Italy – Roaming Around Rome

More sightseeing and shopping!

It was a beautiful day, the warmest day ever of our Italian honeymoon trip. I have a list of places I wanted to visit so we begin with the furthest first – Piazza del Popolo. We took Metro A from our hotel to Flaminio -Piazza del Popolo. Once we stepped out of the metro station, we walked through a gate/wall, the square is located right inside the gate. Rome has a lot of beautiful squares with awesome architectural structures, Piazza del Popolo was one of my favorite. One thing I really like about Piazza del Popolo is the twin churches, I felt like there is a mirror right in the middle.

Looking from this angle, the Egyptian obelisk divided the square into two identical parts!  The square has many fountains, the Fontana del Nettuno is my favorite.

We walked to each end to visited all the fountains. Afterwards, we stepped back to Metro A and went to Spagna where the famous Piazza di Spagna/Spanish Steps located. There were many people sitting on the steps to enjoy the beautiful warm day.

At the base is this very cute boat looking fountain called  Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat):

The Spanish Steps is also where all the luxury shops are located so shopping time! I went in a Louis Vuitton store and bought a handbag for my mom as gift (it was cheaper to buy in Rome than the US). Why and how it is cheaper, if you are wondering?

1. Price tag differences: if you converted Euros to USD, it will be still cheaper in Rome. Also, many states in the US have tax so the total price will be price tag price + tax. The price tag in Rome already included tax! For example, the handbag in Italy cost 820 euros which is around $1066. The exact same bag in US cost $1250 and plus 5% tax which total to be $1312.50.  Savings = $246.50

2. For non-EU citizens, you are eligible for VAT tax refund at the airport when exiting the EU. Tax refund rate depends on country, Italy was around 12%. So that means the tax return for the 820 euros bag is 98.4 euros which is around $127.92.

The total saving = $374.42!

The VAT tax refund process was pretty easy. Bring your passport with you, there’s a minimum purchase to qualify so check before you go. When I was in Italy, it was around 150 euros minimum. At the checkout, asked for VAT tax refund, most likely the sales person will ask you. Give your passport to the sales person and he/she will fill out a form. Keep the form and the article you purchased with you when you are at the airport and be sure to arrive early in case there is a line of people! The refund form must be stamped by customs and sometimes they inspect the item you purchased. After you get the form stamped, go to the refund service desk, give them the stamped form, and chose an option for refund – cash or credit back to credit card. Note that the refund service desk charge some % of the refund so don’t expect to get the full 12% and best to refund back in euros instead of USD (their exchange rate was terrible).

Enough of shopping haha, back to sightseeing! We went in a pizza place to have our lunch. This time, pizzas are sold by weight which is one unique thing about pizza in Italy! I like the sold by weight since I could order a small piece of various toppings to try them out. The hardest thing was they have so many different toppings! We ended up with shrimp with salad toppings and mushroom with Italian sausages toppings. Both were delicious!

After lunch, we headed to the beautiful Trevi Fountain! This fountain is my favorite fountain of all! The scale of this fountain made the rest of the fountains look so small! The incredible marble sculptures are masterpieces by itself!

I heard the best gelato shop is near the Trevi Fountain called San Crispino. We went in there, bought our cup of ice cream and came back out to sit in front of the Trevi Fountain! Very smooth and creamy gelato!

Afterwards, we followed the legend and toss a coin over our shoulder on our back to the fountain, legend said tossing it this way, you will return to Rome! I hope someday it’ll come true!

Next, as we were walking back to the metro, we saw this very nice building, we walked through its “court yard”. The golden wall paintings were amazing, I wondered who are so lucky to live in this building! Rome is truly full of surprises!

We took the metro back to The Colosseum to visit the Roman Forum that we didn’t have time to yesterday. Walking on the hill of the Roman Forum, we came across many Roman ruins. Looking at those ruins made you wonder what it’ll be like to be in the Roman Empire time.

Up on the Roman Forum is an excellent view of The Colosseum!

What would be a best way to end our day than with The Colosseum again!


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