By: Christine Williams, dontforgettomove.com
If you’re traveling through Italy by train there’s no excuse not to visit Rome. It’s centrally located, easy to get to and an absolutely incredible city. With some of the most recognized sights in the world, you will never run out of things to see in Rome. Which is all the more reason to come to Italy’s capital with a plan. Once you arrive in Rome, the city will sweep you up into its beautiful chaos of busy tourists, stylish locals and magnetic energy. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the choices of what to see and do. That’s why we’ve narrowed down your choices to some of our favorite places to eat, drink and see in Rome, Italy.
Rome is a mashup of iconic history and trendy metropolitan modernity. From the incredible sites to the laid back local neighborhoods, get ready for long days of exploring if you hope to fit everything in.
Colosseum- The Colosseum is a must-see when you’re in Rome. Go early to avoid some of the crowds (it will always be somewhat crowded). Save some energy to visit the Roman Forum and surrounding ruins afterward. They may not have the same iconic fame as the Colosseum, but they’re pretty incredible in their own right. We recommend splurging for a tour to get the most out of your visit. If you want to continue soaking up the views of the Colosseum, the restaurants just outside aren’t the best but you really can’t beat looking up at the magnificent structure over a glass of wine.
Vatican- If you’re headed to Rome, why not add an extra country to your list and visit the Vatican? The Vatican city, home of the Pope, is technically a separate country. And a pretty incredible one at that. Part religious site, part art history museum, this place is beautiful inside and out. If you’re there during the summer, we recommend checking it out on Friday evenings. There’s less people and St. Peter’s Square is beautiful at night!
Italy is famous for its food, but there’s a lot of hit and misses in Rome. Ask locals, do your research and definitely make a reservation if you’re going anywhere even slightly popular.
Pizzarium Bonci- It wouldn’t be fair to say that this is the best pizza in Rome, since we didn’t try ALL the other pizza places, but it would be pretty hard to beat. Pizza is sold by weight and you really get your money’s worth here. If the pizzarium is super busy, try Bonci’s bakery not far from the restaurant. Don’t leave without getting one of their black cherry mini pies. They are to die for.
Ciuri Ciuri Cannoli- If you’re going to Italy, you have to eat cannoli. For those not in the know, cannoli is a crispy rolled pastry filled with sweet cream and Ciuri Ciuri is the spot to get them. You can choose between getting it dipped in pistachio or chocolate chips (or both!) They fill them on the spot, which is how you know you’re getting a fresh cannoli instead of a soggy leftover.
Trastevere: If you’re looking for nightlife in Rome, head into the Trastevere neighborhood. Full of restaurants, bars and cafes, this area is popular with locals and tourists alike. The cobblestone streets really get busy after dark and go well into the night. Start with a relaxed glass of wine at street side cafe and head into the bars for a guaranteed great night out.
Jerry Thomas Speakeasy: For something a little different, try this Roman speakeasy. With delicious cocktails and fun décor, you’ll swear you were just transported back to the Roarin’ Twenties. It’s hard to find and you need a password to enter, but it’s all part of the fun. To guarantee a table, we recommend making a reservation.
Hopefully this guide has helped you narrow down your choices of what to see, eat and drink in Rome, but these are just a jumping off point. Rome is a city of endless choices and often the best things are found by getting lost and just stumbling upon a secret, local spot you can only find in person.
Christine and Jules traveled with Trenitalia e-tickets by ACP Rail on the following routes: Venice to Florence, Florence to Rome, Rome to Naples and Napes to Rome. Read their complete story: WHERE TO TRAVEL IN ITALY: THE ULTIMATE CITY GUIDE.