Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably know that I've recently spent 4 days in Rome, Italy. I went there to attend Way Up North, a European wedding photographer congress. (Loved it! - more on that another time though) Since we basically spent two full days inside a dark theater, listening to one inspirational talk after another, there was not much time for sightseeing. I've been to Rome before, though, so this wasn't really a problem and we certainly did make the most of the 1 1/2 days we had. Below I've rounded up a few snapshots and some walking route suggestions for you. Basically a little 'How to do Rome if you are strapped for time'-guide. 🙂
Where to stay: The first time I went to Rome I stayed near the Metro station Vittorio Emanuele, which lies very central, right around the corner from Termini (main station - you'll arrive there if you take the city airport train) and you can easily walk to the Colosseum in under 15 minutes from there.
This time we put less emphasis on being right in the city center but rather wanted to stay near the event location, Teatro Italia. Therefore we booked the suggested Mercure hotel near Piazza Bologna (the hotel was perfectly fine but nothing overly special). The area surrounding Piazza Bologna is a somewhat quieter residential neighborhood, therefore you won't be trampled by hordes of tourists and you can enjoy your morning espresso in cute authentic coffee bars, alongside the locals. The Metro station Bologna is right around the corner from the hotel and from there you'll get to the city center in under 10 minutes.
Where to eat: Fine dining and going out for cocktails was not a priority on this trip but a couple of places we stumbled upon really stood out, so I thought why not tell you about them.
Trattoria da Neno: Very cute little restaurant which was conveniently located right next to our hotel. I had mozzarella di bufala con prosciutto to share, ravioli di ricotta as well as crema catalana for dessert and I can assure you everything was delicious! Also the waiters were very attentive and funny, so a visit there is definitely highly recommended if you are in the area.
Uve e Forme: Uve e Forme is a tiny little hole in the wall wine bar / restaurant in the same area. Luckily the weather was nice enough for us to sit outside, but from what I've seen, the interior of the restaurant is absolutely beautiful too. For dinner there I had Pecorino Bio al forno con miele di castagno, pere e crostini (to share --> please don't ask me to translate because I simply can't. I was very good though), Tagliatelle integrali con crema di zucchine and a glass *cough*bottle*cough* of vino rosato.
Venchi: If you go to Italy obviously you should plan on eating a ton of gelato. We stumbled upon the best ice cream (in my opinion) on the very first day. Venchi sells chocolate and gelato (what's not to love) in five stores all over Rome. We found it somewhat by accident on our way to the Pantheon and, oh my, what a find it was. You have to try the chocolate and mango ice cream, and eat it while sitting on the fountain in front of the Pantheon, listening to street musicians and watch the other tourists hurry by. Got it? 😉
Bianco's Vespette e Forchette On our last evening in Rome we decided to end our stay with some good old Italian pizza. We found this little gem of a bistro on our way home from Vatican city and I can highly recommend it. The place is very charming with brick walls and all dark wood interior and the pizza was delicious.
Mizzica Remember that one scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Julia Roberts tries to order a coffee in a bustling Italian coffee shop? That's Mizzica. Italians standing around a long bar and loudly ordering their espressi before going off to work. It's pretty cool to watch if you don't mind the somewhat hectic atmosphere. Also the pastries they had on display there... oh my. Don't be discouraged by the somewhat rough exterior of the place, it's definitely worth checking out.
Quick and easy walking tours: As mentioned before, we did not have a lot of time to explore or do some serious sightseeing, but we managed to hit most of the roman hot spots by strolling through those traditional cobble-stone alleyways.
Tour I: Fontana di Trevi - Pantheon - Piazza Navona - Piazza di Spagna - Colloseum - Palatino - Foro Romano On Sunday we started our sightseeing tour at Fontana di Trevi. To get there we took the Metro to Barberini station and walked from there. Basically we went from Fontana di Trevi to the Pantheon (where we took a little ice cream break to listen to an amazing street musician and watch the masses of tourists pass us by). From there we walked further to Piazza Navona which is basically right around the corner and indulged in some midday Aperol spritz - when in Rome and all that, right? 🙂 From Piazza Navona you can easily walk to the famous Piazza di Spagna and if your budget allows it, pick up a few souvenirs from stores like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Michael Kors along the way... you know, the usual.
Since we were so close to a Metro station at that point and the fun of walking around had worn off a little, we decided to take the subway to the Colosseum. We got out at Vittorio Emanuele and set out to explore the Colosseum, Palatino and Foro Romano for the rest of the afternoon.
Tour II: Piazza del Popolo - Ponte Sant'Angelo - Castel Sant'Angelo - Basilica di San Pietro On Wednesday our congress ended a little earlier and we decided to make the most of the late afternoon and go explore the area around Vatican city. We took the Metro to Flaminio station, which is right next to Piazza del Popolo. From there we strolled leisurely in the direction of Castel Sant'Angelo and towards Basilica di San Pietro. By the time we got there it was probably around 7pm so we were walking straight towards the basilica while the sun was setting directly behind it. Also most of the tourists were leaving by then and with the evening light it was absolutely magical.
If at all possible plan your sightseeing and walking tours for early morning or late afternoon / evening. Otherwise be prepared for masses of tourists. Also, don't be afraid to take the metro while in Rome. There are only two major lines (A&B) which will get you to most of the sights around town. A 24 hour ticket costs about € 7,- so that's a pretty nice deal.
So as mentioned before, these are mostly snapshots. Some taken with my camera, some with my iPhone and obviously, there is sooo much more to be seen in Rome but I hope you liked my mini-guide none the less. Maybe it'll come in handy for you, should you ever visit the eternal city. 🙂Oh and by the way, this is me on basically every trip - watching things from behind my camera and making faces when I'm supposed to be in front of one. There's no hope people. 😉 Thank you Veronika for these snapshots!!