Rome…one of my favourite holidays so far, a close runner next to Las Vegas. This particular trip sticks out for me for two reasons. 1) It’s simply everything I want in a city break-food, culture, easy to navigate. 2) It’s where my other half persuaded me to leave my job and pursue a freelance career.
We were there for 5 Days and flew out on my birthday in November. It was still relatively mild and I was warm in my scarf even in the evenings.
Things we saw in Rome
Now, I didn’t go with a list of to-see’s but our hotel was almost on the same road as the Trevi fountain so that was our first port of call!
It was very busy with lots of people selling selfie sticks and the like. The whole road leading down to the fountain was full of cafes, restaurants, gelaterias and handbag shops!
We booked two trips out, one was to the Colosseum which was amazing. Just imagining what had gone on there make my imagination run wild! We also booked the Vatican city tour which to be honest we didn’t enjoy quite so much but the artwork was absolutely incredible.
Both trips were booked through GetYourGuide and I went for the queue jump un-guided tours for both. We were able to hear a lot of what the other guides were teaching their groups as we wandered around at our own pace looking where we wanted to look. The tour guides were really friendly, happy ladies who couldn’t have been more thorough and kind to us. I have no idea how many languages they knew but they just flipped from one to another to accommodate us all.
The food was the reason I shall be returning to Rome! The cocktails also! We tried different restaurants and there was one by the Spanish steps that we went to TWICE because it was so.damn.good. The name of that particular restaurant is Caffe Leonardo and we had between us garlic bread, a huge pizza, vegetable bolognese, a strawberry sundae and a LITRE OF WINE(!!!!) for about 45 Euros. The second night we went we had exactly the same only without the dessert (creatures of habit yes but when we like something we like it!) We also had pizzas from the little pizzarias which are full of so many choices it was sometimes hard to pick just one (I was good though!) they were all pretty much the same as one another and offer a great afternoon snack when you’ve had a decent breakfast but want to remain hungry for dinner.
Ahh the cocktails. The only place worthy a mention is Enoteca and this is where we spent our evenings. They have live music and the food (although we didn’t actually eat here) was very impressive. They recognised us and knew which language to speak to us in and also what drinks we ordered most. You HAVE to go here if you visit Rome. You just have to.
We stayed in Hotel Azzurra which was very cheap for the centre of Rome, about 35 Euros a night not including city tax which you pay on arrival (around 20 Euros or so). Our stay included breakfast which was in a cute little communal dining area the size of my own kitchen and we were served fresh filtered coffee and the pastry of our choice which the chap goes out to get in the mornings.
In terms of luxury, if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t get it here. It’s authentic. The toilet door was a concertina folding door that didn’t quite match up and our bedroom door was right outside the reception area where the staff greeted other residents. When we first arrived we weren’t sure what to do because it was part of a 4 story building with other hotels on the other floors but it was as simple as ringing the bell and making our way up. Upon check-in we were given keys to come and go as we pleased anyway.
The man was so helpful and sweet and gave us tonnes of directions using the free map he gave us. The location was the best we could have asked for! Right by the metro from the airport (Barberini) so we were able to get to the Vatican with ease (for 1.5 Euros! Cheap!) and everything else we wanted was within walking distance. All I would say it the paths are made up of individual black road stones which tripped me up and I was only in flat boots. The area was well-lit, busy and felt safe enough for us to wander around until gone 10pm.
It’s worth mentioning that we found it pretty easy to transfer from Rome Ciampino airport to our hotel in Barberini, central Rome. On the way in we hopped on a shuttle bus for 5Euros each but we didn’t get a seat next to eachother, it was about 20mins to Termini station which is the main connecting station to most places (think of it as London Liverpool Street) from Termini we navigated very easily to our metro station by the hotel, the tickets are great, 1.50 euros for 100mins of travel.
On the way back however we actually went from Termini station via train to Ciampino train station. We bought one way tickets from the machine and went via the overground-don’t forget though, that in order to use your overground ticket you must make your way to the platform and find the machine to stick your ticket in to print the barcode on it. Staff are at hand to offer help. when you get to Ciampino train station you are in the middle of nowhere and not actually at the airport. It’s a simple bus ride for about 10mins which you catch outside the exit for the train station. 1.50 euros per person AND per suitcase. We found the journey back much better than the journey in but that was our personal preference.
Phrases that helped
“Parli Inglese?” “Do you speak English?”
“Grazie” “Thank you
“Quanto?” “How much?”
“Scusa” “Sorry” (it’s crowded, you’ll bump into people)
To be honest though, their English is brilliant but I always like to approach in their language first. They all assumed we were Spanish anyway which wasn’t all bad as my other half grew up in Spain and is fluent so he did most of the talking anyway!