(Finally! My first Rome post! Eeeeeeee.) Okay - A couple of things to know right off the bat...
1. We stayed at this hostel - Alessandro Palace. The staff was friendly, they had free wifi, a bar with 5 euro bottles of wine for Happy Hour and a 3 euro breakfast in the morning. They also had pub crawls... if that's your thing. Word to the wise though: Read the toaster's directions before you almost light the place on fire.
2. Don't go to Rome (or maybe anywhere) without a Rick Steve's guidebook. I'm not joking. We used it for everything - transportation, food selection, history of the city and each attraction we were at, where to get in line, buy tickets, which days to visit, what streets to walk down.... It was literally the best thing we could have packed. (Thanks Kristin and Chris!)
Three days in Rome meant time to see Palatine Hill, The Roman Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's, even the Pope.... But it also meant lots of time for excessive eating and drinking. Yes!
Our first lunch in Rome was at this wine bar called Cavour 313. This wine was picked out by our server - something local to the region, but I couldn't read the label enough to even know what kind of wine it was. It wasn't terribly expensive - maybe 12-16 euros? - but it was delicious.
Our first full day in Rome, we were feeling sluggish on our walk to the Pantheon (we had just finished touring Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum) so we thought we'd stop for a coffee. Instead, we found this Irish Pub (I think it was called Scholar's Pub or something? There were American universities' jerseys on the walls). We went in with the intent to order a coffee and maybe a beer. We ended up ordering multiple beers, nachos, learning that Cara has hated U2 ever since they beat N*Sync for record of the year in 1999 and uttered this infamous phrase - 'You guys, do we have to go to the Pantheon?'
Of course, gelato! Kristin (and Rick!) both recommended Old Bridge by the Vatican for gelato and it did not disappoint. In fact, we went twice! The first time I had pistachio and chocolate (with actual bits of chocolate in it. OMG.), and then the next day, after a brutal climb to the top of St. Peter's, I had chocolate, banana and nutella. Holy moly. I said it then, and I'll say it again - I never jumped on the fro-yo bandwagon, but I could get on the gelato train!
Can we talk about how delicious this looks? Just for a second? Those tomatoes. That mozzarella. That arugula (or do you call it rocket?). We had this at the most amazing little restaurant Ciccia Bomba. They greeted us with glasses of sparkling wine! Then we ordered this little piece of heaven, asparagus and parmasean crostinis, pasta entrees and of course, red table wine. We stayed too long and probably drank too much. But it was worth it.
Yes, I went to McDonald's in Rome (we went there in Morocco, too. Just for the record). It was convenient. And delicious. And according to Cara, they had really great, cheap coffee. Also, they give you kiwi on a stick in your Happy Meal.
Coffee in Rome was way better than coffee in Morocco (sorry Cara!). Especially this cup from Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè. There was an article on the wall from the NY Times that said if you want good espresso, just buy a plane ticket to Rome and have the cab driver take you directly here.
My last dinner in Rome was pretty traditional - vegetable and rice soup (I was getting sick) and spaghetti. Classic, delicious, such a great way to end the trip.
Another thing about Rome.... This is how I imagined it looking:
But most of it didn't look like this. It was very much a city. These two pictures were taken as we walked off the main roads looking for food / getting lost. On my next trip to Italy (yes, it is happening. Someday.), I'm going to make sure I visit more small cities and the countryside so I can get more of this classic Italian architecture.
Click here for links to all my Rome and Morocco travels!
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