Ahhh, Italy! The final country of our European adventure has finally arrived.
Rome was a bookend destination for our tour de Italy. The first two nights that we spent in Italy were in Rome, as well as the last five. The rest of Italy is very accessible by either plane or train from Rome, so it’s a great starting & ending point if you’re trying to map out your Italian journey. (I just realized that’s where the quote, “All roads lead to Rome” comes from. Mind. Blown.)
The best part about Rome (and Italy)? OUR MOM’S!! We were so beyond excited that BOTH of our mother’s were able to make the trek from America to hang out with us in Italy for a couple of weeks. At this point in our trip (three months in, to be exact), we were definitely feeling homesick and there is no better cure for homesickness than your mom.
Where to stay:
Because we started and ended our Italy trip in Rome, we stayed in two different Airbnb apartments. Both were really spacious and had every amenity that we needed. We decided that location was the biggest factor when booking places. We knew we wanted to be close to the Termini Train Station, since we were going to be taking trains in/out of Rome.
While Rome does have pretty decent public transportation, it’s always easiest to stay within walking distance of the places you plan to visit. Therefore, these apartments might not be ideal for everyone, but great options if you need quick access to Termini!
(Keep in mind we had four people for these apartments, so they are bigger and more expensive than our past Airbnb’s have been)
Where to eat:
Well, this is easy. Anywhere that serves pizza and pasta. No, seriously. There’s a restaurant on every block and they all serve delicious and mouth-watering food. Forget your diet, this food is too good to pass up.
However, if you’re near the Termini station, you should absolutely check out Ciacco & Bacco, which is an inexpensive restaurant in the top 25 of restaurants in Rome. It was unfortunately closed while we were visiting, but our hosts couldn’t recommend it enough!
What to do:
Is this really even a question? Go see the sights!
Rome is so rich with history and it feels like every street and every building has a story. Below, are some tips I’ve outlined for visiting the main sights. Enjoy and wear good walking shoes!
1. Download the Rick Steve’s Europe App: This app is 100% free and was a godsend for us when visiting both the Coliseum (and surrounding grounds) and the Vatican. You can, of course, purchase audio guides when visiting these places. But why do that when you can get them for free? And trust me, you’ll want the audio guides. Similar to Athens, without them you will just be staring at ancient stone, wondering why the heck you’re staring at ancient stone.
*Make sure to bring your headphones and download the guides you’ll never BEFORE you leave wifi!
2. Prepare to wait in lines: Rome is one of those cities that’s ALWAYS crowded. It feels like a new tour bus unloads every other minute. So unless you’re getting up at the crack of dawn to knock out some sight-seeing, get ready to wait in line.
We got lucky and the line for the Coliseum wasn’t too bad (only about 15 minutes to get inside), and it was a similar situation at the Vatican Museums. But St. Peter’s Basilica? Holy Moly (no pun intended) that line was a doozy. This is due mainly to the fact that you have to enter through metal detectors in order to get inside, but I’ve heard that the wait is always long.
*Bring water if it’s hot. There’s no shade in the security line at St. Peter’s! Also, make sure you’re adhering to the dress code. No shorts!
3. Be patient: Maybe it’s because I lived in New York City for four years, but Rome was too much for me at times. Like I said earlier, it’s a city that is always crowded. Similarly to NYC, I don’t think Rome (or Paris, London, etc) has an “off season”. You will have to deal with crowds of people everywhere you go. There will be locals trying to sell you stuff on every block (tours, selfie sticks, etc). And if you’re like me, you might even want to quit sightseeing altogether.
But don’t. There is a reason that Rome is one of the most sought after tourist destinations year after year. If you appreciate history in even in the slightest bit, you will love it. You’ll be in awe when you first step into the Coliseum and see firsthand how enormous it is; when you strain your neck looking at Michelangelo’s ceiling inside the Sistine Chapel; when you throw a coin with your right hand, over your left shoulder, into the magnificent Trevi Fountain.
It’s a magical place and I can’t wait to return one day.