Our European Trip: All Roads Lead To Rome (Day 2)

After grabbing a decadent cup of hot chocolate and drying off at Caffè Vaticano, we jumped back on the train and made our way towards Fontana di Trevi (The Trevi Fountain). As we exited the train at Barberini Station, we realized we were completely turned around (even though the name of the station said Fontana di Trevi, we didn’t know which way to walk to get there). It was at that moment an elderly Italian woman approached us and said “Fontana di Trevi?” We nodded and said yes (I guess we looked like very lost tourists). She then said several words in Italian with accompanying hand gestures. Thank God she included the hand gestures, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have known that she said something along the lines of “Exit the station, make a left, walk 5 blocks, make a left and the fountain’s on your right. You can’t miss it!” It was at that moment I realized Italian & Spanish are not similar languages!

As I attempted to confirm the directions & thanked her for taking the time with us (I assume she sees tourist like us on a daily basis), she then looked up and down at a rain soaked Joel and started yelling at him. Even though we don’t speak Italian, I could tell (from more hand gestures) that she was scolding him for not having an umbrella or wearing a hood. It was at that moment I said “He didn’t bring a hood or umbrella on the trip”, to which she did a face palm & continued on her way, still mumbling at Joel. We have lovingly dubbed her “our Italian grandmother”.

Once we exited the station, we followed her directions and they led us directly to the area of town where the Trevi Fountain is located. Unfortunately, it started raining again, but fortunately, we were able to grab some of the best gelato & cannolis in Rome at Don Nino! This tiny pasticceria & gelateria (Italian pastry & gelato shop) was quaint, clean and has a delicious variety! Joel & I don’t have huge sweet tooths (especially with the hot chocolate we had earlier), but we left Don Nino with 2 orders of gelato & cannolis each! We actually went back after visiting the fountain.

The location of Don Nino was also super convenient as – once the rain lifted – the walk to the Trevi Fountain took less than 2 minutes. However, since we were unfamiliar with the area, we didn’t see that the fountain was DIRECTLY behind us; we actually had to ask 2 police officers where it was. You may be asking “How can you two overlook a world-famous landmark?” and the answer is simple: it was covered in scaffolding! Yes, the fountain was undergoing a 17 month, $2.4 million renovation at the time and wouldn’t “reopen” until November of that year (2015). However, a small basin was provided to throw in coins (which – according to legend – ensures a return to the city for visitors) and we made sure to take part in the tradition.

After we finished throwing our coins in the fountain (and eating our cannolis), we attempted to find the Spanish Steps; but we soon realized it was a 10 minute walk away and it was still raining intermittently. So instead, we decided to add the Spanish Steps to our list for our next trip to Rome and started making our way to dinner.

Along the way, we found a cool souvenir shop that sold all of our nerdy desires: Michael Jackson, Gremlins, The Walking Dead, Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, Super Mario Brothers, Magic The Gathering, Settlers of Catan and more… all in Italian! If we had more expendable funds, we would have bought it all! We then grabbed a quick bite of sushi at the restaurant next door, and made our way towards dinner at Osteria Angelino dal 1899.

Prior to our trip to Rome, I told Joel I wanted to have a romantic dinner either on the ocean or in the shadow of the Colosseum before we left Italy and he simply said with a wink “I’ll take care of it”… and boy, did he! After leaving the Trevi Fountain, we made our way across the street from the Colosseum for an intimate, romantic dinner at Osteria Angelino dal 1899. The meal was phenomenal and the service was amazing! Even though only one member of the staff spoke broken English, our orders were perfect and they were super attentive. Honestly, if you are EVER in Rome, you will love this restaurant! The menu changes every day, so no visit will be the same.

Following our mouth-watering dinner, we made our way back to the train (we didn’t want to walk in the rain anymore) to grab some sleep before our flight the next morning. However, while on the train, a VERY drunk local boarded and started a fight with another passenger! His friend tried to hold him back, but a broken umbrella and cracked window later, he finally exited the train… at our station! Joel slowly leaned over to me as we exited and said “If he tries to attack us, I want you to run and I’ll throw him on the tracks to make a get away.” Luckily, it didn’t come to that, but we were ready just in case. It was definitely an interesting way to end our trip!

After briskly walking (running?) back to our hotel, we got ready for bed, watched some confusing Italian television (one was a picture of a crucifix with a voice-over of bible verses in Italian while another was an American Idol-style show filmed in a restaurant lounge) and prepared to bring our European vacation to a close.

Why was Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) on the ad for this restaurant?

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