A Trip to Rome

January 14, 2013

{Illustration from illustrator Matt Lyon}

We’re heading to Rome for a weekend at the end of the month, which, as it turns out, is very soon! Where did this month go?

It’ll be a quick trip, but a start at least. Have you been? Where should we go? What should we eat? I’d love your tips.

We’re starting with this Apartment Therapy guide and this Design*Sponge guide.

*If you’re visiting Dublin, you can check out my Design*Sponge guide to Dublin here!



  • Reply Jess {JessinBelgium} January 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Emily, I’m a long-time admirer of your blog and just had to finally leave a comment about my favorite city when I heard you are headed to Rome! Please excuse the short novel of recommendations below but I’ve received some great tips over the years and thought I would share.

    There are the must-visits such as the Trevi Fountain (so much better to see for the first time at night), Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Campidoglio/Forum. But Rome is really best for the small moments you have as you walk around, with only a camera and a map in your hands.

    For nice views, there is “il Pincio” near Piazza del Popolo. From there, you can walk through Villa Borghese and visit the Galleria Borghese, a gorgeous museum which is a bit easier to navigate than some of the others as you have to book your entry in advance on the web. Palazzo Barberini is another less-touristy, family-owned museum – a beautiful old mansion with a huge independent collection of paintings displayed from floor to ceiling. Quite a funny audio tour accompanies this one, narrated by the current head of the family. I loved learning about the challenges of keeping such cultural legacies alive.

    Have a coffee at the bar Sant’Eustachio (just in front of the Sant’Eustachio church). This is just near the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi where you can find three amazing Caravaggio paintings. Try a delicious “granita (grated ice) di caffé con panna (whipped cream)” at the Caffe Tazza d’Oro next to Piazza della Rotonda (site of the Pantheon).

    For a glass of wine go to Campo dei Fiori and there is a little wine bar at the corner of the street which leads to the Piazza Farnese. As far as food goes, I’ve been well guided to never eat at a restaurant with a lovely view on a tourist site… I actually love the Obika Mozzarella Bars for a lunch or casual dinner. They may be a chain, but their cheese is out of this world!

    At night, be sure to visit the Trastevere, a grittier neighborhood much treasured by those who live in Rome with plenty of restaurants and places to drink and eat.

    Have so much fun – I can’t wait to read about your trip 🙂

    • Reply emily January 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Jess, Thank you so much for your tips! I’m making Michael read them all so he can figure out where they’ll all fit in 🙂 Thank you, thank you!

  • Reply Jennifer @EsqEvents January 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Rome in January is the best. Temperatures are mild and the city is filled with mostly Romans!! My advice is check out the sites at Night. The standard sites are magical at night 🙂

    • Reply emily January 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      We will, I’m sure!

  • Reply Katie January 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    A bit jealous….. happy planning!

  • Reply antonella January 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I lived there for six years so my list of places to visit / things to do would be too long and not suitable to a first-time visitor. Just send me a tweet (@antorra) if and when in doubt and I’ll help!

    • Reply emily January 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Oh I will! That will be a huge help, thanks Antonella!

  • Reply Emilie January 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Hey Em, I have never been to Rome, would love to go soon! But I thought you would get a kick out of the website, They Draw and Travel. People have drawn amazing places and there a lot for Rome. Definitely check it out!

    • Reply emily January 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Oh fun! I’ve seen the one where people illustrate recipes but not the maps! So cute!

  • Reply jill January 15, 2013 at 4:00 am

    i’ve recently begun reading your blog (found it while planning an upcoming trip to dublin – it’s been so amazing!)… this seemed like the perfect time to finally comment! rome is delightful. i was there for a few days last spring (just blogged some of my photos, in fact – http://www.jilldevries.net/blog/?p=1407). we decided to use just a physical paper map to wander around (slash get lost!) rather than try to navigate it with our iphones… just felt right that way 🙂

    – trastevere is a magical little area, exactly how i’d envisioned rome in my mind. spend time wandering the tiny cobblestone streets, watch music in little squares, admire the old italians strolling slowly around town.
    – piazza navonna is the most beautiful square. go when the sun is setting to see the city come alive. grab a drink and people watch. listen to the musicians and see artists peddling their works.
    – villa borghese is a big huge park, wonderful to wander through.
    – the coffee and gelato and pizza are just as amazing as you’d imagine. giolitti was the best gelato we had the whole trip – make sure you get the dallop of cream on top!

    enjoy! xo

  • Reply Emily January 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I lived in Rome for awhile during a period of study abroad, and these were some of my favorites:
    You MUST go to il papiro. If you love handmade stationery, notebooks, cards, etc., you will love this place. There are two locations in Rome, both right next to the Pantheon. A perfect place to pick up a souvenir from Rome, because many of their notebooks and cards have Roman scenes printed on them.
    For food, try Osteria del Anima, which is right on a side street from Piazza Navona.
    For pizza, go to Baffettos. It is also near the Piazza Navona area. You will find it if you go down via del Governo Vecchio, which also has a great gelato place Frigidarium, and has some nice but pricy boutiques.
    Villa Borghese has one of the best views of Rome, and the Borghese museum on the grounds is also amazing (but reservations are required to get in, so do this ahead of time).
    Trastevere is a great neighborhood to see the more picturesque side of Rome that you expect to see, with a perfect little trattoria around every corner. But, it is also popular among young people for its many bars, so the streets can get loud and rowdy at night.
    The inside isn’t that impressive, but one of my favorite Roman monuments will always be the Castel Sant’ Angelo, and the Ponte (bridge) in front of it with Bernini’s statues. It’s not that far from St. Peter’s.
    The best thing to do is to wander into church’s. They’re free, and have the best art. Definitely go to San Luigi dei Francesi, which is between Navona and the Pantheon. It has three of Caravaggio’s best known works in the back to the left of the altar.
    If you are near the Vatican and want to stop for something to eat, go to the Piazza Rinascimento next door and stop in at 200 (pronounced due cento gradi) for great sandwiches. Around the corner is the famous (and often ridiculously busy) gelateria Old Bridge. It’s good, but not the best in my opinion.
    I hope you enjoy some of these suggestions!

    • Reply emily January 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      These are great tips, Emily! I especially like the idea of just wandering into churches – we will definitely try that! Thank you!

  • Reply Munya January 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Emily,
    Rome is such a fun city! People always recommend San Crispino for gelato but I don’t understand the hype. I think you’ll like Fatamorgana or Il Gelato much better! (The quality and coolness of flavors is pretty hard to top at these two places.) There’s a Fatamorgana not too far from the Vatican, so you can always stop there on the way to/from St. Peter’s. I also LOVE the pizza from Pizzarium, also near the Vatican. The place is tiny and always crowded (standing-room only), but the guys working there are really friendly and helpful and it’s my favorite pizza in Rome (get a bunch of small pieces so you can try all the different flavors!). If you need a good source for Rome, Katie Parla (of parlafood.com) is one of your best options, as she lives there currently. Have fun and looking forward to seeing how your trip went!

    • Reply emily January 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      I’m so glad to hear your tips for gelato, Munya! And I’ve been loving Parlafood.com – such great Rome tips! I love your idea of ordering lots of small pieces of pizza so we can try the different flavors – do you think we can do that in English?

  • Reply Michelle January 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Hi, so many great tips have been left but I have to add just one more gelateria option – the best I have had with amazing flavours like peach and lavendar, cherry tomato and basil! It is called Gelateria del Teatro and is around the corner from Piazza Navona on Via del Corronari (I remember the name thinking about a heart attack – that is how good the gelato is). Look forward to any more advice – we are hoping to get married there next year and will have to do research on good hotels and possible locations soon. I am basically basing my choice on the fact that it has yummy gelato 😉

    • Reply emily January 24, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Uh oh, so I might have to branch out from my usual chocolate-salted-caramel combo then! Cherry tomato and basil sounds really daring – I might just have to try it! How wonderful you’re planning your wedding in Rome – that is bold! I bet it will be beautiful!

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