Onto Rome we go!! We left London longing for just one more day, but had SO much excitement for our time in Rome. We arrived pretty late in the evening and headed straight to our home for the next few days. We did an Air BnB again and again, were not disappointed!
Of course, we were ravished for food when we finally got there, but lucky for us, there was a restaurant right down stairs from the apartment. La Corte dei Leoni - our very first Roman meal and it was SO good. We had artichoke and mushroom risotto with an artichoke salad, focaccia and a bottle of wine. The owner was there and was so incredibly nice to us. It was such a warm welcome to Italy.
After dinner, our first thought was gelato! I had a personal goal of trying to eat a gelato a day while in Italy. I mean, it was a good goal, right?
Then we get to our first gelato place, Gelateria La Romana, and I'm all like....uhhh, how to I order?!
I think I got Stracciatella with whipped cream?? I'm not 100%, but it doesn't matter because it was that lovely. Also, this place put chocolate at the bottom of the cone so the gelato wouldn't melt out the bottom. Umm, genius (and amazing)!
After that we went back to our home and passed out. We knew the next few days were going to be busy busy, so bed time called for us.
And we wake up to this! Not bad, yeah? Our apartment ended up being a great location. Very central to everything - we walked every where we went. The metro was about a 2 minute walk and there was a bus stop right by too. Though we didn't use public transit - it seemed convenient if we did need to use it.
We got out the door early and headed to the Trevi Fountain. It was so nice to be there early without all the crowds (which I was actually prepared for). There were about 20-30 people there at about 8:30am, so it was kind of amazing to take it all in like that.
We wanted to see the Pantheon early too, which was our next stop. After coffee.
Our first Italian Cappuccino!! We went to Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè since it was just near the Pantheon. AND OMG ITALIAN COFFEE IS...! So damn good! And the pastries. Hello future in stretchy pants. Actually, this is why I packed mostly dresses (extra room and comfort you see). Full fat coffee, buttery pastries...could this be another daily goal? Suuuuure.
After coffee, just a few blocks away, was our next stop: The Roman Pantheon. I walk in and I'm in awe. Again, there were very few people in here so early - lucky us! Just to walk around and take it all in...there are many words to describe it all and the photos do it no justice.
The morning light through the oculus.
Next we headed towards the Colosseum, but we stopped at the massive Altare della Patria. You can't miss this huge marble monument on the way.
Next we made it to the Colosseum, but the lines were massive. This was one thing I didn't plan in advance - buying our ticket! Why? No idea. Not my usual game. It was packed and the lines were crazy. We walked around the exterior and decided to check out the Forum first, it was less crowded and something that was on our list to do any way. Turns out the entry to the Forum had like 4 people in it and it was a combo ticket to the Colosseum we could use the next day. See, things work out!
So onto the Roman Forum we go. We did the audio tour on this one and spent a good couple of hours here hiking around and exploring.
This was one of my favorite sites. To think this was a city at some point was insane to me.
After the Forum we headed across the Tiber River towards Trastevere!
We explored this fabulous little neighborhood and stopped for a massive lunch at one of the many cute restaurants along in the alley way.
After a long day, more gelato is in order.
And a night visit to the Trevi!
How magical is this place?!
Day Three: More cappuccinos please. Fuel for the next day o' fun.
We made our way back to the Colosseum nice and early and made our way inside. And though I did not buy our tickets in advance (and that problem was solved easily), I did research audio podcast tours to use instead of buying the audio guides they offer at the ticket office.
Rick Steves was our lifesaver! He has a bunch of free audio guides that can be downloaded via podcast. Chris and I both download them, synchronized our play buttons and we're off! It made for a really great tour too.
After that we headed to the Rome National Museum. I didn't capture any photos there, but it was an interesting place for sure. What can I say...lots of sculptures and super old stuff. It was huge and really cool to see. And free.
With the ticket to the National Museum, we could get into the Baths of Diocletian. This was another one of my favorite sites. Super elegant and crazy to image what it was like "back in the day."
At this point in our trip, we started to get a pattern for out day. Coffee, pastry, and site seeing and or snack until mid-afternoon, before it got really hot. Then we always headed back to the apartment for a siesta, shower, and recharge to go back our in the late afternoon evening. It ended up being such a good balance for us.
On one of our evening outings we headed back towards Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto. Rick Steves had 2 audio tours of this area we decided to do before headed to dinner. Both of them were great. I would have never gone to explore these areas if I didn't see the audio tours listed. So happy we did it to visit these lesser known areas to learn about.
We had some great food that night at Impiccetta. Liter(s) of wine, prosciutto and melon, seafood risotto, lamb, more wine, post dinner espresso and (Chris's first ever) tiramisu. This is the aftermath:
Our stroll back to our side of town - over the Tiber again. Happy full bellied faces there.
Our Air BnB host was great and suggested seeing all the big sites at night too as they are a little bit more amazing all lite up. So we stopped by the Altare della Patria again since it was on the way to our next stop.
Our hosts also gave us a suggestion for these amazing night tours that were being offered. It is a walk through either the Forum Augustus or the Forum of Caesar. Both are separate tours and either 45 minutes or an hour long.
It was an audio guided walked through the ruins and they lite told the stories through basically a light show.
And us making fun faces waiting for the tour to start.
It was such a cool tour though - We chose the Caesar one, but both had good reviews. I would highly recommend them for something fun and different.
Trevi again on our walk home.
Oh. And more gelato. There is no shame in my game.
Day 4 in Rome was dedicated to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. Make reservations in advance people!! The lines to get in were insane. I mean around an entire block insane. I kept thinking....why on earth did those people not buy their ticket already?!
Another tip - don't go first thing in the morning. Apparently that's when all the tour groups get there. We made our reservation for 11:30am and got in line around 11:00 (made it in by 11:15ish). Not bad at all. Not as bad as it looked at least.
We did a Rick Steve's podcast tour again here for the museum and explored for at least 2+ hours. After the museum, we decided to do the "Dome Walk," which is actually the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. It is an extra charge and cash only. You can take the lift up, but it doesn't save you that many steps. About 320 steps with the elevator, and 551 without. We just walked the whole thing.
More and more steps. Then it narrows the closer you get to the top...and the hallways start to get smaller and a little slanted...like a dome shape.
I wouldn't do it if you don't like small spaces...but if you can suck it up - it is SO worth the view.
After that we went to the Sistine Chapel - again - we learned a ton by listening to Rick Steves tell us all about it. No photos or talking were allowed in there. Just looking up and staring at that crazy work of art.
All that walking and walking and more walking. And art. We were starving. Right around the corner was an Alice Pizza. The perfect Italian street food here. Cash only and they charge by weight. So fresh and heavenly.
On the way home, we stopped for a sweet treat at Pompi Tiramisu (cause now Chris understood how delicious this stuff really was). Pompi has a bunch of different flavors to choose from, but we went with the classic and split it (because gelato later you know).
We went back for our down time and decided we didn't want a huge dinner tonight (and we were pretty tired). Chris found this meat joint and I was all for it. La Prosciutteria near the Trevi.
This joint was super casual and the best customer service. It isn't a restaurant, but you order all you need at the bar and they bring it out to you. The specialize in charcuterie and meats galore. It was a small space, so we grabbed a glass of wine to wait for a table to open and just sipped in on the street as we waited.
We then sat and stuff our face with all the meats. Sorry veg friends. This is where its at! I could have eaten more and gone here again for sure.
We slept in the next morning (first time all trip) and decided our last day in Rome was going to be a little more low key. We saw most of the major sites. I wanted to see a few more fountains and check out the Pantheon one more time. We went back to our favorite coffee spot, Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, the one we went to on the first day and enjoyed yet another delightful cafe'. Um, then after that, we wanted more...so we went up the road to La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D'oro - also very very good. I'd like to mention my that my husband suggest we do a cappuccino crawl. The same husband who doesn't drip coffee... and my answer is YES.
Since we were by the Pantheon, I wanted to check it out again. We didn't do the Rick Steves tour during our first visit, so I decided to listen to it during this one and took my time reading all the descriptions and fun stuff around this place.
Walking around that day... honestly, there are fountains everywhere and I can't remember which one this is, but it is lovely!
I wanted to do some shopping, so we headed to Monti. Well everyone in Monti decided to go on a holiday so the neighborhood was shut down tight. I was a little disappointed (doubt Chris was), but it was neat to see the area with no one around. The colors and the ivy blew me away.
We went to the main drag and did a little shopping, but not much since I didn't have much room left in my bad to begin with. We mostly just explored random places that last day and tried to soak it all in.
We finished off our last evening with dinner at Piccolo Buco, which had the best carbonara I've ever had. It was a tiny place, but had excellent service.
Plus one more gelato to top off Roma (I got the pistachio there). Tomorrow we were off to Venice!!!
I LOVED Rome - it was a whirlwind of fun and sites and history and food and wine. I feel like there was more to do - like shopping. So dear Rome, I am not done with you. I'll be back on day.
Here's a quick link up/list of some of the favorite things Rome we ate at, browsed, drank, and visited:
- Our Air BnB and the neighborhood
- Favorite Coffee spots: Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè and La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D'oro and Antico Caffè Vitti - honestly all the coffee is good no matter where you stop.
- Alice Pizza - one by the Vatican and one by our apartment
- IL Bar Sotto il Mare - recommended by a friend, but it was closed when we were in that area (near the Vatican)
- Pompi Tiramisu (near the Vatician)
- La Prosciutteria (near Trevi)
- Impiccetta (Trastevere)
- Piccolo Buco (near Trevi)
- Gelato every where - it is all good! My fav was Gelateria La Romana, our first one!
- Rick Steves free audio tours
- Trevi Fountain
- Roman Forum
- Baths of Diocletian
- Night Light tours of Forum Augustus or the Forum of Caesar
- The Pantheon
- The Spanish Steps - though they were closed when we were there!
- Vatican Day - Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's, the Dome Walk
- The Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere
- All the fountains
I know I didn't probably link up everything or remember everything for that matter, but that's OK. There will be more.
Cheers and onto Venice!