Destinations Food & Drinks

Ultimate Travel Guide to Rome, Italy


It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Rome, nowhere else in the world holds as much history. Nowhere else is as romantic, and nowhere else has such religious iconography as Rome. You never know in the city, when you turn a corner whether you will come across a 2000 year old building, or a mouth watering gelato shop. I went there for five days in February, and here’s what I learned about the eternal city.

Note: I lost my camera shortly after this trip, I will do the best I can to use the photos I’ve saved on my phone.

 

 

WHEN TO VISIT

Click link above to find out

 

FLIGHT REVIEW

I booked the flight to Rome from London with British Airways. I got a business class ticket for a very reasonable amount of Avios, which is what they call their air miles. The BA lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 was busy, but they had enough seating that this wasn’t a problem. The bathrooms were clean and had shower facilities, and there was a good buffet spread and an excellent section of complimentary drinks – not that I had any of course! Well, OK, maybe just a couple… The service on the BA flight was great. As it was a Club Europe flight the seats don’t fully recline, but its short haul and there were plenty more complimentary drinks on hand, and a beautifully cooked fish course. Great job, British airways!

 

FLYING AND ARRIVING TO ROME

Flew from Dallas, TX –> London –> Rome

If you are flying to Rome, then you are likely to fly into Fiumicino, which is the largest airport in Italy. Upon arrival, be prepared to wait in the long customs lines. Note that the airport is 33-60 minutes away from the city center depending on traffic, so if you had a long day, jet-lagged and you’re flying on a pm flight like me, I would advise you to book a hotel near the airport and get acquainted with the city.

 

TRANSPORTATION

I used uber

I’m a big fan of uber, I can keep track of how much they are charging me, and I’m certain I won’t get ripped off. Let me just say that these Uber drivers in Rome are amazing!! 5 stars*****! I’ve never had a better experience in any other city!

Before I could even open my door the uber driver was already there helping me out of the car, and unloading my luggage. And it was the exact treatment throughout my whole trip with other drivers.

UBERCODE: brandye20ue for a FREE ride when you sign up.

 

ACCOMODATION

Although, I have not stayed in these hotels, I did my research and these are ranked high on booking.com

Hostel:

(Taken from www.funnyhostel.com)

 Funny palace hostel Rome

  • Free wifi, located in the center of Rome, 2 min walk to Termini train and metro station
  • Breakfast included
  • Basic mixed dorm $30 and up (prices vary)
  • Private room $70 and up (prices vary)
  • Get 15 pounds and book with booking.com

 

Mid-budget:

(photo taken from booking.com)

B&B Liberty Rome suites

  • Centrally located in Rome
  • 10 min walk to the Vatican, 2 miles from popular shopping center
  • $127 and up
  • Get 15 pounds and book with booking.com

 

Luxury:

 (Photo taken from liberty Rome suites)

Princeps boutique hotel

  • Historic building in Rome’s Monti District
  • Amenities include free wifi, soundproof rooms, marble bathroom floors, a mini bar
  • Ipap or laptop is available upon request
  • Daily buffet style breakfast, afternoon tea and coffee facilities
  • $259 and up
  • Get 15 pounds and book with booking.com

WHERE I STAYED

I spent about 20 hours traveling from the states to Rome, my flight had landed around 10PM and I needed a convenient place to stay and prepare for my adventures the next day.

Hotel near the airport:

 

 (Photos taken from booking.com)

Golden Tulip

  • Easy to find and Located in a quiet area near the airport
  • Not much do in the general area
  • Quick drivable access to historic center of Rome
  • Breakfast is offered 6am-10am every morning
  • Cost
  • Get 15 pounds and book with booking.com

 

Apartment in Rome:

Selci Apartment 

I booked my apartment on booking.com. On arrival I met the owners, it turned out that they owned a number of apartments in the same building. And the one I booked was not the one that was shown on the website. It didn’t live up to the photos, of what I thought I was booking, but it was spacious clean and reasonable for the price I paid.

Best of all, it was only a five min walk away from Rome’s biggest attractions, such as the forum of Rome and the Colosseum.

 

PLACES TO EAT

Note: The reason I chose an apartment rather than a hotel, is because I wanted the kitchen facilities, as I’m sure you can see by now. I love to eat out but it’s an expensive hobby and so having an apt with a kitchen allowed me to make a meal or two at home every day, and saved a lot for my budget. I’ll be making a new post soon on how to budget for a vacation but for now let’s just say that 5 days of groceries for breakfast, lunch, and snacks cost about the same as one three course meal.

 

Sapori e delizie

So what’s the first thing you do when you land in Italy? Find pizza of course! I took an Uber from the apartment, and my amazing driver doubled as a tour guide. I used his recommendation on where to look for food, heading away from the direction of the tourist attractions, and ended up in a little pizzeria called Sapori e delizie. There was only room for about eight people inside, and that included the three staff! I ordered a plate of prosciutto with salad and a tuna pizza. Both were divine, and the total bill was less than twenty Euros; incredible value for such delicious food. YUM!

 

(Photo taken from google unknown)

Around the major attractions in the city there are a lot of restaurants aimed at catching the tourist trade. I’m sure that there are a few good ones amongst them, but generally they’re geared towards getting people in and out as fast as possible for maximum revenue, and the food and recipes are simple and a little bland. If you want to sample the real taste of Rome’s cuisine head away from the tourist traps, just a couple minutes walk will find you restaurants that are rich in flavor and experience.

 

Osteria Oscar Montecitorio

Osteria is a good example of how you can find a great restaurant within a few minute walk of a major tourist attraction, in this case the Trevi fountain. It’s the kind of place where you can sit out in the street, people watch, eat a slow lunch, drink a couple glasses of wine and generally just watch the world go buy.

 

Iconic gelato

Giolitti is an iconic fixture on Rome’s tourist trail, despite being late in the evening, the place was packed, and the system was a little confusing- with lines going in several directions. Eventually, I figured out that one line was for a cashier. Here you pay and collect a receipt before joining the next line where you hand over your receipt for beautiful creamy gelato.

 

(photo taken from google unknown)

Get some drinks at Shari Vari

Shari Vari is a labyrinth of rooms, that serve as a cocktail bar and restaurant in the day and a vibrant club at night. I went in the early evening and took advantage of their offer, for a drink and access to a small buffet. The cocktails were good but not mind blowing. The location was intriguing and photogenic.

 

(Photos taken from Shari Vari)

 

WHAT TO DO

Get lost walking around central Rome:

One of my favorite things in Rome was to walk out of the house in a random direction and to see what I came across. The city is littered with ancient buildings incredible statues and mouth water restaurants, and so you are guaranteed to find a hidden gem or a world renound tourist sight, no matter where you go.

Some of the most breath taking buildings and art that I saw in Rome, were little known churches with a half a dozen visitors or worshippers inside.

 

(Pantheon)

(Photo taken from google unknown Trevi Fountain)

(Trevi Fountain wish)

Visit the Colosseum

There’s a few different ways you can see the Colosseum. The first is to see it from the outside which is totally free and mind blowing. The second is to book a tour or buy a ticket that will show you ground level and the first story or two. And the third option is to book a VIP tour which will give you access to the Colosseum’s eerie subterranean level and the upper most tier which, as well as giving the great view of the Colosseum its self offers a fantastic view over the roman forum.

 

 

My experience:

I went for the VIP tour because I wanted to see how the gladiators and animals would have been brought into the arena. The VIP tour was pricey, but well worth it. Seeing how the Colosseum would of worked was fascinating, and also very spooky. I was pleasantly surprised when a tour guide announced that our tour would also cover the roman forum and palatine hill, making the cost well worth it as the guide’s knowledge of these area was fantastic

  • Used viator.com to book my ticket
  • Tour started 8:30AM- 1:00PM
  • Cost $102

 

(Animal lift)

(Roman Forum)

(Roman Forum)

 

The Vatican

My experience:

I didn’t get a chance to take a tour of the Vatican, but I wanted to see the iconic place before I left town. When I got there, I saw that the lines to enter the Vatican itself were huge! If you are planning to take a tour of this holy site I would 100% advise you to book in advance and to purchase some kind of line jump ticket. There are plenty of touts at the location who will offer to sell you passes. But personally I would prefer to book this kind of thing, and part with my money through a recognized tour group online.

Check there reviews on trip advisor!

 

 

Coffee break at a cat bistro:

 Romeow cat bistrot

I’ve always wanted to go to a cat bistro, I love animals, coffee, and food, so throw them all together and take my money!

There is just one little problem. When I got to the cat bistro, all the cats were napping many of them behind a partition that gives them a break from photo hungry tourist, like me.

Whilst waiting for some of my fee lion friends to emerge, I ordered a two course meal, and I was severally disappointed, not only were the portions small and bland but they were extortionately priced. I would have rather eaten cat food! Overall an anticlimactic experience!

 

(Photo taken from romeowcatbistrot.com)

 

HOW TO GET AROUND

Like a lot of Europeans cities, Rome is a dream to walk around and a nightmare to drive in. I would advise leaving the driving to the locals and sticking to uber/taxis when necessary. There is a public transport system, but the opportunities for finding hidden gems, whilst walking made that my choice of getting around town.

 

TIPS TO HELP YOUR TRAVELS

  • The currency in Rome is Euros € €
  • Beware of pickpocketers in crowded places
  • Book ahead on restaurants and tours
  • Strongly recommend going over with the owners of your accommodation, on how to use the keys thoroughly. Usually there are two keys, one for the outside and one for the inside. Don’t get locked out or in- in my case haha!

 

Rome is one of the world’s top vacation destinations even with 5 days there, I feel like I  barely touched the surface, and I can’t wait to go back to explore some more!

 

Hope you enjoyed this baeecation!

If you have any more questions, please email me or leave comments below.

 

 


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