We arrived in Rome late at night, so we went straight to our hotel and settled in. We picked the first place based on location because we knew we wanted to see the Coliseum the next day and considering how bad crowds could get, we wanted to get there early. And that we did. We got there first thing in the morning and the place was already full of other tourists who had the same idea. We contemplated waiting in line for a tour or just taking pictures from the outside. We were approached by several tour groups who all claim that if you tour with them, you can skip the long lines. We saw the ticket line wrap around the entire coliseum and decided what the heck, let’s see what this is all about. The tour group did live up to its promise and we were able to bypass the long line and get right in. I am always one who is weary about tours and such because half the time I just want to see what I want to see and move along. This though, was wonderful. The guide was so entertaining and kept us engaged the entire time. I recommend a group tour if the Coliseum is of any interest to you!
After that, we headed into town to check out the sites. There is so much to see and do in Rome that I was honestly shocked. I had always heard how Rome was so historical and obviously important things are there but for some reason I didn’t realize that it was also this huge, amazing city with so much to do!
We started at the Campo Marzio, which is best known for people watching on the Spanish Steps. This is also very close to some fabulous shopping (sign me up). I kept calling it the “5th Ave” of Rome. Popping in and out of a few shops really built up an appetite so we headed to Giolitti for some gelato (duh). This place. Wow. I thought the best gelato was what we had every night in Florence, but this was even better. Leave it to Noah to find all the top food spots.
We enjoyed our gelato while heading to the Pantheon. It’s so surreal to see these ancient buildings and know that they were built so long ago and yet are still here. The Pantheon is actually the best-preserved ancient building in Rome. Crazy. We took pictures and did the ooh’s and awe’s at the amazing architecture then headed to Sant’Eustachio for more sites and more food (ovbi). We stopped into a little trattoria for a quick slice of Roman style za, yes there’s a difference, before heading back to freshen up for our pasta making class.
As mentioned in Florence, we discovered ‘Airbnb experiences’ and had a wonderful time at our wine tour in Tuscany so we figured “When in Rome”, and signed up for a pasta making class. The class was a bit further from the main area and we wanted to do like the Romans do and try taking the city bus. This was during rush hour so after about 20 minutes of sitting in traffic on a packed bus, we hopped off and found ourselves a cab.
We arrived at an old house in a lovely Roman neighborhood and were greeted by our two teachers. Come to find out, the guys are cousins, and this was their family home that they grew up in. After making home-made pasta their entire life, they decided why not start a business teaching their family secrets.
The group was just six of us and it was a blast. We made everything from the noodles to the sauce from scratch while getting to know each other over wine. Once we were finished preparing all the food, we were able to sit down and enjoy our home cooked meal with new friends.
Our hotel was so close to the Trevi Fountain but during the day the place is swarmed with people. On our way home, we took a little detour to see one of the most famous fountains in the world without the big crowd. I must say, it’s even more beautiful when it’s all lit up at night.
We woke up the next morning bright and early and ready to live up our last day in Italy. There was still so much to see and the depression of our trip coming to an end was slowly setting in. We knew we wanted to see the Vatican and obviously with big touristy things, the earlier you get there, the better. En route, we stopped at the Piazza Navona to check out the Fountain of the Four Rivers. These Piazza’s are all over yet each one somehow gets prettier than the last. We stopped in a little café for a quick breakfast and made our way to Vatican City.
Travel Note: When visiting the Vatican, your knees and shoulders must be covered. I wore a shirt with sleeves and jeans without holes and was fine. They do have vendors selling scarves in the front if you happen to forget.
This was another spot where we couldn’t decide if we should do a guided tour or stand in a line to get in ourselves. We figured it worked out well at the Coliseum so let’s at least do it to bypass the long lines. This tour ended up not being as great as the other and the group was way too large to handle. It felt like we spent most of the time wrangling everyone together that we were over it quick. Once we were inside, we ditched the group and did our own tour. The whole thing was so beautiful and oh so crowded. We got to the Sistine Chapel where everyone was silenced and admiring Michelangelo’s ceiling. It was truly gorgeous. Although frowned upon, I was able to snag a couple of photos.😉
After all of that history, we were ready for some more ‘za and headed to the Market at Campo Dei Fiori. While enjoying our appetizer, Noah found another restaurant that we had to try, Osteria Da Fortunata, located in Palazzo Della Cancelleria. We arrived at the restaurant to find a line full of locals so I knew this place had to be good. There were two women in the front window rolling fresh pasta, which was so fun to watch. We were seated next to two Italians who were nice enough to help us navigate the non-English menu. We got two pasta dishes and they were both so fresh and delish.
We made our way back to our hotel while stopping in and out of little shops and just enjoying the beauty that is Rome. Since this was our last night, we wanted to make it special, so Noah planned a surprise evening. We would be walking to dinner, so heels were unfortunately out of the question.
We were going to explore a new neighborhood called Trastevere, which was known for having cool pubs and shops as well as a younger crowd and that it did. We stopped for drinks at a local pub, which had a cute patio that was perfect for people watching. A band was out in the middle of the square playing music while people sat and listened. This place, as Noah loves to say, had all the vibes.
Noah, being the cutie that he is, took me to the top of this hill (felt like a mountain to me) to surprise me with a view of the entire city. ‘twas very romantic. We then went around the corner to Antico Arco Ristorante for our last dinner in Italy. Since truffles are life, I had to order one last Tagliolini al Tartufo.
We walked off our dinner through the streets of Trastevere and it was amazing. People were out everywhere enjoying their Saturday night. Tons of younger crowds swarmed the streets (I say young as if we’re 100). At one point, I wondered if we were in some kind of college town, that’s how busy it was. It was so much fun to be in a city that was so full of life. It was definitely the perfect ending to our fabulous honeymoon.