March 30, 2018
To me, Italy is flavor. It is the smell of espresso, it is the taste of lemons and sun-ripened tomatoes. Italy is pace and enjoyment and experience. It is bright color and hot sun and romance. Italy has risky roads and is enriched with history, decorated with ancient structures. Italy is olive skin and warm greetings and wine at any time of the day.
Italy is by far my favorite country to visit in the world, and I’m excited to share the last bunch of photos from my recent visit to Rome with you here. Andddd to make this more than a blog post with pretty travel photos, I’ve added a few fun and unique things to do when YOU visit Rome.
Because you should.
Just go book your flight now.
I mean… once you’ve read this blog post of course.
1. Visit Said, Rome’s hidden chocolate factory. No word of a lie… my mom actually cried eating one of their chocolate cookies and I wasn’t far from doing the same. ATTENTION ALL CHOCOLATE LOVERS. This sit-down-and-try-every-heavenly-thing-made-of-chocolate factory is not one to miss.
2. Rent a self-catering B&B in Rome city center so you can save on restaurant costs and cook yourself a meal or two. We hired this little apartment just around the corner from the Campo de Fiori and a 2-minute walk from Piazza Navona. The heart of Rome was literally on our doorstep and I felt more like a local than a tourist which I LOVED.
3. Another one of my favorite things about Italy and Rome, in particular, is that gelato shops are open 24/7… or so it seems! Frigidarium was noted the best gelato place in Rome and we stopped by around 11:00 pm to check it out for ourselves. Espresso, dark chocolate and cinnamon were my obvious flavors of choice and letmetellyou… the reviews were NOT wrong. Best gelato in Rome. Hands down.
(Excuse the low-quality iPhone photos here)
4. WINE. Acceptable to drink at any time of the day and especially enjoyed in a chilled out restaurant late at night with live music serenading you in the background (okay maybe that’s just my personal preference…). I took a picture of the wine we ordered called Primitivo Di Manduria ’16 because I had never tasted anything so good. Sad part is it was probably the cheapest bottle they had…HA! Please tell me where I can buy this in the UK??
5. Churches are free to enter in Rome as they are in England and they should be entered at any given opportunity! Each church is unique in its design and decor and you may even find a famous Caravaggio painting hidden in the corner like we did!
To see photos of St Peter’s Basilica, visit my Rome Travel Blog Part 1
6. Buy tickets to the opera! We bought tickets to see La Traviata in a small church. Even though I had no clue what was happening the majority of the time, it was still an awesome experience to witness such talent in both the opera singers and the orchestra and experience something that is so unique to the culture of Rome. I’d definitely recommend seeing a show if you can!
7. Wander the streets without a plan. As my mom says, “One needs to just get out and walk and let time and space and place reveal new wonders.” Do remember though that Italians take a midday siesta (or, riposo/ pisolino) so most shops and cafés will be closed from about 1 pm – 4 pm. This might be a good time to explore though because the streets may be quieter.
8. Take a train journey outside the city. We decided to take a day trip to the city, Orvieto, which is a hilltop town about 1.5 hours outside of Rome. We arrived a bit later in the afternoon so grabbed some pizza at the only restaurant we could find open during riposo and then carried on exploring around the cliff edges. Before our train back we couldn’t resist getting (yet another) cappuccino and a slice of pistachio cake- the perfect way to end a day in my opinion.
9. Last but not least, have a walk up Gianicolo Hill. Apparently, a cannon fires every day at noon and has done since the battle for Rome was won, but we explored here in the evening so missed this! Either way, the panoramic view of Rome from the top of the hill is just amazing. There is also wine for sale up there so you can sit and look out over all of Rome while sipping a glass of your favorite. Can’t get any better than that.