The Ultimate City Guide: Rome, Italy

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When the moon hits ya eye like a big pizza pieeeeee!

The Ultimate City Guide to Rome, Italy

Having lived in Rome for three years, I am excited to share with you, dear reader, some of the best things to do in this fantastic city. I navigated the cobble stones as a sassy 16-year-old, listening to my pink iPod while dodging dog do-do and Italian catcallers. I’d poke my head into coffee shops and order a cappuccino (but never after 11am), or order a slice of pizza from a stout little man, stumbling over conjugations and Italian verbs. After my first year I decided to write down all my favorite places, all the secret spots and eventually, this ultimate city guide to Rome, was born.

I left many moons ago but I reminisce on my time there often. Whenever I meet someone who is planning a trip to Italy, I immediately ask, “oh where are you going?!” in hopes that I can tell them what to do in Rome for a week, or however long. There are many city guides out there but I assure you, this Rome city guide will let you see, smell, stay, and eat all there is to offer in the Eternal city.

What To See In Rome, Italy

All the travel guides in the world will tell you where to go, and you should listen to them. Yes, you should probably wait in that long line for the Coliseum. Yes, you should ask for directions if you’re lost on your way to the Pantheon. Yes, you should take photos of the fountains around Piazza Navona.

That being said, here are some treats to sprinkle throughout your time in Rome. Try to find the Capitoline Museum and the Piazza del Campidoglio, Michaelangelo’s perfectly designed space). If you go down the steps towards the Forum, you’ll find the little prison where St. Peter was kept. It’s called the Mamertime Prison (Carcere Mamertino) and you can experience what it would feel like being a prisoner.

See the Church of St. Peter in Chains, San Pietro in Vincoli. It’s off a little beaten path near the Forum. Not only does it have Michaelangelo’s statue of St. Peter but the actual chains that use to bind him in prison. Talk about vintage.

Don’t miss the Bocca della Navona. There is a church called San Luigi dei Francesi. This church (and others like it) often have secret gems, like Carvaggio paintings depicting St. Matthew.

Get spiritual: Tour the underground ruins beneath The Vatican. It’s called the Scavi Tour and tickets are usually hard to get. Not many people know about this tour and it’s incredibly interesting. You eventually end up right under the altar and can see the bones of St. Peter.

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What To Eat In Rome

Mangia, Mangia, Mangia!

And now onto the important stuff, food!

La Carbonara: located at the end of Campo dei Fiori (which translates to field of flowers) where early morning markets cover the piazza and where empty beer bottles and rowdy tourists spend their evenings. Carbonara was invented here so eat as much as it as your heart desires.

Maccheroni: My mouth is watering just thinking of this place. Near the pantheon you’ll find it nestled between old apartment buildings. They have a mean gnocchi with gorgonzola and pear. Tell them I sent you. Just kidding, don’t do that they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about.

Coffee lovers rejoice! If you visit Tazzo D’Ora you’ll be in heaven. Don’t let the crowds fool you, you can order and drink at the bar like most Italians. They sell packaged coffee, great gift ideas for loved ones at home who weren’t invited on this trip.

Where To Stay In Rome, Italy

If money is no option then I’d say go big or go home (ha! Get it?) and stay at The Westin Excelsior. It takes up residence on Via Veneto, a swanky road that’ll lead you into the heart of Rome. If you’re home sick you can go across the street and eat at the Hard Rock Café but I really discourage that.

We live in a time where staying with strangers is encouraged! Find an affordable Airbnb or try to stay as close to cool neighborhoods like Trastevere.

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