Italy Wine Country: Of Antiquity and Champagne Cocktails

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courtney2 006.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When pressed for time in Rome, it helps to have an Italian guide. Thanks to my travel companion's city smarts, we were able to see a lot on our last day - emphasis on lot.

For starters, we took in the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, followed by a viewing of the Campidoglio (Roman capitol) and lunch in the Jewish Ghetto, a fascinating part of the city in which modern apartments have literally been built on top of ancient ruins (talk about juxtaposition!).

courtney2 007.jpgAfter lunch we took in Largo di Torre Argentina, a fascinating excavation site of several Republican temples that doubles as a sanctuary for homeless cats (always a sucker for felines, this one), the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the adjacent Spanish Steps. (Phew!) It was a whirlwind, but a fascinating whirlwind - to say the least - and fittingly capped by a rooftop Champagne cocktail at the International Academy of Wine at the Spanish Steps.

courtney2 008.jpgThere, we were not only treated to jaw-dropping views of the surrounding city and the Spanish Steps below, but also an impromptu concert by internationally acclaimed chanteuse Laura Pausini Pausini sang to a throng of admirers at the foot of the steps, a concert that seemed perfectly staged - not to mention timed - for our viewing. It was a fitting conclusion to a day that will easily go down as one of my most memorable ever, thanks to a beautiful city, a good dose of curiosity and a whole lot of history.

Oh, and a fantastic guide.








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Pictured: (1) Colosseum, (2) Forum, (3) Trevi Fountain, (4) Pausini on Steps, and (5) International Academy of Wine

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