Leaving Chianti was hard for me, but I knew my husband was excited to travel to Rome. Jeremy’s #1 place he wanted to see in Italy, was the Eternal City. There is so much history in Rome and I knew we’d have a lot to see there. A few tips to start…
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid of train travel. I cannot stress enough how incredibly easy this was. In the South, we don’t have trains and I had never been to a train station before (I know, it sounds insane to some people). I had no idea what it would be like to go through security or get our tickets or how to know which cab is which or if we were at the correct platform, etc. I was SO nervous. I booked our tickets in advance which worked out for us, but it would’ve been just as easy to get tickets at the station.
Tip #2: Wear the most comfortable shoes you own. We walked 12 miles the first day in Rome and 10 miles the next. I wore these sneakers basically the whole entire trip and they were great, but I wish I would’ve brought an extra pair to rotate.
Tip #3: Keep your eyes on your belongings. This is an obvious tip for travel in general, but I think it’s so important to be hyperaware in cities with more people. I always wear a cross body bag in the front of my hip and hold my hand over the bag when I’m walking. I found that keeping our bags as minimal as possible helped us keep track of everything. As I mentioned in the previous post, we only had one large checked bag, and each carried a carry-on with a backpack. I would shove my purse into my backpack whenever we were at the airport or at the train station to minimize.
DAY 6: ROME
We woke up super early because we needed to return our rental car before taking the train. We drove from our hotel in Chianti to Florence. There was a bit of traffic and I was super nervous that we wouldn’t make our train. Trying to return the rental car was a bit stressful because the lines were so long. We literally ran to the train station and walked in at the exact time that our train was scheduled to depart. Thank God it was delayed by five minutes so we were able to stay on track with our plans. The train ride was only about an hour and a half so we were in Rome by mid-morning.
Our early check-in wasn’t available whenever we arrived at the hotel, but we scheduled a guided tour for the Colosseum and needed to get going. Both us got ready in the NH Hotel lobby bathrooms, left our bags with concierge, and took a cab to the area near the Colosseum to find lunch before our tour. One of Jeremy’s favorite foods is carbonara and it’s one of Rome’s signature dishes so he was on a mission to eat it at almost every meal. We found a spot just down the street from our meeting point so we could see the Colosseum while we ate.
I think it’s beyond worth it to book guided tours with skip-the-line passes so you get the most out of your experience. We learned way more than we would’ve otherwise and we also didn’t have to wait in line forever. Let’s be honest, no one likes waiting in line. Especially when you’re on vacation. The Colosseum is huge and there is so much history there. We were both completely exhausted after the tour and our room was finally ready so we checked in at the hotel and took a nap.
I left the evening open to explore. We started walking towards the Spanish Steps and found a place serving Aperitivo called Harry’s Bar. Aperitivo is like Happy Hour, but 10x better. You might pay a little more for a drink, but snacks are included. An Aperol Spritz is the quintessential Aperitivo cocktail and this is where I fell in love with it. It’s super refreshing and the perfect Summer beverage. If you’ve never had one, you’re missing out! They brought over tiny sandwiches, olives, snack mix, and more. We had a couple of drinks here and then continued our walk to the Spanish Steps.
We got lucky with the best weather in Rome – sunny, but not too hot. After admiring the Spanish Steps for a while and watching the sunset, we went to the Trevi Fountain. It was crazy crowded, but absolutely incredible to see. There were tons of street vendors creating art so we strolled the streets for a while. I didn’t want to eat anywhere too close to the tourist traps so we kept walking until I found somewhere on Yelp with decent reviews. Jeremy ordered another carbonara and I ate Rome’s other signature dish, Cacio e Pepe. It was delicious, but then I wanted gelato so we found a Venchi shop before going to our hotel for the night.
DAY 7: ROME
I grew up Catholic so going to Vatican City was my must-do while staying in Rome. We opted for another guided tour with skip-the-line passes as well. Every single tour we booked was through GetYourGuide. We downloaded their app on our phones so we could load tickets and map directions to our meeting points. Luckily, our meeting point for this one had a coffee shop nearby. I love espresso so getting my caffeine fix every morning in Italy was a dream. Vatican City is it’s own country which is pretty cool. We saw the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Every little thing was so detailed and ornate. The artwork alone was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
For lunch we took a cab to Trastevere. Trastevere a funky neighborhood in Rome known for its food scene. One of the couples from our cooking class in Chianti recommended the restaurant Tonnarello. The focaccia bread here was so dang good and the pasta was seriously perfect. I had a glass of rosé, Jeremy drank a beer, and we refueled for our next experience.
We don’t have many pictures from this adventure because we weren’t allowed to take photos inside. Jeremy guilted me into taking this weird tour of the Roman crypts and catacombs. THE UNDERGROUND TOMBS AND GRAVES. I’m not gonna lie, I was not excited for this almost four hour tour, but I ended up loving it. We rode on a big bus to get from each stop to the next. This was such a treat with all the walking we had been doing! Our tour guide had a microphone and would fill us in on the history while we were being transported from place to place. To get to the first catacombs, we walked through an underground church. They were actually having mass while we were there! Our next stop was somewhere I heard about on a podcast so when I realized where we were going, I was pumped. It’s called Basilica San Clemente. You travel down from a 12th century church into a 4th century church and underneath that is a residential building from the 1st century. Lastly, we went to the Capuchin Crypts (AKA the Bone Chapel). They literally decorated rooms with tens of thousands of bones. I know it sounds incredibly creepy, but it was cool.
We loved Harry’s Bar so much the day before, we came back for aperitivo again! I was officially hooked on Aperol spritz. We made reservations at a nearby rooftop restaurant for dinner that overlooked the city while enjoying our last meal in Rome. We were leaving in the morning to end our Italian honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 4…