It was late afternoon when we first arrived in Rome. The setting sun made us hesitant to explore an unfamiliar city after nightfall, but the excitement of being on our honeymoon ensued, leading us to take a taxi from our hotel, the Rome Cavalieri, into the ancient city. Walking the dimly lit streets reminded me of how much I love exploring cities at night. The buildings and piazzas take on an entirely new look as the glow from the warm light of the street lamps illuminate the cobblestone.
The first time I visited Rome in 2007, I can say it wasn’t my favorite European experience. I didn’t find a noticeable sense of a food culture, the city wasn’t the cleanest (or the safest), and the bumper-to-bumper traffic certainly didn’t add to my Italian experience. But this time was already proving to be different.
Seeing the sites
This was the first time I had taken the tour through the Vatican Museum and the first time seeing the Sistine Chapel, so this experience was a highlight of my time in Rome. Our tour guide, a 20-something named Mike from Ohio, gave a fantastic tour of the works of art. With his pop culture take on the collection, he conveyed the information to us tour-goers with humor and intellect. It was one of the best tours we’ve ever been on.
We had a few hours left in the day and still had an entire city to explore. Usually we don’t relinquish to the cheesy, open-air bus tours. But there was no better way for us see everything without hopping on one of these tourists traps to explore the city. The bus took us through the streets of Rome, seeing the major sites including the Colosseum, Forum and other notable buildings along the way. We didn’t get to see everything, but for the 48 hours we spent in Rome, we certainly made the most of it. And this time around it was worth a second visit.
Draped in classic artwork and thick, velvet furnishings throughout the property, the Rome Cavalieri, a part of the Waldorf Astoria hotel collection, offered the experience of staying at a palace, complete with panorama views of the city. We had access to the Imperial Floor, which offered guests free 24-hour access to snacks and drinks, including a superb selection of white and red wines, which we visited several times throughout the day.
To mimic the Roman Baths of the early days in the city, the Cavaleri Grand Spa was equipped with a luxurious Turkish bath. It also offered a gym, hot tub, sauna, steam room and services including massages and facials, making this a resort we didn’t want to leave.