May 26, 2017

TRAVEL GUIDE: Rome, Italy

      Continuing along with my (much belated) Italy trip posts today by sharing my travel guide to Rome! Rome was the city that my mom and I were in the longest during our trip, and we had a wonderful time there. I've already shared a different blog post featuring spots we visited both on our own and as apart of our tour group that were featured in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, but today's post is a general travel guide blog post to this great city! 





Travel:

     My mom and I flew into Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) on Iberia Airlines. We flew out of Boston, and had a brief layover in Madrid. FCO is the major international airport in Rome, and one of the largest in Europe. There are direct flights offered on numerous airlines to the United States, and even more flight options if you opt for a layover like we did. We had never flown on Iberia Airlines before but both my mom and I were very impressed! Our plane to Madrid was so modern and our coach class seats had a lot of amenities for an international flight. The flight from Madrid to Rome was on a smaller plane, but still a really pleasant airline experience.






Stay: 

     Since we were visiting Rome as apart of a tour vacation, our tour made the lodging arrangements in each city. Our hotel in Rome was the Hotel Veneto Palace. This hotel definitely had its pros and cons. Biggest pro: It was in a great location. Our hotel was very close to Villa Borghese- the largest park in the city of Rome, and all in all located in a very beautiful and elegant part of the city. It was also easily walkable to many of the famous attractions that I featured in my Lizzie McGuire blog post, such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Another pro was that the staff of the hotel were all so kind and helpful!
     The biggest pro was that the hotel was listed on its website as being a four star hotel. The hotel that my mom and I stayed at in Venice was definitely a four star... Hotel Veneto Palace was not. The lobby was small, the rooms had some old charm to them but were a bit rundown. We chatted with other people on our tour and they felt the same way about their rooms at this hotel too. For example- the mattress on my bed was super lumpy and had like permanent dents in it from the lumps, which made it uncomfortable to sleep on. I never even saw anything like that in a college dorm- much less a hotel! Unfortunately I didn't really take any pictures of our room... but I might have some video from when I finally get around to making my Italy trip vlogs?





Eat: 

     Rome is an interesting city for eating. My mom and I did a food tour on our first day there (more on that below), and one of the participants on it was a girl who was studying abroad there for the semester. She said she had learned in her time abroad that it was hard to find ethnic cuisines in Rome, and the few ethnic restaurants there were tended to be overpriced and not as great as the ethnic restaurant selection that some larger US cities have. This was different than France, where I studied abroad in Summer 2015. Of course France had a great selection of French restaurants... but you could also find restaurants for every type of European cuisine, and I also had some of the best Asian food of my life in France.
      Anyways- this girl stressed to me that Romans do two things well in the food department and they like to do what they do best: pizza and pasta of course!! And I found everything she said to be so true. Rome is just filled with every type of Italian restaurant that you can think of. From casual sidewalk cafes that serve panini type sandwiches, pizza slices and gelato to fancier restaurant options for nice dinners, there is no shortage of pizza or pasta in the world's capital of these foods. Because of this, I quite honestly don't remember the names of most of the places that my mom and I ate at! It was a lot of splitting sandwiches or pizzas in casual cafes in the daytime between our Italy tour activities, and similar food choices on our free days. Even if I remembered the names of these places to tell you- there are probably hundreds just like them. (Seriously!) 
     BUT- with all that said.... one Italian restaurant completely stands out in my mom and I's memory so I need to tell you about it so you can save it in your memory if you're in Rome. It was so incredibly amazing that we went back twice in a row. And get this... not only did we go back, but the family that was eating dinner next to us the first night there was back again when we went back the second night! They were also tourists but not from our tour. Now THAT'S the sign of a good restaurant!
      It's called Il Fiammifero Strano, and it's in the Ludovisi neighborhood in Rome (the same area I shot this outfit post). I ordered the White Pizza both times I went... and y'all. BEST white pizza I've ever had in my life. No exaggeration! My mom loved her dishes as well. This restaurant has a very standard Italian menu, but everything they make is so tasty and especially flavorful. Their prices were also very reasonable as compared to other similar Italian restaurants in Rome- so I'd highly recommend it!




To Do:

     There are endless things to do in Rome! It is one of the  most beautiful places that I have ever been in my life. I was in absolute aw as our driver took my mom and I to our hotel from the airport. About 150% jet lagged, but also completely in aw of the beauty. 😉 Even though we were there for five days, I feel like we only just touched on all that Rome has to offer. But below are the things that my mom and I enjoyed doing while in Rome! Some of these things were with our tour group, and some were on our own on our free days:


     Food Tour: My mom and I arrived in Rome a full day before our vacation tour began so we could fight off jet lag (which I highly recommend!), so to have an activity to do during our first day our travel agent recommended that we do a walking food tour. We did one through Gourmetaly Food Tours, and it was a small group walking tour through the historic neighborhoods of Travestere and Campo de' Fiori. Our tour guide was a sweetheart (and spoke excellent English), and she took us through outdoor markets and into various restaurants and cafes. We also got to sample some very interesting gelato flavors! This experience was a fun way to see a lot of Rome on foot on our first day there, and to try lots of very authentic Italian foods.







     Vatican City: We visited Vatican City midway through our time in Rome as apart of our vacation tour. The Vatican museum and St. Peter's Basilica were both amazing to see in person, but also a bit overwhelming. I was quite glad that these were attractions that we got to visit with our vacation tour group and local guides. It was really great to get to see these places in real life though- all of the churches and religious sights in Rome are absolutely stunning!







       Galleria Borghese Museum: My mom is an artist and loves art museums, so this was a part of Italy that she was very excited about. Galleria Borghese was recommended to her by a few people as one of Rome's hidden gem museums. It was very close to our hotel and located in Villa Borghese park. This museum is one that you have to buy your tickets for in advance- we tried to do it online but felt weird doing it on their website, so we went a day early in person and pre-purchased them for the next day. Out of all the art museums that we saw on the trip, this was my favorite I think. The tickets are not cheap, but I did enjoy the museum, and you can make a nice afternoon out of enjoying the art and sculptures in Galleria Borghese and then taking in the park after.




      Villa Borghese Park: This is Rome's largest public park, and was right by our hotel! It is the Italian version of Central Park, and it was truly a lovely public space. My mom and I went on a few walks there during our few days in Rome, and after our day at Galleria Borghese we decided to rent one of the little tandem motor vehicles found in the park, called Bici Pincio. Honestly- this was the highlight of my whole time in Rome! I believe the rentals are done by the hour, so my mom and I took one out around the park for an hour and it was SO much fun!! I learned very quickly that I'm horrible at driving these things around so I let my mom drive it, but it was so fun to zoom all around the park. I definitely recommend doing this if you're in Rome!





      Shopping at Zara: I actually didn't do too much shopping in Rome- I saved most of that for Florence. But one place I did shop at while in Rome was Zara! Zara of course has locations in some major US cities (I've been to one of their NYC stores before), but Europe is the place to shop Zara!! Even though euros are worth more than the US dollar, Zara's prices end up being cheaper in Europe.  And they have a much better selection at European stores. I enjoyed shopping at the location on Via del Corso and Via del Tritone. It's close to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.




      Lizzie McGuire Movie Attractions: I already wrote a separate blog post all about this! My mom and I were able to visit a few of the spots featured in the Lizzie McGuire Movie while on our trip!



     And that concludes my Rome adventures and travel guide! I hope to be able to visit this beautiful city again someday. I still have blog posts to share from our time in Florence and Venice, so stay tuned for that! And I did take a lot of video footage during all parts of the trip- so I am still hoping to put together a little vlog at some point!





      xoxo Annaliese (or Charlotte XO on the radio!)



20 comments:

  1. What an amazing trip! I'll definitely be saving this post for studying abroad in a few years!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

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  2. I've been to Roma a few times and I love it! Piazza Navona is an amazing place to visit, too! And window shopping in the neighborhood by the Spanish Steps... ahh. So great.

    Tori

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  3. Rome is one of my favorite 'touristy' cities because it still feels authentic! The history spans thousands of years and it's incredible to see so many people want to experience it!

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  4. How gorgeous is Rome!? I'm so jealous you got to go and experience all this! It looks like you had an amazing time!

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  5. Rome is one of my favorite cities! I love your outfit - so gorgeous!

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  6. I'm not sure if this is true but I've heard the hotel star rating system in Europe is different than in the United States so it can be a bit misleading to travelers. I hate to be disappointed by a hotel but at least you had all of beautiful Rome to console you! Love the photo of you with your gelato, it looks like it's plucked straight from a travel magazine!

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  7. Ugh this looks BEAUTIFUL! I've always wanted to go to Rome! And to Jordyn's point, hotel ratings are different in Europe, mostly because their standards are different I think. I know when I've gone to 5 star hotels there I've been like, "but why is the room so tiny and gross feeling?" - it's just such a contrast to what we are used to sometimes.

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  8. These photos make me want to jump on a plane right now!!! I would love to do one of the food tours. It sounds like literal heaven ah!
    xo, G

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  9. I LOVE Rome! What an amazing city and these photos are great!

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  10. I want to go back to Italy like NOW haha. I bet you had a great time.

    -Alix

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  11. Wow, your pictures look so amazing and I'm definitely saving this for when I get to tick off Italy from my bucket list!!

    - tsd

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  12. I would love to go to Rome! So true about what you said about brands like Zara being cheaper in Europe - same goes for all those EU owned stores! Also a walking FOOD tour?? Sounds like heaven!

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  13. lol villa borghese is right by my apartment- love seeing how people view Rome when they come to visit! & yes I 100% agree about the zara thing... when I first got to the US and saw how crazy expensive Zara was I almost had a conniption. the price difference is insane!

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  14. I've been starting to really think about where i'd like to travel out of the country for the first time so I love getting to read about your experience in Rome!

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  15. This looks like you had an incredible time and trip! I'm hoping we can get to travel this part of the world some day - I would love to eat as much pizza as possible!

    xo, Chelsie @ Hey There, Chelsie

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  17. Thanks for your helpful tips! We are planning to go to Italy for the first time end of this year. We are trying to figure out the best way to get from Rome to Sienna.
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