The eternal city of Rome has a plethora of sites to see and bites to eat. While one trip is definitely not enough to take it all in (I’m not sure a lifetime would be), here are my tips to unlocking some awesome experiences in the eternal city.
1. Go to the Trevi Fountain at night
The recently reopened Trevi Fountain is amazing and beautiful and may make your wishes come true. However, if your wish isn’t to be in a mass of around 300 people all hawking coins into a body of water about the size a swimming pool, I’d suggest not going during the daytime. I do instead suggest making an evening rendezvous around 11 pm or later. The fountain lit up at night is especially magical and you can actually sit and enjoy the sound of the falling water which is a sound that not many tourists ever have the luxury of hearing.
2. Go to the Colosseum and Roman Forum first thing in the morning
This is another little crowd beating tip of mine. The Colosseum and Roman Forum open at 8:30 am. This is by far the best time to get to enjoy these sites to the fullest and is completely worth waking up early while you’re on holiday. On a side note, the best place to get a ticket to the two sites (12 Euro) is directly across from the Colosseum towards the Roman Forum. Few tourists notice this ticket stand for some reason, and end up making a long line at the gate of the Colosseum.
3. Walk up to Gianicolo Hill
This landmark is not on the top ten things to do in Rome, but is one of it’s best kept secrets in my opinion. The plaza at the top of Giancolo Hill offers a beautiful panorama of Rome, but getting there is probably the best part. The narrow winding street up to the park is intimate and enchanting, quiet, and serene. On the way, you’ll pass the Papal College, the Fountain dell Acqua Paola, and countless little houses and gardens. The best way to go is to start at the Piazza S. Cosimato in Trastevere – Via Giacomo Venezian – Via Luigi Masi – Via Goffredo Mameli – across Via Garibaldi – Via di Porta S. Pancrazio. I’d suggest catching the sunset from the hill and then going back down to Travestere (which is one of my favorite parts of Rome) to eat dinner at one of it’s many unique little eateries.
4. Eat cheap pasta for lunch
Walking around Rome you’ll see many signs boasting insanely cheap pasta lunches, and you’ll probably think that there must be a catch. Well, this is how Italians do fast food and I can tell you from experience, go for it! I went to a little place called Pasta Imperiale and tucked myself into it’s snug little dining area and had the best handmade pesto gnocchi of my life!
5. Go grocery shopping!
The grocery stores in Rome are full of delicious Italian snacks (obviously). It’s a great resource to skip the overpriced meat and cheese platter appetizers and make your own, yet you’ll hardly ever see tourists in them. I’m a huge fan of grabbing some very reasonable wine, cheese, and meats to satiate newly discovered cravings in the comfort of my hotel. Cheese also makes a great souvenir, just make sure it is vacuum sealed and of an aged variety like Pecorino or Parmesan. I recommend the Coop grocery stores.