Last month we had the pleasure of exploring Italy for the very first time. Given my enduring love of pizza, pasta and gelato to say I was excited to visit this part of the world is a serious understatement.
Whilst I did expect Rome to be busier tourist wise I still wasn't quite prepared for the seemingly endless busloads of tour groups on my first day. Despite the crowds it was still possible to find calm and beauty within the chaos during my six day stay in this dynamic city. Filled with incredible history, rich culture, yummy food and beautiful architecture.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your time in Roma.
EAT AND DRINK
My first and quite possibly favourite meal in Rome. Fresh, delicious pizzas made to order or by the slice. I highly recommend the Diavola (if you like a little spice) and the locally brewed craft beers available at this small, family run pizzeria.
Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 5, 00184 Roma, Italy
Delicious pizza by the slice. The base was so light and bubbly and there was an abundance of mouthwatering toppings to choose from. Arrive right on lunch time to avoid the crowds.
Via della Meloria, 43, 00136 Roma, Italy
Felice A Testaccio
This place is often booked up and understandably so. I left filled to the brim with delicious pasta (complete with some of the freshest cherry tomatoes I have ever had the pleasure of tasting), velvety smooth red wine and comforting traditional dishes. I am still thinking about the incredible roast potatoes. Worth making a booking for anyone visiting Rome.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29, 00153 Roma, Italy
Ristorante Santa Lucia
A bit pricey but a great location for a long, relaxing lunch. Tucked away from the tourist crowds and surrounded by delightful greenery I leisurely sipped on Prosecco and devoured pasta that was covered in freshly shaved truffles.
Largo Febo, 12, Roma, Italy
Eat gelato everyday
Having lived dangerously close to a world winning artisan gelato shop in Sydney my standards are pretty damn high. I am pleased to report however that I was not disappointed with a single gelato in Rome. As long as you go to a dedicated gelato place you should be in business. There are quite a few nice places around Trastevere and the Piazza Navona, complete with a side of people watching.
SEE AND DO
Set out exploring as the sun rises
Whilst no one enjoys waking up to an alarm (particularly whilst on holiday) I cannot recommend starting your day at sunrise enough. The city is quiet and the streets delightfully empty. Not to mention you get to soak up the tranquil atmosphere at the usually packed out tourist sites (e.g. Fontana Di Trevi, Pantheon, Colosseum etc.). Factor in an afternoon siesta post a delicious, leisurely lunch and you will forget all about that alarm.
For me the beauty of Rome is in the details. Whether it be the cobblestone streets, gelato hued buildings, fresh produce at the markets or doorways framed with greenery. Hit the backstreets (particularly in Trastevere) on foot to find such magic and more.
Find tranquility and soak up the city
A visit to the beautiful Villa Borghese Gardens is a must for those seeking a bit of R&R amongst the hustle. There are plenty of places for a picnic, gorgeous Bougainvilleas everywhere and a lovely vantage point to take in the city.