We're excited to continue our series of European Guides with a week itinerary for one of our favorite cities on the planet- Rome! After we left France, we took a train down the Italian coast (drool!) to Rome for a week of adventures with Explore Italy. Everyone loves Italy, and since Rome is one our favorite cities in Italy, we've put together our ultimate guide to the Eternal city just for you!
Everything about this city oozes romance, history and culture. Italians treat their food like a lover, and the passion is evident in every pizza, pasta and scoop of gelato. It's enough to make anyone a foodie! Beyond the food (if it's even possible to get past the food), the ancient architecture and history in this city is second to none. In case you aren't already booking your ticket on the next flight to Rome, let me remind you about the beautiful, warm Roman people, the stunning countryside surrounding the city, the incredible museums and nightlife and the language of love being spoken all around you... ok! I digress!
We're pumped to share some of our favorite areas, sites, foods and hotels to help you build your itinerary. What we loved about our adventures with Explore Italy was the chance to see not only the most well-known sites in Rome, but also the opportunity to get to see some of the lesser-known (but equally as amazing) parts of the city!
This guide will take somewhere around 7 days to complete, but you can see a lot in a few days and also stretch it over a few weeks. It's up to you, but however you choose to build your own adventure, thanks for joining us for 7 days in Rome with Explore Italy - The League Travels' Ultimate Guide to The Eternal City!
7 days in Rome with Explore Italy - The LeagueTravels' Ultimate Guide to The Eternal City!
Rome is a city for everyone- and while we all know the most famous sites, there's so much more to Rome than meets the eye. We always love to experience a destination beyond only the tourist circuits, which is just what we did in Rome. We'll break this guide down into 2 main areas, with the top things to do and see (and eat!) in each one.
Ah, Rome... Full of charming ancient streets and lovely, boisterous Italians beckoning you into their restaurants for a meal. Winding cobblestone alleys open up to stunning churches and squares, and it's hard not to imagine the people who have walked the same streets from antiquity to present day. The center of Rome is the heart of it all, and it's best explored by wandering for days on end from one site to the next (or how we prefer to do it, one meal to the next!) Walk along Via Veneto for the La Dolce Vita experience, luxurious hotels and high-end shopping. Cross the River Tiber into bustling Trastevere to get a taste of one of Rome's hippest neighborhoods, or up to the Vatican City to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican museums. Shop and eat your way down Via Del Corso, explore ancient ruins, check out the Pantheon, rent a Vespa and eat gelato to your heart's delight! Everything you expect from Rome can be found around the hustle and bustle of the city center. Here's our top recommendations!
WHERE TO STAY:
WHAT TO DO, SEE & EAT:
- Tour the Colosseum (because duh, it's the Roman Colosseum)
- Check out the Pantheon (Sit and have a pizza or pasta at one of the cafes in the square to admire it!)
- Explore the Roman Forum (The sunset light over these ancient ruins is unreal!)
- Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain (Try going at sunrise to avoid the massive crowds)
- Walk from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia along Via del Corso (shop till you drop!)
- Wander through Trastevere (Quintessential old Rome, wander the streets and have dinner at one of the many amazing street cafes.)
- Check out The Vatican City, Saint Peter's square and the many Vatican museums (There’s so much to see here, so start early and allow most of the day to see it all!)
- Live your best "La Dolce Vita" life along Via Veneto
- Relax in Villa Borghese and see the view from Villa de Medici (Pro tip: check out the view over Rome from the balcony in the restaurant!)
- Eat a takeaway pizza or a creamy gelato on the Spanish Steps
- Order a decadent Gelato from Gelataria la Romana
- Enjoy a romantic lunch at Doney Restaurant + Cafe
- Order the Amatriciana pasta from Antica Osteria Pontesisto Roma in Trastevere
- Apperetivos and Aperol Spritzes on the Le Meridien Rooftop
- Hang out along the Tiber River in the evening
- Check the view of the city from the roof of the Altare della Patria
- Walk across Rome's most beautiful bridge, Ponte Sant'Angelo (The Bridge of Angels built in 134 AD!)
OSTIENSE, EUR, TESTACCIO & PARCO DE MEDICI
When you think about Rome, chances are you only know about the main city center area. There's actually so much more to the Eternal City, and we spent a good chunk of our time in Rome this trip exploring the South side of the city! Starting at the city center and heading south, you'll run right into the bustling Testatccio neighborhood. The site of one of ancient Rome's original walls- this place is full of culture and history. You can find an amazingly preserved ancient pyramid (that's right- a pyramid in Rome!) and one of Rome's most vibrant food scenes in places like Mercado Testaccio, arguably the hottest spot in the city for street food. (Need I say more?)
Head south from Testaccio to the next stop on our South Rome guide, Ostiense. The Ostiense neighborhood is an incredible area of Rome currently in the midst of a total transformation, and is quickly becoming one of the hottest young neighborhoods in the city. We spent our first few years of marriage living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, well known as one of the most "hipster" neighborhoods in the world. Williamsburg is full of culture, art, cool bars, restaurants and cafes. We've found that most major cities in the world have similar neighborhoods, and we always search for them because it's generally our favorite spot- Ostiense was just that! From Museums, cafes and art installations by day to a thriving nightlife scene by night, It's a must-visit area of Rome in our opinion. If you're looking for a rad part of the city without all the selfie-stick-swinging tourists but still close to city center and full of life, definitely plan some time in Ostiense.
Beyond Ostiense, and a little further south you'll find one of the most intriguing areas of the city- the EUR area (EUR standing for Esposizione Universale Roma). This lesser-known neighborhood is an area of the city built under the rule of Mussolini in the early 1900s to commemorate 20 years of Fascism in Italy. Italy was chosen to host the 1941 world's fair, and Mussolini used the opportunity to build an area for the Fair to take place that could later become Rome's new city center. WWII began and that never happened, but in the 1950s the city council once again resumed development and turned the EUR into a business district, as it remains today. You can find loads of modernist architecture and stunning buildings like the Square Colosseum here, and it's a great spot to explore that most people don't know about.
We said that Rome is a city for everyone- and that includes the nature lovers! You don't have to go to Tuscany to fulfill your desire for beautiful, wide-open spaces (but still, of course, definitely go to Tuscany as well) you can just head a little further south to Parco de Medici! Golfers, nature lovers, park lovers and people wanting a peaceful and quiet location just 30 minutes from the city center- Parco de Medici is for you!
Ok... enough talking. Here are our recommendations!
WHERE TO STAY:
WHAT TO DO, SEE & EAT:
- Climb the stairs in front of the Square Colosseum and check the Fendi headquarters in EUR
- Admire the Piramide di Caio Cestio in Testaccio
- Eat your way through Mercado Testaccio
- Browse the beautiful art in Centrale Martini
- Order a gelato at Gelataria La Romana in Ostiense- yes we mentioned this twice bc it's that good
- Take a photo of the Facade Mural across from Porto Fluviale on Via del Porto Fluviale
- Walk the ultra-modern Ponte Settimia Spizzichino bridge
- Golf a round at the Sheraton Parco de Medici
- Grab a coffee or gelato from Giolitti in EUR and spend a few hours walking around seeing the amazing architecture
- Spend an afternoon sipping cocktails and swimming at the massive Sheraton Roma pool
Ok guys... just because we are obsessed with food, we had to share a few of our must-eat foods while you're in Rome:
- Amatriciana pasta: This regional specialty from Amatrice of spicy red sauce and bacon is pasta heaven- for real. .
- Pizza: This is a no brainer, but there’s simply nothing better than the pizza in Rome.
- Pinsa: The ancient predecessor of modern day pizza, and a perfect snack!
- Aperol Spritz: It doesn’t get more Roman than drinking an Aperol Spritz at a sidewalk cafe in the afternoon light of Trastevere (or anywhere for that reason!)
- Cacio e Pepe: This is a simple roman pasta recipe and a staple at any respectable roman establishment! You can thank us later…
- Gelato: Another no-brainer, but you’ll never enjoy gelato as much as you do waking around the streets of Rome with cone in hand!
Thanks for joining us for "7 Days in Rome with Explore Italy - The League Travel's Ultimate Guide to the Eternal City"!
Zach and Tara