Do as the Romans Do:
There's no place like Rome – the city's rich history is something we've learned about our whole lives. It's an eternal city that seems to have transcended time. Then One day you arrive and the opportunity to explore this charming city is right at your fingertips.
Splitting our time between Southern Italy and the East Coast has led us to cross paths with the glorious city of Rome many times. In fact, I've probably hit up Rome more times than any other place, unless you include my dear hometown, Utica, NY (ILY Utica).
Bringing it back to 2018, our first time ever in Rome. We arrived via train in Roma Termini Station. It was blistering hot and I was honestly about to freak out while we were standing in the heat, trying to figure out public transport to Trastevere. We eventually gave up and grabbed a taxi. The driver took one look at us college students and totally ripped us off. HOWEVER, that taxi ride through Rome was one of the most remarkable experiences we had during our stay. The 20-minute journey left us speechless, which is quite rare for me if you know me well.
The taxi was soaring down ancient streets, quite literally dodging other cars and people. Picture the car bouncing down old cobblestone streets while blaring Italian rock music. Through the window we passed the Colosseum, parts of the Roman Forum, and the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. Seriously an experience I'll never forget.
Where to stay
Bringing it back to the current day. We've taken many day and weekend trips to Rome. I highly recommend staying in Trastevere. It's a little further away from some of the main attractions (and harder to get to), but overall a more authentic experience in my opinion. Endless food options right outside the door, and what seems to be a lot less tourist traps. Plenty of unique Airbnbs in the area. If you're wanting to stay a little closer to the main action, we love Monti too!
What to eat
During my first trip to Rome, I was excited to indulge in some of the best dishes of my life. However, I learned quickly my favorite chicken alfredo and spaghetti with meatballs I was expecting, hardly exist in Italy, especially the chicken on pasta.
If you're curious as to why, I suggest you do some research on your own. Don't worry, I will share some of my favorite Roman meals and restaurants with you.
Some Tips for Enjoying Italian Culture and Cuisine
When in Rome, breakfast is best enjoyed by grabbing a cappuccino and croissant at an outdoor cafe. Romans typically avoid ordering cappuccinos after 11 AM, as milk-based drinks are only associated with the morning.
You might get turned away if you don't follow this custom. Instead, consider ordering an espresso in the afternoons.
Craving a Snack While in Rome? Try Carciofi alla Romana!
If you're feeling hungry between lunch and dinner, why not try a Roman Jewish-style fried artichoke – the Carciofi alla Romana. Trust us, it's absolutely delicious! It's even better during prime artichoke season, which is when you can find it in its freshest form.
Authentic Roman Dinner: The Classics You Need to Try When in Rome
Our favorite Roman Dinner to indulge in, is the classics like Carbonara (which is egg-based, not made with heavy cream), Amatriciana, and Cacio e Pepe. After discovering the best places to enjoy these dishes, I finally understood the hype surrounding Roman cuisine.
Whenever I travel, I find myself in a dilemma of finding the balance between relaxation and exploring as much as possible.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Rome, it's important to start your sightseeing early to avoid the crowds. You'll have a completely different experience if you get ahead of the rush. The best time to visit top attractions like the Trevi Fountain or Spanish Steps is during the early morning hours or in the evening. After years of telling my mom what it is like to experience the sights in Rome, I finally took her in October. When we arrived mid morning, the crowds were overwhelming. We were pushed around and jostled by the massive crowds that made it difficult to take in the sights. It can quickly turn a magical experience of seeing the Trevi Fountain to a "get me out of here" situation.
After a morning of running around I strongly suggest breaking it up with leisurely meals and a little aperitivo. This is the perfect way to relax, reset, and enjoy the best of Rome!