Travel guide: When in Rome

6:59 PM Imke 0 Comments

In February 2022 my boyfriend and I flew over to Rome for a long weekend of gorgeous views, the best food and an overall wonderful time in the Italian capital. It was my first time in the city, but in 3,5 days we managed to see so many things Rome has to offer. If you're staying 3 or 4 days like we did, this guide will help you to coordinate your visit.

We flew to Rome on a direct flight, arriving at Fiumicino airport in the evening, and went straight to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Villa San Pio which we booked through Booking at a very interesting rate. I absolutely recommend this hotel as the value for its money is amazing: our room was very spacious and even had a big terrace, the staff was very friendly and helpful, and the location was great too: the hotel is on a quiet street, but only a short walk away from all the touristic hotspots. 

Day 1

We started off our day bright an early, but not without having a nice Italian breakfast: espresso and a cornetto con crema to get that energy you need to walk around a city all day. I wanted to see as many monuments as possible on my first day in Rome, as I simply couldn't wait to finally see them with my own eyes. We started with the Colloseum, the Forum Romanum that's right next to it and Palatine Hill

We wandered around the city, discovering so many beautiful places, before arriving at the Trevi fountain just before lunchtime. I think that of all the beauty there was to admire in this city, the Trevi fountain really was the one that impressed me the most. How a devine work of art can lift up a small and seemingly insignificant square is so impressive!

If you're looking for good food around this area, then Piccola Bucco is the perfect place, only two minutes of walking from Trevi. We arrived at noon on the dot, and it was a good thing we did, because the restaurant filled up super quickly. We shared a burrata with mortadella to start off the food party, and then had one of the most incredible pizzas I've ever eaten - couldn't recommend this place more!

In the afternoon we walked around the city some more, ending up at the famous Villa Borghese. It's the perfect place for a lovely walk around the huge parc and is actually shaped like a heart. Can it get any more romantic? We enjoyed the orange and golden hues of the sunset in Villa Borghese, the perfect break from all the walking we did on our first day in Rome. 

We ended our day with another amazing restaurant called Luciano, which is quite close to Piazza Navona. This place is a bit fancier than the other restaurants we've been to, but it's still super affordable and most definitely worth it. I do recommend that you book in advance, especially on the weekend, because the place tends to get very busy. Their cook, Luciano, also known as Rome's carbonara king, really does deserve his title, because the pasta carbonara we had was out of this world! 

Day 2

On our second day in Rome we went to the Vatican, which we'd booked quite a few days in advance to avoid the long lines everyone warned us about. And we were indeed very happy to have pre-booked tickets, because we were able to access the museums very quickly instead of waiting in line for two hours! We ended up spending our entire afternoon wandering around the extensive galleries the place offers. We of course went to discover the Sistine Chapel, which was just as beautiful as I'd imagined, and my boyfriend and I spent a good thirty minutes just sitting in the chapel, admiring Michelangelo's work of art. 

After the Vatican Museums we were craving Italian food (of course) and went to a small restaurant that sold fresh pasta, which was just a five minute walk from the St. Peter's Square (which was amazingly impressive as well by the way). The lunch place we went to is called EGG Pasta Fresca and offered just a handful of different dishes, all of them super fresh and delicious, so definitely a must-do when you're visiting Vatican City! Unlike most of the restaurants around the Vatican, it is quiet and modest and the homemade pasta was only about 6 euros, so this is definitely a hidden gem I can recommend!

During our afternoon in the Vatican we went to visit St. Peter's Basilica, also a definite must-do, as it was by far the most impressive church building I've ever visited. We also spent some time sitting in the sun on a terrace with a glass of wine, watching people walk by, before wandering over to the Castel Sant’Angelo and its beautiful bridge.  

In the evening we went to a local restaurant quite close to our hotel, since we were so tired from our day of walking around the Vatican, called Osteria Fratelli Mori. I had fettuccine with guanciale and artichoke and my boyfriend had the classic rigatoni all'amatriciana. We were about the only non-Italians there and the place was buzzing with life and laughter; the atmosphere was amazing and the food was beyond delicious!

Day 3

On our third day in the city we still had some Rome hotspots to see and food places we wanted to try. We started off our day with a trip up the Spanish Steps and wandered around all the luxury shops that surround the square where the steps are located. We also went to the Pantheon, another impressive building of Rome, and had lunch on the steps in front of it. We went to All’antico Vinaio just before noon, and I'm glad we went quite early, because by the time it was our turn, the line behind us had already tripled! Then again, I understand the hype, because the focaccias were so good, I wanted to go back and order a couple more, just to try every single one of them! 

During the afternoon we wandered around some more, stopping for an ice-cream at Giolitti, reportedly the oldest ice cream parlour in Rome and conveniently located next to the Pantheon. After our gelato we went inside the famous Rinascente, an Italian department store offering a range of high-end brands. We really liked admiring all the beautiful items that were sold here. The place also has a rooftop bar which we didn't visit, but that looked so nice to have a drink.

And because the weather was so nice, we decided to continue our walk along the Tiber river and have another ice-cream, this time a more contemporary place called La Romana. I had a scoop of biscotto della nonna, which was so creamy and delicious, I really couldn't recommend it more! 

Day 4

Our fourth day was our last day in Rome, and we only had until 2 pm until we had to leave to the airport to catch our flight back to Paris. We decided to spend our morning walking around the famous Trastevere neighbourhood where you can find a lot of nice bars and restaurants. Our last morning in the city, we enjoyed our walk on the narrow cobbled streets and the warm Italian hues of the small houses of the area. Around half past eleven we decided to stop at a random restaurant we liked immediately to have a coffee before finding a place to have lunch, little did we know that we ended up at one of the most famous restaurants of Trastevere! 

The place is called Tonnarello, and as the name suggests, it's specialised in the thick type of egg pasta called tonnarelli. We came to this place for just a drink but ended up having lunch as well, since everything looked so good we most definitely had to try! The tonnarello pasta with amatriciana sauce was delicious and we were so glad that we discovered this place; a wonderful discovery as  the last visit of this trip!

I hope you’ve found this Rome travel guide useful for planning your own adventure, whether it's a first-time visit or a come-back trip. I do hope you'll make the most of your own Roman Holiday!