When in Rome

January 18, 2011

Jess and I decided to run away for the weekend. The thought came about initially because she was done with work but still in Budapest, and I, as per usual, had a three-day weekend. We were thinking maybe Bratislava or something nearby that neither of us had been to, but we opted to check cheap plane tickets that matched up with our schedules first; good call. Only afterward had we realized that the weekend we decided to leave was also her birthday, but hey, it turns out that a birthday weekend in Olevano Romano isn’t so bad after all.

We found some 60 € tickets to Rome that meshed perfectly with our time off. Both of us had been there several times already, but Tom’s (the benevolent half-owner of The Loft in Budapest) family was generous enough to offer for us to stay in their summer flat in Olevano Romano (about an hour outside of Rome).

Getting there was perhaps the most epic wiener melange ever experienced by me. We rented a car at the airport (Fiat Panda represent!) since driving was really the only practical method of getting there when we got in (fairly late at night). You know how they say “all roads lead to Rome”? Well, it turns out they totally do. Getting from the airport to somewhere that’s not Rome (or Florence) is extremely difficult, and the signs are all very misleading (and in Italian). We spent at least 90 minutes driving randomly on the huge circular road that surrounds Rome. Finally, by sheer chance, we stumbled upon the exit we were meant to use. Then it was several more hours of aimlessly driving dark, country roads before we finally came to the place.

To really get a feeling of what this place is like, you’ll need to check out the pictures on Facebook, it is really quite stunning. The town is situated on a hill outside of Rome. It was very Mediterranean, with super narrow alleys and winding stone stairways surrounded on both sides with very old stone buildings. The old town, in which we stayed, was pedestrian-only and was very charming. The actual flat was something entirely different. After walking through the alleys for a bit, we found the entrance to our flat: a very steep stairway leading up into the rocks to a door. The woman next door had left us a set of keys under the mat, so we were able to get in even though it was well after 1 AM.

The next day was Sunday, and going along with the whole Catholic Mediterranean vibe, everything was closed. We finally found a quaint little restaurant with a panoramic view overlooking the rest of the town and the valley below. We got some pasta which was pretty damned good. We went on a drive later (renting cars is fun!) and explored some of the other towns nearby. Everything around there is amazing, but we settled in Tivoli for a few hours, then headed back.

We left the next day, but had most of the day to explore Olevano itself. We walked up to the castle at the peak of the town and got some pretty amazing pictures. The view from up there is epic.

While there, I was reminded very much of Montenegro and the little cobblestone towns laced with narrow alleyways there. I’m going to make it a point to purchase a little flat somewhere around the Bay of Kotor to use as a summer getaway, or really any-time-of-year getaway, I suppose.

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