Roaming around Rome: Attractions, Food & Advice

This past spring, I had the chance to live in Rome for about one and a half months. Since then, texts and DMs of recommendation- requests have flooded my inbox. To consolidate it all, I’ve compiled my go-to list along with tips based on my time living there. Most of these stem from personal experiences, so take some opinions with a grain of salt and enjoy your time in one of the most culturally-rich cities in the world.

TRANSPORTATION TIP: Public transport in Rome was not my ideal choice of mobility since it was often very crowded, late and unreliable. During the months living there, I spent most of it walking everywhere. If you do decide to take public transport, be mindful of your belongings because pick pocketing passengers are very common, especially amidst a crowded train or bus.

TOURIST STOPS:

  • Colosseum: visit the interior during the day, stroll by the exterior in the evening for a different scene.
  • Pantheon: free and takes no longer than 30 minutes depending on the wait; it’s also walking distance to Piazza Novana.
  • Piazza Novana:  a city square epitomizing Baroque art, housing the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, Palazzo Pamphili and Fontana del Moro. The square is surrounded my restaurants (very touristy, I wouldn’t recommend eating here) and often hold street performers and vendors. Piazza Novana is walking distance to Campo di Fiori.
  • Campo di Fiori: an open-air market where farmers and local vendors sell their products; it’s also a great place to bargain for edible souvenirs you want to bring home like truffle paste, limoncello or specialty oils.
  • Vatican City
    • St. Peter’s Basilica: (free; try to come at opening time so you don’t have to wait in line).
    • Climbing to the top of the Dome: 8€ for a lift to the terrace and 320 steps or 6€ to climb 551 steps by foot.
    • Vatican Museum: holds masterpieces of painting, sculpture and other works of art collected by the popes throughout the centuries (Raphael’s ‘Transfiguration,’ Caravaggio’s ‘The Entombment of Christ, Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens,’ ‘Belvedere Torso,’ and Raphael’s ‘The Annunciation’).
    • Sistine Chapel:  is also here; so to go there, you need entrance to the Vatican Museum.
  • Spanish Steps: grab gelato or tiramisu and chill here for a bit
  • Trevi Fountain: pretty both night/day
  • Villa Farnesina: iconic Renaissance art all over this place; one of my favorite Renaissance stops (Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giulio Romano)
  • Galleria Borghese: stroll through Villa Borghese for Baroque Art
  • Castel Sant’angelo: probably one of my favorite spots to take pictures of the city (refer to photos below) — the view is just breathtaking and I recommend going late afternoon/evening when the sky turns pink – but check when it closes.
  • Portico di ottavia/Teatro di Marcello: Roman ruins, a bit hidden but honestly so pretty to stroll through

Castel Sant’angelo

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

  • Wander around Trastevere: cool neighborhood but kind of touristy; it’s also fun at evening/night
  • Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens (huge park): rent bikes/rowboat – You can also get really nice views from this area (refer to picture below)

Villa Borghese Gardens

FOOD

** quick tip: restaurants in Italy have sporadic schedules in a sense that they close in the middle of the day (typically around 2 pm – 5 pm), so be conscious of opening times and when you eat; sometimes Google would say the place is open from 5 pm – 10 pm, but don’t be surprised if they stop serving an hour before closing or if don’t open exactly at 5.

  • El Felice (dinner/lunch): MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS NOW (you can only call) – always booked-out; try this place for “the best cacio e pepe” a popular roman dish.
  • Trapizzino Testaccio (lunch/snack): these triangular sandwiches are SO good and cheap; Testaccio is also a cool area to wander around with lots of local food to try.
    • Trapizzino Trastevere is just as good if you’re in the area
  • Tonnarello: one of my favorite places for dinner – great service, affordable, no reservations and fast wait if you sit inside; the carbonara is beyond AMAZING also try the fried artichoke to share as appetizers.
  • Pizzarium Bonci: known for its diverse pizza flavors. I didn’t get a chance to try it but a lot of my local friends recommended this place.
  • Supplizio: suppli, a fried rice ball famous in Rome (close to piazza novana and campo di fiori — this area is also cool to wander around and get lost).
  • Have breakfast/lunch at Testacio Market: cool place to wander around and see locals; they also have stands for fresh food and great dessert

GELATO:

  • Frigidarium: I’ve tried many “best gelatos in Rome” but this one is my favorite because it’s really creamy and thick (same area near Piazza Novana) — they dip your gelato in chocolate/add whip cream for free– so say yes you if want some.
  • Gelateria del Teatro (same neighborhood as above)
  • Gelateria dei Gracchi: this one is also really good but kind of out of the way

DRINKS/NIGHTLIFE:

  • Secret events hosted by Post Office every Thursday: check their FB page, comment to put your name on the guest list — it’ll be super local so you’ll probably see mostly Italians — https://www.facebook.com/PostOffice-Roma-859777387411380/
  • La Terrazze: cool venue/rooftop club; it was probably one of the few clubs I went to. If you go, check who’s DJing first and if you go, come like at 2 am lol… if u come too early the crowd is older people
  • Il Pentagrappolo: wine bar and live music
  • Pane e salame: great wine and charcuterie but kind of touristy
  • Drink, aperitf, or hookah by the Tiber River:  I forget at what time it starts to open (maybe 6 or 7) but the river has a bunch of vendors and stands that’s great to enjoy the sunset and have a cold drink– walk along it and see where you like.

Evening by the Tiber River

I hope this list was helpful; enjoy your time in Rome 🙂

 

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