Italy Diary : Part III

The final installment of our Italy trip brings us to Rome where we began and ended our trip. It wasn't my first time in Rome but was for B so I worked really hard to balance our time there between sightseeing and leisurely downtime. We did a LOT of walking, saw some incredible historical sights, and had some laughs along the way! One of our favorite moments was actually when we ended up walking 45 minutes in the opposite direction of our hotel, we turned a corner and Brad asked "Babe, isn't that Colosseum?" Y'all we stood on that street corner laughing hysterically and then took our long leisurely stroll back to our hotel. To me, one of the best ways to REALLY experience Rome is to get off the beaten oath and just let yourself explore. It's honestly a tough city to navigate so chances are you'll get lost at some point but why not make an experience out of it?

Where to Stay:

Being a major city, Rome has several options for accommodations. I've had friends stay in Airbnb's, chain hotels, and ultimately, we chose to stay in guest houses. A guest house is kind of like a cross between a hotel and an Airbnb. Theres someone there to check you in and assist you but only during certain hours, typically 8am-7pm, and each guest house only has a handful of rooms. Picking accommodations also depends on what sights you plan on seeing. At the front end of our trip, we stayed blocks away from Vatican City because that was our first tour and the neighborhoods near the Vatican tend to feel a little less touristy and a little more authentic.

On our return trip to Rome, we stayed our last night about a 15 minute walk from the Spanish Steps. Here is the information for both places we stayed. I loved their breakfast and the location was in walking distance from the train station.

Lulia Guest House: Via Cola di Rienzo 217, Vaticano Prati

Deseo Home: Via Palestro 3, Stazione Termini, Rome, 00185, Italy

Where to Eat:

My biggest suggestion on finding authentic food in Rome is to avoid grabbing food near any of the major sights or plazas. If there is someone standing outside trying to draw you in, it's a tourist trap and they are looking for quick turn around. For the Italian experience, look for hole in the wall places, ask a local, or guest lost down some side streets! When in Rome right??

Also, eat all the gelato you can get your hands on. In our experience, every region made theirs slightly different and it's such a tasty treat especially when you're doing all that walking! The best gelato we found was actually on our last night in Italy. It's called Gelateria La Romana and not only do they have incredible flavors, they fill your cone with chocolate fudge of your choosing and top your gelato with fresh whipped cream....it was to DIE for!!

Where to Shop:

ZARA is a must stop for me when I'm in Europe. I know we have it here in the states but the selection and overall quality is significantly better in Europe in my opinion.

If you're looking for designer stops, make sure to peruse the showrooms that surround the Spanish Steps. Featured in many films, it's some of the best shopping and people watching in the world!!

What to See:

The Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St Peters Basilica: Our very first tour was of Vatican City which we dedicated the majority of out first day to! A few tips for visiting the Vatican: be sure to purchase your tickets in advance and weeks before you leave. It's not uncommon for tickets to sell out and the lines to purchase day of tickets are VERY long. Also make sure to purchase from the Vatican itself, tickets can be purchased here. {As a little tip, don't pay for St Peters Besilica access, if you pay close attention, there is a "tours only" entrance to the church before exiting the Sistine Chapel. Just play along and lump yourselves in with a tour group and you should have no issues and you'll avoid another lengthy line!!}

The Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum: Once again, be sure to buy these tickets early!! We actually didn't get the lower level tour we wanted of the Colosseum because they were sold out when I went to buy them a little over a week before we left. Depending on where you stay in proximity, leave yourself plenty of time to arrive for your assigned tour time. We walked in next to some women who were over an hour late for their time slot and it didn't sound like they were going to get through. Our tour was at 3:10pm which actually was kind of nice because we didn't feel rushed and we were able to take our time. We closed the place down in fact!

Spanish Steps: Yes, the same steps featured in Roman Holiday where Audrey Hepburn sits on the steps post haircut, eating gelato and taking in the city. It's a great spot to stop and rest though picnicking on the steps is frowned upon by local law enforcement.

Trevi Fountain: Be sure to toss in a coin for good luck! It's said you should hold in your right hand and toss over your left shoulder. My suggestion would be to get here as early as possible as the crowds get pretty crazy later in the day.

Campo di Fiori: This is a great little farmers market where you can find fresh flowers, food souvenirs at great prices, fresh juice stands, and many other items! Don't be afraid to barter with the market retailers!

There is so much to see and do in Rome but these were our "must-see" list and we got them all in the 3 days we had in Rome!! Walking is definitely your best option when exploring the city and be sure to have a map on hand!!

Honestly, we saw so much in Rome that I have few pictures of what I wore there BUT I can tell you a few tips and tricks to help make your packing a little easier! If you plan on visiting the Vatican make sure that your shoulders are covered and your legs to knee length. Due to the religious nature of Vatican City, they have a dress code that all visitors must adhere to! Open toe shoes are okay but be sure your man leaves his baseball cap at home...no hats allowed!

Pack comfortable and durable walking shoes! I wore my trusty leather wrap Madewell sandals and had no issues plus they're very versatile as well!

Carry a light layer with you! Once the sun starts to tuck behind the buildings, it can certainly get a bit chilly. I actually had to buy my new favorite black denim jacket at ZARA because I only packed my linen blazer which wasn't quite getting the job done.

When packing, trying to take outfits that you can wear day to night. You will get the most out of your time in Rome if you leave your hotel room in the morning with the notion that you won't be returning until it's time for bed! It's a beautiful and lively city! Get out there and explore it!!

#Italy #Honeymoon #ItalianVacation #Rome #Colesseum #TreviFountain #SpanishSteps #Vatican #SistineChapel #Sightseeing #Europe

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