Rome, the capital of Italy, is an incredibly beautiful city filled with almost 3,000 years of history, amazing restaurants, piazzas and ancient ruins. There is so much to do in Rome and we only scratched the surface! All of my travel diaries are photo heavy, but Rome is REALLY photo heavy— I couldn’t help myself with all the photos!
I mentioned in my other travel diaries, here and here that I’d much rather stay in Airbnbs since you feel more like a local! You also get more space and a kitchen for less money! We stayed at this Airbnb in Rome, I loved this one because we each had our own room and bathroom. The host also left us breakfast, snacks and water. The Airbnb is right across the street from Ristorante La Piccola Toscana, one of our favorite restaurants. As much as I loved the space, in the future I would stay on the other side of the river— we were a really long walk or an Uber away from the city center. If you’re looking for a place in a quiet neighborhood and don’t mind being a little ways out, this is the perfect spot!
Piazza Navona is a large square beautiful square with with restaurants, coffee shops and we even came upon live music. It was a nice place to take a little break!
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori is another square that is known for their open air markets. You can find flowers, fish, fruit, pasta and more! The market starts early in the morning and goes until 2pm. We got there right as the market was ending and the piazza was a bit of a mess so I don’t have any photos of it.
We opted for private tours of The Colosseum and The Vatican and it was by far the best decision. Our tour guide Cecilia (pictured below!) from Marvels of Rome came highly recommended from a friend— rightfully so, she was INCREDIBLE! I can’t say enough nice things about her. Not only is she so insanely knowledgeable about ALL the history of her native city, she is the sweetest everr and super fashionable! She went out of her way to answer any questions we had (and we had a lot!) from transportation to the Amalfi Coast, to restaurant recommendations, to clothing stores since I loved her sense of style and more! We have still kept in touch, and I would recommend her a thousand times over. Do plan at least half the day for each The Vatican and The Colosseum tours!
The Colosseum was even better than I expected, and I had pretty high expectations! It’s incredible to me that the locals live in a city so rich in history. I can’t imagine waking up everyday and seeing these incredible buildings! The Colosseum is almost 2,000 years old! You can buy your tickets here, and the one ticket covers The Colosseum, Palatine and Roman Forum.
The following two photos are what the ruins currently look like and the paper I’m holding shows what it would have looked like when they were built.
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. It is just over 100 acres, meaning it’s 1/8th the size of Central Park in NYC! There is a lot packed into those 100 acres! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much art in my entire life. Each room, fresco, and tapestry is better than the next. The Sistine Chapel is obviously the most well known in The Vatican but there are so many other beautiful pieces of art that should not be missed! You can buy tickets here.
Fontana di Trevi is a sight to see both during the day and at night. It is SO crowded so if you want to get a picture without a million people I suggest you go around 7am. I couldn’t get anyone to get up that early with me, so my pictures have a ton of people around me…next time! Instead of the traditional one coin, I opted for the 3 coin legend! The first coin means a return to Rome, the second coin leads to a new romance, and the third coin leads to marriage. Here’s to hoping!
Amanda Glee is the store that Cecilia recommended to me, it’s super cute! All of her outfits were adorable, I wanted everything she wore!
We had 3 days in Rome but it wasn’t nearly enough. I think 5 or 6 days would be enough time to see everything without feeling rushed. In Rome we only pre booked tours we were taking with Cecilia (The Colosseum and Vatican) and in hindsight we should have pre booked a few other tours as they do tend to sell out during the high season. Some of the places we didn’t get to are: The Catacombs, Neros Palace, Villa Borghese Gardens and Ancient Ostia.
Helpful Tip: Rome has 2,800 fountains with fresh drinking water all over the city! I’m super picky about water and it was great! I’d suggest carrying around a bottle with you and refill when needed. All the restaurants in Italy charge for water, so here is a super simple way to save some money!
We had so many delicious meals but most of our best meals were in Rome!
The night we got into Rome we had dinner at Ristorante La Piccola Toscana which was recommended to us by our Airbnb host. Another delicious meal! The wine I chose was only sold by the bottle but they were so sweet and gave me a glass!
Grano Frutta Farina is a cute little pizza shop near Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). We only popped into the restaurant so my mom could get a bite to eat but I ended up seeing some pizza that I couldn’t resist. It is called crudo e bufala and it had prosciutto, fresh buffalo mozzarella and arugula on it with the fluffiest crust…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Di Rienzo Ristorante al Pantheon has the most amazing atmosphere and food! They have an outdoor patio right next to the Pantheon. Since the tables are close together we ended up chatting with people on either side of us and found out that everyone in our row was from the states! Call ahead to reserve a table outside, you won’t regret it!
Our tour guide Cecilia recommended Mama Bistrotfor lunch after our tour of The Vatican. I love getting recommendations from locals! Mama Bistro did not disappoint! My brother ordered a salad and told our waiter it was the best salad he ever had. After that they kept bringing us out free water! I had the pesto pasta, and then panna cotta for dessert!
Trattoria Cecio is right by train station and an absolute must. We went there for dinner on our last night of the trip and we wished we had gone there earlier! In my defense I tried to get my family to go there for dinner on our first night in Rome! We had just gotten off the train with six bags of luggage and instead of rolling their eyes at us for bringing all this luggage into a tiny restaurant they took all of our luggage and stored them in a back room for us. Our waiters name was Tonino and he was seriously the best waiter our entire trip. My mom is super picky and asked him to make some changes to the steak on the menu and he told her it would ruin the meal. She got it as is, per his suggestion, and said it was the best steak she has ever had. My brother and dad ordered Peronis with their meal and Tonino told them it wouldn’t compliment their meal- haha. He was right about it all, even down to the dessert! All of our meals were so delicious. Once we were done with our meal he saw that we were trying to get an Uber and it was going to be $90 due to surge pricing. He said cancel that, let me get you a taxi. We ended up saving $45 because of him. He seriously was the best.
Don Nino. Oh man, where do I begin? Ha! I went back for a second serving within 20 minutes on our last night in Rome! It was just too good! We went to two of their several locations. One of them is by the Fontana di Trevi so we grabbed a gelato, or in my case two and sat by the fountain. Their Don Nino and Oreo flavors were both crazy good!
We didn’t get to the following two restaurants but they looked so charming! The first restaurant saw me trying to take a picture of the outside and started messing with me by turning off the lights! Made all of us laugh!
When visiting The Vatican your shoulders and knees need to be covered. It was one of the hotter days (of course!) so I opted for my favorite shirt (see my entire post on my Amazon finds here) and linen pants to try to stay cool. At The Vatican we saw several women wearing shorts and then tied a scarf around their waist to cover their knees, brilliant idea! Next time!