Rissa's (Ridiculous) Roman Adventures

February 25, 2018

Rome is a wonderful place full of pizza, wine, gelato, and delicious men. There's honestly no better combination in the world. Don't even try to argue this with me.


My first trip to Rome in 2009 started with an amazing rooftop dinner at my hostel. We watched the sun set over the city as we ate spaghetti and drank bottomless decanters of red wine. I had only been in the city for a few hours, but I decided that I was never leaving Rome.


The next morning we headed out to be proper tourists. I knew Rome was full of history, but I didn't fully grasp that until I noticed people walking past ruins on their way to the Colosseum like it was no big deal. Blew my mind.


When I fell outside of the Colosseum


I felt incredibly small and meaningless next to the Colosseum. I knew going inside was only going to make me feel worse (plus we didn't want to pay to go in), so we just stuck our feet inside under a gate and called it good. That structure still doesn't seem real to me. 


Our next stop was the Trevi Fountain. We didn't know it was going to be sort of hidden off of the main roads, so it took ages to find it (this is before Google maps). Once we finally got there, the fountain was so crowded that I wanted to leave immediately. It's impossible to enjoy something when it's that busy. But, of course, we stayed. It felt like days before we finally made it to the base of the fountain. Some creepy guy offered to take our picture, so my friend handed him her camera. He held onto it for a looooong time. I told her to say her goodbyes. He eventually gave it back, and the photos were surprisingly classy. I thought for sure it was going to be a collection of boobs shots. Or feet. It could have gone either way. 


We happened to stumble across the Spanish Steps after that. Complete accident. We got lost trying to find our way to some other spot. The heat was killing me and I needed to find a fountain something fierce. One of my favorite things about Rome are the drinking fountains. There are thousands and a lot of them are absolutely beautiful. One of those magnificent fountains is at the base of the Spanish Steps. It's called Fontana della Barcaccia. This particular water fountain has a couple tiny steps and a small bridge/ledge that you have to walk on to reach the boat where the drinking water is. What I didn't know when I stepped onto this tiny bridge was that it was soaking wet. I slipped and fell on my ass. Hard. I may, or may not, have fallen into the fountain. Only the tourists that laughed at me and took pictures know the truth.


Fontana della Barcaccia at the Spanish Steps


Earlier that day my friends convinced me to buy a hop-on, hop-off bus tour ticket. I usually hate those because they're a waste of money, but it came in handy after the incident at the Spanish Steps. I sat on the open top deck and air dried while my friends sunbathed. And by sunbathe, I mean sleep. I'm not kidding. They rode around on the bus sleeping. When in Rome?


That night was our last night in Rome, so we stocked up on a bunch of cheap Italian wine and invited our new hostel friends to the room. We got stupid drunk and I ended up spilling half a bottle of red wine on the white bedsheets. I then proceeded to use a Tide pen to get out the stain. The pen was tiny, but I was drunk and determined. Imagine painting a wall in with a Sharpie. That was me that night. I was a hot mess.


I gave up an hour later and just slept on it. We were checking out in the morning and I decided I'd just run away and suffer the consequences.  

The second time I was in Rome I stayed with one of my friends. I knew he was crazy, but I didn't realize he was drive-on-the-opposite-side-of-the-road-to-pass-traffic crazy.


When he got out of work one day, he said he was going to pick us up by the Palazzo Venezia and take us to Vatican City. I assumed he would bring his car, but no. This bitch showed up on a tiny Vespa and told us to hop on. I really wish I could have seen my face at that very moment. He was out of his damn mind if he thought we were getting on that thing with him. 


After I laughed in his face for about 10 minutes, he guided us to a bus, threw us on it, shouted something to the bus driver, and disappeared. What the fork? We had no idea where we were going, or what we were doing. I was frantically looking out of the windows trying to figure out where we were and when we should stop. After a mile or so on the route, the bus driver started shouting at me in Italian. Apparently my friend gave him instructions. Great. Thanks. We hopped off and I vowed to punch my friend. 



Once we got to Vatican City, I remembered that I had a corkscrew in my purse from our picnic in the park earlier that day. (Or it was there because I'm an alcoholic and always have a bottle opener with me. You decide.) Anyway, you can't take things like that into St. Peter's Basilica, so I had to find a place to hide my contraband, and fast. There was a trash can nearby, so I lifted it and shoved the corkscrew underneath. Pure class. I couldn't just throw it away; I'm too frugal. Plus I had more bottles to open that night. That's not a tool I easily part with.


It was still there when we left. YES!


 Of course I love Rome for the food, drinks, and desserts (men included), but I also love Rome because I always leave with the most amazing stories and experiences. The stories above may not sound great, but that's because sharing all of the great, happy moments is boring. You don't want to hear about how I ate the best pasta in my life at one restaurant, and had a pound focaccia every day for breakfast. Now you're just hungry. I share my ridiculous adventures because I want people to know that not every moment of every trip is going to be magical. Embrace the chaos. It always makes for a better story.


- R

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