What better time to hit one of the best cities in the world than spring?
Especially when our own spring seems to be taking its time to show up.
So first things first, book a ticket to Rome, post a pic online, and wait for recommendations to roll in. Who better to help you out than friends who’ve already visited?
This is what we did and, truly, don’t know if our five-day Roman experience would have been quite the same.
Our second trip prep tip is to invest 30 minutes a day practicing using Pimsleur Language course. Whether it’s Spanish, French, Portuguese – or in this case, Italian –start at least a month before leaving and you’ll have the basics down by the time you arrive. Word is that this is the method the US Marines and the CIA use to learn languages.
NBD – you’re basically a spy now.
While one is certainly not starved of choice on Airbnb or Dwellable, we used the former and booked a modern flat in trendy Trastevere. Clean, quiet and ideally located, we were able to walk everywhere. Morning runs along the river are possible for those that want to work off (many) carb-related indulgences.
An additional bonus was that the owner of the flat and his associates were able to arrange a private car for both an early morning Vatican tour and our airport transfer. Convenient and significantly cheaper than what we would have paid for taxis.
Let’s start at the beginning, with a five-hour tour of the Vatican. Sounds like a drag at first, but we were infinitely grateful to kick off our week in Rome with Laura – one of the guides at Through Eternity Tours. Unless you’re some kind of expert on ancient history, an educated escort is an indispensible resource for not only providing essential information, but to help navigate the crowds. (It can get pretty overwhelming in there.) Fortunately, TET offers the early access that ensured we did not waste a minute waiting in (an incredibly long) line and we could see the Sistine Chapel virtually empty. Perfetto.
Needless to say, you’ll be famished by the time you hit St. Peter’s Basilica. Make a quick detour (read: 10 minute walk) to Pizzarium (Via della Meloria, 43). This by-the-slice hole-in-the-wall serves up tasty trays that will flip your pizza paradigm on its head. You will have to find somewhere to sit nearby, but after one bite you won’t be bothered. And a spot in the spring sunshine should serve to keep you just as happy as the eternal city’s most famous dish.
Hop on the FL3 tram back to home base for a snooze – you got up at 6am, remember?
In the evening, head out for aperitivo with the cool kids at Freni e Frizioni. While early nighters will be happy hitting Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta, 96) for gelato before bed. Those with unlimited energy can keep going at any one of the city’s vibrant bars. However, we recommend conserving your strength for the days to come.
Kick things off with a light breakfast at Baylon Cafe (Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 151) that will fuel your walk and to the Pantheon. After lunch at Grano (Piazza Rondanini, 53), cruise through Piazza Navora and then go north for a tour of the 2nd century via Castel St. Angelo.
A quick skip to Lungotevere Vaticano to catch bus #115 that will get you back to Trastevere – you might want to hop off at the top of the hill to take in the view.
Drinks at Meccanismo (Piazza Trilussa) tonight before dinner at Cacio e Pepe (Via Giuseppe Avezzana, 11), where you only need to order the house specialty. Want to keep it low key instead? Try the Spaghetti Carbonara or Bolognese at Ai Spaghettari (Piazza di San Cosimato, 58).
You’ll feel like a local planning out the day over creamy cappuccinos at Giselda (Viale Di Trastevere, 52). It’s a sharp contrast to the tourist crush that awaits you outside the largest amphitheatre in the world – The Colosseum.
But don’t fret, because the food at Al Cardello (Via del Cardello, 1) will quickly have you cozied up to the city again.
After a long lunch, wander through the Fori Imperiali and you’ll understand why people living in the Middle Ages thought giants must have lived in the city.
Take in the drama of the Altare della Patria before walking home to refresh.
Ready for pizza again? Thought so. Dress down and prepare to wait in line for what a lot of people are saying is the best slice in town. Pizza Remo (Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice, 44) in Testaccio has a lively scene and a no-nonsense, no reservations policy.
Depending on your preferred scene, after dinner drinks are close to home at Baylon or Meccanismo.
On your last full day, get an early start at your Cafe of choice (by this time you’ll already have a favourite) and get ready to Instagram around town.
We like our sugar rush in the morning, and an authentic Sicilian cannoli con espresso at Don Nino (Viale Eritrea, 107) does the job right. This grab-and-go shop is conveniently next to Fontana di Trevi, which is actually scheduled to be a fountain again by fall of this year. The restoration is taking a bit longer than anticipated…big surprise.
Next up are the Spanish Steps, then a bit of window shopping (or shop if you’ve got the dosh) along Via dei Condotti.
Take a right on Via del Corso and lunch at Ad Hoc, before making your way south on Via di Ripetta to Museo dell’ Ara Pacis. Dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of Peace, the must-see monument dates to 9 BC and its graceful exterior walls are extraordinary.