when in rome
so if venice was old home week for me, rome was foreign in every sense of the word. having never been there before, the sheer size of the place was intimidating (not so much in square miles but in its historical geography). there was a lot to cover.
[my intimidation might stem from the fact that my roman art history course in college was poorly scheduled at 2:00 in the afternoon which meant i, shamefully, head bobbed to sleep by 2:30 - and had notes to prove it. any art major knows a dark lecture room post-lunch is a sad state of affairs. thankfully, i had kelsey to help me catch up pre-exams (see below)]
luckily, we had emails, notes and suggestions from the likes of my best friend kelsey (roman history buff / obsessive), marjorie (a reader who i recently got to meet at the wedding of jewelry designer cristina v, a mutual friend) and megan (who sent some awesome, not-your-typical fare suggestions) not to mention the great ideas shared in my original plea for help.
day 1: arrive (via train) from venice, check in at the aleph (a fairly chic boutique hotel near the via veneto) and then headed out to lunch in sant’ignazio to a place called le cave which came recommended a few times over. so charming and set in one of the best nooks in the city. then a short walk to the pantheon (a lifelong dream for this designer) and then another short walk to piazza navona, each spot living up to its hype. a longer walk along the tiber to the ara pacis, one of my favorite pieces of roman history in a building that truly harnesses the light. a route home included the spanish steps (thought they’d be bigger?!) to rest up for an incredible dinner at cul de sac (thanks to sepia beauty for this gem) which was followed by a visit to the trevi fountain (who knew it was so big?!)
day 2: woke up late, cursing ourselves all the way to the vatican. turns out, smart move. go around lunchtime and miss the crowds. st peter’s (thought it’d be bigger?!) and the vatican museums awed. a trip to the borghese gardens, rented a bike-buggy - one of the funnier things we’ve done. laughed our way through the gorgeous park. a rest and a drink on our hotel roof terrace followed by dinner in trastevere, one of my favorite neighborhoods. traverna trilussa was excellent, and PKS assured me that their award-winning pastas were, in fact, worth the awards. no worries, this gluten free girl didn’t suffer w/ her barolo wine soaked steak.
day 3: the day for all things ancient: palatine, forum and colosseum (start at the palatine - shorter line for the tickets that grant admission to all 3 spots). lunch in trastevere at a not-noteworthy gluten free restaurant curbed that craving for pizza. a long, leisurely walk through / by campo di fiori, piazza navona, the pantheon and the trevi, again, shopping along the way (but came home empty handed). drinks at salotto 42 (literally, the best bar i’ve ever been to) followed by dinner at roscioli (get a reservation!), an exceptional spot fit for our final meal.
… that’s all to say:
rome: go for the history, stay for the fountains and food. catholic or not, vatican city is fascinating. get cocktails at salotto 42. walk and get lost (sensing a theme?). rent bikes in borghese. have a coffee in sant’eustachio. get over the fact that it is shoulder-to-shoulder people: the trevi fountain is absolutely amazing.