The first stop on our grand Italian tour this summer was Rome. We spent five nights there.
First Impressions of Rome
We enjoyed our stay but didn’t love it. There were lots of bright sides (see pictures below). If I try and put my finger on why Rome didn’t suck me in like other European cities, this comes to mind:
It was more run down than I expected. Expectations are everything when traveling, of course. It felt at times like we were in a cross between a middle eastern city and a European one.
Eating out was stressful. I’ll cover this in another post but I’ve never had more difficulty getting into good places to eat.
Overwhelming crowds and touts. It was impossible to enjoy places like the Spanish Steps or Pantheon without being overrun by crowds and touts trying to sell us things. The touts were really aggressive and I almost lost my marbles when one touched me. Italy in the summer? I know. But this wasn’t the case as much in other cities we visited after Rome.
Lack of good public transportation. I’m spoiled by other cities, but I hate that to get between sites, often the 45-minute walk was the best option. Traffic was too congested for a cab. It seemed insane that we couldn’t find a decent bus route to get us from the Spanish Steps back to our Trastevere apartment.
The Good Stuff
Despite the above, we enjoyed our time, both sightseeing and eating. We stayed in Trastevere, which was a great decision.
It was a cute neighborhood and full of good food.
Right up our alley, right?
We spent one very long day checking all the Vatican boxes.
Thankfully, we broke up the day by getting amazing pizza that we saw on one of Anthony Bordain’s shows.
We ate small pastries every morning for breakfast.
We took a food tour and found an amazing porchetta shop.
We walked everywhere.
Even to the Colosseum one day when a charity walk blocked the bus route.
Pizza and pasta. I found that it was easier to find good pizza at touristy spots. Pasta was a bit more hit or miss.
We happened on a restaurant one night that had a Roman-era wine cellar.
We loved the rooftop views from our apartment.
After a bunch of packed days, we took our tired feet to the train station and headed to Venice. Before we get there, I have some more tips on Rome to share. Stay tuned!!