Big check off the bucket list. I finally got to see the beautiful Rome, and it did not disappoint. There is so much to do, see and eat in Rome, and it is impossible to get everything done in a few days. Hopefully my little ‘When in Rome Guide’ will help steer you in the right direction to making the most of your trip.
If you are going during the summer, no matter what activities you decide to do, I would advise trying to do them in the morning or evening. Rome gets ridiculously hot in the middle of the day in the summer, so try to keep the indoor activities for this time.
Colosseum & Roman Forum Tour:
Can you really go to Rome and not go to the Colosseum? We did the Ancient Rome Tour: Colosseum underground, Arena, and Forum all in one with Get Your Guide. The Colosseum was really cool, the underground being my favourite part. A lot of tours don’t do the underground section so check that out before you book.
If you are looking to learn about ancient Rome, the Roman Forum is for you. I didn’t have a good knowledge of ancient Rome so I found it hard to appreciate the famous landmarks when I first arrived. If you want to learn about it I would recommend doing this tour when you first arrive so you have some baseline knowledge.
Free Walking Tour:
We love doing walking tours when we are away. We aim to do them at the start of the trip so we know where we want to go back to, and so we get our bearings early on. There are loads of companies that run free tours around Rome, we went with ‘Free Tours Rome‘ and did the ‘Free City Tour’. They have a €1.50 booking charge, and you tip according to how good you thought the tour was. The tour included the Trevi Fountain, Temple of Hadrian, The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and many more.
Spanish Steps & Pasta Place:
Grab some pasta in Pastificio Guerra and eat it at the Spanish Steps. Every day they make only two pasta dishes around lunch time and serve it until it is gone. We had it around 6pm, so there necessarily isn’t a big rush to get it, but obviously, it is fresher the earlier you get it. Each portion is only 4 euro and it is just around the corner from the Spanish Steps, so take it to go, sit back, and people watch.
You can’t go to Rome and not visit the Vatican city. I wouldn’t be doing much more than a visit. We booked tickets to see the museum and was not at all what we expected. To us, it was no different to any other museum in any other city, we had been under the assumption that it would be about the Catholic Church, rather than all of the items in its possession. The Sistine Chapel was cool to see, but I wouldn’t be prioritising it. If I was to do it again I would have a look around the city, and go into St. Peter’s Basilica which is FREE if you are willing to wait it out in the long lines.
Campo dei Fiori Food Market:
Stop by this one of Rome’s most popular food markets, located right in the centre of the city. Just wander through, pick up some fresh fruit to snack on, or buy some authentic presents for friends and family.
On the other side of the Tiber river you will find a cool, and less touristy area, called Trastevere. Explore the hidden corners of this medieval neighbourhood, and its streets lined with cute little cafés, bars and boutiques. It is a brilliant place to go to get away from the busy, tourist-filled streets. Stop by Panetteria Romana e Spaccio di Paste to grab some lunch or some pastries. Prepare to receive a few dirty looks as you will probably be one of the few tourists in amongst Italian workers on their lunch breaks, but it is so worth it.
So. Where to begin. One of my best friends told me about this restaurant over a year before I went to Rome. She described it as the best food she has ever had. As you can imagine, over a year of anticipation usually leads to disappointment. In this case, my expectations were exceeded. The food was magical, and up there with one of the best meals I have ever had. THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED.
Recommendations: Antipasta Board for 2 (enough for 4 people easily), Carbonara, Seafood Pasta.
Pizza: Farinè la Pizza
Don’t expect to find anyone but locals in this modest looking pizzeria. In fact, don’t expect your food to be served on a plate either. Choose your pizza and it’s size (small, medium or large) from their small menu, and shortly after watch your pizza emerge on a piece of greaseproof paper. Really good value for money, and we loved the way we could try loads of small pizzas rather than committing to one.
If you end up making the trip to Farinè la Pizza there is a pop up outdoor bar close by that you need to visit. We had planned to go to a cool bar I found online called ‘Marmo’, it wasn’t until I went to write this blog post that I realised the outdoor bar we ended up going to was in fact, not Marmo. I don’t know how permanent the outdoor bar was, but Marmo is just opposite where it was, so if it does happen to be gone at least you can go across the road. Click here for the exact location of the outdoor bar.
This gourmet gelato chain has appeared in many of my food fantasies since I last had it in Venice, 2016. When I had it again in Rome it did not disappoint. I got the Cremino flavour last time and I got it this time too. I will definitely be getting it next time I am near a Venchi aswell! Cremino is a vanilla ice cream with a thick layer of hazelnut spread on top which they mix together before they put it on the cone. What dreams are made of. You can also get a fancy cone, which is dipped in chocolate and coated in oreos, honeycomb or whatever floats your boat.
Coffee: Sant’ Eustachio II Caffé
In the short time we spent in Sant’ Eustachio II, two tour guides brought their tours to this café. We assume it’s the place to be. While it is not always busy, you can take your coffee standing at the bar or pay an additional fee for one of the outdoor tables on a little square. There are loads of amazing coffee and pastries to choose from. Sant’ Eustachio II Caffé is really central, making it the perfect mid-site-seeing-afternoon-snack.
Bar: Salotto 42
Salotto 42 is based in Piazza di Pietra looking onto the beautiful Temple of Hadrian, giving it a prime spot amongst tourists and locals. Be prepared to pay for the reputation and location, as it is not cheap. You would walk by it if you didn’t know about it, and it embodies a glamorous but quirky vibe. It’s unusual cocktails and complimentary snack plate can be had whilst seated in its plush armchairs, or better yet out in Piazza di Pietra.
Enjoy your time in Rome, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you are feeling generous and want to post me some pasta from Ristochicco that would be hugely appreciated. Don’t forget to leave any recommendations you may have in the comments below.
The Girl on the Go xx