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First time in Rome?


Some friends are making their first trip to Rome – first trip to Italy, actually – at the beginning of May. I’m a bit envious, one’s first views of Rome can be magical!

(This photo is of the rear of the Pantheon from Piazza della Minerva, borrowed from Wikipedia)

They’re renting a lovely flat – with a rooftop terrace! -- from Natalia at Dolce Roma, and I’m sure they’ll have a fantastic time.

I remember very well my first trip to Rome, which was not a rip-roaring success.

This was in the days before I discovered Slow Travel, so I allowed a travel agent to do too much of my planning. That included finding me a relatively cheap but really tawdry hotel near the Termini. That was a big mistake – there were no good restaurants nearby and as this was my first solo trip in Europe, I was too nervous at night to wander very far.

As a result, I had the worst bout of food poisoning in my entire life the second night I was there. But it wasn’t all bad – I used it to wreak revenge on the horrible people in the next room. Which I heard very well through the paper-thin walls. Actually, they were so rowdy, getting into fights with other guests, that on the first night that I was there, the police actually had to be called. So I like to think that I disturbed them very well when I was sick!

For all of the problems, I was still enchanted by Rome. I remember how utterly gob-smacked I was by my first sight of the Pantheon.


It’s still a favourite site. The Pantheon, meaning "every god", was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD


Here’s another view, this time the interior of the Pantheon in the 18th century, painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini.

And certainly, I learned a lot from that first trip. Most important of all, I learned to do my own planning!!!!

Comments (7)

LOL! Sorry about the food poisoning, the neighbors and the hotel area.

I too was gobsmacked by the Pantheon. I wandered in on a Sunday morning while Mass was going on, and the whole experience was so beautiful.

Sorry about the food poisoning (but it's a funny story!).

LOL, pardon me for laughing but your story is quite funny. :)

I love the Pantheon! It is my favorite site in all of Rome. I dream of one day seeing rain or snow flakes coming down the Pantheon's oculus.

Oooohhh, food poisoning. That must have been horrible. Glad it came in handy in some sort of way though.

The first year I went to Europe, I had my travel agent book my hotels. She booked me in a room in this hotel in Nice that still to this day was one of the worst experiences ever (with only two other hotels matching it). I learned to do my own research after that (although the research on those 2 other hotels failed).

That is a very cool painting of the Pantheon. At first I thought it was something special for St. Patrick's Day. The Pantheon is still one of my all time favorite buildings in all of the world.

Natalie's rentals are great. I stayed in the one by the Colosseum. I've only been to Rome once and I loved the Forum. I had only seen a few ruins so it was my first introduction. I loved exploring the different nooks. It was my only trip to Rome and my husband hasn't been yet. I'm looking forward to when I can interest him in going and we can discover it together.

Great shot of the back of the Panthon with the elephant oblisk in the foreground. After the turtle fountain, this is my favorite.


The Pantheon truly IS gob-smacking, isn't it?!? :) The beautiful building, the incredible acoustics, the birds wheeling overhead through the oculus (sp?) Thank you for this lovely - and very amusing - post!

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