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Rom: The city is a modern day marvel built on layers of ancient ruins
The old saying goes, ‘Not even a lifetime would be enough to get to know Rome’ and it’s true. The city is a modern day marvel built on layers of ancient ruins. It can be overwhelming if you’ve only got two days to spend in the Eternal City, but if you follow this itinerary you’ll certainly get a feel for the very best in food and sights that the city has to offer.
Breakfast with the locals
Breakfast in Rome isnt bacon and eggs or a sit down affair. Head to any bar, order a cappuccino and a cornetto (the Italian version of a croissant – but don’t ever call it that) and drink and eat standing like a Roman. A great option in the Prati neighbourhood—walking distance from St. Peter’s Basilica—is Castroni (Via Cola di Rienzo, 196).
Now that you’ve had breakfast, head to St. Peter’s Basilica. The wait is worth it for a look inside. The overwhelming space covered in technicolored marble and the striking sculpture of Pieta by Michelangelo (to the right when you walk in) can marvel anyone. When you’re done, linger outside in Bernini’s piazza, taking some shade or sun on the colonnade, depending on the weather. A beat the line tour or guided tour can be booked through Walks of Italy who specialize in intimate groups of 8-12 people.
To market we go
Cross the Tiber River to Piazza Campo de’Fiori, where on weekday and Saturday mornings a lively market takes place until about 2pm. The famed Forno Campo de’Fiori bakery is located at the corner of the piazza. Grab some pizza bianca (Rome’s equivalent of a focaccia, crispy and salty on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside). Eat it outside while watching the world go by and if you need a sweet something, head to Roscioli Caffe (Piazza Benedetto Cairoli 16) around the corner (here you can try the famous roman cream bun, the maritozzo)
Bernini and Caravaggio spotting
From Campo it’s a short walk to Piazza Navona, one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in the city. Here, you can get your fix of Bernini, whose Fountain of the Four Rivers dominates the piazza’s centre. On your way to the Pantheon stop at the church San Luigi dei Francesi to view three important paintings by Caravaggio.
When in Rome.. eat!
Not far from here, board the tram near Largo Argentina, which will take you to Trastevere, one of the most lively and prettiest districts in the city. There are plenty of delicious Roman restaurants to eat dinner in, but for real-deal pizza head to Ai Marmi (Viale di Trastevere 53) (no bookings and expect to wait) or for roman fare (cucina romana) try Da Enzo (Via dei Vascellari 29) (you’ll also have to wait unless you arrive early, by 7:30pm) Save room after dinner for a gelato at Fatamorgana in Piazza San Cosimato, then take a stroll through the buzzing nightlife.
Catch a view and walk the roofs
Grab your morning cappuccino and cornetto and start the morning off at the Pincian, the hill that overlooks Piazza del Popolo. Chances are, it’ll be a quiet and peaceful way to start your day in the chaotic city. Then walk along the Roman roofs and domes until you come to the church at the top of the Spanish Steps, the Trinita dei Monti. Once you’ve taken in those views, head down the steps into the city that’s now fully awake. Stop off at the historic Caffe Greco on the famous elite and high-end shopping street, Via Condotti for a second morning coffee. Wind through the shopping streets, taking a detour to toss your coin into the Trevi fountain – one for a wish and a second coin to ensure your return to Rome!
Pasta is a must
It’s good to be choosy when looking for a good restaurant in Rome’s historic centre because there are unfortunately many tourist traps. A small, local and cheap spot is at Via della Croce 8. Pastificio Guerra is a homemade pasta shop. Daily they serve up two types of pasta dishes and for a few euros you can stand shoulder to shoulder with locals on the street eating away. If you prefer a sit down meal, head to Enoteca al Parlamento Achilli (Via dei Prefetti 15) The restaurant has a Michelin star but the front section is casual wine-bar style dining.
Time to walk off lunch. Head towards Piazza Venezia at the far end of Via del Corso. Climb the hill to right of the big white building—often called a typewriter or wedding cake because it’s big and white, but officially called the Vittoriano—to the Capitoline Hill where there is the Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo. There are some great views over the Forum to the right and left of the Palazzo Senatorio. Linger over the ancient ruins where the majestic Colosseum towers in the background.
Hip Rome by night
For aperitivo or dinner or both, head to one of Rome’s hip neighbourhood’s Monti, right by the Colosseum. Here, getting a glass of wine (at Fafiuché, Via dell Madonna dei Monti, 28) or finding a piazza (Pizza Madonna dei Monti) to rest in and watch the Rome’s hip youth is easy. There’s great boutique shopping here and lots of great restaurants and bars in the area, making it one of the best places to head to at night. Urbana 47 offers contemporary Italian slow food in a stylish vintage setting.
BIO MARIA PASQUALE
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. With a formal background in political science and history, she is now an award-winning food and travel blogger and journalist and contributes regularly to USA Today, CNN and The Telegraph. Her lifestyle blog HeartRome, has readers in over 100 countries and has been featured in BBC Travel and Vogue among others. In Rome, you’ll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends. Maria’s first book, I Heart Rome will be released internationally in October 2017. It contains her stories and recipes from the eternal city.
Here you can find our hotel in the center of Rome!