Travel: Rome, Italy

Travel: Rome, ItalyAhhhh….Italy.  This trip has been a dream for a quite a while.  I’ve been to Europe but it was years ago while in college.  I spent most of my time in England but had brief jaunts to France and Germany.

One of my guides for this trip described Rome as an open-air museum.  At that point I had been there for a couple of days and never put that truth together myself.  Think about that!  Rome is an open-air museum.  There are statues and monuments everywhere.  The history is rich and it’s history you most likely learned at some point in school.

Of course there are places everyone should see including The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and The Vatican. (No, I don’t know any of the people in any of these pics, except for The Colosseum selfie because that’s me, and I’m not sure how to take a “people-free” pic at these places because there’s always someone there.)  Whew!  I’m glad that’s out of the way!

 

 

My hotel was near the Colosseum and Forum but a little bit of an extra hike to get to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.

I stayed at Hotel Genova.  A review of my Gate 1 travel experience is coming in a later post.  Simply put, don’t stay here.

During my 2 week trip to Italy I spent most of my time in Rome.  You could actually spend the entire 2 weeks in Rome and never see the same thing twice.  It’s just that much to see and actually you need even more time.   I also visited Florence and Venice.  Expect a post of my wine tour in Florence along with restaurants I visited while in Venice and Florence in an upcoming Travel Tuesday.

Where I ate in Rome (Top 3)

Best Pizza:  Est! Est! Est! is on Via Principe Amedeo.  Close second is across the way from Est! Est! Est! and that’s Trattoria il Gallo Nero. I ate a LOT of pizza while in Rome.  The pizza is unlike anything I’ve ever eaten.  It’s very light and even after eating a 10 inch pie you don’t feel like you’ve stuffed your face so much that you can’t move.  Pizza in the U.S makes you feel guilty.  Don’t get me wrong, I probably should feel guilty about eating so much pizza but Italy was a once in a lifetime trip so I don’t feel guilty at all!  I love a good Chicago deep dish and a floppy slice from NYC but pizza in Rome is on another level.  I ate it most days.

Best Gelato:  Giolitti on Via degli Uffici del Vicario.  This is near The Pantheon.  My tour guide for Walks of Italy (now known as Take Walks), Pompeii/Amalfi Coast Tour told everyone about this one. I tried several gelatto places (anything for research) and this by far was THE BEST!

Giolitti

Best Dinner:  Roberto’s on Via Cavour, minutes from Termini station.  If you go, make sure you purchase a bottle of the house red wine.  I regret that I did not buy a bottle.  FYI:  This meal was included in my tour with Gate 1.  I had the eggplant parmesan and it was divine.  I have a very close friend that used to get this dish whenever we went to an Italian restaurant in Louisiana, Semolina’s.  I never understood why she loved eggplant parmesan so much until I tasted this one.   Side note:  If you are in the Metairie area (outside New Orleans), make sure you go to Semolina’s.

Roberto's eggplant parmesan
Roberto’s eggplant parmesan

BONUS:

If you decide to take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast I definitely recommend the Pompeii/Amalfi Coast tour offered by Walks of Italy.  Get ready for all things lemon.  There’s a store I’ll never forget that greets you with lemon and ushers you out with lemon.  It’s beautiful but it can be a bit much.  Anyhoo!  You must get this dessert and get it from La Zagara.  It’s called Lemon Delizia or Delizie al Limone.  It tastes light and airy.  The first pic makes it look almost like a cupcake with icing.  Don’t be fooled.   This is no cupcake and not even the fluffiest cake-like dessert will compare.   This is more creamy like ice-cream or cheesecake.

The Amalfi Coast is everything you expect it be and more.  Look at this pic!  I’m in awe of the color, the landscape, the beauty of the Amalfi Coast.  I’m not a fan of traveling to the same place twice.  The only place I’ve gone more than once is the Bahamas and that’s because my friends and family insist on taking cruises and the Bahamas is on everyone’s list.   I don’t really like lengthy cruises or cruises in general TBH (that’s a topic I may write about one day) but I’ll go for a couple days.  I said all that to say, the Amalfi Coast is the first place I’ve visited that I’d happily visit again.

I said you should take the Amalfi Coast/Pompeii tour.  If you think about your World History, you’ll remember Pompeii.  It’s a city frozen in time thanks to a volcanic eruption.  Your tour guide, or the self-tour if you so choose, will tell you about an ancient city known for it’s modern conveniences and brothels.  Yes, brothels.   Here’s a taste of what you’ll see in this ancient city.

Favorite Part of the City:  My favorite area of Rome was Campo de Fiori.  There are plenty of options to choose from in terms of restaurants that line the center of this area.  However, these will cost the most so be sure to go off the beaten path and into the area just a bit to find a better deal and good food.  There’s a market in the center that sells everything from fresh juices to cashmere.  I’ve searched and searched for a pic of Campo de Fiori and I can’t find one.  My apologies.  My least favorite pizza was actually in this part of the city but that doesn’t change my view of the area because my least favorite in pizza in Italy is probably still my number 1 as compared to any slice I get here in the states.

Side note:  Be sure to hop on the train/bus to checkout other parts of the city.  I went north of the city center on a trek that I was unsure of but it turned out to be great day.  I got to see a national park and there was an Ikea.  I didn’t go to Ikea but it was an interesting find.

Pace yourself!

After visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum I felt like I needed to stop and meditate on what I learned, on what I saw.  In other words, don’t cram it all in.  If you only have a short period of time to see what some may never see, then I understand feeling the need to get it done just to say you “saw that” when you visited Italy.  However, if you can plan it out and spend quality time in these places then please do so.  You won’t regret the decision.

What is your bucket list trip?

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