Ahhh…Roma! Where do I begin?! We really loved our time in Rome, which is surprising because so many told me that the could have done without Rome. Here’s what I think, though…you really have to EXPERIENCE Rome and all the rich history it holds, for it to be special. There are much more dreamy cities to spend time in while in Italy, but Rome…it’s something to experience.
So here is my Rome Travel Guide – Where to Stay, Where to Eat and How To See It All
Where to Stay:
We took the train from Naples to Rome, and then Taxi’d to our flat in Trastevere. We had heard so many people tell us to go to Trastevere, a neighborhood in Rome, so it was a pleasant surprise when I realized I had booked our AirBNB there. We stayed in a great AirBNB that was super clean, modern and affordable. Note: You do have to walk up 4 flights of stairs at this one, so if that’s an issue for you, you might want to consider somewhere else. It wasn’t an issue for us but it was definitely a hike to the top. 🙂
Where to Eat:
While in Trastavere, there are literally SO many great restaurants, you really can’t go wrong. Roman food is definitley more “rich” and full of flavor, while the foods on the Almafi coast tend to be more fresh and pure. We had all our meals in Trastavere, since it was only a short walk to everywhere we wanted to go, from our place. A few of our musts are below:
- Tonnarello – They served THE BEST pasta here in little iron skillets. The pasta is so thick here and perfectly homemade. It’s a much for authentic, rich, Roman cuisine. (They also have a sister company Nonnarello, with the same menu, fyi.)
- Grazia and Graziella – This was one of our favorite meals! We shared a pasta dish, the roast chicken with potatoes and an appetizer of various toasts. Also, our entire bill, WITH WINE, was $43 euro – which felt like a steal for what we got!
- Fresco Trastavere – Depending on how long you’ve been in Italy, your body is going to crave fruits and veggies. I picked up a great green juice at this smoothie bar.
Things To Do:
We toured the Vatican as well as the Roman Forum and Colleseum. I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a tour guide for these places. Sure, you can visit any of them on your own, but to get to experience and understand the beauty and rich history, a tour guide is essential!
In our preparations for our Italian Vacation, we spent countless nights watching YouTube videos about Italy, and discovered “The Roman Guy” on YouTube. This company covers SO many topics when it comes to several cities in Europe, but they did a phenomenal job covering Rome and the Vatican, which piqued our interest in booking them for our tours. We booked the “Privileged Entrance” tour of the Vatican, which allowed us to enter before the Vatican officially opened, and tourist start pouring in. Note: we weren’t the only tour that had this access, so don’t expect it to be super exclusive, but it was well worth it still. The first time we went through the Sistine Chapel, it was so comfortable and you really got to spend time marveling, as not too many people were in there. The tour cycled us back through the Sistine Chapel at the end, and it was SO crowded by that time, so booking this tour is 100% worth it.
The Sistine Chapel was probably what I was most excited to see, and it did not disappoint. That said, my favorite was St Peter’s Basilica. I mean…wow. The architecture is absolutely stunning. And, to think THE apostle Peter is literally buried right beneath the Basilica’s dome…it’s an emotional experience. We were so fortunate to have had a Cardinal come into the Sistine Chapel and pray over us while we were there. Then, there was a mass with an African church happening when we visited the Basilica. It was incredible.
Later that day, we met back up with The Tour Guy for their tour of The Roman Forum and the Colosseum. I, of course, had heard of the Colosseum and it was at the top of my to-see list, but I didn’t have really any expectation and knowledge about the Roman forum and when I booked it, felt like it was just a “bonus” part of the tour. I ended up loving the tour of The Roman Forum even more than the Colosseum. Having a tour guide was so essential because they gave us so much information about the rich history, that we never would have known if we just went on our own. We walked through all of The Roman Forum and then ended at the Colosseum, where we got to walk on The Arena Floor. I can’t recommend these two tours enough.
Other Sites To See In Rome:
-Trevi Fountain – This is still an active fountain/aqueduct in Rome, which is mindblowing. It supplied water to the ancient Romans, and is still one of the few active systems that still operates today. *Make sure to toss a coin in the fountain. According to legend, tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain means you will return to Rome again one day.
-Pantheon – The Pantheon was built as a temple to the Greek gods, and is such an incredible Roman monument. It was the first thing we did when we got to Rome, and the architecture blew our minds. Like HOW did the Romans build this stuff?! It was constructed over 1300 years ago and it still remains to be the largest unsupported dome ever constructed. I’m sorry…what?! The Romans were incredible, am I right?
-Spanish Steps – We walked to these the morning before we left just to see them, but they were pretty anti-climatic. We came, we saw, we left.
-Wander around Trastevere – this charming neighborhood reminded me of the West Village in NYC and I’m SO glad we stayed there. I highly recommend staying there or at least spending a late afternoon/evening wandering in it.
I’m sure I am missing something but tried to hit the important parts of our trip. If you haven’t checked out my post on the Almafi coast you can check that out here. I plan to do one on Venice soon, as well as a post on my best tips for traveling around Rome. Be sure to let me know if you have any specific questions below!