Our trip to Rome already feels like a lifetime ago, when in reality its only been a couple of months. I wanted to create a little city guide to document some of our highlights and make some recommendations on what to do if you’re thinking of visiting.
Before I start rambling on about where to go and what to do in Italy, let me start with the one piece of advice that I wished I had been told at the beginning of our stay: USE THE METRO. The Metro is the Underground of Rome and it wasn’t until the fourth day (of five) that I put my foot down and refused to walk YET ANOTHER six miles so that we could get to one of the restaurants. I cannot tell you how much more relaxing the whole trip would have been if we had just done our research beforehand. We would have saved ourself miles and miles and taken hours off of our travel time. The only saving grace is that we burnt off all of that amazing Italian food!
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Raddison Blu, a 5* hotel with a gorgeous rooftop pool. Let me start off with the bad news, this is definitely not the place to go if you’re with anyone you’re not really REALLY comfortable with, the shower is literally in your bedroom, with a different room only for the toilet. Another con is that the hotel isn’t in the ‘friendliest’ of locations, although it is gated and there is security, I didn’t feel as safe as I would have liked when we got outside the hotel. These aren’t deal breakers though and like I mentioned, there is an amazing rooftop pool with a nice bar and friendly staff, so I guess it just depends on what you’re after in a hotel.
Where and what we ate:
Ad Hoc: We visited Rome over my birthday week and for the evening of my birthday Jamie had booked a food and wine tasting experience at a restaurant called Ad Hoc. Although it was fairly pricey, it was definitely something that I’m really glad we did, it was by far the most romantic meal of the trip and the food was delicious.
Pastifico Guerra: Have you even been to Italy if you haven’t eaten your own weight in pasta? If you’re looking for the best and most authentic then look no further. Pastifico Guerra is a pasta shop which serves its own fresh pasta during lunch and dinner hours. I can’t speak highly enough of it. It’s not a restaurant so don’t expect traditional service. You’ll be given your pasta in a plastic container and there isn’t any seating but they make up for this by only charging four euros per portion. Its well situated right near the Spanish Steps, so if you’re already out that way then I would definitely recommend you give it a go.
McDonalds: Please don’t judge me. We have the tradition now of finding and having a McDonalds meal on every holiday we can. The menus are always completely different abroad and we just find it interesting! (Rome has the best McCafe menu and sells really yummy desserts).
Gelato: I cannot tell you how much gelato we ate while in Rome. They had a different store around every corner and each had so many different and unique flavours. My favourites were tiramisu and kinder bueno, but there really was something for everyone, and it was a really tasty way of cooling down. My favourite store for gelato was Geletaria Valentino.
What we did:
Playing Tourist: Of course on our first visit to Rome we had to visit the typical Roman tourist attractions. The Spanish Steps, the Colosseum and the Vatican were all amazing and have now been ticked off my bucket list. We didn’t book any of these things and were glad we didn’t. The queues weren’t half as bad as they looked. We also got into the Colosseum for much less than anticipated as we got an EU/age discount.
I also loved the Trevi Fountain (I’m obsessed with water and it was just gorgeous for so many reasons). There is so much culture and history in Rome and it was really nice to take advantage of it all. A lot of my holidays have been more of the beach or typical fun filled kind rather than anything remotely educational, it made a nice change. I really enjoyed taking my time and wandering around just taking it all in. I also enjoyed spending a day relaxing and sunbathing by the pool. It was much hotter than I had anticipated so I even got to tan!
Shopping: Of course I have to shout out the shopping opportunities!
Like any City, Rome has a great selection of high end designer stores. I could have easily spent all my money in these alone, but instead I sensibly stuck to window shopping. When it came to actually spending money there were your typical high street stores, but also some lovely little boutiques. Jamie spotted a limited edition Italy flag Pandora charm which he treated me to on my birthday. We both bought a few little other bits and pieces out there. I also found a couple of Sephora stores which I spent far too much time and money in.
Rome was the perfect short city break away. It was an altogether different holiday to what I’m used to but I had the best time. I can’t wait to explore more of Italy, Venice and Milan are at the top of my list!
Are there any parts of Italy that you would recommend a visit to? I’d love some more places to add to my list!