Ok so in order for you to truly get in the mood for this post, I need you to turn on some Dean Martin right now, specifically, 'On an Evening in Roma,' which you can find here. Now that you have the tunes going, we can begin. Either that or just turn on the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack which is equally as satisfying.
Rome. What can I say about Rome? We were only there for a few days, and it wasn't nearly enough! When we were planning our trip, a ton of people said that Rome was a place we only needed to spend a few days at and some even said don't even bother. But I disagree because I think it is one of the first places you must go when you first visit Italy, which was the case for us. Although I can see why people would only say spend a few days (from a touristy point of view), I think Rome has so much to offer and there is a lot to do. While the "sights" may not be plentiful, I think the best part about traveling is fully experiencing and submerging yourself into the culture and do as the Romans do. So don't listen to the haters and spend a few days in Rome if you are planning your first trip to Italy.
As mentioned, we didn't spend a ton of time in Rome so this post will be on the shorter side, but worry not I will get into everything I did. Similar to Florence, but more so in Rome, a bunch of restaurants were closed for holiday. My friend Gabriella sent me a list of all of her favorite places to eat and there were a handful of places that we had taken a car to, only to find out it was closed. While this was a bummer, it also means I have to go back not in August and get the full experience.
WHERE TO STAY
Rome is a lot bigger than you may think. It's pretty spread out and there are so many different parts that there isn't one place, to my knowledge, that would be the best to stay in. We got an AirBnb that we loved, and can be found here. I loved it because it was clean and had plenty of room, and it had a really nice outdoor patio. It also had wonderful AC which was very very crucial considering we were there during the hottest time of year.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
The Colosseum: I mean, this is a given. But a definite must see. I don't know if it's completely necessary to get tickets to go inside, we didn't, but I've heard great things. We were just at the point where we had done so many touristy things that it didn't even really come to mind. We were pretty sick of crowds at this point.
Vatican City: Again, another must. There is so much history in Rome and so many sites that you need to go to, and Vatican City is another. This is where you can find the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica, and St. Peter's Square. You MUST get tickets for this because it really makes the whole process so much easier. Kate got tickets months in advance so we didn't have to worry, which I would recommend since it got booked up pretty quick. Also the line is ridiculous and I would hate for someone to have to put themselves through that kind of torture. There is also a dress code, especially if you are visiting the Sistine Chapel. The museums were really crowded but everything was seriously so beautiful. You can take photos up until you get to the Sistine Chapel, where you technically aren't supposed to but I mean, I had to get one of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.
Trevi Fountain: If you know me at all, you know how integral The Lizzie McGuire movie is and was in my life, so being in Rome was seriously a dream come true. There was nothing I was more excited to do than listen to 'What Dreams Are Made Of' and romp around on a vespa. While the latter never happened, I did go to the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin back. But Paolo did not appear afterwards, FYI. A friend gave me the tip of getting to the Trevi Fountain by 7am to beat the crowds. I mean, if you have ever seen photos of the fountain, you can see that there are hundreds of people swarming around it. It makes it impossible to enjoy it and to take some photos. So we got up early, which was WELL worth it, and got to see it while it was still quiet and calm. The sun also hit the fountain just right and it was really beautiful.
Spanish Steps: These are a set of steps built in the 18th century and just a great place to go and hang out with a cup of coffee in the morning. We had started our day early this day and got here before things were open, and again it was nice and quiet. There is also great shopping in this area (think Valentino, Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, etc.) so it made it a great start to our day.
Roman Forum: We didn't do a tour or anything, but walked the perimeter when we visited the Colosseum, and it was just really cool to see. This is basically where the ruins of ancient Roman government buildings are and used to be the center of everyday life and commerce. Being there it felt like I could almost imagine people walking around, going about their day, selling goods and doing business back when it was still active.
Piazza Venezia: Central hub of Rome where you can also find the Altare della Patria. We came at night and I highly suggest going then.
Pantheon: Another must that is on anyone's list if visiting Rome. We didn't go inside, we just walked around the area.
WHERE TO EAT
Giulio passami l'olio: Got the bolognese. It was amazing.
Da Fortunato al Pantheon: This is my friend Giuliana's family's restaurant that is right by the Pantheon. So good. I mean just look at how bomb this meal looks.
Pierluigi: A more upscale restaurant that was delicious. I would recommend sitting outside but you must go inside to see all of the fish.
Giolitti Gelato: Kind of confusing on how you order, but basically you need to pay for your gelato first right when you walk in and they will give you a ticket. Then you go to where the gelato actually is, and give them your ticket to order.
Frigidarium: SO GOOD. We came here like three times. I died over the cinnamon gelato.
Places that were highly recommended but were either closed or couldn't get to while we were there:
- Trattoria Da Enzo
- Roma Sparita
- Dal Bolognese
THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE EXPERIENCE
So I thought I would be fun and playful to include my Lizzie McGuire Movie guide to Rome. I mean, you can't go and not get giddy with excitement when you realize where you are and what you are doing. I didn't even realize I was going to some of the places where scenes were filmed until I was actually there. But if you care enough to live like Lizzie aka Isabella, then keep reading!
Trevi Fountain: A given, this is where Miss Ungermeyer takes the class and tells them not to make a wish in the fountain cuz it's baloney, but Lizzie says she wants to and tells Gordo to go first but he says he's "in Rome with his best friend, I'm good." So Lizzie does it and probably wishes for the best trip ever, and when she opens her eyes, she sees Paolo and slow motion starts and her bitmoji falls into the fountain cuz she is so taken aback by his beauty. Also can we talk about how Paolo is Garrett in Pretty Little Liars?
Spanish Steps: If you follow me on Insta or Snap, you saw that I posted on my story me recreating Lizzie's cartwheel post-makeover. This is where she emerges with questionable braids in her hair and says "Goodbye Lizzie McGuire, hello fabulous."
The Colosseum: This is where Lizzie trips while walking the red carpet then performs for thousands of randoms who all cheer her on while she does a weird shimmy with her body double.
Roman Forum: Where Gordo and Ethan are when Gordo sees the tabloid with Lizzie on the cover and the Italian girls think Ethan's name is Word and they say "Ciao, Word."
Overall, I had a great time in Rome. I wish I had a few more days there to really see more of the city but I know I will be back. I apologize for the gap between my travel guides, but I hope to get the rest out soon. I hope you enjoyed and please let me know if you ever go to Rome, or any of the cities that I've made guides for so far, and if you used them at all!