September 8 – 10, 2012

We only had a couple days before our good friends Lauren and Dave were arriving for a trip to Greece, so we decided to squeeze the beautiful and historical city of Rome into a 2-day sightseeing bonanza!

We were staying in a little apartment right next to Vatican City. Just outside our place was the Vatican wall (presumably there to keep the heathens out). St. Peter's Basilica was peering out at us.

To prepare ourselves for our visit to Rome and Vatican City we decided to brush up on some Roman history... by watching Angles and Demons! Not only is this an entertaining movie, but it is filled with all kinds of interesting and historical tidbits. Here we are discovering one of the markers on the "Path of Illumination" from the movie.

Vatican city is still protected by the Swiss Guard in their traditional (and very colourful) uniforms. It's pretty hard to look intimidating in an outfit like that!

After wandering around inside Vatican City and gawking at Saint Peter's Basilica and the other ornate architecture, statues and fountains within, we ventured back outside the walls to check out some nighttime action. Looking back towards Vatican City we happened to snap a photo of the Basilica just as the street lights came on at dusk - and were blown away by how magnificent this building really is!

The next day we braved the heat and one of the most crowded metro's we've ever been on to check out more of the sights that Rome has to offer. We started with one of the most iconic sights of all - the Colosseum!

We wandered our way from the Colosseum through the ruins of Palantine Hill and Ancient Rome. Walking down the street can you see ruins on one side, beautifully architected buildings on the other, and monuments and statues further on.... making Rome a very impressive city!

We checked out the Vittorio Emanuele Monument - an enormous marble structure featuring stairways, columns, fountains and statues. But don't you dare think about taking a rest and sitting on the stairs - you will be whistled at repeatedly and loudly by the stair guard!

No visit to Rome would be complete without seeing the Pantheon, the only ancient Roman building that still remains intact. It is considered an architectural wonder of the world because of it's massive hemispherical dome which was, until the 20th century, the largest pile of concrete ever constructed. Seriously, how did they do it!?

It looks even cooler from the inside!

We spent the rest of the day checking out more of the city sights like the Trevi Fountain and capped off our day with some delicious Italian gelato. One problem... there's too many choices!!

The Roman sights were truly amazing and we were able to cram a lot into only 2 days.  But we weren’t too sad to leave because the next stop was Athens where we were going to get to see more incredible ancient ruins, as well as our much missed friends Lauren and Dave!

Check out the rest of the photos here!