't disappointed with the view that greeted me after a little sneak through the keyhole. Please also stroll over to the Garden of Oranges for towering fruit trees and an awesome view of the city!

 photo romekeyhole2_zps03d0f704.jpg  photo romekeyhole_zpsf4c7704d.jpg  photo scooteromavintagevespatour_zps298dd291.jpg

Our second to last stop at the Gianicolo Hill was a treat for ze eyes. We were greeted with an incredible panoramic view of Rome with the Eternal City laid out in all its glory. 

Oh, I miss it.

 photo romepanorama_zps533e0b09.jpg  photo vespaselfie_zpscacebac7.jpg

Said selfie.

It just had to be done, no judging.

 photo romealleyway_zps091bb414.jpg

Our tour ended with a quick vespa photo outside the Vatican before we bid our farewells at Campo De' Fiori (Field of Flowers). Michele kindly helped us order us 5 (five!) slices of pizza al taglio from the famous Forno Campo De' Fiori. Make sure to order the pizza bianca although my personal favourite was cheese and courgette! Another thing ticked off my foodie list ;)

With a tremendous food baby shared between us, we walked (it felt like we were crawling after zooming on two wheels!) over to the Piazza Navona - a busy city square filled with street performers and artists. I'd liken it to an Italian version of Covent Garden!

We snapped away at the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and came across this incredible artist. I've always wanted to witness those spray-painted paintings and was happy to take home a custom made picture of the Colosseum! : )

 photo romestreetart_zpseb13a0bd.jpg  photo piazzanavonapaintings_zps2e77e0f0.jpg  photo giolitti_zps0b89a7c3.jpg

This wouldn't be a Roman Holiday without a gelato stop ;)

I had heard really great things about Giolitti and the reviews were right - it was incredible. They also served cute little pastries and a delectable array of sweet goods. 

 photo giolottimarzipan_zpsa42b78c8.jpg  photo giolottibiscuits_zps966b61f6.jpg  photo gelatoface_zpsbe4a9589.jpg

All gone.

Jordan went for a nutella flavour and we swear to you, it tasted like pure, thick, rich nutella. It was heaven for the tastebuds.

To walk off our gelato bumps, we headed for the Pantheon - one of the oldest buildings of Rome and a temple to the Ancient Gods. It's also known for the circular opening in the domed ceiling and it's well worth a visit for the architecture alone!

 photo pantheon_zps2f35216e.jpg  photo pantheonrome_zps52b65c23.jpg  photo santamaria_zps03fc0db2.jpg

More walking!

We decided to put our two-day Colosseum ticket to good use by exploring the Roman Forums and Palatine Hills.

 photo drummeroutsidecolosseum_zps387c2c8c.jpg  photo palatinehills_zps09a2a407.jpg  photo houseofaugustus_zps193053f2.jpg  photo ukstyleblogger_zps896daf6f.jpg  photo britishfashionblogger_zpse6a59d95.jpg  photo romanforum_zpsdad18c8b.jpg  photo drinkingfromromanfountain_zps931e6825.jpg

Jordan doing a grand job of drinking from the fountains Roman style.

It must have wetted his appetite as after a quick rest at the hotel, it was time for dinner.

Carbs, we're ready for you.

 photo jordan_zps8917de3c.jpg  photo classiclasagne_zps3f631b80.jpg  photo lacarbonararoma_zps84d4c58d.jpg

I went for the classic lasagne and Jordan chose Rome's national pasta dish: la carbonara.

My stomach is rumbling at the sight of them.

It was the best lasagne that I've ever had. The flavours all blended together beautifully and I made a few awkward noises that often escape when I'm having good food. Jordan's was amazing too as he was hesitant to offer me any extra bites of his dish.

You'd think after some bread, pasta and even more wine, we'd call it a day.

Nope.

There's always room for dessert.

 photo DSC01619_zpsb479c306.jpg  photo DSC01633_zpscf266941.jpg

Ending our second day in Rome with a trip to the Trevi Fountain armed with our second helping of San Crispino gelato at night was a verrrrry good idea.

We threw in our coins and wished to come back to Rome again very soon.

A man also offered to take a Polaroid picture of us by the fountain and it's now my favourite photo of all time - of ALL TIME. I smiled from ear to ear during our walk back to the hotel - luckily, I didn't walk into too many lamp posts as my eyes were just on this the whole time.

I'm falling more and more in love with Rome... and its food.

Day three comin' up!

In the mean time, have a look at our Roman Holiday in video form : )


Ciao!

3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, this all looks AMAZING! And the courgette & cheese pizza? Hello!

    Such a fun post :) looks like you had the best time xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is all so amazing! You're filling me with wanderlust!
    I've had lasagne in Rome before and it was served to me by the chef in his big hat and everything haha! It was the most amazing lasagne I've ever had! I've not had lasagne like it since. Oh and the ice cream over there... to. die. for. Nothing like that here in Ireland! Or anywhere else I'm sure!
    I'm just loving your posts and videos so much!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love all of your photos. Can I ask what camera and lenses do you use?

    ReplyDelete

 photo yt.jpg  photo ins_1.jpg  photo tw_1.jpg  photo fb_1.jpg  photo bl_1.jpg