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Rome, ITALY

Rome is one of my favorite cities in Italy. I did one of my first solo trips here a month ago. I was nervous about understanding public transportation in a foreign country, but it was super easy. Upon arrival at the train station, I followed the signs downstairs to the metro, bought a pass at a newsstand on the way, and found the Colloseum within 15 minutes of arriving in Rome.

There’s a metro map on the station wall. It’s helpful to take a picture of it to keep on your phone. The name of the train is always the last station in the direction that it goes.

Traveling alone has never appealed to me, but this day roaming around Rome and seeing all my favorite spots was amazing. I didn’t have to compromise on where to go, or to think about engaging in conversation. I just left my headphones to music in and navigated myself around using the Offline Maps app. While on wifi the day before my trip, I downloaded the Rome map to the app. Finding public wifi or wifi that works is not something to depend on. If anything, you will waste a lot of time and end up frustrated. The best spot for wifi that I’ve found while traveling is Starbucks, but they don’t exist in Italy.

From the Colloseum, it’s an easy to walk to all the main iconic Roman sites which I did my first day. Right around the corner from the Colloseum is the Roma Capitale. I recommend the view of the Roma Capitale from Piazza Venezia.

By walking past the Roma Capitale and behind, you can get to the Jewish Ghetto.

Otherwise, there’s a metro stop for Circo Massimo that’s a beatiful walk along the Circo Massimo park and river to the Jewish Ghetto.

I love finding the Jewish Ghettos in Italian cities. Rome’s is one of my favorites. There’s a Bar del Cappuccino that I love for their iced cappuccinos that this adorable Italian grandpa makes behind the bar.

Largo di Torre Argentina is the location of the ruins of Pompey’s Theater where Julius Caesar was killed. The south street that borders this square are a couple great places for a good, cheap, quick lunch. Panepiù for baguette sandwiches of which I recommend the tuna, tomato and tapenade. Next to it is Pizzeria Florida where my friends recommend the pumpkin bacon pizza.

There was some cute shopping in the Jewish Ghetto in Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, like this boutique BE C.

From the Jewish Ghetto I found my way to an Italian restaurant I had been recommended to: Spaghetteria L’Archetto Pizzeria. Like most touristy Italian cities, it’s hard to find a good authentic Italian place, but this one is definitely that. The outside seating is literally in an alley with the waiters dodging oncoming cars to deliver food.

After my late lunch, on my way to the metro station at the Spanish steps, I made sure to pass by the Trevi Fountain that was just around the corner. Like a lot of Roman monuments this trip, it was under renovation, so if you are planning a trip to Italy, do some research to make sure you are coming at the right time.

The next day, I spent my morning at the Vatican Museum. I took a not so touristy road through a local neighborhood and passed through this park.

The Vatican Museum is one of my top favorite museums so I made it a priority to fit it into my short trip. I love that the ceilings and walls are covered in gold and marble statues and  Michelangelo originals.



That evening I met my friend Jen, who’s more of local having lived in Rome a couple years, and she showed me her favorite spot in Rome. She took me to Villa Borghese Gardens.


    

We walked through the park to a lookout that Jen said was her favorite spot to watch the sunset: Terrazza del Pincio. It overlooks the city and Piazza del Popolo.

We walked down into the Piazza and then stumbled on a great Italian restaurant. Again, it’s difficult to find a good authentic Italian restaurant in the touristy cities, so this would be another restaurant I’d recommend: da trani. Get the spaghetti alla carbonara. Even my friend said it was the best carbonara she had had since moving to Italy.

The next day, I had plans to meet some Italian friends at the Spanish Steps.

I arrived early so I could get caffeinated at one of the more famous coffee shops in Rome: Antico Caffé Greco. Such shops in Italy usually show in price. The cappuccinos here are €10. There’s a charge for taking a seat, so if you are on a budget, you can stand at the bar, like an Italian usually would. It’s not common to get something for free in Italy, even if you make a mistake on your order, so I was extra surprised and appreciative to receive my cappuccino for free.

A lot of Rome can be seen by walking, so my friends gave me a tour of the city all by foot. We started at the lookout point, this time by early morning light.

We stopped at a local favorite spot called Ginger, and grabbed pineapple ginger juice to go.

Walking the city of Rome to all the main sites is intensive, but it can be done. We walked through the Pantheon piazza and on to the famous Campo de’Fiori.

  

Here at Campo de’Fiori we stopped to eat. It’s uncommon to find burgers in Italy, and even more so a good one, but my friends knew a spot with great burgers, so if you are in Rome and craving a burger, go to Aristocampo. I believe they actually have locations in other Italian cities as well.


Next we walked through the french piazza Piazza Farnese and on to finish our evening in the city at the Colosseum and Piazza della Madonna dei Monti in a more hipster district of the city.


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