It was so sad to leave Florence, but we were really looking forward to exploring the historic city of Rome.  We took a sweaty metro ride to the stop closest to our next apartment in Rome.  As we made our way around the crowds of commuters, we walked up the steps and exited the Colosseo metro station.  We walked up the stairs to exit the station, and right before us stood a 2,000-year-old stone structure in the middle of a surrounding modern city.

The Roman Forum

Everywhere you turn, there is a gelateria.  No matter the time of day, someone is eating gelato.  Needless to say, we had (at least) one every single day.  We called it our

Unfortunately the Trevi Fountain was under renovation...*sigh*  Instead, you could toss you coin into a small puddle situated in front of the plexiglass walls.  We threw it in anyway, wishing for a chance to return some day.

Forno Boccione (Also known as the Burnt Bakery) - the absolute must-see, must-eat bakery found in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome.  They don't speak any English there.  You point, they give, you eat.  Then you go back again.

The Pantheon

My husband was so excited to see Laocoön and His Sons at the Vatican Museum.

On a boiling hot day, we joined in with the Italians in wading in a huge fountain at the Borghese Gardens.  I love this country!

One of my bucket list foods to try was SQUID INK PASTA.  I'm a seafood fanatic, and this amazing dish from Cantina Cantarini did not disappoint.

When looking at some Roman ruins, we spotted a cat.  Then we spotted another one.  Then 5 more!  What WAS this place?  Turns out it was the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.  These little fur babies are taken in by the shelter where they receive food and medication.  Laura showed us around the place and let us play with the cats.  Here is the area where the disabled kitties are kept.  They may have neurological issues, missing limbs, or are blind.  That black one in the center is Ray Charles, a blind kitty with a bladder and neurological issue.  He was my favorite. :)  The disabled cats are the shelter's priority.  If you are from the States, you obviously won't be able to bring one back home with you, but you can make a donation.

Grumpy is a bit of an attention hog.  He'll climb onto any available lap. :)

Overlooking the city from the Borghese Gardens.

It's hard to narrow down all that we did in two weeks into a few posts.  We had so much fun on our first international trip.  Being in Italy made me realize even more just how young our country is in comparison.  Italy is so deeply rooted in their art, history, and culture, and I envy that.  In the United States, we have a melting pot of hundreds of different cultures, which is a wonderful thing.  However, there's something about being in a culturally and historically rich country that I love.  A place where ancient ruins are around every corner, and streets look the same way they did during the Renaissance.  I think I've officially been bitten by the travel bug, and I can't wait to have another adventure!