Ah Rome. The favorite city of so many people that I have polled in Europe. And for good reason- there is something beautiful around every corner, ancient ruins colliding with the present, charming piazzas with sidewalk tables to sip an aperitif, attractive people on scooters.
Obviously the first thing I did when I arrived was get some pizza for breakfast. Cause I wasn’t gonna NOT have pizza first thing when I arrived in Italy even if it was 9 in the morning. The place I went turned out to be amazing- inside a food market and the friendly woman hadn’t quite opened yet so she gave me some kind of heaven gluten while I waited. All the pizza is by weight so she just sliced off a tiny bit of many flavors for me to try as they came out of the oven.
My first day I hit the tourist sites hard. I knew the second day, June 2, was Italy’s Republic Day so I figured I should avoid the popular sites on a holiday. It ended up paying off- I waited in line for pizza longer than I did for the Coliseum. Also don’t forget you can book in advance for most attractions in Rome.
My favorite site of this trip was actually not in Italy at all but rather in the world’s smallest country- Vatican City– which is surrounded on all sides by Rome. Home of the Pope, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, and my favorite restaurant of my trip. Being a single girl on a trip seems to make other people chatty- which is fine. I just inevitably have the people at the table next to me at some point lean over and ask where I’m from or what I’m eating or where my mom is or something to that effect. I must make people uncomfortable. But I maintain that traveling solo is actually the best. And I usually enjoy talking to these social strangers.
I tried the famous Roman dish of cacio e pepe at three different restaurants (one touted as Anthony’s Bourdain’s favorite restaurant of all-time, and once at a place where I tried to order something else but the waitress told me that no, I wanted cacio e pepe). But you know what? It just tasted like excellent Kraft macaroni and cheese to me. Don’t get me wrong- everything about that sentence is a positive thing. But it didn’t change my life.
I loved walking above the city at Palatine Hill. From here to the Forum you can gaze upon Famous Old Things in the peace of a lovely garden.
Day Two started off a little hectic because of previously mentioned Republic Day and my walking path basically made me a part of the military parade for several claustrophobic minutes. When I managed to extricate myself from the throngs of people I headed to Trastevere which was my favorite area of Rome to wander.
Rome has so many plazas where people gather around Beautiful Things. This one was my favorite, Piazza Navona.
Annnnnd I got no joke 19 scoops of gelato. In 2.5 days. I’m not sure if I am proud or disgusted but I needed to try them all!!! I have my list of favorites if you’re going and don’t have the mental and physical fortitude for ice cream the way I do to slog through 19. (Neve di Latte for just a quality ice cream experience, Gelateria del Teatro where I saw them crushing the pistachios by hand and Frigidarium for best mess. Ah and that other one! What was it called? Vechio or something like that, near the Trevi Fountain. You’ll find it. Ooo that one was good).
Rome was hot and at times chaotic. Like when you are trying to cross a road. Just don’t do it if you value your life- probably there’s something just as cool on the side you’re already standing on. Not worth it. But there are quiet, beautiful corners to explore like the rose garden with a view of the Coliseum, or the Villa Borghese gardens to take a nap in when it’s too hot to move anymore. When I was there it was Piano Day in the Park- grand pianos set up in different areas with professional musicians playing. Just lovely.