Roma spelled backwards is Amor.. the romantic Italian city with gelato stops… Europe Part IV

Summer is over according to the calendar, but it’ll always be sunny in my memories of Rome, Italy.  We seriously packed in the last leg of our European vacation in the romance city and from the pictures, it probably looks like we spent months there.  We were nonstop the entire trip with very little down time.. just enough to sleep to recharge, then up and finding the gelato spot of the day.. because.. when in Rome.. (sorry had to.. and now that’s out of the way, we can continue on.. shall we?).

Like with every new stop, we hit the ground running after our arrival from Croatia.  Initially we were going to take the Leonardo Express Train that gets you into Rome in half an hour for around 15 euros each.  We got to the transportation terminal and found the ticket booth.  The super helpful Italian man behind the counter gave us probably the best transportation tip of all time.  Keep reading.

{post flight logistics}

Pro tip: Take the airport shuttle express.  It’s basically door to door service for the same cost (actually about 5 euro more but worth it because the bus transfer would have added up to be the same – plus the extra workout of dragging a 50 pound suitcase).  The shuttle takes you exactly where you need to go.  Since this was our first time in Rome, this made the most sense.  When our trip wrapped up we actually sent the company an email to book our return trip, of which they came to our door and picked us up.  I wouldn’t do it any other way, especially with luggage.

We made our way to our airbnb in the Largo dei Librari area near Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona.  I specifically wanted to be where the action was.  Because this was our first trip, I didn’t care how “touristy” of an area we stayed in because that is what we were doing, being uber tourists.  The map showed we would be close to the Trevi Fountain and Trastevere neighborhood and that was good enough for me.. more on that neighborhood as you read on.  Honestly, getting around Rome is pretty easy.  We heavily relied on our own two feet and a couple times rode the bus when it was convenient.

 

 

After checking in, we headed to load up on carbs and I didn’t even feel bad.  If you are in Italy and you’re not daily eating carbs, you aren’t living life.  Our first meal at Hosteria dei Baullari consisted of champagne (prosecco), rose, bruschetta, pizza, and gnocchi drenched in the most perfect of pesto sauces.  I thought the bruschetta was just ok, but the husband loved it.  Yelp does exist here, but we found this one on a whim and it worked out.  They had me at “free glass of welcome champagne” when we were talking to the host.

 

 

 

We basically got our bearings the first night and had every intention to see a Roma vs. Milan soccer match but we didn’t find tickets in time and the bus was ridiculously behind schedule to get us to the game.  This was the one thing the husband wanted to do and it didn’t happen (I say poor planning on his part, but he would probably disagree).  On the way to find tickets though we found this cute church with my name in Italian, so the night wasn’t a terrible loss.  Plus our first evening in Rome we ended up in an Irish bar drinking beer and wine and watched the game, so honestly it was still a good night.. even though it was an Irish bar… in… Italy.

 

Outfit details:

Top: Vici Collection

Shorts: One Teaspoon (similar)

 

{official american tourists}

Next up we had all the sights mapped out that we wanted to make sure to see because it was the only day in Rome we had to wander and check things out.  But first things first.. brunch and cappuccinos.  I found a healthy little spot called Buddy and it was absolutely what I needed and it involved avocados with one of the best little views of one of Rome’s massive churches.

 

    

 

The one thing I wish we did was wake up at 7am and get an early start as opposed to probably 10am or so.  The heat and number of tourists was strong.. we made it work and it didn’t affect us.. except at the Fontana di Trevi.. The rent a cops there were glued to the whistles they were using for any little thing possible.  I swear if you looked at the fountain wrong, you were going to get whistled at.. see exhibit A:

 

{outfit details}

Dress: Forever 21 (similar)

 

We hit up every MAJOR tourist attraction on the western side of the city since that’s where we were located.. Along with the Trevi, we also went to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, and stumbled upon neighborhood after neighborhood.  We had to have walked the equivalent of a full marathon each day with our itineraries.  But staring at these views for the first time helped with any kind of tiredness..

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

{postcard trastevere neighborhood}

We ate in the neighborhood of Trastevere almost every night.  I read before coming to Rome that this particular neighborhood was less touristy (although still lots of tourists), it was across the Tiber River and was a natural divider and most people stay away from dividers such as these.  There was a cute summer market lining the river and a ton of al fresco bars.  I definitely had an aperol spritzer here next to the water views that I didn’t hate.  My.Scene.To.The.Max.  My favorite place we ate at was called Cacio e Pepe.  Not to mention their limoncello shots were on point.. shots as in plural because our waiter was Filipino and we bonded.  Also, I was on the hunt for melon with prosciutto and let’s just say they delivered.

 

 

 

 

{gladiators and yelling quotes from the movie 300 at people}

Plans to be at the Colosseo (Coliseum) right when they opened was one of the best ideas ever.  It was still pretty crowded, and all the hustlers trying to get you to buy “cut the line” tickets were real.  Come to find out, it only took about 10 minutes to get our tickets the day of around 8:15am.  It took another 15 minutes to get in line to get our tickets scanned.  This really wasn’t a big deal and it wouldn’t have shaved much time off if we paid extra to jump the line.  That was a pro tip folks.  We spent an hour and a half or so wandering all around the former gladiator pit and trying to stay in the shadowy areas as much as possible so we didn’t melt our faces off.  What a trip to see that place.  I don’t think it quite hit me until after being inside because we were in such a rush to get there before the line cued up.  Crazy to think that was where some serious -ish went down and people lost their lives fighting animals and such.  It really has deteriorated over the years from when it was built, but like I’ve said before, another one of THE coolest things I’ve done in life.

 

 

 

 

 

{outfit details}

Dress: Borrowed by Design – if you use code: BRIGITTEPATTON you can get 25% off your first order

A special place in my heart will forever yearn for gelato.  I always opt for pistachio and this time got crazy and added melon to the mix.  It was definitely not a bad idea.  Recommend this place Gelateria Pasticceria dei Gracchi.

 

 

{left rome for some vino tasting}

I found a tour that picked you up at a designated spot within Rome and took us about 45 minutes outside the city to the Vini Principe Pallavicini vineyard and tasting room.  It was $70/person and included transportation, 4 wine tastings, small bites, and personalized tour.  Since I’ve done wine tours before, and not to sound bougie, included Tuscany, Italy but also vineyards in Napa and Temecula, and this didn’t compare.  It was still VERY nice to get out of the city and do a proper wine tour, but for the price, a second vineyard should be added.  I ended up buying olive oil from the winery that weighed just as much as me for 10 euro, so I was pretty happy.

 

 

   

 

{breakfast at the vatican}

Our time in Rome was already so magical and it was incredible how many more checkmarks I made on my bucket list in such a short time period.  Another MAJOR one included an early morning to catch the sunrise at The Vatican.  We booked an online “Breakfast at the Vatican” entrance and it included the breakfast, audio tour, and pass to get into the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel before the doors opened to the public.  WORTH IT.

Pro Tip: Pay the $60 to get the breakfast and first dibs on the Museum/Chapel because I’ve heard from a bunch of people/comments of others that went that all had shoulder to shoulder experiences and it was hot AF, so please take my $60 and I’ll never look back.

 

 

 

 

 

Truth: At 6:45am we ended up at St. Peter’s Basilican thinking it was THE VATICAN.. I mean it’s in the Vatican because the Vatican is it’s own country.. yes folks, it is the smallest country in the world and completely run by a monarchy and the Pope is the head honcho.  So we leisurely walked in when the church bells struck 7am and snapped some photos with maybe 10 other people inside.  We tried figuring out where this breakfast was being held and asked one of the church officials.  We were legit about 3/4ths of a mile away from where we needed to be.  Holy Eff…. We ran all the way to the real location and were PASSING people running for their morning workouts because I was NOT going to be missing breakfast or the chance to get early access..  We actually made it.. sweaty AF and hot AF, but we made it just in time when they were still checking people in.  On the real, so glad we made the “mistake” because we got some epic morning shots..

 

 

 

 

 

{outfit details}

Jumpsuit: Forever 21 (similar)

 

Again, worth the extra money to skip the line and enjoy breakfast on The Vatican lawn.  Seriously a once in a lifetime type of experience.  People always talk about how you don’t have to spend money to see the free sights while on vacation, but sometimes, spending the extra cash is worth it to have an even better experience than a mediocre one… amiright?

Maybe it was the fact I was in such a holy place, but total out of body experience and jaw constantly on the floor of how detailed and pretty each inch of The Vatican Museum was.. followed by the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo himself?!  I mean are you kidding me?  “Creation of Adam”..

Disclaimer: it’s not illegal if you’re on a private tour.. or something.

 

 

I was never in a major rush to get to Rome before because Italy is so large and there are so many places to venture (two summers ago I went to Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre).  But since Chris aka InstaHusband had never been to Italy, I wanted it to be an in your face Italy experience for both of us… tourist attractions and all.  I was definitely blown away and since I made a wish at the Fontana di Trevi, guess that means I’ll be back.. If not for the coffee alone.

 

 

Graxie mille for reading about our Roman journey.. if you are going in the future or want me to give more detail about our experiences, leave a comment below or comment on my latest IG post!  I’d love to hear feedback or about your own adventures you’ve had with pro tips!

Buona Giornata!!

 

If you want details of the pictures and some bts of our daily musings, follow along on the IG (@brigittepatton) using the hashtag #BrigittexItaly

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