Rome, ITALY – According to tradition, if you toss one coin into the Trevi Fountain, you’ll return to Rome. If you toss two, you’ll return and marry. When I was 18 visiting Italy (and Europe!) for the first time, I tossed a coin and now I’m back. I didn’t marry an Italian, but Dmitriy is still European so that counts, right?!
COVID Update: The Green Pass or US CDC Vaccination Card is required for ALL things in Italy. All attractions and restaurants require proof of vaccination, so you need to travel with your vaccine card at all times.
Italy is still bouncing back from being hit hard by the pandemic. It’s a special time to visit because the city is not overrun with tourists and you can see the Roman Ruins without the crowds. At nighttime it is especially magically because the city turns sleepy and you get Rome all to yourself!
9 days / 8 nights (working remote)
Initially, I started this blog as a way to help friends and family plan their international travels. We spend hours researching and planning our trips, organized by google sheets, mainly to not lose any precious time and guarantee incredible meals. Lately we are enjoying slow travel – focusing more on food and the people rather than packing in all the sites. We kicked off this Italian trip by working one week in Rome before taking off for a two week holiday.
Our Airbnb in the neighborhood of Trastevere (across the bridge from the sites) was perfect for our work/play week in Rome. Plus, it’s super affordable, clocking in at $75 per night. You’ll get more of a taste of local Rome vs hanging around the sites all day. Best neighborhood for restaurants in my opinion!
The Colosseum – it’s safe to say that after visiting the Colosseum 14 years ago, you don’t remember much. We found an amazing Airbnb Experience tour that featured the Underground and Dungeons which recently fully opened about 4 years ago. It is arguably the hardest ticket to get in Italy so we were happy to have someone organize our tickets and skip the line for a full access, VIP experience. For anyone returning to Rome for a second time, I highly recommend this perspective of the Colosseum. We walked the same steps as the gladiators on the area floor which is off limits to the general public.
Serie A Football Match – quite often we plan our travels around match fixtures so it’s no surprise to find us at the Lazio vs. Juventus game.
Knights of Malta Keyhole– off the beaten path sight where you can see the Vatican through a tiny keyhole.
Since we’ve stayed in the touristy area before, we decided to let our stomachs decide where to stay this time. Trastavere is foodie heaven!
CiPASSO – one of the top dinners in Rome! Swordfish crostini and lamb chops were quite memorable, paired with Amaro cocktails.
MASTO a Testaccio – cozy restaurant with about 10 tables. Reservations required. More of an emphasis on the wine, but a great dinner menu. The carbonara gnocchi and Villa Terrena wine was a hit.
Cul-de-Sac – great non-touristy lunch spot behind Piazza Navona. It’s an Italian restaurant with a French flare and extensive wine bible.
Spirito DiVino – essentially this restaurant is like going to eat at an Italian family’s house. Everyone was so nice and you literally cannot order wrong on the menu. My favorites were the spaghetti with pancetta (carbonara if you will) and the tiramisu dessert. Local, simple ingredients cooked with love. Highly recommend.
Prosciutteria Cantina dei Papa – charcuterie boards big enough for dinner! Cozy spot with only three tables to sit outside. We got lucky and snagged one for a late aperitivo.
Tonarello – recommended by multiple friends. There are two locations in Trastevere and you can only make reservations at noon or 6:30pm (which is a very early dinner, but we did it anyway to beat the crowd). One of the cheapest dinners in Rome coming in at €35 for two tasty pastas (€8 each) and a bottle of wine (€20)
Restaurant “La Vittoria” – go for lunch after visiting the Vatican. It’s about a 5 min walk so while it’s close in proximity, it’s high in quality. One of Dmitriy’s favorite!
La Prezzemolina – pizza by the “slice” but actually by weight, just steps from the Colosseum. No frills and not a tourist trap. Just good, cheap pizza! Recommended by our Airbnb Experience host.
Pizza Re 77 – away from the restaurant alley in Trastevere and one of our favorites!
Dar Poeta – casual pizza spot, international crowd.
Sto Bene – Panini shop in the Regola neighborhood. HOW SANDWICHES SHOULD BE MADE! We ordered the Navona and my favorite, the Madama Lucrezia (bresaola, grilled zucchini, ricotta, and honey). We are working from Rome this week so a quick bite that didn’t skimp on flavors was key.
Il Panino Ingegnoso – quick bite near the Pantheon.
APERITIVO / BARS
404 Name Not Found – cozy cocktail bar in Trastevere where Dmitriy discovered his love for Negroni.
Bar Calisto – local meeting spot. Drink at the bar or grab some beer at the store and head to the street.
Stravinskj Bar inside Hotel de Russie – fancy aperitivo hour. Tasty cocktails come at a price of ~23 euro each, but it has a great vibe and you also get 4 different snacks included.
GELATO / SWEETS
Giolitti, Grom, and Otaleg for gelato
Roscioli – always a line so go early! You can eat lunch here or grab sweets to go.
Dolci di Nona Vincenza – cannolis! Recommended by my friend Emily, who is a local.
Two Sizes – what a crowd for personal sized tiramisu! Just make sure to check the hours in advance. They sell out quickly so arrive early.
MUST VISIT SPOTS FOR OUR NEXT VISIT
Trattoria da Enzo, Old Bar Pasticceria Mariani, Da Nina a Trastavere, Lemongrass Ice Cream (Vatican), and 433
Next stop, Florence. Ciao!