Rome. After many years trying to go to the “eternal city”, I finally managed to board a plane and spend 4 full days with my favorite human in this amazing city. I was looking forward to it. I had heard so much about it and with my best friend being Italian, I had many expectations. I can tell you now, we weren’t disappointed. It was exactly how I imagined it, not more not less. Exactly how it was in my mind. The little extra was watching the final of the EU football cup and what a night! #itscomingRome. But let’s rewind to the beginning of the trip.
As very “good” travelers that we are. We didn’t plan much. We did some research and looked in the Lonely Planet guidebook, for the must-dos and some recommendations. We did book the 2 main attractions – The Vatican Museum and the Colosseum & Roman Forum, because we wanted to avoid lines and with the COVID restrictions we wanted to make sure we could get in. Besides that, we just decided to go with the flow and discover the city by “surprise”. Food-wise, we knew the little things we needed to pay attention to, to avoid the tourist traps and I think we did quite well. The food was really good and so cheap. We stayed at the Talussa Hotel in the Trastevere neighborhood, the restaurant district of the Romans which made it easy for us to find nice places to have dinner.
We arrived on Friday late morning. We got settled in the hotel and we went to explore the city. We were advised to walk in the city because we would see more and that’s what we did. We walked through the center up north passing through the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, making a stop for a granita and drinking so much water! Thank God for the water fountains that are all over the city. The sun was burning, but let’s not complain about that. We finally stopped at the Castel Sant’Angelo. The view of the city was beautiful and we enjoyed being in the castle to enjoy some colder temperatures. We were also lucky that it wasn’t too packed and we could visit in a normal space without feeling rushed. As we continued our stroll, we decided to go to the Villa Borghese and enjoy the park. Before going there we had to go through the Piazza del Popolo. I was looking forward to seeing the square as it appears in the famous book of Dan Brown ‘Angels and Demons’. Unfortunately, it was one of the squares throughout Rome that was made available to watch the EU football cup Final. So it wasn’t really enjoyable with the stadium and the rest of the measures. The entrance to the Villa Borghese and the gardens were just behind the square and what a delight!! such a beautiful place. But because we are usually out of luck, we couldn’t see the villa as it was under construction or renovation. It wasn’t really clear. Even Italians were asking us where to find the Villa. We did find a little pond where we could get a little boat, so that’s what we did. We enjoyed ourselves and we loved being in the park and the BF was happy to tell me that he “Notebooked” me. It felt so different from the city. And so we continued walking through Rome and saw the Spanish Steps, which was less impressive than what I thought it would be, and together with the Trevi Fountain, these were probably the 2 spots with the most people just sitting there. Even though we stopped at the Trevi Fountain, which was so impressive, we decided not to stay long nor to throw the coin yet, same with the Pantheon. we wanted to do that on the last day with more time and hoping for fewer people. After hours of walking and sightseeing, it was time for probably my favorite part. FOOD. I was looking forward to it. We ended up at a little restaurant called La Tavernaccia. Burrata, cherry tomatoes, pizza bread, wine, and pasta! Mamma Mia, it was delicious! What a 1st day!
The Vatican Museum, Sixteenth Chapel, San Pietro… I must admit I was looking forward to it. You see it on TV, in movies and you finally see it with your own eyes. You will not be disappointed. This is at least how I felt and yeah, I felt like I was in the “Angels & Demons” movie, please do not judge. Also, we underestimated the time to get there. We thought taking public transport would be easier but it took us the same amount of time if we would have walked. So tip for next time: leave on time and enjoy the walk! I was surprised that the Piazza San Pietro was so empty. I expected to see a lot of people. On the contrary, there were a lot of people in The Vatican museum, but what a museum. We spent over 3 hours in there admiring the art! The cartography room was probably the most beautiful area in the museum, but I was looking forward to the sixteenth chapel. Be ready to have some neck pain after looking up for minutes straight! It always gets me when I see a piece of art that I learned about in school. I guess you learn to appreciate it even more. After the museum, we visited the Basilica of San Pietro. What a basilica. It was majestic, that’s the first word that came into my mind when we entered. Anyways after spending the whole morning and more visiting and walking, it was time to eat! of course, it was already after 2 pm and the siesta time is a serious moment in the Italian culture. But we ended up finding a little restaurant called “E Passata la Moretta“, we had some delicious pasta and the tiramisu was divine! We also realized at that moment how tired we were of all that walking we did. So we took it piano piano! So we enjoyed some delicious gelato and went back to the hotel to rest, take a shower, and got dressed to enjoy the sunset at the Giardini del Gianicolo and have a nice pizza in Trastevere neighborhood, but can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to. While walking towards the street with all the restaurants, we came across a little square where there was an open-air movie night. Too bad we don’t understand Italian because we would have loved to have a spot to watch the movie and eating a pizza.
Day 3, was also an important day for us. That day we were going to see, what we probably all think about when someone talks about Rome. The Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Ok, so I do need to add a little side note to this: Thank god I bought the tickets in advance because this was probably the place with not only the most people but also the most amount of people almost arising you to buy tickets from them and talking all the possible languages. We spend so many hours there… It looked a bit surreal to imagine that people would have lived or fought there. Also, the arena looked smaller than I imagined haha, and it wasn’t circular but oval. It was also the hottest day and we were so happy to find the water fountains in the Roman Forum. Debs was right, you can spend time enjoying those places. The view, the architecture, the history, and culture. It’s a must-do! It’s probably the place I have the most pictures of. oops. And because with my amazing travel buddy, there is never a dull moment. Guess who fell for the nice man selling things and to whom we ended up giving money? Haha. The moment the seller mentioned Australia I lost him haha. The positive thing that came out of it is that now we have matching friendship bracelets. Oh, I forgot to mention, that day was also the big EU football Cup Final. All-day we had seen people getting ready for the game and wearing their flags and colors. As great naïve people, we thought that we would easily find a way to get into those fan areas to watch the game. What a mistake. We needed tickets, we walked for a very long time, it felt like hours. We decided to find a bar or restaurant with a tv screen and stay there because everything was getting packed, but what an atmosphere! It was impressive. What a night! We were sad for England, but happy to be in Italy and see them win. We had another amazing day in Rome.
For the last day in Rome, we decided to have a more relaxed day and do the 2 last things that we did not have time to do before. We started our day with breakfast. The hotel has the cutest garden on the roof where they are growing all types of vegetables and fruit. We then booked the spa for the evening at the hotel before going for our last roman adventure. We were hoping that we would have fewer tourists at the Trevi Fountain, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Nevertheless, we managed to find a nice spot at the water and throw our coin! I have to admit though that the sun was burning that day and the fountain has no shade at all. So if you want to stay there and take your time, I would say go very very early and I’m sure that even the light should be better to take amazing pictures. Honestly, I thought about going early in the morning but we were too tired. Going from barely walking to spend 4 days walking all day long was harsh. anyway, so we continue our little stroll through the city and we managed pretty easily to enter the Pantheon (which is free!), which we couldn’t do the first day because the queue was too long and standing there in the sun was probably not the best idea. On Monday there were not a lot of people so it was nice to take the time to visit it. I believe the Pantheon was also one of the stops in the Angels & Demons novel. Our last stop for the day was the Mouth of Truth, Bocca della Verità. Yes, I dared to put my hand in the mouth and nothing happened… does it mean I’m pure of heart? I guess we will never know… It was smaller than I thought though. Besides that, the church was pretty cute and very relaxing. There was also the letter from Saint Valentine, obviously only in Italian, but I think I managed to get the gist of it. Now, don’t ask me what it said, because I can’t remember, besides that we can’t live a life without love.
Honestly, we had such a good time. And we couldn’t end our last day in Rome without having a delicious last meal at a restaurant called Tonnarello in Trastevere and a well-deserved 2-hour at the private wellness center of the hotel. After walking for 4 days non-stop, we were looking forward to it. After that, we were ready for our next stop… Sicily. But before let me finish this post with some food pictures!