28 Sep My Top Travel Tips for Rome
My Top Travel Tips for Rome
When it comes to city breaks I’m more of a wide eyed wanderer than a punctilious planner. Sure I’ll stoke my excitement about an upcoming adventure by scrolling the Instagram feeds of the cities best bloggers or reading up on the most delicious street food snacks. But when I get somewhere new I love to stroll, plan-free and guidebook-less, through winding streets, happy to happen upon frothy fountains, cute cafes or peaceful piazzas.
I can linger for hours at a rickety restaurant table on a wobbly cobbled street, watching the comings and goings, the meetings and greetings, the blur of mopeds whizzing past and the fluffy little dogs that saunter by.
In July after our Shine Yoga retreat in Italy I spent a wonderful few days in Rome, exploring the city that’s just an hour away from our Italian retreat home. Without an itinerary or sightseeing checklist I wandered widely and discovered some hidden gems and special experiences that might not be in your guide book, but in my book, are so worth seeking out.
1. SEE THE SIGHTS AT FIRST LIGHT
By far the best idea I had during my time in Rome was to head out at 6am and walk around the sleepy city as it woke. By late morning the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Colosseum were all packed with crowds wielding selfie sticks, jostling for pictures and queuing for entry but at dawn the city had a fresh, sparkling sheen and a magical air of quiescent beauty. Venture out early and you’ll see the market sellers setting up at Campo di Fiore, the first few chic and suited office workers hurrying by, the golden morning light sneaking up statues and over fountains. And you’ll walk up the most incredible appetite for breakfast…
2.EAT BREAKFAST AT ROSSCIOLI
Speaking of breakfast. Please go to the Rosscioli Caffe. This place is a dream. Hidden behind it’s unassuming (and easy to miss) exterior is a tiny coffee bar packed with hungry locals and sumptuous pastries. Squeeze in to a standing space at the mirrored bar and with staccato efficiency you’ll be presented with exquisite coffee and ice cold water. Then it’s up to you to make the difficult decision of which pastries enticingly displayed in front of you to savour. You may not spend long in this place of bustling breakfast bliss but I guarantee you’ll leave smiling and delighted.
3.CROSS THE RIVER TO TRASTEVERE
Linger on the bridge across the Tiber, soaking in the serenity and the sunshine, before heading in to Trastevere to walk through winding cobblestone side streets, deliberate over which of the rich array of cafes and restaurants to revive in, take in the pretty piazzas and gleaming fountains, then head on to Porta Portese. This enormous Sunday flea market is a real mix of old and new, at one end you’ll find antiques and a huge assortment of vintage goods, along the rest is a never ending stretch of shiny shoes, costume jewellery, plastic bric-a-brac, tea towels, posters and kitchen utensils. Gather all your energy if you plan to do the full stretch!
4.TRY A TRAPIZZINO
Just across the bridge and in to Trastevere you’ll find Trapizzino, where you can get, unsurprisingly, a trapizzino. This Italian street food speciality is a kind of pillowy pizza dough meets olive oil coated crispy focaccia that’s magically manipulated in to a perfect pocket for a richly flavoured filling. I had the missticanza ala romana, a bitter, olive oil bathed, mix of wild greens and it was sensational. I took my trapizzino to go and ate it sitting in the sunshine by the river.
5. RISE ABOVE IT ALL
See Rome from the roof tops. I found the most fabulous roof top spot at the Hotel Minerva thanks to this article from An American in Rome. Perched on a stool at the edge of the terrace I could take in Rome’s grandest buildings framed by vast blue sky. A lot of the roof top bars and restaurants are impossible to spot from the ground but worth seeking out as they have the most spectacular views and feel secluded and tranquil, allowing you to lounge lazily, high above the busyness of the streets below.
6. MOVIT BY BUS
Get the movit app. This astounding little app made navigating the city a breeze. I really appreciated how you could track your bus stops and it would tell you when it’s time to get off. And on that note do take the bus. I love exploring by foot but if you hop on and off the bus a bit more you can see so much of the city’s sprawling corners. I found the buses pretty reliable and frequent in Rome, just be sure to buy your tickets in advance. This guide to bus tickets is really useful.
7. MEANDER IN MONTI
Monti feels quirky and cool, packed with trendy boutiques, vintage shops and the kind of hip cafes that are also plant shops or book stores or have 3 different types of avocado toast. Seek out Gelateria dell’ Angeletto they have loads of vegan gelato options including zingy ginger and refreshing basil, remember you can ask to sample the different flavours until you find your perfect one.
8. TAKE A YOGA CLASS
One of my favourite things to do whenever I travel is to go to a yoga class. It’s a great way to experience a different side to the city, meet some of the people that live there and maybe get some great recommendations. Plus city breaks can be tiring and a yoga class helps keeps you calm and energised for the hustle and bustle of the day. I went to the light and lovely Zem Yoga studio which sits above Rome’s busy streets, classes are taught in English and Amity’s vinyasa flow class was dynamic, energising and totally invigorating.
9. FOLLOW MY FAVOURITES!
Before I went to Rome there were two Instagram accounts whose beautiful pictures and descriptions made me even more excited to see the city. If you’re planning a trip to Rome take a look at @heartrome and @anamericaninrome. Their Instagram accounts and blog posts are full of inspiring ideas and practical advice that will make your time in Rome even more magical (and they both take perfect gelato pics!).
Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you been to Rome? If so what’s your top tip for the city? And if not, which of the above would you most like to do? Comment below and let me know…