When in Rome – eat, drink, and [try to] walk it off.
My friend Andrea and I arrived at our hostel as the sun was setting, so we settled on just finding a good place for dinner before roaming. I’ve never been one to go all out for dinners, but in Italy how can you not? First wine, then appetizers, then pasta, then espresso and dessert. You can imagine we were busting at the seams and in need of a stroll. The restaurant ended up being close enough to the Colosseum, so onwards we went. I’ve never seen the Colosseum at night, and I’m so glad I have now. The city was quiet, and we just stood in front of the historic site, all lit up, in awe. It’s one of those moments that make you so grateful you can travel.
Our first stop in the morning was the Trevi Fountain. I hadn’t seen it yet, as it was covered and under repairs two summers ago. It was absolutely crowded, and I’ve heard it doesn’t get better at night. Oh well, it was still a beautiful sight. While there, I did not have a Lizzie McGuire moment, as I did not wish for love … I saved my coins for pizza.
Nearby the Trevi Fountain is the Spanish Steps (another site that was under construction the last time I visited). The road leading up to the steps is filled with high-end designer shops. It feels like the place a socialite would spend time. Purchase sunglasses at Dior, shoes at Prada, a scarf at Burberry, and take a seat on the steps, exhausted from all that credit card swiping.
It’s a shame that all of the fascinating history I learned about the ruins during my last trip failed to stay in my memory. I’d like to blame the alcohol I drank in uni – I refuse to think I’m getting dumber with age. History used to be my favourite subject (aside from dramatic arts), so I longed to recall the stories behind all the buildings and ruins.
Trastevere is a neighbourhood worth visiting if you are looking to wander eclectic side-streets that give you the true Italian feel. It’s also recommended by locals for restaurants and nightlife. This neighbourhood serves you the Instagram aesthetic you are looking for (read in RuPaul’s voice). If we were there longer, I probably would have done another one of my vain photoshoots there.
Warning from one traveller to another: You will likely get ripped off.
As much as you try to say TAP water, as soon as they ask Still? and you agree, you are getting a bottle that will cost you upwards of €2. On top of that, don’t trust the basket of bread – this isn’t North America, it will cost you even more than the water. I think I’m really good at avoiding those sneaky costs, but language barriers make it all the more difficult. If you can, carry water with you and say No, as soon as the bread arrives, rather than charade-ing Is this free?? This may make me sound super cheap, but every Euro counts when you aren’t rich.
So, after being to Rome twice, I must be bustling with recommendations. The truth is, you already know what main sites to see, everyone does. My obvious recommendation is to WALK EVERYWHERE. That way you discover a more authentic side of Rome. Even walking around the same places at night gives you a new perspective. As sore as your feet may be for walking 20K+ steps a day, you will appreciate the city more – and more importantly, you will have more room in your stomach for all the delicious food.