Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rome Favourites; what we enjoyed doing & eating

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

Moving right along with my favourites from our Europe series, today I'm going to talk about Rome. Again, I know I shared a ton of photos in my recap, which was great for me but not so great if you are planning a trip on your own, so I wanted to share some of the favourite things we did, saw or ate. See the recommendations for Paris here, if you'd like.

Rome Favourites; what we enjoyed doing & eating

Hotel

We stayed at Hotel Residenza Ki which is located about 5 minutes from the Spanish Steps.

Again, if you are a hotel diva it's not for you, but it was perfect for us. It was in a good, safe and central location, it was clean and cheap. Absolutely no competition. I know you could go even cheaper with a hostel, but staying in little hotels like this worked out cheaper for us vs a hostel with a private room (I'm a light sleeper but can tune out KC's snoring, other people might not be so lucky). It also has great reviews. The hotel is adorable and the staff were fabulous. Plus, free breakfast (pastries!). The rooms were large and KC was so stoked that we had AC. Very happy with our choice. It can be a little difficult to find though, if you choose this hotel make sure you read reviews and look at photos and keep an eye out for the green doors.

Rome Favourites; we stayed at Hotel Residenza Ki

Again, TripAdvisor should always be your buddy when looking for hotels.

Getting Around & Airport Transfers

Okay. So. Remember how Paris has an awesome metro system? Rome is the opposite. Ha. We did walk the majority of our time, but we caught the metro to the Vatican and back again. We caught it there because we slept in a bit, oops. We caught it back because it was basically monsooning and we didn't feel like walking in that.

The good news is that the metro is cheap, and we didn't have any issues with delays or anything. It's very simple to use because there are only 2 lines. Unfortunately, because Rome is, well, Rome, they have been trying to expand the metro for years but every time they do, they uncover something ancient and they have to stop what they are doing. Or so we were told. Because of this, there are parts of the city that are simply not accessible by metro and you'll need to walk or take a taxi.

Rome Favourites; the metro is super easy to use!


As for finding your way around, when we arrived our hotel gave us these maps and circled where we were and where certain things were. Walking around we saw everyone with these maps. They are super handy and it seemed like everyone had them. It was probably some sort of advertisement for a big bus tour or the like, but it served us just fine and it meant that we could wander up and down random streets without getting lost.

Okay, now for airports. I booked both our flights to arrive and depart from the Leonardo Da Vinci airport (FCO). However, 2 days before we were supposed to leave, I received an email from Easy Jet saying that our flight from Paris to Rome had been moved to Ciampino airport (CIA) because of a fire the month or so before. No big deal. CIA is much smaller, we had no issues with our flight, easy peasy. I had already booked our transfers but they were so cheap I was like whatever, I'll buy them again. More on that in a second.

On our flight out of Rome, we left out of FCO. I am not kidding when I tell you that this is without a doubt, the craziest, worst airport I have ever been in (and I have been in a few!). Seriously, I am not even kidding - there were more people in FCO than in the city of Rome itself. It was so disorganised, hard to find anything - we had to ask 5 different people where our flight was supposed to leave from and were told 5 different things. I am sure I'm sounding like a whiny brat right now but I cannot even begin to convey just how crazy this airport was and if you can avoid it, YOU REALLY SHOULD.

Now. Getting to and from the airports, thankfully, is fairly easy and cheap. We used the Rome Airport Bus (Schiaffini).

We caught a bus from CIA to Termini, and then on the way out we took a bus from Termini to FCO. One way is like 4 euro. Very cheap. However, I highly recommend that when you arrive to Termini you catch a taxi immediately. Don't even think about trying to walk to your hotel unless you are staying right near Termini, and in that case, change your hotel. Okay, I might be a little over the top there but Termini was insane and I totally attribute our bad first impression to that station and everything around it. I had my google maps directions printed out but we couldn't figure out where the heck we were (it's huge, we had no idea what side we were on or anything, we couldn't find anything to match the map to find our way) and we ended up catching a taxi for less than 10 euro and got to our hotel in like 10 minutes. So less than 20 euro for the both of us.

When we left, because we were more accustomed to Rome, we caught the metro to Termini and then got on the bus. Super simple and I really recommend doing this.

Rome Favourites - to get to and from the airport we used Rome Airport Bus (Schiaffini).

You can also catch the Leonardo Express from FCO but that is 14 euro a person. From CIA, you'd have to catch a bus to the nearest station and then catch the train into the city center. There are tons of options on Viator for shuttles or private transfers as well. It wasn't cost effective for us to use that option and really, the bus was so simple and cheap.

Things to do

Okay, now that we have that stuff out of the way, lets get to what we did in Rome. We did a lot less in Rome compared to Paris, we had main attractions we wanted to see and then we ended up wandering around a lot of the time.

Italy Eating Tours. Can't recommend this enough. It's a bit expensive, but you get a ton of food, it's a great way to get an idea of the city (or an area you might not necessarily have visited on your own). I think there was about 10 people in our group, all ages (all American except me!) and it was honestly like we were out to dinner with a bunch of friends. I'm sure the wine helped, but I was all about that food. Even if you don't do the tour, get your butt over to Trastevere and walk around, sampling all the food.

Rome Favourites; one of the best parts of our trip was an eating tour! lots of Pizza and Suppli
on the left we have the best pizza I have ever eaten and I can't remember where it was from, and a vegetarian version of suppli from the same place which was just fried mashed potato and cheese. yum.

The Vatican (and the Sistine Chapel & Peter's Basilica) - I feel like this doesn't need to be on a list because most likely everyone will be going anyway, but I just want to reiterate. Even if you are not religious, it's worth it to visit for the history and beauty. We did a tour through Viator and it was well worth it. Crowded as all get out, but worth it. Make sure you are dressed appropriately.

Rome Favourites - and of course, the Vatican is a must!

Ancient Rome (the Colosseum, Roman Forum etc) - this was by far my favourite part of Rome. So much history! There are no words. I highly doubt anyone is going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum, but just in case. We did a tour with Viator again and it was absolutely worth it. Cannot stress it enough, amazing.

Rome Favourites - The Colosseum was the highlight of my trip!

Wander around - I know this isn't very helpful, especially if you are a crazy planner like myself, but Rome is such a fabulous city to just wander around and get lost (which you won't with your map!). I had a strict itinerary and ended up just going with the flow way more than I am used to, and we found some amazing gems that way. Seriously, do it.

Rome Favourites; I know it isn't helpful to super planners like myself, but the best thing you can do in a city like Rome is to just wander around and get lost! You'd be amazed at what you'll find.

Shops to shop

There is a ton of good shopping in Rome. There is, of course, all the shops around Piazza di Spagna which were certainly fun to look at but way out of my price range (think Prada, Gucci, D&G, Versace etc). The area on and around Via del Corso was way more my speed (and budget) with shops like H&M, Zara and the Disney store.



Food to eat

3 words pictures.

Rome; can't go wrong with some pizza, pasta & gelato
Rome; can't go wrong with some pizza, pasta & gelato
Rome; can't go wrong with some pizza, pasta & gelato

All you need in your Rome life is pasta, pizza and gelato. Lots of gelato. Also, I guess you should try some Suppli - I had a vegetarian version and it was delicious. I think the traditional version is made with beef.

Our favourite places where we ate:

Frigidarium - hands down, best place to get gelato. I'm so glad it was recommended a thousand times and I listened. I had other gelato as well, and it was good. This was better.

San Crispino - another good place to get gelato, because you can never have too much gelato.

Likeat - tasty, filling and cheap sandwiches.

Pinsere Roma - the pizza here was ahhhmazing.

Li Rioni - pizza here was so freaking good.

Pastificio - right near our hotel, super cheap. They only serve like 2 pastas a day and there is no seating, but still. It's like 4 euro.

L'Isola della Pizza - this was the absolute best pasta (pictured above) I have ever had in my whole entire life and I would go back to Rome just for this pasta. Yum.

Linking up with the girls for Wanderlust Wednesdays.

Wanderlust Wednesdays

I hope this helped if you are planning to go to Rome. Did I leave anything out that you are curious about?

52 comments:

  1. You are seriously making me want to go to Rome and eat all the food. That fried mashed potato and cheese thing? Yes please! And the pizza... omgggg!!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  2. oh i love seeing your pics of italy! takes me back to when we went back in 2006 and wandered around the city loving each and every thing!

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  3. I love the format of these posts! If I ever go to Rome I'm using your suggestions, it looks like you had a wonderful time. How did you eat that gelato before it melted all over your hand?!

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  4. i wanna do the eating tour next time--great tip!!

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  5. That gelato looks absolutely amazing, and a food tour of Rome sounds like the perfect way to enjoy the food of the city. I'm totally like you and typically plan every minute of every day of vacation, but I'm glad you were able to see some other things you weren't planning on because you didn't follow the schedule precisely.

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  6. I know what you mean about the Metro! I was in Rome for a few days and I think we only took it once (also to visit Vatican city). Luckily we came in by train and our hostel was only a few blocks away! Rome was a great city to visit and see all of the sights, but I think I would enjoy some of the smaller Italian cities better next time. Great recap!!

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  7. Hostels scare the ever loving shit out of me ever since seeing the movies. lol I would be scared for you if you had stayed in one!!!!!
    FOOD TOUR?! Yes, please!!!!!

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  8. Oh man, I'm so jealous of this trip. Saving for when I finally get to ROME!!! The food looks so good.

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  9. I want all the gelatoooooo! Also all the pizza. And all the pasta. Okay, I need to get to Rome.

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  10. Funny enough I only used the metro to and from school when I lived in Rome - every other time just walked!!! I was most surprised with how different some of the pizzas were - they were tasty just not what we are used to here!! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

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  11. This is amazing!! Your traveling knowledge is so wonderful to pull from and I love the pic of you in front of the Disney store!! Pizza and pasta are just right for me, sign me up!

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  12. THat hotel looks awesome to me! I checked out the site and it looks great- I'm going to be saving this for when I go (one day!). I'm so hungry thinking about all the amazing food!

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  13. I went to Rome while I was studying abroad in college and loved it. There were some things (like the cat calls and random groping) that I hated, but I loved how walkable the city was. We ended up staying in a hostel right near Termini, so we didn't have to worry about taxis too much. My fave part was when I got lost on my own and ended up at a parade watching the Pope wave by. It was great.

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  14. You're making me want to go back to Rome! The best part of our trip there was the unplanned time that we had... mainly because we wandered around until we found a hole in the wall place to eat and stayed there for hours drinking wine and eating pasta haha.

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  15. I'd love to go back someday when I'm not pregnant and puking and really get to enjoy the food and wine! Everything was amazing to see and I'm so glad I went, but I would like to experience it at 100% :)

    The Disney store cracked me up because it seemed so Roman outside but was totally totally American and absolutely like any other Disney store I've ever been in inside haha.

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  16. Oh this post is so helpful. Bookmarking it for future use. I'm planning on going back to Italy next year. I have been twice before and loved it. This time my mom is going and she has never been so it will be so fun showing her around.

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  17. I LOVE it. Rome was one of my very favorite places to stay in all of Italy. So vibrant and gorgeous.

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  18. Good lord what I wouldn't do for a gelato right now.

    Thanks for all of the info, the stuff you led in with (airport, etc) is all stuff I really like to know when planning a trip.

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  19. You had me at the words "Food Tour"... oh yes!!
    I would love to see the Vatican & all that history!!!
    I love all the touristy looks with the headphones telling you the info :)
    What a load of planning & getting all your hotels & airports... exhausting thinking about it.

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  20. Ahhhhmazing post gurlie! I need to just get my butt over there so I can eat and sight see my way through this city. All that food looks incredible, and now I'm totally craving gelato and pizza :-D

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  21. These pictures are amazing!!! I'd love to go to Rome one day and that food... Yum!

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  22. I have yet to get to Rome, but my mom said the same thing - the airport is HORRIFIC (all caps necessary) and the metro is a big hot mess. With pizza and gelato like that, I'm not sure I'd mind! And I love that you preface your hotel review with a "if you're a diva, this is not for you!" Haha! I've never done the hostel thing, but I don't mind a lower-end hotel. If it's clean and comfy, it's all good :)

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  23. Rome is definitely on my wanderlust travel list! Hoping my husband and I can make it there in the next couple of years! Love this post!
    Kelsey
    www.thepeacockroost.com

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  24. I just finished Jen Lancaster's I Regret Nothing and a big part of the book was her trip to Rome so the timing of your post is pretty funny to me. She mentioned some of the same things you did and although I never really wanted to go to Italy, I kind of do now. And this post is superhelpful for when I eventually bite the bullet and book a trip!

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  25. I want to go there right now.

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  26. ah these are great tips! rome is definitely on my list. love where you stayed too - a step up from a hostel but a private room is my way to go. in europe you're barely in the room anyway! very awesome.

    xo cheshirekatblog.com

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  27. Can you just take me with you on your next European adventure? I'd feel like you'd be the ultimate tour guide. :) Seriously, though - I need all the food in this post. YUM.

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  28. I love Italy! It gets crazy with all of the mopeds and crowds in popular areas like Vatican but it's amazing and I can't wait to go back. Especially after seeing your pizza pictures because Italy has the best pizza (can you tell that I haven't had lunch yet? haha) and pizza's the best food group!

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  29. The food tour and Trastevere sound amazing! I'd love that and of course all the other sites you recommended! Awesome guide!

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  30. Oh man all that food looks incredible! I LOVE gelato!! This is such great info, hopefully I will have a chance to use it someday! :)

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  31. The food!!! I would love a food tour. Every city should have one, really!!! I miss the Disney store. Remember when they used to be everywhere?!

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  32. I'm especially loving the hotel recommendations on these. That to me is the hardest part. Finding a good/safe location + close to things. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  33. OMG, this is crazy awesome! I will have to come back to this when we eventually hit Europe :)

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  34. Umm I have to do that food tour next time I go! It looks amazing!

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  35. Seriously. You've done an amazing job with your recaps and helpful hints. I've been to these places, so I can say that from experience as a traveler. I agree with you about the airport in Rome - the craziest one I've ever been to as well. I don't know how there aren't fights and accidents at the security checkpoints with the pushing, shoving, cutting in queue, and overall, lack of organization. The food - yep, pasta, pizza, gelato. I'd add wine in this list. The hotels look like the kind of places I preferred to stay in as well. Small, quaint, simple, but clean in a good location. Great job! Now, I want to go back to Europe!!!

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  36. OMGGggg I am so jealous of you right now! and the food- I want it all!!

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  37. Sigh. I don't know how else to comment other than to say I'm so happy you got to go on this amazing trip, but will be overcome with jealousy until the day I get myself to Italy. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, as always :)

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  38. What a great recap. Will pin just in case I ever end up in Rome :). I love that the hotel is clean and affordable because that's a really big expense and I know my husband puts cleanliness above all else. I also loved that you wandered around. I'm learning NOT to be a control freak for vacations and just trying to ENJOY vacation :). Gelato, of course!

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  39. Oh Rome, how I miss it! Exactly two years ago today we were arriving in Rome from Naples. I can't believe it's been that long already. Clearly it's time to go back!

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  40. I'm currently planning a week stay in Rome for October so this is perfect timing and some perfect recommendations! Thanks :)

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  41. Pinned it - one day I will visit and I need to remember these tips :D

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  42. We didn't make it to Rome! I was kid of bummed because I really liked ancient history classes and I would have loved to see the Colosseum and other ruins (despite the mobs of people). I read that the pickpockets in Rome are particularly bad - I'm guessing you guys had no problems?

    We only had pizza once in Italy, but it was amazing. We had tons of gelato. Priorities. :D

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  43. Love your pictures! It looks like it was an amazing time, and the food looks delicious :)

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  44. I know I'll be returning to this post in the future when Eric and I finally go to Italy! I love stuff like this because it's just an honest description of what to see and expect (plus the best places to go for food!). I always do a lot of research before booking a trip, and this post had everything I'd be looking for. Thanks for sharing!

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  45. These food pictures are out of control...I am salivating over that amazing gelato!!!

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  46. This is amazing! I love all you pictures, and thanks for these tips! I'll keep them in mind :) Great post!
    xo Kiki
    http://colormekiki.com/

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  47. So so glad that you loved the Frigadarium as much as I did! I seriously dream about that place!

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  48. Wow, looks like the trip of a lifetime! I'd love to visit there someday!

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  49. Aincent Rome and the eating tours sound perfect! Looks like an amazing time!

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  50. and eating tour!?!? ummm yes. i am absolutely doing that next time we go to rome! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  51. Love this post! I haven't been to Italy in almost 10years so I loved peeking in at your experience. That 'budget' hotel you stayed at was perfect and such a great use of funds on big trips. Also, love the idea of a food tour - seems like a great way to get the full experience.
    Great recap :)
    Also, the fact that the airport is called "Leonardo Da Vinci" is really knocking me out right now. I'm not sure why. Lol. Probably because I read it as "Leonardo DiCaprio" at first. Say what?!?

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  52. The food looks so good! Thankyou for this share.

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