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MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS

September 5, 2016

I’ve already shared a lot of images from my trip to Rome {linked below!} but I haven’t shared all my Rome travel tips. Below I’m sharing my travel tips with things to see, where to shop and, most importantly, where to eat! Get comfortable because I have A LOT to share.

// FOOD
I think I mentioned this a couple of times before but the first time I visited Rome I was not impressed with the food. How can you mess up Italian food you ask? Yeah, it was also a surprise to me but you can apparently. Growing up, I always visited family in Italy. They live near Venice and the food there is just superior. You do have to make sure you eat at the right place, that’s owned by Italians but otherwise you’re set for a good meal. This time around when I visited Rome we, my niece and I, decided to try out some recommendations we found on the internet, via friends and via the friendly hotel staff member. Here are the ones that stuck by me:

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeEATALY: You have two Eataly locations in Rome {many more all around the globe} but we visited the one on piazza della Repubblica. You can sit in the basement of the store {there is a small supermarket attached to it with lots of delicious Italian goodies for an afternoon picnic} or sit outside with a view of the piazza, which we did. Twice. The first time I ordered a whole-wheat pasta with a simple basil tomatosauce and the most delicious crispy patatoes. Second time I went for the delicious calamari’s {which resulted in this funny video}. It’s on the pricier side but definitely worth a try!
Piazza della Repubblica 41, Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeLEONETTI: This restaurant was recommended by a hotel staff member. It’s a small restaurant where locals go to eat so that’s always a good sign. It was also close to our hotel and Roma Termini. We ended up getting prosciutto e melone as our first course and then went for a pasta for our second course. Both really delicious although I did taste burned garlic which is a big pet peeve of mine. As a pasta chef I know how these dishes should be made so that was a little disappointing but not that bad. The people next to us had meat dishes which smelled SO GOOD. Definitely would recommend to go for that if you visit. Also, the waiters here are super friendly which is not something you see often.
Via Farini 56/60, Rome

OSTERIA DA ZI’MBERTO: This one we discovered in a guide with tips from expats who are living in Rome. It’s located at the beginning of Trastevere, south of Vatican City on the other side of the Tiber. Even if you aren’t going for a bite, please visit this part of Rome. It’s exactly how you expect an Italian neighborhood to look like. But let’s get back to the restaurant. It’s super small so it’s best if you make a reservation. We didn’t do that so we had to kill some time in the neighborhood. The food was great! I choose a prosciutto e melone and a pasta aglio olio with cherry tomatoes and my niece went for the carpaccio bresaola and matriciana pasta. Downside is the staff. They’re super friendly but work in a very high pace which kind of kills the mood.
Piazza di San Giovanni della Malva 14b, Rome

VERO: We grabbed coffee and breakfast here before we went to the Vatican museum. If you want a quick and healthy breakfast or lunch, a change from all the brioches, this is the place for you.
Via Marcantonio Colonna 30, Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

// SIGHT-SEEING
The main reason to visit Rome is obviously the rich history that it has. There a lot of beautiful sights to visit although the city in itself is one sightseeing experience on its own. That’s why I would suggest walking around Rome instead of taking public transportation or taxi’s. By walking through this city you can really experience all that is has to offer. Here are a couple of popular sights you have to visit in Rome:

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeTREVI FOUNTAIN: This is probably my favorite popular sight in Rome. Especially at night it’s a breathtaking work of art. Obviously you can visit it during the day but trust me when I say it’s a hundred times more beautiful when you visit at night. Also, be prepared to be one of the many people visiting this fountain. It gets crowed very fast but that shouldn’t cause any problems if you want to take a selfie in front of it. We decided to walk via piazza di Spanga to the Trevi fountain to get some macarons & iced coffee at the MacDonalds cafe {trust me, they’re super delicious!} to eat while soaking up the atmosphere.

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeST. PETER’S BASILICA IN VATICAN CITY: The second popular spot that I love is St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. I already gave my best tip on how to get there in this post but I’m going to repeat it here for the people who haven’t seen that one. The best way to get there, and to soak up the rich history that Rome has to offer, is to walk alongside the Tiber. Our hotel was pretty far away from Vatican city so we took the metro and got out at Flaminio. When you get out at that stop you can easily walk to piazza del Popolo which is a beautiful square you must visit. From there you need to walk to the Tiber river and cross it. If you walk alongside the river down towards Vatican city you’ll not only see castle Sant’Angelo & ponte Sant’Angelo but also other impressive architecture that you would otherwise miss like the Rome courthouse, museo delle Anime del Purgatorio {museum of the souls of purgatory} and lots of cool bars down by the river. Another plus is that you can walk towards the St. Peter’s Basilica via via della Conciliazione which gives you the best view of the basilica. It’s something you must visit once in your life, even if you’re not religious. It’s super impressive and beautiful plus it’s probably the closest thing to going into Vatican city, which you can’t visit. Plus it’s free to enter! Make sure you do have your knees & shoulders covered so no shorts or sleeveless tops. You can also go to the Vatican museum which is on the other side of piazza San Pietro but it’s personally not my favorite which is why I didn’t mentioned it on the list.

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeCOLOSSEO & SURROUNDINGS: Same as going to St. Peter’s Basilica, you need to walk to this sight to fully enjoy the rich history. I would suggest to walk down to the Colosseo via piazza Venezia. That way you can see the Victor Emanuel monument and all the ruins surrounding this area where we shot this look. If you want to take good shots of the Colosseo, walk up to via Nicola Salvi {on the opposite side of the Colosseo}. Especially at golden hour the Colosseo looks even more impressive. If you want to go inside {this time we didn’t because the lines were too crazy} go early because it can get super hot inside. I personally loved visiting it the first time I was in Rome and learning more about the history of the building and how it was used over time.

PIAZZA DI SPAGNA: Last on my list of popular spots to see is piazza di Spanga with fontana della Barcaccia and the Spanish steps. Right now the Spanish steps are being renovated thanks to Dutch hooligans so you can’t sit or walk on them but it’s still a great square to visit. Via dei Condotti, the 5th Avenue or PC Hooftstraat of Rome, is also located on the side of the square but more about that below!

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeTRASTEVERE: The streets of the Trastevere neighborhood remind me of the small streets of Venice. The type of streets you would expect in Italy with terra cotta colored walls and laundry hanging from the windows. Even here you can find historic sights like porta settimiana and museums but most importantly this is the place to be for good food. We walked from the Colosseo to the restaurant in about 20 to 30 minutes along the Tiber river up to the Tiber island and down by the river to check out the market and bars.

// SHOPPING
Obviously I couldn’t skip over the shopping in Rome, even if I didn’t really do a lot of shopping when I was there. I do have to say that if you’re thinking of going on a shopping trip to Rome, it’s better to pick out a different European city like London. Here are some of the places where I think you’ll be able to shop ’til you drop:

COIN EXCELSIOR: I’ve visited Coin in different places in Italy but never a Coin Excelsior. The only difference I could detect is that this one is a lot bigger plus it has a lot more fashion & beauty products to offer. The brands you’ll find at this store are mid to high fashion brands so there is something for everyone. You can compare it to a de Bijenkorf, Selfridges or Barney’s {but smaller}.
Via Cola di Rienzo 173, Rome

LEAM BOUTIQUE: We visited this small boutique to check if they had the Sophie Hulme bag that I’m obsessed with. Unfortunately they didn’t but they had a pretty great selection of classic bags. If you’re a designer bag freak you should definitely visit this store! In the same street you can also find a Zara.
Via Appia Nuova 32, Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in RomeVIA DEI CONDOTTI & PIAZZA DI SPANGA: This is the place to be if you’re into designer brands. On via dei Condotti you can find Burberry, Céline, Dolce & Gabbana, Tod’s & the Louis Vuitton store where I got my first LV bag. If you walk to piazza di Spagna you’ll find a beautiful Valentino store, Nespresso boutique & Sephora. Even if you can’t afford items at these stores, it’s always fun to walk through the street.

VIA DEL CORSO: This is the big shopping street with all the high street stores like Zara, Mango & H&M. Don’t forget to check side streets for even more stores! I do have to say that for such a big city as Rome their shopping street isn’t that impressive. There aren’t a lot of stores to choose from if you’re not someone to splurge on fashion. Plus I remembered there being way more stores when I visited years ago.

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

// OTHER TIPS
I’m not done sharing my Rome tip just yet! These tips are kind of random which is why I put them into this category:

  • There are drinking fountains all around the city. You can find some at popular sights but also in very random places. If you want to save your money for other things or do the environment a favor, invest in a reusable bottle. My favorite is the Bobble {see below} because it has a build-in filter to make sure everything gets filtered out.
  • Say “No, grazie” {pronounced as: Nò GRA-tsjé} when someone tries to sell something to you. It might sometimes sound like a good deal but trust me, it isn’t. Saying this will make them confused whether they just approached a tourist or not. Plus they’re {mostly} friendlier when you decline their offer.
  • Like I said before, buy your tickets for popular sights beforehand on their website. You can, like we did, also buy it when you’re already in Rome via their website but it’s more convenient to do it beforehand.
  • Try to avoid restaurants and lunch spots on popular piazza’s. Rather go explore side streets. If you see a lot of Italians eat somewhere it means that the food is great and it’s probably not that expensive.
  • DO NOT EAT THE “FREE” BREAD. Just don’t do it. Unless you want to pay 4 euros for two small pieces of bread.
  • Go to a rooftop bar to enjoy a drink {like a classic, freshly made Bellini} but do bring your wallet because it’s expensive.
  • If you’re going to walk everywhere, take a map with you. The crumpled map is my personal favorite!

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

MY ROME TRAVEL TIPS || THECHICITALIAN || My recommendations on what to eat, do & see in Rome

And that’s it! Do you have any Rome travel tips you want to add to the list?

x Fiona