Hi friends! I feel like the start of my Italy vacation recap posts is long overdue. I can’t figure out if it’s because I don’t want to believe it’s over yet or because I have so much to share and don’t know how I want to do it. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to make the plunge into my recaps today. I’ll preface this post by saying that I had very little (read: NOTHING) to do with the planning of this trip so I can’t really tell you why we went to the places we went and why we stayed at the particular places we did while at each location. It was solely RM’s brother and sister who worked with the travel agent to determine where we’d be going and where we’d be staying and I think they did a really great job! I loved each location for different reasons. They used Donna Franca tours, who specialize in Italian vacations, if you’re looking to have help planning your next vacation to Italy.
Our flight wasn’t until 10:45pm on Thursday night (wayyyy past my bedtime!), so we decided to just go to the airport really early and eat dinner/have drinks before that.
The flight was smooth and I think I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep 😉 We arrived in Rome around noon and luckily had car service to the apartment we rented. It was fun staying in an apartment for the first part of the trip because we were able to get comfortable and feel a sense of home.
After unpacking and settling in, we made our way out to find something to eat. We ended up at a very cute little restaurant that was empty, so it was nice to have the place to ourselves. For dinner, we met up with Tula and her husband Walter at an awesome hole in the wall restaurant. Tula is from the same town that RM’s father was from and wanted to learn English so she got in touch with his aunt, who put her in touch with his mother and was able to say with her for 3 months to learn English a number of years ago. She has kept in touch with the family ever since and she and RM’s sister, Sabrina, are still very close. Both she and her husband were some of the nicest people I’ve met- so kind and generous!
It’s funny because before I went, I remember telling everyone that I wasn’t a big pasta person and didn’t care about that part of the experience. However, I don’t think a day went by where I didn’t have pasta… well, maybe like one or two days. It was just SO GOOD and it would’ve felt so wrong to order a salad instead. Hey, when in Rome! 😉
Our first full day in Rome was a big day of walking and sight-seeing. We saw some old ruins, the Colosseum, Altare della Patria (a/k/a Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II), the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.
In between our sight-seeing stops, we found cute little cafe’s in various Piazza’s to saddle up at for a cocktail, coffee and/or snack.
What you’re seeing in these pictures is their famous “Spritz” drink, which generally consists of Aperol and Prosecco. They’re dangerously good and refreshing 😉
For dinner, we headed out with Tula and Walter again. I didn’t catch the name of the restaurant, but it was very close to the Pantheon and was so good! We went on the early side (8:30- can you believe that’s considered “early”?), so it was totally empty for most of our dinner which was nice because we were able to laugh and chat and be as loud as we wanted. We got so many delicious apps including lamb balls, some sort of eggplant parmesan rolls, octopus, etc. RM and I shared the pasta with calamari for the first dish and I got meatballs for the second dish. Lastly, we ended with dessert, which was these fantastic donut-type balls. Oh my goodness were they good!
Day 2 started out with a quick workout before hitting up a flea market and then making our way to the Vatican. But not without a quick gelato pitstop… I can’t believe it took me that long to get one!
Such an amazing, amazing site. The line was insanely long, but luckily all of us had already toured it in visits past so we didn’t need to wait in it. We grabbed lunch at a nearby piazza and I finally got some pizza!
Yes, it was as good as it looks! After lunch, we walked to another pizza and went up a little bit of a walk to see the view. Totally worth it.
Our last stop of the day was the Spanish steps, which were incredibly busy! Since the Trevi Fountain was closed, we decided to throw our pennies in the fountain at the Spanish steps instead. Once we made our wishes and snapped some photos, we grabbed drinks at the oldest café in Rome: Antico Caffe Greco. It was a really neat experience!
When we got back to the area where our apartment was, RM and I went to our favorite local café called Moonlight Café. I can’t find a website for it, but what we loved was the awesome vibe it had. We’d stop in the morning for Espresso’s (well, not me. I didn’t get into the coffee thing) and then we’d swing by to have a vino and snacks before our night plans. Everyone was so nice there and it felt good to have a place where you walk in and are recognized.
Side note: I LOVE how restaurants and cafe’s offered snacks along with cocktail hour. I was never served a drink without some sort of food, which is perfect in my eyes 🙂
Anyway, we had dinner at Pizzeria Griglieria Il Grottina, which was almost next door to Moonlight. It was just the two of us and it was so nice to sit outside, eat pizza, drink vino and recap on our Rome adventures. It was a local joint as well, so it felt nice to not be in a touristy place!
On Monday, before we packed up to head to Pienza, RM and I went for a run and then explored the adorable town/area called Trastevere which was across the bridge from our apartment. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time in Rome because I would’ve loved to have spent more time than just an hour over there.
And just like that, our time in Rome came and went. I was actually really sad to leave and found myself missing Rome throughout the remainder of the vacation. There’s just something so amazing about the city- the people, the sights, the little piazza’s. I definitely plan on going back again.
Next up: Pienza!
Questions for you: Have you ever been to Rome? What’s your favorite way to explore a city? Favorite cocktail? Pizza?
11 thoughts on “Italy Recap Part 1: Rome”
Ahhhh I LOVE Rome!! And it’s too bad that the Trevi fountain was under construction while you were there — hopefully you’ve seen it when it’s not covered in scaffolding! I’m pretty sure when I was there I ate almost exclusively pasta and margharita pizza… I was on a post college budget but I’m pretty sure I’d eat the same if I went now! Seems like you had a wonderful time, I can’t wait to read the rest of the recaps!
It’s the best city! I was bummed to see it was under construction- it was at the end of a very long day and we went specifically out of our way to see it! I have seen it when it wasn’t under construction, so that was good. The pizza and pasta is just too good to not indulge on!
Thank you for the wonderful tour. Makes me want to go!
it’s such an amazing city, Jean!
mmm now i want all the pizza. and all the drinks. and all the gelato. And i’m still laughing that you can actually say ‘when in rome!’ hilarious. I REALLLLLY need to go there.
It’s awesome, Jen! You’d think i would be pizza and pasta’d out…. but i’m not! Oh, i overused that phrase tons while there 🙂
Beyond jealous. I love your recap! The pasta, the Spritz, the sites – OMG I cannot wait to go! My parents used Donna Franca tours 15 years go and said it was the absolute best. Can’t wait for more updates!
Thanks Sherri! That’s awesome that they used the same tour company- i wasn’t thrilled with the guy we actually worked with, but i think they are the best around!