A Long Weekend in Rome

Last month I had a four day weekend break from school so Randy and I took an hour and a half flight to visit Rome. Not only was the flight short but it was inexpensive. Yay!!!IMG_0974


We stayed at an Airbnb in a neighborhood called Trastevere. We chose to stay in this part of Rome because we did not want to bother with a car or public transportation. We wanted to be able to walk to most of the attractions. At times, we got tired of all the walking but we were happy with our decision for the most part. Also Rick Steves described Trastevere as “the crustier side of Rome” which we found appealing. We loved staying on our quiet, charming street in our one bedroom apartment. We could even pretend to be Romans for a few days as we shopped for breakfast food groceries at a small local market.

Our first day we spent on a walking/food tour of Trastevere that we set up through Airbnb Experiences. Our tour guide lived in Trastevere and attended a church that included some catacombes. As you may or may not know, a catacomb is an underground passageway used for religious practice often as a burial place associated with the Roman Empire. The church where these catacombs are located was built in the 6th century.

The third picture shows where the bodies were buried. The size of the opening was dictated by the size of the person being buried. The fourth picture shows the ceiling of the catacombs with the markings of the pick axes that were used to dig the catacomb.

The last picture is the ichyus fish, which our guide described in the following way:

“…when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company.”


We saw these brass plaques on several sidewalks throughout Rome. They denote the name, date of birth and the date that a Jewish person was detained and sent to a concentration camp during WWII, very sad and a powerful reminder of a horrible time in our history.


Walking through Rome and seeing beautiful art everywhere.


Our next stop was the Pantheon which has been in continuous use since the 7th century as either a temple or a church. It is currently used as a church informally known as Santa Maria Rotunda. The most interesting part of the Pantheon to us was that the dome has a large hole in the top of it, see the picture above. On the floor of the Pantheon there are several smaller holes where the rainwater drains out of the church.


Wow, wow, wow is what I can say about the Trevi Fountain. This picture does not come close to showing the beauty of this fountain. Magnificent! Yes, I did do the traditional throw a coin over your shoulder to ensure a future trip back to Rome. 🙂

We climbed the 138 steps to the top of the Spanish Steps where we enjoyed a lovely sunset.


We arrived at 7:00 AM for an Early Morning Vatican Tour. We were the only ones there which changed drastically when we left later that morning and the area was full of people. Our tour was with “Through Eternity Tours” which was an excellent tour company. If you are in Rome you might want to consider using them. The tour group was small and the guide had a graduate degree in Art History. It was excellent and really helped us to understand the history of this beautiful spot.

The beauty and history of the Vatican cannot be overstated. My favorite part of visiting the Vatican was the seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and learning about the process of Michangelo painting it. We were not allowed to take pictures in the Chapel.

Randy and I climbed the 300+ steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was well worth the climb!


Look at the tiny hand painted wood carved nativity set I bought at St. Peter’s Basilica. I will love it always!


Security for the Vatican is provided by the Swiss Guard. Don’t you love their uniforms!


Our son-in-law, Ben, was in Rome for some training. We were thrilled to go out to breakfast with him on our last day in Rome.


It was common to see a military presence throughout Rome especially around popular sights like the Colosseum. The soldiers carry very big guns with them which can be a bit intimidating to see.

We visited Palentine Hill which is where Rome was founded. It is basically one large palace that lies in ruins but it does give you a good feel for life in the 1st century.


This is the Roman Forum which was the political, religious and commercial center of Rome.


As part of our tour of Palentine Hill, the Forum and the Colosseum we were given a headset so we could hear our tour guide. We thought it was very cool that Albania was exporting some miniature electronics. Yay for Albania!






Our last stop in Rome was the Colosseum. It was just as massive and impressive as all the pictures we have seen over the years have shown it to be. I did not completely understand, until this tour, that the Colosseum was pretty much exclusively built and used by gladiators, chariots and centurions. The gladiators, criminals and wild animals fought to the death in every conceivable way as up to 50,000 onlookers observed and either cheered or booed. Killing truly was a spectator sport at the time. Not sure how I would have handled all that if I was a Roman back then. I probably would have stayed home.

April, 2019

13 thoughts on “A Long Weekend in Rome

  1. I love that for a short four-day week you can and expensively fly to Rome and stay in the Airbnb. Incredible pictures. That nativity scene will be at treasure. I remember being with Tom and Georgia and going through the catacombs. Our tour guide told us this is where the persecuted church held their services in hiding . If the wrong person found you to be a Christian , you were stoned…therefore the secret underground Icthus fish. Yikes. The random artwork on the wall is beautiful. Our country is so young. Fantastic that Ben could be with you for a morning. You both look great by the way. Love you sis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah, you are such a great tour guide! Today as I enjoyed reading through it, I also realized that you will have an incredible cyber journal to re-read and enjoy in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely love every time I see a post on your blog! So glad you enjoyed Rome so much .. it’s an amazng city. What awesome travel opportunities – so happy for you, my friend! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Sarah

    I’m really enjoying reading all of your posts. What a fabulous opportunity!

    I wanted to reach out to you to see if you or anyone you work with in your school has any interest in starting a FIRST Robotics Team? They run from ages 6-18 so there’s a level for everyone. If so, my sons team would love to help out through remote mentoring. Here’s a link for the program. It’s a wonderful program! https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

    I hope you are well. Happy Easter!

    Kristi McOmber

    On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 6:40 AM Teaching in Albania wrote:

    > Sarah Williams posted: “Last month I had a four day weekend break from > school so Randy and I took an hour and a half flight to visit Rome. Not > only was the flight short but it was inexpensive. Yay!!! We stayed at an > Airbnb in a neighborhood called Trastevere. We chose to stay” >


    1. Kristi, You are so thoughtful to reach out to our school about the possibility of starting a robotics team. I forwarded the information you shared to our leadership team. I will let you know if I hear anything back from them. I enjoy seeing your kids on Facebook. They are getting so grown up! Good luck with the last few weeks of school! Sarah


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