TRAVELING TO ROME FOR THE FIRST TIME
Rome has always been a dream to a girl growing up watching Lizzie Mcguire and then studied Arts later in life like me. I vowed to be tossing the coin over my left shoulder into Trevi Fountain, to neck up to see the holy Sistine Chapel's ceiling.
It's a dream I was carrying throughout my teenage years and finally they came true this late summer. Let me share with you our trip and tips for it.
(I’ve also uploaded our Rome Vlog for you to check out - because an image is worth a thousand words, leave alone video.)
Rome travel guide
- Cin city-
We chose Vatican tour and Colosseum tour with The Roman Guy - I watched them on Youtube and was convinced with their services. First, with their tours, we were provided skip-the-line package. Boy oh boy you have got to see the line! I would never be able to hold it up in a lifetime. Especially in the summer heat? Thanks, nope. That’s why I’ll always recommend EVERYONE to purchase skip-the-line package and I’m glad that The Roman Guy’s tours already include that. 2nd of all, yes, I had Arts History classes before, but I don’t think I’ll ever gain the confidence to say my knowledge could help me with the enormous arts and cultural collections in Vatican, and also the history that Colosseum embraces for centuries. Therefore, with the tours, we were guided everything from where to go to optimize the opportunity with only a few hours (our guide told us it took him 3 months to explore Vatican Museum so…). We got to listen to interesting stories and facts that we don’t normally read in books or documentaries. I’d never really had good impression for tours but these ones are absolutely approved by me.
And yes, the Sistine Chapel is magnificent. I ‘ll always keep it fresh and vibrant in my memory. It is the famous masterpiece from Michelangelo that I made a vow to one day be there & view it with my own eyes. Guess what? I did. That feeling of making a dream come true is indescribable. Although, I only wish that everyone could obey the regulation of “no camera” in this holy place. Many people have been seen and annoyed other tourists to be sneakily taking pics and filming the Sistine Chapel. Outlaws, I know.
The Colosseum can be very hot and a tiring walk for someone who is not very used to the heat and…activeness. So be aware of that. The best part about it is all the facts (including fun facts) about gladiators and fights that happened once upon a time. Also the way they constructed this giant amphitheatre is super interesting and I guarantee you, they got it all down when the idea of building this Flavian Amphitheatre popped in their mind. If you watch my Rome vlog, you’ ll also find out one more very interesting mystery!
It was for Hilary Duff that I had got to be there. I also successfully threw one coin over the shoulder to come back to Rome. I sincerely feel like our trip of 3 days was not enough to even scrape the surface. So what time should you be at Trevi Fountain for that Instagram pic? I’d say 7:00-7:30 because 6:00 wouldn’t assure the lighting game yet. We were there at 7:20 and there were already people there (to take pics, of course) but since it’s not too crowded you could just wait ’til it’s your turn and voila~.
the church known to “honors all Gods”. It’s famous for the unique structure and beauty: "Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.”. Of course I couldn’t miss that work of arts. I can assure you being there in person will open your eyes and bring wowww to your mouth much more than some pictures. The moment, that you look up to see that beam of light shining through the hole in the middle of that unreinforced concrete dome, is going to be the moment you realize why Michelangelo said this is the creation of angels, not humans. The best time to see the beam light is 11:00 - 13:00.
The most charming, Baroque style piazza to be known with 3 spectacular fountains and a church that belong to Bernini, Boromini and Giacomo della Porta’s legacies. It’s a fun place to hang out in the evening to cool down, enjoy the liveliness of Rome. You can sip some prosecco, admire the fountains, and listen to the street music comes to live as the sun goes down.
Ponte Sant’Angelo: Bridge of Angels
You can’t possibly miss this place if you’re a fan of Dan Brown. Which we are, and we did miss it, and I still regret it until this moment. However, I’m coming back so it’s ok I guess. The locals told me the best time of the day to be there is during sunset, we can see the spectacular view of the bridge of angels colored with sunset glow.
We enjoyed it the most in the evening (again, watch my video to see!). Loads of people gather around to sing, dance, enjoy the cool air looking over Rome. So many songs were sung and left us feeling nostalgic days and weeks after that. L’italiano is now on my Spotify playlist to repeat.
2. Where to stay
We chose to stay at Crossing Condotti - a small boutique hotel in the middle of Rome center and is a stone throw away from Spanish Steps. We are, in no doubt, so happy with that choice. The place is such a beautiful yet cute, romantic floor tucked away in such a busy neighborhood. Location is its selling point with a few steps away from Spanish Steps, metro station, and a few minutes of walking from Piazza Novana and Trevi Fountain. It feels so cosy and just like home, but of course with beautiful decor. I had such a talk with the owner about her style and how she got the inspiration to design the space. It’s a perfect mixture between classic arts and modern. Everything is spotlessly clean, convenient, smells good. The kitchen area is stuffed with coffee, tea, juice, water bottles, fruits, sweets for everyone to devour. I love all the staff here, everyone is charm and as nice as possible. If you’re looking for a nice place to stay in Rome, don’t miss this.
3. FOOD!!! ('cause it’s Italy!)
There is no question when it comes to how tasty real, authentic Italian food is, especially if you ‘re a fan of pizza, pasta, and gelato - the 3 sins in life. Tripadvisor comes in so handy giving you endless options from cheap to luxury restaurants. These are a few places that we noted down from the trip, you can always watch the Rome vlog video for more info and…graphic duh
Bonci Pizza: near to Vatican, make this the stop one the day you go explore the glorious city. This place has the world’s famous pizza al taglio (by the slice) aka Roman pizza, which is different from Neapolitan pizza. You come in, choose the slices, the staff will weight them and then you’ll pay for what you pick out. It’s thick, crispy-bottomed, topping-worth-drooling-for. It’s my most favorite pizza place ever. IDK, I just got so attached with Roman pizzas.
Osteria da Fortunata: this place is known for the freshest homemade pasta, being made right in front of your eyes by some aunties. When we went there, we had to book a table in advance because so many locals chose this place and by the time we had our food on the table, there was a long line at the door. You should either come super early or book a table in prior. Must-have choices are: Strozzapreti carbonara, Cacio e pepe, Sugo con coda alla vaccinara. (The menu is in Italian entirely, so, you’re welcome).
Dilla: it’s a few houses away from our hotel, lucky us, meaning that it’s around Spanish Steps. Despite being at a famous and “hot” location, their prices are not complain-able and the quality is definitely amazing. We had the most delicious eggplant with buffalo mozzarella there, hands down! One more bonus is that it’s a super cute place with a nice bar as well. You should also book a table in advance.
Gelato: I don’t think I even need to tell you that you can find a nice gelato store anywhere in Rome. There are so-many of them we lost count. My tip is to look at the color, if it’s too vibrant, that can’t be real. For example: pistachio shouldn’t have a minty-vivid green color. Good gelato has to have that gooey texture and not icy. One of the big brands that is actually good there is Venchi.
4. Moving around
I’d recommend walking so that you can explore as much of Rome as possible. There are so many corners that scream poems and romantic love songs, and stunning churches (Fun fact: Rome has around 900 churches. 900!). Aside from walking, you also have options such as public transportation with metro and buses. I would never recommend buses in Italy to anyone, even my worst enemy so you get the picture here. Taxi apps are Uber and mytaxi (in our days in Rome mytaxi seems to be cheaper than Uber tbh). Metro/train is pretty old and rusty but that’s not the problem. The problem is how inefficient it is in terms of routes and accessibility. One way ticket is 1 euro and 24hours ticket is 7 euros. You should always have small change or cash to purchase these tickets though.
5. What to mind?
I’m not sure if it’s because we found a perfect hotel and tour service or Rome is that amazing but all the schemes and bad rumours about Rome didn’t seem to exist. Except one thing about some “salesmen” that kept approaching us around Spanish Steps to force some flowers into the girls’ hands and ask the guys to pay for those “gifts” lol. But it’s something that you can easily shake it off by being upfront and strong. I don’t have patience with strangers so that helped me a lot.
In our experiences, going to Rome in October is one of the greatest time windows. It’s not too hot, perfectly warm with some breeze at night; it’s not too busy but still pretty lively and fun. Just make sure you have hotels and tours sorted out as google as possible since in tourist cities that can be a fuss. If you really trust us, just go with our recommendations ;) (I don’t write this post for promotion, sooooooo).
I hope that you guys enjoyed this post. We will have even more pics to be edited in later so you can save this post down and pull it out whenever you are on your way to Rome - the Eternal City.