Thursday, October 24, 2013

guide to rome

i'm slowly but surely trying to get all of my travel guides out of my drafts folder and published! my favorite hobby is collecting favorite places when we travel, so i try to share them here. i have so many more saved from over time, but haven't gotten them up yet..they are coming! here is rome in 3 days. we loved it oh, so much when we went earlier this year.
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we fell head over heels in love with rome last february. i’ve been all over italy, but had never made it to rome. i had heard it was dirty + crowded. not so! we adored the history, the tiny little charming alleys, the FOOD of course, and the sites. we had three days there, and it was the perfect amount of time. granted it was off-season so there were less lines, but i still think rome in 3 days is doable. here is our guide! 3 days!

day one
1. arrive in rome and go to villa borghese park
it's a great introduction to the city, since it has amazing views to 
give you a sense of the city. it has a relaxed feel, and you 
can stroll around and peruse all of the pretty italian art. 

2. keep going until you get to the spanish steps
and go down those...stopping for a photo on the way down! i 
adored the spanish steps! it was one of those places that 
i know i'd go to all the time if i was a local.

3. the spanish steps lead you right down to the trevi fountain
it’s breathtakingly beautiful. way better than i expected. 
spend time and take it in! remember to make a wish and 
throw a coin in, promising to return to rome one day. 
{this was a pretty easy thing to promise for us!}

4. after the fountain, you can grab some pizza and then try
san crispino gelato 
nearby on via della panetteria 42, one street from the trevi fountain. 
it is really famous & fancy gelato. it is shipped all over the world 
and served in high-end italian restaurants in new york, vegas, LA, etc. 
it was our 2nd favorite gelato in rome, but it's worth 
stopping in because it's so well-known, unique and fancy.

5. later, stroll down the
via del corso for some shopping. i saw some 
of my favorite little boutiques in rome on this street. the italians know their fashion!

6. as you finish your shopping stroll, you will run right into the pantheon

it’s not a long stop, but it’s amazing. make sure to have someone tell you about 
the history, {there are cute old italian men who volunteer there} and 
notice the open hole in the roof! hopefully it’s not raining!

7. piazza navona is right off an alley from the pantheon, and 
our jaws dropped when we stepped into this piazza. 
i loved going at dusk, because the building was glowing 
and the musicians were beginning to play. 
a m a z i n g and so italian. definitely go here.

8. at night, head to
campo de fiori, a cute 
square with great cafes and a huge market 
every morning. {this is where we stayed, we rented 
a little local apartment off the square...bollo apartments}. 
there is live music, so don't pass up the chance to dance!

9. for dinner: our favorite meal was on a tiny street just off campo de fiori. 
it was called cantina lucifero, and I think we are still dreaming 
about that meal. it is the most authentic italian you can get! 
the owner and his friends can be seen eating their meal in the tiny restaurant 
around 6pm before the restaurant opens. they take their time and enjoy…
then, it opens up for the night. the owner is the nicest man in the world, 
and the pasta is being handmade in the back. if you're into wine, 
there is a famous connoisseur there who matches up the perfect wine 
for what you order. we didn't have wine, but loved listening 
to him sit down with other customers and go into such detail 
about the flavors. wow. every single thing we tried was incredible. 
i would give anything for that dinner again right now! 
favorite meal of the trip for sure. we all agreed on this. 

10. go to bed with tired legs and a happy stomach!

day two
1. on your second day, rent bikes or get a bus pass so you 
can get around easily after all that walking the day before.

2. head to piazza venezia in the morning, {again…stunning!!} go inside too!

3. then, get on a bus/ taxi to the vatican and take the tour. 
plan lots of time...there is a lot to take in.
**we recommend booking your tour of the vatican online ahead of time, 
so you can save yourself time and skip the ticket line when you arrive.**

4. before the long tour, you can stop by the famous 
bakery 24 close to the vatican for breakfast. {via barletta 27}

5. for the vatican, try to book a tour guide, or find one there. 
chase noticed an american priest speaking english as 
we were walking into st. peter's basilica, so he introduced 
himself and before we knew it, we had a personal tour 
from an american priest who had been studying in rome for 8 years 
and told us more than we could comprehend. it is 
always the best to find people like this! we learned and saw so much 
more because of him, and we're still in touch with him!
{he is happy to do tours for any visitors, so let us know}
the vatican is so amazing, our favorites were: 
st. peter's basilica, the sistine chapel, and those rafael paintings!

6. need a treat after all that art? old bridge gelato is a good one, 
right outside the vatican wall in piazza risorgimento 

{official address: viale bastioni di michelangelo 5}

7. head to the trastevere district for the afternoon and evening. it is so 
darling with its windy roads, and it's right on the west bank of the tiber river. 
stroll along, listen to the sound of accordions, and take in the beauty. 

8. for dinner, there are two great choices in the trastevere: 
try roma sparita first. it's hard to get into, so if the wait 
is too long you can try dar poeta pizzeria 
on vicolo del bologna 45. at roma sparita, please 
order the cacio e pepe. it is heaven on a plate.

9. for dessert, go have 
gelato at frigidarium. 
this is the most important thing you need to do. go here every day. 
i've never had anything better! get the frigidarium house flavor 
dipped in chocolate. what i would give for that at this moment! 
words can't describe it. it's right across the river from st. peter's 
on via del governo vecchio 112.

day three

1. breakfast at forno bakery for the best italian pastries known to man

2. head to the coliseum-- make sure you get there earlier rather than later,
so that you can get tickets and spend time in there! for the coliseum-- we read
a lot about it beforehand, and then rented an audio guide and chase listened and
told us about it. it was an inexpensive way to hear about the coliseum without a 
guide, but if you haven't read beforehand you may want an actual tour guide! 
the coliseum is crazy and so much more interesting when you know details about it.

3. go explore castel sant'angelo-- this is where the pope used to come
for refuge if the city was under attack. there are tunnels that lead from the 
vatican to this castle, so they could secretly and safely transport the pope.
pretty crazy! this castle is so pretty with the river right in front.

4. grab lunch at da francesco pizza-- it is a little bit hard to find in a tiny little square..
but it's worth it once you find it. the address is piazza del fico, 29.

5. for your final dinner in rome, choose somewhere off a city square, or head to 
 the armando al pantheon, which is known for its classic pastas. yum!
don't forget to stop by frigidarium one last time!

*to see what is going on in rome during your visit, 
check out the rome digest here *

and, that's it! ciao roma!

see all our posts from rome here: part one, part two, part three, part four {video}


  1. You've been to nice places! :)

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  2. This looks awesome! Tim and I started planning our first Europe trip this week and you are making us even more excited! How did you feel about the language barrier? Do either of you know another language? We figure there will probably be enough people around that speak English if we are desperate but who knows!

    1. oh my goodness your FIRST time?! that makes me giddy for you! you will love every second of it. europe is my favorite, i've spent lots of time there so you'll have to tell me where you're going so i can send more tips! language barriers will be fine-- there is usually someone who speaks english. i speak french & chase speaks spanish, so that has helped in those countries but places like italy, it can be the fun of it! trying to communicate in basics and hand signals can work, or you can always find someone who speaks english. get a phone translator app just in case though! so much more to talk about! xo

  3. Oh so pretty! Lovely pictures! Since I live in Europe, it's funny, I've never been to Italy though I've traveled around Europe, but just never made it there. It looks so gorgeous and I love the historical side too. And all my friends have been there and loved it... maybe one day :)

    1. ahh you live so close, you have to! xo

  4. I love this!! I have always wanted to go to Europe but am never sure where we would even go. Thanks for the recommendations! :)

    1. oh my-- you have to go, and i will help you plan it when you do! :)

  5. As an American expat living in England, Italy is at the top if my travel list and always has been. I'll have to bookmark this post for future reference! x

    1. yes you would love it! how fun that you're living in england..xo

  6. WOW!!! This is absolutely amazing, I have always wanted to visit Rome. Maybe if we ever get stationed in Europe we can check it out.

  7. oh wow, this is wonderful! I love all of the travel pictures! I traveled to Rome a few years ago, but I was only there for a day. That was about 10 days too short! I need to go back!! :)

  8. This is perfect! We were in Rome earlier this year and I can second to all this! Especially the pizza. Pretty sure I crave that every day of my life! xo

  9. I'm so jealous! I would love to go to Rome, and anywhere in Italy for that matter. It's number 1 of my list of must-see places! Great photos, looked like fun!

    - Kristen

  10. Great guide! I love Rome! LOVE LOVE LOVE! I could spend forever there stuffing my face and exploring :)

  11. Looks and sounds like a great guide. I adore Roma! So beautiful. I have to ask about the tour guide, how can I contact your friend? My friend is visiting Rome soon and asked me about a tour guide for the Vatican just the other day. I would like to hear if you have a specific guide for the Vatican, if your friend is still available. Thanks!

    1. yes! email me--contact info is on my "about" page :)
      he is in barcelona for a visit, so it will depend on timing but send me an email with dates so i can see! xo

  12. Love this recap! We went in July and I am already ready to go back!

  13. A very comprehensive guide to Rome and your photos bring back happy memories of our visit several years ago. A city with so much to offer.

  14. Yeeeees! I LOVE Rome! One of my favorite cities that I've visited! We heard the same things about Rome being dirty and crowded so we were a little hesitant, but we decided to spend four days there anyway (during our 16 day trip). Oh my goodness, we fell in LOVE with Rome! We didn't want to leave. :) Reading this makes me nostalgic for it again!

  15. Its been years since I have left Rome. Never wanted to leave such a beautiful city. All the pictures you have shared are absolutely wonderful. Now planning to get there soon with my family.
    I always prefer advance booking for flights tickets because it is money saver. Going to book my flight tickets to Rome from


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