Oh Italy how I love you! This was our first time visiting this country and we absolutely loved it. I’m going to split our travel diary in 4 parts because we did 4 cities and there is A LOT to discuss. First of all we were going to Italy for my friend Elizabeth’s wedding in Tuscany and we decided to make a trip out of it.
We first arrived in Rome. From the airport it’s super easy to just walk to the shuttle and buy a ticket for 14 euros each. There are different shuttles but we took the one that goes straight to Termini station. Termini is a large train station in Rome where you can catch the train and busses. Our hotel was only 4 minutes walking from Termini so it was perfect! Actually we highly recommend out hotel is was a good walking distance to a lot places.
WHERE WE STAYED:
This hotel was cute and in a great location. We were really close to numerous train stations and attractions.
WHAT WE DID:
On the first day in Rome right after a 12 hour flight we got to our hotel, freshened up and headed to Vatican City. We didn’t have much time in Rome so I didn’t want to waste too much time waiting in line so we didn’t go inside. It was still really nice to see from the outside. The architecture in Italy is just beyond! Honestly my main goal this whole trip was just to sight see, walk around, and eat. We didn’t want to go to crazy filling up our days since we were there for a long time and honestly as a blogger sometimes we can forget to turn off which can make the trip unenjoyable to the non-blogger traveling with you, so I really wanted to find the balance.
Vatican city is just so pretty and was only a few stops away from our hotel. We were exchausted after our long travel day so we traveled back closer to the hotel and ate somewhere nearby. Here’s the thing, people go on an don about the food in Italy, but not every restaurant is created equal. I highly recommend yelping, getting recommendations, or searching the internet for the good restaurants. We stumbled upon Cafe Washington which actually ended up being pretty good but as the days rolled on we didn’t always get so lucky.
The next day we had breakfast at our hotel which was included. I highly recommend getting a hotel with breakfast included. The more I travel, the more I realize breakfast is a VERY American thing. At least the kind of breakfast we are used to. From all the countries I visited so far, their breakfast menus offered no where near the variety as America’s. Amsterdam is the only place so far that came close. For us it was just easier to eat breakfast at the hotel.
After breakfast we walked to the Colosseum. It was about a 20 minute walk. We purchased skip the line passes HERE beforehand so we wouldn’t have to wait in a super long line. After waiting 3.5 hours in line at Versailles last year I am traumatized by lines. I highly recommend getting skip the line passes wherever you plan to visit in Europe if they offer them.
After the Colosseum, we decided it was easier to walk everywhere then to figure out how to get there by train/bus so we walked to the Trevi Fountain which was another 20 minute walk. Everyone walks in Europe its actually the main thing I miss about living on the East Coast so make sure you bring walking shoes! All those bloggers in heels are either changing their shoes or taking taxis everywhere! Trust! Or their feet are suffering tremendously and I’m not about like life.
On our walk we passed many ancient ruins so if you don’t feel like paying to see them, you can catch a few just by strolling the city. Also many of them you can just visit from the outside as well. When we made it to the Trevi Fountain, it was loaded with tourist. To be honest if it wasn’t for the wedding I wouldn’t have gone to Italy in August. Europe in August is actually very high season as many Europeans take their holiday at this time. So EVERYWHERE we went was completely riddled with tourist. They also were doing some work on the fountain when we got there so it blocked a part of it off from people. Nevertheless, even though I couldn’t get a proper photo is was absolutely stunning to see in person.
Our next and last stop in Rome of the day were the Spanish steps. To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by them, not sure if it was the many tourist but honestly they are just stairs. Beautiful stairs I must admit but there was not much to see beyond that.
Our stay in Rome was WAY to short there were so many places I wanted to visit that we just didn’t have time for because we needed to head to villa in Tuscany where all the wedding guest were staying. So we headed back to the hotel grabbed our bags and went to the car rental.
We didn’t realize this until after, but you can also rent a care from the Termini station. They have different car rental companies there. We would have totally done that if we knew but we already paid for our rental from the Hertz at the airport, so we had to take the shuttle back to the airport.
I have to say the service at Hertz was very underwhelming. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them. But we got a car and everything worked out so I have no major complaints. After finally getting our car, we headed to La Foce villas in Tuscany. The ride was supposed to be 2 hours but it turned into 4 because of an accident and construction. If you don’t need to drive in Italy I wouldn’t. They drive a little crazy and they will tailgate you until you get out of their way and everyone speeds. We witnessed too many accidents while driving.
We made it to La Foce finally and checked into the Villa and enjoyed the next 4 days there. More on that in part 2.
SHOP MY LOOKS:
Here are some other places that were recommended to us that we unfortunately did have time to visit:
(Thanks to my girl Camille!)
This is the new wave of Rome with a traditional overtone. Roscioli is a deli (salumeria) where you should get local pecorinos (be prepared—there aren’t many cheeses from the Lazio region, beyond classic sheep’s milk pecorino romano, but you should certainly go for neighboring Campania’s mozzarella di bufala, which should be fresh that day). If you can grab a table in the back, get their pastas (my favorite is always, always any pasta all’amatriciana, with tomato sauce, onions and cured pork jowl calledguanciale). Pizzeria Emma is the chic little sister, a see-and-be-seen spot for great thin-crust pizza (this is the Roman style—don’t expect chewy crusts!) and really anything.
I didn’t get here, but this is a whole restaurant dedicated to the Roman version of arancini—suppli al telefono, named after a telephone wire due to the stretch of mozzarella you’ll get when you break apart the deep fried oval of tomato sauced rice.
Campo dei Fiori
Check out the market here and get a picnic with cheese and salumi from Roscioli, just down the street, and any veggies that look good!
There are two competing pizza spots that sell slices (al taglio) in Campo dei Fiori: Forno Campo de’ Fiori and Antico Forno Marco Roscioli (same family as Roscioli salumeria!). Both are great and you should get anything fresh.
Trattoria del Gran Sasso
Near Piazza del Popolo, I had a great dinner year years ago—get abbacchio, spring young lamb, and carbonara!
Piccola Trattoria da Lucia
In Trastevere, one of my favorite areas, and supposed to be fantastic. I have a big sad face in my notebook that I didn’t make it there—the suggestion was pasta alla gricia, pasta with guanciale, onions and pecorino.
Gelateria known for its fruit flavors, just a few blocks away from the Pantheon. Try the visciole, a type of cherry—amazing.
Enoteca Corsi/Osteria Fabrizio Corsi
Only lunch, and a fairly well known traditional osteria. I can’t remember if I went here, but highly recommended in my favorite Italian food guide!
da Alfredo e Ada
Totally low key place near the Tiber, I think I tried several times to go but they were always packed so be warned! Super traditional (think amatriciana, involtini, etc).
Over in Testaccio, areal old-school Italian gastronomia, like what Murray’s would be if they were in Italy. The brothers are from Norcia, which is known for its butchers, so I would suggest meat products!