All Roads Lead to Pizza
The morning after my 23rd birthday, we packed our bags for Rome, fresh off the heels of our first full night of air-conditioned sleep that punctuated our week in Trevor's student housing. Finally, a bed meant for humans.
It's illegal in Florence to hail cabs from the curb, so we ordered a car, said goodbyes to our gracious Airbnb host, and waited for the cab to arrive at the curb while sharing a pistachio cannolo — the singular of cannoli as I learned.
One hop, skip and a jump later, we landed at Fiumicino Airport just outside the Eternal City.
Our time in Rome was incredibly short — an eight-hour layover on our way to a week in Greece. Accounting for taxiing time, security lines, and the 30 minute bus from Fiumicino to Rome proper, we were left with a little less than 5 hours to see one of the world's most magnificent cities.
As we departed the bus station, I felt the refreshing peace of a city much quieter than Florence. No taxis buzzing through crosswalks, no street vendors shoving bracelets on the hands of unsuspecting tourists. Just the garlicky smell of fresh pizza wafting down the sidewalk at 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon — an olfactory beacon directing us to our first stop of the day.
There were only three tables inside Antico Forno Roscioli, and only one was empty, so after the cashier weighed our pesto and margherita pizzas — so thick they're sold by the kilogram — we took the last two bar stools that faced the wall. Behind us was a floor-to-ceiling spread of baked goods selling for the most reasonable prices I'd seen all week. We were in heaven, yet with no time to waste.
Thankfully Trevor is one hell of a planner, and mapped out an incredibly efficient walking tour of the city, where the only crowds we ever saw were centered immediately around major monuments. We trekked along the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, Circus Maximus, Arch de Constantin and of course, the Colosseum. The only places on our short list that we didn't see were the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, because it was a little out of the way, and we knew we'd have to wait in line.
When we returned to Fiumicino at the end of the day, the clerk at the check-in desk explained to us that there was no reason to re-enter the airport for a connecting flight. "You could have just stayed inside," he offered in confusion.
We could have, sure, but we spent $48 each to check our bags on this flight and we damn well took advantage of it.
Plus, there was no pizza inside the airport.