Welcome back to The Road Jess Traveled where we have officially arrived in Italy! I am so thrilled that you are here for our nomad life adventures!
Last time on the blog, we flew all the way to Rome, Italy from the States which you can read about in this post! If you still aren’t sure what the heck nomad life is, check out the Q&A Post I published earlier this week so you can get caught up on this unique and amazing new lifestyle we’re living!
If you are fully up to date (or you’re just ready to hit the road) then let’s get STARTED!
Welcome to Italy!
All of a sudden we were landing and WE WERE OFFICIALLY IN ITALY! My mind could not comprehend that this was actually happening!
For a little background, I have the hugest desire to travel internationally but compared to a lot of “world travelers” out there, I have really only scraped the surface. The singular time I have been to Europe was in 2016 for my Study Abroad when we went to London, Dublin, and Edinburgh! (as well as a side trip to Disneyland Paris) I am so grateful for where I have been and I am so excited to add more places to that list.
Steven has done a significant amount of international travel, which is truly so amazing. He attracts a lot of international opportunities! As far as Europe goes, he did a 2-week trip where he performed in his high school band around Europe, he did a Study Abroad in college, and he had some family living out in Luxembourg for several years. That being said, Steven has been to quite a few European countries – but it has been almost 10 years since he’s been here!
So basically, we were both flipping the heck out and were VERY excited to be here! Neither of us have ever been to Italy before, which made this whole experience all the more exciting. We really wanted to kick off our new chapter with a place that was brand new to both of us!
The Arrival Process
I have to say, that was honestly the smoothest travel day we’ve ever had. We got off the plane and went to customs. On the way, there were Zendaya posters everywhere. So glad the queen was welcoming us to Rome!
We got to customs and passed through VERY easily. It was honestly shocking how little time it took, especially with enhanced precautions. We must have been there on a good day. They stamped the date we entered the country and soon we were on our way!
We went to get our luggage, which was there when we arrived. We got some Euros out of the ATM so we would have the correct currency in our wallets!
Then we got SIM cards from Vodafone. Looking back on this now, we both wish we did not purchase Vodafone SIM cards at the airport. The phone service itself was actually great, but getting it activated was a nightmare. We had to go in-person to a store a few days later because the directions they provided at the airport were not effective.
Our Air B&B host helped set up a car to pick us up from the airport. So once we took care of all of our airport errands, we saw our driver waiting for us and they had a sign with our name on it. We felt so fancy!
The car was a bit of a walk away, but it was so beautiful out that I didn’t even mind! We were in ROME!
It was about a 40-minute drive from FCO to our Air B&B. Our driver was playing really fun Italian pop music and I was just enamored with everything we were driving by. My excitement was truly through the roof!!
Looking out the window was like looking at a whole new world. I love that feeling of rejuvenation and wonderment when you see a new place for the first time.
In particular, I adored the trees along the road because they had long branches and bushy tops – they looked like they were straight out of Alice in Wonderland! The architecture was completely different from anything I’d seen before – much older and grander. There were even archways above the roads that were probably so ordinary-looking to the locals but so mindblowing to us!
Our “Rome Home!”
We arrived at our Air B&B and headed inside. Looking back now, my heart is just so fond of this moment. It was a warm October day and we arrived in our little neighborhood for the very first time – getting to know the feel of our street and our new (and first) home.
Our Air B&B was truly gorgeous! I remember falling in love with it in July when I saw it online and now all of a sudden we were really, really here.
There was a beautiful living room with a couch, TV, and high ceilings. It’s open-air and directly connects to the kitchen. The kitchen was fully functional and had a fridge, freezer, microwave, and oven! Plus. there was a nice workspace, which we found to be essential.
There were two small bathrooms and a separate bedroom with a small TV. Our bedroom ceilings were also high because it is all open and connected to the upstairs office space and loft! (yes, you read that right – there was an upstairs!)
The location was a little bit out there but totally walkable to everywhere we wanted to go. Plus, it was well within our budget and gave us the perfect space to live and work. I, personally, felt like we hit the jackpot with this one. I loved it and still, to this day, I am in denial that we left. It still feels like our home!
This is not sponsored whatsoever, but if you’re interested in looking at the listing, you can check out the link HERE! This place checks out for us, I’ll tell you that!
Settling In To Our First Apartment!
Then we worked on setting up the Wi-Fi which was the hardest part of the day. Not that it needed to be – the paper copy of the directions just had not been updated and we were probably a little tired from flying! I found the router and looked on our online Air B&B listing to figure out the password. Once we hooked it up, it was smooth sailing all month on the Wi-Fi front!
I mention this to shine some light on the little antics that happen when you adjust to a new Air B&B. There are always new things to figure out in each place you go! It’s a learning curve every time as you immerse yourself in a new space.
We spent some time unpacking after that. There was storage space in both the bedroom and the living room so we each took one and settled in!
Steven fell asleep on the couch and I put makeup on to try and feel more awake. We laid down for about 5 minutes but forced ourselves to get up and go get lunch and walk around! Our jet-lag journey was only beginning so at this point we were purely running on adrenaline!
Our First Official Italian Lunch
We went to a restaurant called Ciacco, which became our very favorite local restaurant.
As I mentioned, it was a beautiful day so we sat outside which is the absolute vibe in Italy. Sitting outside, relaxing, drinking wine, and eating pasta is the culture here and I can absolutely get on board with that.
We started talking to the guy at the table next to us because the pasta he ordered looked really good, and wouldn’t you know it – he was actually from Alaska! He owns property in Italy so he goes back and forth between the two. He was super nice and he gave us a little insight into what it’s like to live in Italy, as well as a few recommendations – aka trying the Amatriciana at this restaurant.
We ordered a bottle of white wine and then both got rigatoni for our meal – Steven got it with Carbonara and I got mine with Amatriciana. That was the moment I knew Amatriciana was going to become one of my all-time favorite Italian dishes! I’ve never had it before and wow I was impressed!
I cannot emphasize to you how the wine and the pasta have these slight differences in flavor and texture in the absolute best way. My tastebuds have been forever changed by having real, authentic Italian food and wine. You can tell that the gluten is processed differently here and the ingredients are fresh. I was on an absolute high knowing that this was what I was going to be consuming for the next month – how does it get better than this!?
We had really fun conversations during this meal – just talking about this new lifestyle we’re taking on and how INCREDIBLE this all is, all of the places we want to go (in Italy and beyond), and daydreaming about what is to come. It was just such a sweet meal, we had so much fun. It really marked the beginning of a beautiful adventure!
First Look at the Colosseum
After our delicious meal, we decided to walk to the Colosseum! It was a 30-minute walk each way, but we did it! At the time, 30 minutes felt very long but the more time we spent in Rome, the more we got used to these long-distance walks to the point where they didn’t even phase us anymore!
We walked through the streets, which are so amazing to look at. The colors are extremely vibrant and the buildings have such unique architecture – especially from our perspective coming from the States! It was truly a fresh environment and there was so much to take in!
We walked through a gorgeous park on our way to the Colosseum and it was all like a beautiful dream! I will never forget this feeling – I felt on top of the world! Also, shoutout to October for being a beautiful month weather-wise in Rome.
I was feeling really “happy” from my wine at lunch so I was getting really excited about seeing “the historical venue where Lizzie McGuire performed in Italy in 2003!” Iconic.
The Colosseum was so surreal… it is HUGE! We took pictures along the outside edge and just walked around it. We will absolutely be doing a day where we go inside while we are here, but today was moreso to see it in person as our official kickoff to Rome!
It was Sunday so the Colosseum was really busy. But there were street artists and music that sounded exactly like the World Showcase in EPCOT. We can never really get away from thinking about Disney! (and I’m not mad about it)
Let the Jet-Lag Journey Begin
By the end of our walk there, though, I was in pain from how tired I was. My body was aching and the jetlag was beginning to hit. So we walked back!
I laid in bed and tried uploading my photos from my camera… but fell asleep with phone and camera in hand.
I woke up at some ridiculous time and went through pictures, posted on Instagram, made TikToks, and got all organized! (Ah, it was so nice back then when the content I had to go through was actually manageable. Three months into this and we’ve got a significantly higher turnaround time – LOL!)
We hadn’t eaten all day besides our one meal at Ciacco and we got hungry around 1 AM, which is 7 PM EST. So, Steven ordered us some McDonalds from UberEats because it was the only thing open and we ate it in bed while watching Queer Eye. Not a bad life!
(also, a ton of people asked when I posted this on my story since this seems specific to Italy, but the Tasty Basket was a bucket of chicken wings and nuggets! The perfect late-night travel day snack!)
We stayed up until 4 am Italy time, but didn’t beat ourselves up for it because we knew our bodies would adjust eventually. This was truly only the beginning!
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