Cosmopolitan Rome, the capital city of Italy, with its seductive mix of history, culture, cuisine and the prettiest streets made me fall madly in love with it. From the ancient monuments which are awe-inspiring from yesteryear to the sophisticated rooftops offering amazing views of the gorgeous city, I loved soaking it all in over 3 glorious sunshine filled days, living ‘La dolce vita.’ Oh and all the pasta, pizza, wine and gelato too!
When to go to Rome
Although Rome is a city that can be visited all year round, I would suggest going in April (after Easter depending on the year) and after August. The summer months can be rammed with hoards of tourists, making it very difficult to get in to the main sites.
We picked April as it was the start of Spring and I wanted to see Rome at its prettiest, with fresh flowers blooming everywhere, and it blew my expectations. It was also significantly quieter, making it far more enjoyable to visit the various Roman ruins and hot spots.
What to see in Rome
The Colosseum has been on my wish list to see and it is the biggest amphitheatre ever built. It is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, and it was constructed between 70-80 AD and at its peak was estimated to hold 80,000 spectators. It is HUGE.
I loved seeing it, both at night and during the day for a different perspective, and loved imagining what it must have been like in its hey day. My advice would be to avoid the people trying to sell you tickets on the street as you walk up to the Colosseum, and just either buy it in advance or on the day.
The Pantheon is a former temple, now used as a church, located in the centre of Rome with stunning granite Corinthian columns, coloured marble and bronze doors. The light streams in through the oculus in the centre of the dome.
On a rectangular porch at the front of the building are lines of massive columns which are a dedication to Agrippa on the triangular pediment.
The Trevi Fountain
The world’s most famous fountain, built as a tribute to Roman God Oceanus who can be seen riding his chariot pulled by Tritons, is a must see. However, it totally annoyed me how crazy the crowds were here, so I would suggest going very early in the morning as it can be difficult to see it properly while selfie sticks are being waved in the air.
It was a gorgeous sunny day and so the water was glistening and you could see all the coins that tourists have thrown in. The money does go to a good cause though. At the end of each week it is collected and counted and goes towards funding a supermarket for the less fortunate.
Located in the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Trinita dei Monti, the Spanish Steps, of which there are 135, were constructed in the 1700s. It is a lovely place to make a stop in between sightseeing, and at the time we went the stairs were lined with lots of flowers, and was really pretty.
The Vatican City
Fun fact: Rome actually holds a small country within a country called The Vatican, which is an independent state and one of the most important religious sites in the world. It is heavily guarded and it is not surprising, as it is where crowds gather in the hope of seeing the Pope.
Within the Vatican City, the Vatican museums is a must visit for any keen art lover, as it holds over 70,000 pieces of artwork.
Today it is a popular spot to catch up in one of the many cafés and artists sell their art work on the square.
Castle Saint Angelo
The Castle Saint Angelo is a circular fort and castle and was actually once the tallest building in Rome, originally intended to serve as a Mausoleum for the Emperor. Within the castle it has a museum with various exhibits telling the story of its history.
Villa Borghese Gardens
These gardens are a must visit and are just so beautiful. It is the third largest park in Rome, and within them are housed the Borghese Gallery and the Gallery of National Modern Art.
It is a great place to take a moment or to have a mini picnic with some pastries and gelato.
Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo, one of the finest squares in the world, translates as square of the people.
Here you can see some historical structures such as the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the Porta del Popolo gateway and the Basilica Parrocchiale.
To the east of the square is the Pincio hill where you can have some amazing views of the Piazza and of Rome.
In the centre you can see the Popolo Obelisk which like the one present in St. Peter’s Square, was brought here from Egypt.
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
Aside from the Trevi fountain, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was one of my favourites, and is located in the centre of the Piazza Navona and was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
It was built for Pope Innocent X in 1651 and depicts the four river gods through four statues, paying tribute The Nile, The Danube, The Ganges and the Rio de la Plata.
Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori is a rectangular square close to Piazza Navona and a great place to have some food or drinks whilst people watching. During the mornings there are also vendors selling fruit, vegetables and flowers. It is one of the oldest markets in Rome.
I had a lovely chilled Mojito here whilst Amit enjoyed an Aperol Spritz, while we rested in between sightseeing.
Whenever I visit a city I always try and make it a point to go to the local food market, to observe the locals and the types of ingredients, fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses and homewares on offer to try and immerse myself. Close to the Vatican is Mercato Trionfale with approximately 200 stalls of goodness to see! A must visit in my opinion.
Where to Eat in Rome
For the best Gelato head to Gelateria La Romana – you will not be disappointed!
For the most delicious Cacio e Pepe (after lots of research) head to the side street of Via del Vantaggio where you will find an adorable restaurant called Il Melarancio. Start with a platter of cold meats and cheese and then tuck into the most incredible Cacio e Pepe, and wash it all down with a glass of Montepulciano wine.
For drinks with a seriously amazing view, reserve a table at hotspot at the top of Eitch Borromini hotel called ‘La Grande Bellezza,’ after Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-award winning film of the same name.
It can be found on Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30 (Navona). It is pricey but totally worth it for the views, especially for sunset! Just have a drink (or two) and then head close by for dinner.
We had excellent pizza and wine at Trattoria Fiammetta, a great little restaurant north of Piazza Navona, with outdoor and indoor seating.
Another excellent spot for food, especially Al Fresco in the gorgeous weather, is Santa Lucia, close to Piazza Navona, and with an incredible menu and flavoursome food.
I highly recommend the pasta with mint and pecorino cheese – a combination to die for!
Where to stay in Rome
We chose to stay at luxury boutique hotel, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world called Hotel Lord Byron, located close to Villa Borghese Gardens. We pretty much walked everywhere from the hotel, and it was really scenic walks too.
The highlight was arriving to find a travel quote outside the hotel. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I post a daily quote every day and so this had me squealing with delight.
We had a lovely room on the 3rd floor, which was spacious and overlooked a courtyard.
I loved the decor throughout the hotel, and the breakfast buffet was another highlight. It had everything from cereals, pastries, cold meats and cheese to refreshing fresh juices. I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfasts, fuelling up for a day of sightseeing.
They also have outdoor spaces throughout the hotel with seating so you can make the most of the glorious weather, while the air is pleasantly filled with the scent of the orange trees all around. My favourite part about Italy!
The hotel has a 1920s vibe and art deco designs it has the feel of a stately home, which I very much loved. It is a boutique hotel with just 32 rooms, and the service is excellent.
It can be found at Via G. De Notaris 5, Rome, 00197, Italy.
We got an amazing deal on Expedia when we booked it with a flight so do check out Expedia for some great deals. www.lordbyronhotel.com
Have you been to Rome? I would love to know what your highlights were in the comments section below xx