Did you know Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world ? 

There are so many things to see in the historical city or Rome and you can easily spend 3-4 days here or if you are like me who loves to walk and shop then you can spend longer time here.

What to pack: 

Rome is a walking city and when you come here expect to do a lot of walking  so walking shoes are a must. Checkout the list below

  1. Walking shoes 
  2. Sunscreen 
  3. Hat 
  4. Tripod/ Selfie stick 
  5. Battery for the camera 
  6. Layer of clothes that you can remove or put on as it gets hot or cold 
  7. Empty Water bottles as you will see water fountains all over the city 
  8. Euros to shop at local vendors 
  9. Good camera 
  10. Bug spray and anti itch cream 

How to get to Rome ? 

You can get to Rome by airplane and you will most likely be flying to Airport Internazionale Leonardo da Vinci. There is a train that takes you to the city center from the airport. You can either take that or use a taxi that costs around 50 euros flat rate. The airport is about 30-45 minutes by taxi from from the city center 

Accommodation

We have been to Rome twice and the first time we stayed right by the Spanish steps and it was a perfect location as far as being close to touristy things in the city. We were close to the shopping as well as all the major sights. 

This time around we stayed in Trastevere and it’s an area that is most visited for night scene in Rome. There are many restaurants, bars and shops in this area. We decided to stay here as we wanted to feel local in the city and also enjoy amazing food scene here. This area is happening at evening time and there are shops and bars  by the river to walk around. 

What to see? 

  1. Colosseum 
  2. Roman Forums 
  3. Trevi Fountain 
  4. Spanish steps also called (Spagna)
  5. Piazza Navona
  6. St. Angelo Bridge 
  7. Castel Sant’Angelo
  8. Campo de’ Fiori
  9. St. Peter’s Basilica
  10. Sistine Chapel
  11. Tivoli Gardens
  12. Presidents house 

Booking your tours:

Book your tours ahead of time. Use official websites to book the tours or else you will end up paying lot more money to third party vendors. There was nothing like fast track so don’t fall for the catch, they do have separate entrances for group tours. 

How to get around:

  1. Best way to get around is trains, buses, scooter, bikes, walking or cabs. 
  2. For trains and buses you can get tickets at the train station or bus stops 
  3. If you are taking cabs, they have an app called  Free now but every time we booked a cab they cancelled on us so we decided not to use it after several attempts. Best way to get a cab is find the closest Taxi stand.
  4. They have rental scooter or bikes available all around the city and it is so convenient to use the scooter or bike to get from one place to other. They also have bike lanes on major streets. 
  5. Best way to see Rome is by walking as most places are 15-20 minutes away from each other. 
  6. If you are unable to walk you can buy tickets for hop on hop off tour and that way it will take you to make tourist spots 

Things to know before visiting The Colosseum 

  1. The Colosseum is open from 10:30 – 7:15pm but the last tour is around 6pm
  2. Try to book tickets online from their official website as other websites can charge you more and may or may not be trustable 
  3. If you are planning for morning your arrive early as there is a always a line going in 
  4. There is nothing like fast track but if you are going through a group tour there is a different line. 
  5. Try to buy your tickets in advance as slots get filled up and you may have to purchase from individual vendors that are selling ticket outside of The Colosseum 
  6. We thought the evening slot was the best as most people are leaving and you can actually see entire Colosseum without crazy crowd. It was also less hot during evening time in August.
  7. The night time view was worth seeing so plan to stick around the Monti area to checkout the lights at night.
  8. Best place to take panoramic pics of the  colosseum is the park right across which is called Gardinetto del Monte Oppio or Parco del Collo Oppio 

Food & Drinks

It was very easy to find vegetarian food in the city. The city has lot of vegan options as well.

Things to know before you visit:

  1. Most fresh pastas have eggs 
  2. Most tomato sauces does not contain onion or garlic but it’s better to ask 
  3. Pizza base does not have eggs but it’s better to ask
  4. Breads and pastries may contain eggs and some have vegan options available 
  5. Most gelato places have vegan options 
  6. Most cheeses has animal Rennet unless it’s fresh 
  7. Must have coffee and gelato when you are here. Every place serves best coffee and gelatos are too good so don’t miss it 
  8. Most hotels offer breakfast if not walk to the closest cafe or bakery which is also called Forno and get their local bread along with coffee, trust me nothing beats this experience. 

Where to Eat ?

Tonnarello (Dinner) – Best food ever been here twice and can’t rave enough about this place.

Tip: you cant reserve a spot and they usually have 2 hour wait, try to come early and if not possible it is worth the wait.

IL Duca  (Dinner) – 30 minute to 1 hour wait 

La Ciambella  (Fine Dining)

Dar Poeta  (Dinner) Pizzas – usually 1-2 hours of wait 

Forno Campo De Fiori (lunch bakery) 

Trapizzino Trastevere for late night street food

Gandhi 2 – Indian food – no wait 

Otaleg Gelato (favorite, we went here 3 times on our trip) must try mango and pistachio gelato – be ready to stand on the line 

Giolitti Gelato 

Some places we did not get to try 

  1. Taverna Trulissa (Dinner)
  2. Osteria da Fortunata
  3. Glass Hosteria (Fine Dining)
  4. Piccolo Buccca

How to find good vegetarian friendly restaurants?

  1. Most restaurants takes reservations, it’s better to have your hotel call and make one. 
  2. We found the most amazing food scene in Trastevere. Most restaurants there serve delicious food. When you are searching for restaurants, stay away from areas with tourist attractions. 
  3. Most hotels will recommend restaurants that are rated high on trip advisor or in touristy areas so stay away from their recommendations unless they are suggesting local restaurants 
  4. What we learned was Cab drivers gave us the best suggestions for the restaurants 
  5. Also another rule of thumb, if you see a line or wait outside the restaurant, that means it’s really good. 
  6. There are tons of Indian Restaurants in the city especially in the Monti area and most of them serves Jain food 

What to eat?

Before you start your meal enjoy the local bread the restaurant will serve with olive oil. It’s something very simple but tastes so delicious as olive oil is local and breads are fresh  

Order few Antipasti 

  • Bruschetta 
  • Croquettes 
  • Fried Artichokes 
  • Fried cheese
  • Caprese 
  • Local cheese 

Pastas:

  • Cacio y pepe (when in rome must eat this classic dish)
  • Arrabiata sauce with any pasta
  • Pomodoro sauce  with any pasta 
  • Porcini mushroom sauce 
  • Eggplant Parmigiana 

Dessert:

  • If you eat eggs must eat the Tiramisu or Panna Cotta 
  • You can skip dessert and walk to the closest Gelato shop and have gelato and there are no eggs flavors available  

Must try: Pistachio Gelato and Tiramisu Gelato 

Pizza Making class: 

We did a Pizza making class with Insideat and it was so much fun. It was a small group and it included one soft drink and the pizza. We booked the tour few days before we arrived and they were professional. 

Click here for the link 

Where to shop? 

There is a huge shopping scene in Rome. Branded clothing, pastas and olive oil or local souvenirs, the city has a lot to offer

Branded clothing, shoes, bags

If you are looking for branded clothing, near Via del Corso has most branded stores like Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Dolce Gabbana etc 

You can also checkout an outlet that is little outside the city center 

The Rome airport has most stores, you can choose to go to the airport 2-3 hours before the flight and shop Tax free at the airport 

Ps: Make sure to bring along your passport with you when shopping for brands as you can get vat refunds for the taxes you pay over 155 euros if you are carrying the shopped item outside of Europe 

Where to shop for souvenirs ?

The market at Campo de’ Fiori will have pastas, sauces, dry spices, olive oil and lot of other things you can carry back with you. 

There is a store called OD store Roma, they carry lot of things you would find at a duty free shop at the airport.

You will find many street vendors around the city that will sell souvenirs.

Most commonly bought items are: Olive oil, cheese, spices and pastas 

For Instagrammers: 

  1. Best way to take pictures is wake up early in the morning before sunrise and visit the tourist spots as this is the only time you will find it people free. I would wake up at 5 and head out to the spot at 6 am. 
  2. Try to find places or parks close by or across from the spot for panoramic views. 
  3. Best view for the Trevi Fountain – go to the Urban Outfitter store and on their 2nd floor you will see the best view of the fountain 
  4. Best place to take panoramic pics of the  colosseum is the park right across which is called Gardinetto del Monte Oppio or Parco del Collo Oppio 
  5. The night time view of the Colosseum was worth seeing so plan to stick around the Monti area to checkout the lights at night.
  6. There is a cafe in Castel Sant’Angelo that has beautiful views of the city 

Traveling with kids:

  • The city is not stroller friendly as there are cobblestones everywhere. Best way to travel with kids is either carry them or walk with them if they are able to walk. 
  • We averaged around 15k to 18k steps per day so plan on doing lot of walking. 
  • The Trastevere riverfront area is kid friendly as there are games available to play so it can be a spot you can visit with your kids. 
  • My son enjoyed the guided tours as he got to learn so much about the history so if you plan on visiting any tourist spots the tours will help them learn. 

Where to head next ? 

Most people head to south, Naples, Capri and Amalfi Coast or they head north to Florence and Tuscany area 

We decided to head to Puglia region this time which is on southeast side of Italy.

Overall the city has so much to offer for everyone and it is one of my favorite cities in the world. I see myself returning back to explore more. Hope you have a safe trip 

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