all travel

a guide to rome

August 30, 2017


roma! known as the eternal city or caput mundi (literally the capital of the world), it’s one of the most historical and iconic cities in the world, overflowing with beautiful architecture that’s withstood the test of time, amazing food, and warm people. it’s organized chaos wherever you go, whether it be where the tourists flock, the various street markets with the vendors haggling the prices of their linens and jewelry, or navigating the crazy drivers and winding roads. it’s also home to my favourite dish of all time, cacio e pepe!

i mostly want to share with you my photos from this amazing city, but i wanted to include a few suggestions on to where to stay and what to see and eat for the next time you visit!

where to stay:
you have to stay in trastevere, a lively, perfectly weathered little pocked beside the water. it’s narrow, cobbled streets are filled with colourful houses half concealed by the creeping vines and bursting with flowers. you can unexpectedly turn a corner on one of the intricate streets and end up in a large piazza that’s teeming with life. on our first night there, on our way to dinner as the sun was starting to set, we stumbled upon a beautiful performance happening in our piazza by a live band composed of music students with down syndrome and their instructor. a crowd of locals had gathered around and were singing along and the energy was contagious. something like this is just a regular occurrence in this neighbourhood. the area is filled with great restaurants and bars with friendly, charismatic waiters. just outside our airbnb i found a restaurant where i ate the same pasta twice in the same day, it was that good, and the waiter remembered our faces and greeted us warmly each time we passed. it’s a young, enthusiastic area of the city, with tons of restaurant patios, perfect for people watching, enjoying the buskers that come around.

what to see:
my biggest piece of advice is to WAKE UP EARLY! pick one night to head to bed early-ish, and set that alarm for 6am (i know, i know – alarms are banned on vacay, but trust me!). wake up while the sun is just coming up, and get out to see the sights before the hoards of tourists appear. the peaceful, pinkish glow of the empty stone streets at that time is worth the early wake up call, i promise. be one of the first people at the trevi fountain, and take in all of it’s beauty – in a few hours, it will be so packed you won’t even be able to get to the steps leading down to the water. then head to the spanish steps as the morning sun is starting to illuminate the piazza, snap a few photos and head to the colosseum, take a walk around, marvelling at how big it is, and remember that gladiators used to battle til the death inside of it. (i’ve been to rome twice and haven’t gone inside – my advice is to skip it, but to each their own!)

wander over to the campo di fiori flea market and lazily browse through the offerings. stop at one of the restaurants on the outskirts of the tents, and enjoy a small bite and aperol spritz.

if you’re staying in the trastevere neighbourhood, you’re lucky enough to be just a 15 minute walk away from the canal, which is lined with white tents that come alive at night full of food, wine and street vendors. take a stroll, stopping to grab food and a peroni or two. you can then head back to the trastevere neighbourhood for some cacio e pepe and people watching, or just a short hop over the river is rione monti, which is another piazza that comes to life at night, lined with bars, shops and music.

what to eat:
perhaps the most important, and definitely my favourite part of travelling, is where to eat! i’ll keep this short and sweet in descriptives and just get to the point. here are some must-stops:

pastifico – cheap, really delicious take away pasta. they only make two types of pastas a day, and begin serving at 12:30 – but get there early, the line always extends far down the street and sometimes around the corner!
pompi – only a few steps away from pastifico, which couldn’t be more perfect because they have some of the best tiramisu in the city! make room in your stomach and walk over after lunch for their legendary tiramisu or gelato.
cajo e gajo – some of the best cacio e pepe in rome. it’s located right in the trastevere neighbourhood, it’s fun and lively and delicious. bonus: if there’s a line they give you prosecco while you wait.
da felice – more OG cacio e pepe
il forno – classic italian bakery near campo di fiori market, everything is good so try a few different things
rimessa roscoli -it’s a bakery, salumeria and wine bar. last year i ate the best mortadella of my life there, it actually made me tear up a bit. make a reservation because they fill up quickly, and on your way out pick up some meats and cheeses for the next morning!
pizza e mortazza – street food! it’s literally just fried bread and mortadella: heaven.
supplizio – the city’s best arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with cheese or meat, my favourite snack), served in little egg cartons, in really cool space.
dar filettaro – a little hole in the wall where you can find the best fried fish. go late on a friday night when it’s at the height of crazy, order a few pieces of bacala and some beers, (and some pasta with anchovies if you’re feeling truly roman – this is also one of my favourite dishes), and sit outside at the plastic tables and people watch.

last note:
only second to cacio e pepe, my favourite thing about rome is the 2500 drinking fountains, called nassoni, that are scattered around the city. these cast iron fountains can be found everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes peeled (but here’s an app that helps you find them, just in case you need a hand). the water is pumped down directly from the mountains so it’s fresh, ice cold, and free from impurities (seriously – it’s tested over 250,000 times a year). never over pay a street vendor again for bottled water, just make sure to always carry yours with you to stay hydrated!

ciao!


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