Rome, Italy Travel Guide

Streets of Rome

I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to Rome, Italy twice! The first time I went was with my sister and her husband shortly after we moved to the Netherlands for my husband’s job. The second time was about a month ago [October 2017], and we went with my husband’s parents to show them all of the wonderful things that Rome has to offer. It was actually really nice getting to visit Rome a second time because we had more of an idea about the things we wanted to do, where we wanted to stay, where we wanted to eat, etc. It’s definitely fun exploring a city for the first time, but having some experience is also a nice perk!

accommodations.

As always [or almost always], we chose to stay in an Airbnb for our most recent trip to Rome. And unsurprisingly, we had a fantastic experience. The location of our Airbnb was one of the best locations we’ve stayed in any European city we’ve visited. It was just one block away from the Trevi fountain [a main tourist attraction] and walking distance to pretty much anything Rome has to offer!

If you’re planning a trip to Rome, I couldn’t recommend this specific Airbnb more! The location was perfect, the apartment was clean and huge! And the host was accommodating and friendly. Message me directly if you’d like any information about it.

 


to do [in no particular order].

[1] Trevi Fountain.

This popular tourist spot is such a beautiful sight! The clear blue water among the white statues in the background is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It gets very busy and crowded in the late morning through evening time, so if you’d like to get a picture without the crowds, I highly recommend getting there before 8am. We were lucky enough to see the uncrowded Trevi fountain each morning on our early morning walk to get coffee since our Airbnb was just down the street. It’s seriously beautiful and something I highly recommend visiting.

the perks of visiting the Trevi Fountain in the early morning: no crowds and a picture to ourselves!Rome Trevi Fountain


[2] The Pantheon.

What I love so much about the Pantheon is that it almost comes out of nowhere when you’re walking throughout the streets of Rome. With its huge Roman columns, it stands out and it definitely worth a visit! Entrance into the Pantheon is free but the line can get pretty long. Even with the long lines though, getting into the Pantheon actually doesn’t take too long, so if you have a little extra time, I would highly recommend taking a look inside. And, chances are, if you’re walking through Rome, which I highly encourage, you’ll stumble upon the Pantheon, and you won’t be disappointed!

a beautiful shot of the Pantheon as the sun goes down.Rome Pantheon in evening


[3] The Colosseum [and Roman Forum if you have time!].

If you travel to Rome, you can’t leave without a trip to the Colosseum. Rich with history and quite a sight to see, I highly recommend booking a guided tour here. You’ll learn so much more about what the Colosseum stands for and some of the stories from so long ago. This massive structure is seriously beautiful and stands out as one of the coolest things I’ve seen in Europe so far.

on our walk to the Colosseum tour and someone was a little tired.Rome Colosseum Outside

Right outside of the Colosseum is the “Roman Forum” which you can also pay to walk through or get a tour of. It’s a huge area full of ancient ruins, and walking though it gives you a little taste of what life must have been like back when all of the buildings were standing and people were still living there.

a tiny glimpse of the ruins at the Roman Forum.Roman Forum


[4] Jewish Ghetto.

An underrated and less well-known area/neighborhood in Rome called the Jewish Ghetto is loaded with charm and personality. With streets lined with restaurants and outdoor patios, this is a fun and much less crowed area of Rome to visit.

It has several popular restaurants along the streets that serve delicious, homemade food. One of my favorite spots, Restaurant Giggetto Al Portico D’Ottavia is in the Jewish Ghetto. I post more about this restaurant below in my “to eat” section.

having lunch at one of my favorite spots in Rome, Restaurant Giggetto Al Portico D’Ottavia.Rome Dining Jewish Ghetto


[5] Campo de’ Fiori.

Both times we visited Rome we made a point to come out to Campo de’ Fiori which is one of many “squares” in Rome. What we love so much about Campo de’ Fiori is the selection of authentic and delicious places to eat. Many of the restaurants in this square are highly rated and have great, authentic Italian food, so you pretty much can’t go wrong! We decided on Pizza from the Roma Beer Company, and as always, the pizza was outstanding! As a bonus, we met the nicest couple from Beaverton, Oregon who were eating at the table next to us. What a small world.

dinner with the in-laws on our first night in Rome at the Roma Beer Company.Roma Beer Company Dinner


[6] Piazza Navona.

This “square” in Rome is beautiful. Lined with picturesque buildings, it’s truly a site to see. We ended up just stumbling upon this spot as we were doing some exploring. There are many restaurants here, but many are quite touristy, so we just stopped in for an afternoon Aperol Spritz, and continued on our way. If you haven’t tried an Aperol Spritz before, you must! With just three ingredients: Prosecco, Aperol and soda water, this cocktail is light and refreshing.

Rome Piazza Navona


[7] Vatican City [St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums].

Vatican city is actually a country itself, located inside of Rome. Crazy, right? Technically it’s the smallest country in the world. Vatican city is famous for many reasons, including being home to the Pope, St. Peter’s Basilica – the famous Church where the Pope holds mass, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican museum which showcases some famous artwork and sculptures. What I will say first about touring Vatican city is that it is extremely overpopulated with tourists! So be ready for the crowds! We booked a tour the first time visiting Rome, and I’m glad we did because we got to learn a lot more than what we could have on our own, however, it was still extremely crowded. If you happen to be in Rome when the Pope hold his Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, the tickets are free but you must arrive early if you expect to get a seat. We did not end up attending a Mass. Overall, just walking through Vatican City is breathtaking and memorable. Definitely recommended.

a view of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.St Peters Basilica

behind us they are setting up chairs for the Pope’s Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.St Peters Square Rome


[8] Spanish Steps.

The Spanish Steps are quite the gathering spot for tourists. Many people sit and rest on the steps, chat with friends or just take some time to themselves. Others climb the 135 steps to the top to take in some great views of the city. One note: there is no eating or drinking allowed on the Spanish Steps, and the local authorities are very strict about this, so just make sure you’re not planning a picnic here or even have a coffee in your hand. 

Hallie walked every one of the 135 steps of the Spanish Steps. Proud mama moment. This is the view from the top.

Top of Spanish Steps

as you can see behind me, the Spanish Steps are a very poplar place for sitting, not just a stairway. 

Rome Spanish Steps

 


 

to eat.

You can’t come to Rome and not think about food constantly! The homemade pizza and pasta here are just perfection. And if you’re walking around all day, you’re bound to work up quite the appetite. Below are a few of my favorite places to eat in Rome.

p.s. when you’re looking at a menu deciding what to order, always look and see if the pasta is ‘homemade.’ If not, ask the waitstaff because you must try the homemade Italian pasta!

 

[1] Location: Campo de’ Fiori

Restaurant: Roma Beer Company

What to order: pizza or homemade pasta

As I said previously, Campo de’ Fiori is one of our favorite places in Rome to find a place to eat. There are many great restaurants that it’s hard to choose just one. The Roma Beer Company had a more hip and modern vibe than some of the other Italian restaurants in the area which I actually loved. The atmosphere was great, the waiters were friendly and the pizza was delicious! I ordered the roasted veggie pizza in the picture below and it was perfection. The Nutritionist in me always like to get my veggies in, and what better way than on a delicious homemade Italian pizza!

Roma Beer Company Pizza


[2] Location: Jewish Ghetto

Restaurant: Giggetto Al Portico D’Ottavia

What to order: homemade pasta and Jewish-style artichokes

The Jewish Ghetto neighborhood in Rome is another great place to eat. We received a recommendation to try this restaurant, Giggetto Al Portico D’Ottavia by one of our tour guides the first time we visited Rome. We ate here the first time in Rome and loved it some much that we came back a second time…and I ordered the exact same thing both times. This restaurant is so unique and authentic. To get into the restaurant you walk by a few older Roman men who are sitting at tables cleaning fresh artichokes [they are know for their artichokes!]. And they provide fresh baked bread that they slice right before bringing it to your table. My recommendations here include: the Jewish-style artichokes for appetizer and any one of the homemade pastas for your meal. The artichokes are prepared deep fried and are one of the most popular items on the menu. The pasta with artichokes is the dish I ordered both times and it is truly delicious. It’s simple, light and all homemade! The picture does’t do this dish justice.

Rome Homemade Artichoke Pasta


 [3] Location: Trevi Fountain

Restaurant: Locanda Giulietta e Romeo

What to order: homemade pasta

We stumbled on this little restaurant as we were wrapping up sightseeing for the day and were getting pretty hungry. We typically try to stay away from restaurants that are too close to a major attraction [this restaurant is located right around the corner from the Trevi fountain], but we were hungry and the menu looked great so we tried it out. Let me first say that the waiter we had here was one of the friendliest people we’ve met! For an appetizer we had an assortment of bruschetta which was the perfect starter. Crispy bread, fresh cheese and tomatoes – you can’t really go wrong! They have several homemade pasta options on the menu as well which is always something I’m looking for. My dish below was homemade pasta with bacon and cheese. Yum!

Homemade Pasta Rome


[4] Location: Trevi Fountain

Restaurant: Piccolo Buco

What to order: Pizza

We walked past this pizza place one evening while looking for a place to stop for dinner. The restaurant was packed and reservations were full as well! Right away we knew we had to make it back here, and we did. We came back for lunch the next day and I’m so glad we did! Wine and pizza for lunch? You don’t have to twist my arm! Right inside the restaurant you can see a huge wood fire oven that cooks your pizza to perfection in just a couple of minutes! My husband and I each picked a pizza off the menu and then shared. Of all the pizza I’ve eaten, this is hands down the best! The crust is fluffy and light, there’s just the right amount of cheese, and you can taste the quality of the ingredients! Best pizza I’ve ever eaten. I would highly recommend it.

Roman Pizza Piccolo Buco


 [5] Location: Spanish Steps

Café: Di Quà

What to order: cocktails

After visiting the Spanish Steps we were looking for a place to stop in for a cocktail or glass of wine before dinner. We stumbled upon this little hole in the wall café. The patio seating was full so we found a small table inside next to the bar. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere was inviting. We ordered a couple of cocktails. My husband got one of his favorites, a Negroni and I got something I haven’t had before called a Rossini, a combination of prosecco and pureed strawberries. I watched the bartender make it — no crazy ingredients or sugar added, just strawberries pureed in a blender and prosecco. Done and done. My only regret was not eating here because the food looked great, but I would definitely recommend this place for drinks either way.

Di Qua Cocktails Rome

 


 

It’s been fun, Rome.

As I end this post, I can’t help but feel super spoiled to be living this life right now. I’m so thankful that my husband and his job has given us this amazing opportunity to explore Europe. From Seattle, Washington to Eindhoven, Netherlands just under a year ago — it’s been quite a ride, but the highs have been so high and we’ve loved getting to live like Europeans!

So, if you’re reading this Bryce, thank you and love you! Can’t wait to plan our next adventure!

Me and Bryce Rome

 

xoxo,

Angela

 

Have you been to Rome, Italy before? What were your favorite things to do and see? And did you eat some amazing Italian food? I sure hope you did!

 

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Angela Freed

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