This past week I’ve digging deep into my archives and discovered some great travel tips for Rome that I thought I would share with you. Now that we’ve been able to come to terms with Covid many of us are back on the road exploring.
Plus, you know how much I adore Italy and everything Italian!
Rome, better known as the “Eternal City” because ancient Romans believed that no matter what happened to the world, or how many empires rose or fell, that Rome would go on forever.
Now some might say that it’s not a great place to go other than the summer but trust me Italy is wonderful to go any time of year. With each season bringing new things to see and do.
This trip was over the last two weeks of December, so spanning the Christmas holiday.
I stayed in the Via Veneto neighbourhood, adjacent to the Villa Borghese and made famous by Federico Fellini and his 1960 hit movie “la dolce vita“.
Although some may argue that this once glamorous area has lost its star appeal since those heady days, but as I walk around, I find it still retains a certain level of prestige and nostalgia befitting its pedigree.
In Rome, like most large European cities it is imperative that you book some things in advance. Although I’m generally an “in the moment” explorer, the Christmas period had some interesting challenges.
As you can imagine, Italian families gather on big occasions, and arguably Christmas so if you plan to eat out then you must book a restaurant for both Christmas eve and Christmas day as many are not open.
Another factor to be aware of is that Italy has many climates, not just the micro climates.
In the north it’s much cooler than by the Mediterranean so if you’re planning on traversing the country, you’ll need clothes that can function in all climates.
Rome, like most cosmopolitan cities has so many places to see and explore it’s important not to overload your senses by trying to fit in everything in a short amount of time.
I always have found that you choose just a couple of things per day and let the rest of the day take care of itself. I’ve had the best adventures when I take this approach.
Here are a couple of tips to get you started on your next adventure in Rome…
Indelible Tip #1: Like with all major cities, irrespective of whether you’re there just to explore and have fun or come with a purpose it’s important to plan your visit carefully.
Unfortunately for the vast majority of visitors you are channelled into specific sites and don’t get an opportunity to explore and discover the gems that are in plain sight.
I realize that not everyone enjoys getting outside their comfort zone and wandering the city until they are lost like me, but I do discover a side of a city that few do.
There are the obvious must see while you’re in Rome, such as the Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda), Colosseum (Piazza del Colosseo), the Forum (Via della Salara Vecchia) and of course the Trevi Fountain (Piazza di Trevi) but the real Rome is beyond these major sites.
My advice is to get off the beaten track and explore some of these gems…
Head down to the Aventine, which is one of the seven hills on which Ancient Rome was built.
This lesser-known area is also home to Circo Massimo, built in the third century BC as a venue for Chariot racing but destroyed by fire in 64 AD.
It remains a key part of Rome’s history, as it was built in a natural amphitheatre between the Palatine and Aventine Hills and was a perfect location for constructing the largest stadium in the world which sat up to 250,000 spectators.
Wandering its architecturally rich streets is a pleasure unto itself, check out the Rome Rose Garden and Basilica of Santa Sabina while you’re there.
Indelible Tip #2: If all this walking makes you hungry, and you’re craving authentic Roman fare at a reasonable price away from the hordes of visitors, then continue walking across the Ponte Testaccio which spans the Tiber River to the Trastevere neighbourhood.
You’ll be blown away by the local fare at Canti dei Papi (Via della Scala, 71), this great little place has an amazing array of local prosciutto, cheeses and other Roman delicacies that will bring your palate alive.
Far from the crowds it’s an eclectic place to sit, eat and enjoy the amazing food and soak up the atmosphere.
However, if you’re near the Trevi Fountain and feeling a little peckish there is no better place that to drop into Pane e Salame (Via Santa Maria in Via, 19) for a Roman Panini sandwich.
This little hole in the wall is ranked third best restaurant in Rome so it’s got to be doing something right.
Tucked away in a small side street just blocks away from the Trevi fountain you can’t go wrong with one of their delicious panini’s. It’s become a popular place, so depending on the time of year you may be standing in line…
Indelible Tip #3: Rome is to be savoured and never rushed, although it can be difficult with a limited time and a lot to see and do. Why not take some time to sit on a sidewalk cafe and people watch over an afternoon espresso or glass of wine.
Maybe even spend the afternoon strolling through the beautiful Borghese Gardens and Villa Medici to get a new perspective on the city and unwind.
My travel motto “is to wander until I get lost”, this is where the adventures begin…
Until next time
Leave a Reply