Dear Rome, I love you. Love Erin.
If I were to write Rome a letter it would be something like that. The first time I visited Rome a few years ago, I would not have written such a nice letter. Back then I probably would have written: Dear Rome, why so hot? Why so crowded? I wish you were a beach. Love, Erin. But this time around, I actually fell in love with the city. Maybe it’s because I was with my husband, so the romance of the city really got me. Maybe it’s because it helped that he speaks a little bit of Italian. Maybe it’s because we stayed in a pink hotel and planned out our meals as a priority, making sure that every meal was amazing. Or maybe it’s because we got up at 5AM and did all the touristing early in the morning before the crowds and the heat took over. Whatever the reason, I loved our time in Rome.
We were only in there for a few days, and I’ll share more of our Italian adventures eventually, though somehow it felt right to start with Rome. The colours. The food. The early morning wandering. This was the Rome we experienced and the Rome we loved.
Where we stayed:
Hotel Sole: Via Del Biscione 76, Navona, 00186 Rome, Italy
Our hotel room was small, but it was clean, and comfortable. When my husband and I travel we don’t tend to spend a lot of time in our rooms, we’d much rather be out exploring. So it may be best to note now, our accommodation throughout this trip wasn’t high end. We prefer to save money on our accommodation if it means we can spend it on the things we enjoy more i.e.: eating. So with that in mind, this hotel was great for what we wanted. It had aircon (BIG tick), it had an elevator (a big plus when you are backpacking – yes, I carried a backpack around Europe…) and was really close (i.e.: walking distance) to most of the things most people want to visit in Rome: Amazing restaurants, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Vatican – we walked everywhere. So the location was a big plus. Also. Pink walls. And garden covered rooftops. Where our room was for sleeping, the rooftop garden was perfect for a few proseccos before dinner.
What we did:
We walked everywhere. Our hotel was right in the action, so on arrival we were quickly out the door exploring the city. We’d both been to Rome before, so we ticked the usual tourist spots off quite quickly (hot tip: get up early and go see the sights before the crowds set in. We were at the Trevi Fountain at 6am, and we had it all to ourselves! The perfect pre-breakfast excursion!)
What we ate:
Probably the most important question. We did a little research prior to arriving in Rome, and I can honestly say we didn’t eat a bad meal the whole time we were there. Staying in Navona, meant we were right around the corner from an amazing selection of restaurants.
Cul De Sac: Piazza di Pasquino, 73, 00186 Roma, Italy – A busy little restaurant that serves amazing pâtés, pasta, has a ridiculously good wine list, and friendly staff, conveniently located just down the road from our hotel. We booked for the following evening after walking past one night, as the line for a table was quite long. It was worth booking.
Cantina E Cucina: Via del Governo Vecchio, 87, 00186 Roma, Italy – We ate here on our first night as Cul De Sac was packed, and it was just down the road. It was a great decision. The food was great, and we were lucky to get the last table when we arrived. The restaurant had a great atmosphere. Although the service was a little slow, we had finished our first bottle of wine before our starters came out, which resulted in Mr HQ&Co. & I becoming pretty happy by the time we finished our meal… ok fine. We were drunk. But also, happy.
Zum: Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 20, 00186 Roma, Italy – TIRAMISU ALERT. We stumbled across this place after dinner one night, a little tiramisu/dessert place with various flavours and treat options to choose from. My only regret was that I didn’t have 3 servings of tiramisu to myself, and that we didn’t find it earlier in our stay.
Gelateria Valentino: Via del Lavatore, 96, 00187 Roma, Italy – I mean, you can’t really go wrong with gelato in Rome. provided you go to one of the legit traditional Italian gelato places, its probably going to be amazing. But this was my favourite. Right near the Trevi Fountain, and run by the cutest most friendly Italian husband and wife team ever. They really knew their flavour combinations. My go-to? Lemon & Raspberry sorbet. Perfection for summer.
Rome, you were amazing, and although our stay was brief, I feel like we made up for that in the amount of gelato and wine consumed.
Next stop: Venice, Montebello and Fruili Venezia Giulia