Since this series is super long and extremely detailed (ha!), I split up my report into 4 parts. In my last post, I took you through our 2 days in Venice.
Part 4: 3 Days in Rome (this post)
Where to Stay in Rome
Rome is a large city and even within historic centre, there are multiple options where it comes to picking an area to stay in.
For us, food is really important, so I wanted to stay close to the food places we wanted to eat at, be within walking distances of all major sights, and also be closer to the non touristy areas rather than touristy. The quality and type of food changes quite a bit when you’re in more authentic areas – so that was important.
We ended up staying in this lovely Airbnb apartment on Via Modena, about ten minutes from Termini. We walked all over – and covered all sights this side of the Tiber by foot. For getting to Vatican, we took the metro (Republicca metro station was just a minute by foot from us). It also worked well for us, food wise – I’ll get to that in a bit.
Rome’s Ultimate Free Walking Tour with Jobe
On our first evening in Rome, we had a free walking tour booked. Our friend had recommended this tour and I’m so glad we did it! Our guide Jobe was friendly, funny, and I LOVED his perspective. He took us through the walk and briefed us on the history of Rome and what was in front of us. He didn’t stick to traditional ethnocentric narratives, but leaned more on subaltern perspectives. I could relate to it a lot and found it not only very informative, but also highly engaging and entertaining. I highly recommend this tour! Book in advance though, and make sure you carry proper notes to tip. Standard tip seemed to be 30-40 Euros per couple (which more than totally worth it – I think Jobe could easily charge at least 50 per head for this tour, and it would still be totally worth it) though we were a little stunned to see some people just hand in coins – not cool, folks.
This tour was about three and a half hours, and it was time for dinner by the time we ended.
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel
The next morning we had tickets to visit the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel. Entry to St. Peters Basilica is free. We booked these the night before and booked with an agency who could actually get us through the gates without having to wait in any line – it was totally worth it. We saw lots of people standing in the queue with “skip the line tickets” which were the regular tickets. There are only a few agencies authorised to “skip the line” and I’m so glad we got a proper agency.
We hadn’t booked a tour for the insides – we had planned to follow along Rick Steeve’s guide for these places. We quite enjoyed the commentary, though I must say that after receiving Jobe’s instruction the previous day, it was a little lack lustre. I could relate a lot of what we were seeing to some of the stuff Jobe had talked to us about earlier – that was fun.
We don’t like being led by a guide inside museums because we like to spend extra time at some spots, and speed through others. Rick’s guide was the perfect way to do this & it’s super helpful in keeping time too.
Overall, I would recommend going with Rick’s guides for these. If you are booking a tour for the insides, then it would be better to research well before booking because every guide we “overheard” inside was pretty blah, and stated the obvious most of the time (things that you can easily read up on the internet / even there).
After Vatican, we headed towards Instagram’s favourite neighbourhood in Rome – Trastavere!
Again, we used one of Rick’s guides to walk through this area and get some context. I stayed with the guide till about half way through, and then dropped off to wander along on my own.
Trastevere has the most charming ivy covered buildings, and we got lucky with fantastic weather that afternoon! I just loved strolling down its quaint streets and looking at the pastel coloured buildings. You could forget you’re in Rome.
For lunch for stopped at a little cafe called Bar Lillo. It seemed to be a major favourite amongst locals – and with good reason! Food was fresh and delicious, and I had one of the best tiramisu’s of our trip here!
Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
After a nice lunch at Barlillo, we didn’t want to walk too much, but we did because #Rome. We headed back into the historic centre of Rome. We had planned to see the insides of the Pantheon a little more in detail and some of the other sights around – so we did just that plus strolled across the Trevi Fountain and the nearby Spanish Steps.
Since it was the middle of the afternoon, Trevi Fountain was PACKED. BUT, it started to pour rather suddenly so most people ran for cover. Luckily we had an umbrella (those who know me in real life know this about me – my umbrella always comes with me!), and we took advantage of that crowd free time at the fountain, under our little umbrella, just about not getting drenched & thoroughly enjoying the moment!
The next morning, we started at a leisurely pace and walked down to Villa Borghese, which was just a 10 minute walk from our apartment.
We spent a glorious morning sitting on one of the park benches and writing all our postcards!
After some time in the park, we headed off to this place called Pinsere for pizza. I found this place while searching for “good places for pizza close to our Airbnb” and I’m so glad I found it.
Guys, this was possibly my most favourite pizza of the whole trip. The crust was thin and crisp (very unlike the pizza in Tuscany & Naples) – but quite similar to the pizza at Farini at Venice. Toppings were generous and delicious. If you go there, get their spicy pizza – it’s the best! We also tried their arancini which was top notch. Service is really friendly & welcoming. I loved eating at this place!
After an afternoon nap at our Airbnb, following the heavy meal at Pinsere, we headed out to explore Rione Monti. Our Airbnb host had told us that this area has lots of cute terrace cafes and is a nice area to wander about in the evening.
Monti is dotted with cute shops and cafes, and also boutiques. You can easily spend a few hours roaming around in this area. It reminded me of Le Marais in Paris :)
Monti is very close to the Colosseum, so even though we’d both been to the Colosseum in the past, we decided to just walk down and take another look :)
Dinner at Hostaria Romana
After spending quite some time walking around, we had worked up quite an appetite for dinner. Luckily we had reservations for Hostaria Romana – which turned out to be our favourite meal in all of Italy – and by a distance!
If you’re in Rome, please don’t miss a chance to eat here. Must make reservations at least a day in advance – this is place is super popular with the locals! The food and the service were spectacular. We also got tons of free plates through out our meal – first a plate of arancini, then a plate of pasta (!!!), then at the end of the meal, some lovely almond biscottis. We thoroughly enjoyed our mains – the Carbonara (must, must, MUST order this), a meat platter and I had a hearty vegetable soup which was yum. Of course we ended our meal with their Tiramisu which was also stellar.
Rome Quick Round Up:
Stayed At: This Airbnb
Favourite Eats: Hostaria Romana, Pinsere Pizza
Favourite Sights/ Experiences: Rome’s Ultimate Walking Tour, Trastavere, Rione Monti
More on our Italy Vacation:
Part 4: 3 Days in Rome (this post)
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