We're here! We arrived in Rome on schedule and our driver was waiting to whisk us off to the hotel. The place we chose, Hotel Nazionale was centrally located, just a short walk from the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The rooms were lovely, the staff friendly and the included breakfast was both convenient and delicious. Great choice!
With little time to spare, we quickly dropped off our bags and headed out to explore. There we're 6 of us, some have been here before and others had not. We split into groups of 2 planning to meet back at the hotel at 8 to go out to dinner.
Having already been to Rome twice before, this was my opportunity to leisurely stroll the cobblestone streets, stopping whenever something caught my eye. And the colorful tubs of gelato, and leather sandals definitely caught my eye! But we did lots of walking and when we began to tire we purchased tickets for a hop on / hop off, took seats on the open air top section , plugged in the headset and rode around for about 2 hours. We got off at the Trevi Fountain to throw our coins and walked back to the hotel.
Dinner was amazing. We heard about a restaurant from a co-worker and it sounded so good we knew we had to find it. Four of us took off on foot but after walking and walking, with the street we were looking for no where in sight we hailed a cab. The Trattoria der Pallaro on Largo del Pallaro was well worth the hunt to find! There's no menu here, and the food just keeps coming, course after course! The place was full of locals, as opposed to tourists like us so that says plenty! Owner /cook Paola Fazi reminded me of my childhood and trips to Brooklyn to visit family where my aunts who would put out an endless spread of food for Sunday dinner. When it comes to food, that's the ultimate compliment from me! We never asked the fixed price and were shocked that after all we ate including unlimited homemade wine we paid 25 euros pp!
With full bellies we hailed a cab to head back to the hotel. A perfect day!
** Do try to spend at least 2 nights pre cruise in your embarkation city. You need the time to recover from jet lag and you won't feel so rushed !
** Look for the restaurants where the locals dine you're guaranteed a great meal.
Tomorrow... All onboard Navigator of the Seas