Photographer: Lamprini Nks,
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. At least, that’s what I’ve always been told. So when I had the opportunity to spend a month in the ancient city, I decided to do exactly that. The thing is, since I had never been to Rome before, it was hit-and-miss to find the restaurants where Romans ate and the bars where they served the best caffè. And because I’m such a nice person I’m going to let you all in on all of the best spots I found during my stay. This is what’s on the menu:
Places to eat
Food is in every Italian’s blood. And boy they do it good. You nearly cannot go wrong with choosing a place to eat, but here are some of my favourites.
- Grazia & Graziella: the food in this cute little cafe in Trastevere is amazing, but most importantly this place has the best tiramisu. Most people would say Pompi does, but this place does it addictively good.
- The Ghetto Ebraico: the Jewish Ghetto in Rome is filled with great restaurants. Nonna Betta is famous for its artichoke dishes and Ba Ghetto’s kosher food is just delicious.
- Bar: you simply cannot leave Rome without drinking un caffè al bar. Go have a typically Italian breakfast and order an espresso (caffè) and a croissant (cornetto). It’ll be one of the best coffees you’ll have and it’s only 90 cents, if you can bear drinking it while standing like a proper Italian. I would recommend Il Delfino, near the cat forum.
- Friggidarium: in this gelateria (situated near Piazza Navona) you’ll find the best ice cream in town. No wonder that there’s a line at all times! Try their signature flavour friggidarium or the delicious maracuja, otherwise known as passionfruit. To make it even better, you can get your gelato dipped in white or dark chocolate for free! Have you just strolled into heaven? Probably.
Things to eat
Like any city in Italy, Rome has its own signature dishes that you just have to try!
- Pasta Cacio e Pepe: a very simple dish of spaghetti, cheese, oil and fresh cracked pepper.
- Pasta Amatriciana: rigatoni pasta in a delicious tomato sauce with onion and bacon.
- Gnocchi: these little dumplings made from potatoes can be served in many different ways, but one of the classics is with butter and sage.
- Pizza Bianca: contrary to the classic pizza rossa, a pizza bianca doesn’t have a tomato sauce base.
- Carciofi: Rome is famous for its artichokes. Especially the Jewish kitchen is known for them, but you can get them anywhere and everywhere. Be sure to try one of the many tasty dishes, you won’t be disappointed!
Are you drooling already?
While you might not want to conquer Rome in heels, you can certainly find the most beautiful
shoes, clothes and trinkets in the many shops that are scattered throughout the city.
- Via del Corso: this is the high street of Rome. This 1,5 km long lane runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo and has all the big brands.
- Trastevere: besides the nightlife, Trastevere is also a great area to go shopping. With all its various independent stores this neighbourhood is up-and-coming.
- Open Door Bookshop: of course there has to be a bookshop included. This jewel is filled to the brim with secondhand English books in all possible genres.
Whether you want to lounge, drink or dance the night away, Rome has the right place for you.
- Campo dei Fiori: market square by day, party scene by night. This square is full of great cocktail places, so go drink a Spritz there!
- Trastevere: this is the place to be. Drinks, shopping, food, it has it all. This is the borough where all the locals go. At night the streets are filled with people, and the stairs on Piazza Trilussa are a great place to meet new people while watching a cheap magician that has performed there every night for the last ten years.
- Lungo il Tevere: this annual culture festival fills the banks of the Isola Tiberina with all sorts of pop-up bars, cinemas and market stalls. Although expensive, it is something you have to experience in the summer.
- Il Bosco delle Fragole: this outdoor nightclub is located near the Olympic Stadion, in an actual forest (of strawberries?). If you want to dance the night away, this is one of the best (and few) clubs in Rome and worth the travel time.
To conclude, here are some of the of the best survival tips:
- Take a scarf with you. When you are visiting a commercial church or other kinds of sacred ground, you have to cover your knees and shoulders or you won’t be allowed entrance.
- Buy your tickets in advance. You can buy tickets online for practically any monument. Be sure to do this to avoid the horrible queues that can take up hours of your day while standing in the burning sun.
- Go early! Most places open up around 08:30. This early in the morning the queues are a lot shorter. If you go in early you could take a risk and not buy tickets in advance.
- Fill your own water bottles at the drinking fountains. When you walk around a lot, especially in summer, it’s important to stay hydrated. Instead of buying new water bottles every time you can fill your bottle at one of the many drinking fountains throughout the city. It’s even said that there are four fountains in Rome that give sparkling water!
- Have cash. Unlike here in the Netherlands, many shops and other places do not allow separate payment or payment by card at all. Most of the payments are still done in cash so make sure you have enough on you.
- Download CityMaps2Go. This is an app that allows you to download online maps on your smartphone so you can use your GPS signal so you won’t get lost.
Well, here you go. With these pro-tips you will live la dolce vita in Rome. Enjoy this beautiful city and everything it has to offer, ciao belli!