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When in Rome: a guide to the Italian city

How We Got There

We flew into the Rome airport from Charlotte and used Daytrip to find a driver to take us to our Airbnb. For more information on train and car travel in Italy, check out my guide to Positano and the Amalfi Coast.

Where We Stayed

On our first night in Rome, we stayed in a small Airbnb, but it was perfect since we were only there for one night. The hosts were very kind and even placed a tray of breakfast outside our door the next morning.

After traveling throughout the country, we stayed two more nights in Rome at a different Airbnb. This one was a little bigger with a kitchen and a loft bed. We never saw the host, but he gave us detailed instructions on everything and left us chocolate (so obviously I love him).

How We Spent Our Days

Day 1: The First Time Around

After checking in at our Airbnb, we ate a late lunch at Sapori e Delizie. We ordered a prosciutto pizza (pizza of course since it was our first meal in Italy) and a Greek salad. It was the best pizza we had on our trip.

Side note to you people who are all about looking cute for the ‘gram: don’t. I tried wearing my fashionable espadrilles and wanted to die. We had to stop in a boutique to buy the most inexpensive, comfortable shoes we could find. They weren’t good for my outfit at the time, but they’re perfect for gardening now.

After purchasing my shoes, we made our way to the Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain. We circled back around to the Trevi Fountain towards the end of our trip because there were so many people. The amount of tourists in Rome is unreal.

My favorite spot to explore (and somewhat avoid the crowds) is the Trastevere, a cute, bohemian area full of some of the best, most authentic Italian restaurants and colorful buildings. We got gelato at Fiordiluna for dinner and took a stroll by the Colosseum on our way back to the Airbnb.

Day 2: Breakfast Before the Train

Our Airbnb host left us breakfast outside the door the next morning. So sweet! We stopped by 081 Cafè before heading to the train station that morning. They had one of the best cappuccinos we had in Italy.

Day 3: Back in Rome

On the way to our second Rome Airbnb, our driver mistook me for an Italian. I was finally blending in until he tried speaking Italian to me, and then I had to confess. After getting settled in at our Airbnb, we headed to the Trevi Fountain to try to get a picture amongst the crowds. We made our wishes, tossed our coins and headed on our way to the Pantheon.

The Pantheon is free to everyone, and the long line to get in goes fast. There’s really not much to see once you’re inside, so it’s a quick and easy tourist spot to hit.

One of my favorite areas of Rome is the Piazza Nuova. It’s absolutely beautiful with peach and pink buildings, large fountains and vine covered restaurants. The sun dances off the walls during sunset. Just beautiful!

We went back to the Trastevere area of Rome for dinner for an authentic Italian pizza at Ivo a Trastevere (thanks to Condé Nast for the recommendation). After dinner, we explored the area a little more and stopped by Gelateria Artigianale Cremì for gelato.

Day 4: The Best Day

If I could go back in time to any of our days in Rome, this would be the day. I’ve never had so many touristy dreams fulfilled.

We started our day with breakfast and cappuccinos at Art Café Mart-in and ventured to the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a one time thing you have to do when visiting Rome, although I think it’s much prettier from the outside.

Note: Here’s where we bought our tickets to skip the awful lines.

After the Colosseum, we went across the street to the Roman Forum. The views of the ruins from the top are beautiful! I would definitely go again.

We meandered onto a back street in Rome and found the cutest place for lunch, Vinando a Tor Margana. We ordered bread, mixed bruschetta, meatballs and cantaloupe with prosciutto. I’m still dreaming of those meatballs.

Before making our way to The Vatican (EEK), we had to stop at Te Amo for Asher to get his bubble tea. He swears by it.

The Vatican is where all my dreams came true. I’ve always wanted to wander the halls, see the statues and most importantly, get a glance of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Guards hustled us into a crowded room and ordered everyone to be silent and not take photos. I have followed the rules all my life, so allow me to be a rebel just this once, okay? I slyly turned my camera to the ceiling square that heralded the painting of “The Creation of Adam” and may or may not have clicked the button. Oops.

Note: Here’s where we bought tickets to skip the line.

Thankfully, we visited St. Peter’s Basilica next, where I was able to make a confession for my disobedience. LOL. Totally kidding. I have no shame. The basilica was stunning. The line took a long time, but was worth it.

After sightseeing, we walked back to the Trastevere for dinner at Cantina e Cucina. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. One of the best places we ate our entire trip. We ordered ravioli, lasagna and bread, and I was in heaven. I want to bathe in that lasagna (kinda, not really, but you get the point).

At this point, I had taken over 32,000 steps, so it wasn’t hard talking myself into one more gelato at Venchi’s – three scoops in a chocolate and nut covered cone. The couple behind us ordered two scoops in a regular cone to split. And here I was eating all my ice cream and buying chocolates to go. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, ya know?

That was the end of our Italian adventure – a farewell gelato and noodle legs. Rome wasn’t my favorite, but it was well worth it. Until next time, Italia.

Carlee Alexandria Travel & Lifestyle

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