home of the Vatican City, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Coliseum and so lots of really delicious food.
If you’ve never been to Rome, it can be daunting. Where to stay, what to do, where to eat. We’ve got you covered with places to stay, what to eat, what to drink and tips along the way.
Where to stay:
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Resort,
Overlooking the city
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101, 00136 Roma RM
4.6 star on Google rating
If you want to be above it all or have Hilton points, the Waldorf-Astoria is the best place to go. Located on the Northwest side of Rome, Rome Cavalieri is a hotel you don’t even need to leave. There are more than five acres and $25 million of art on the property. When I arrived, they were having a conference on anti-aging and giving free samples. I probably saved as much in samples as I spent on the hotel, assuming the products work.
If you do want to leave the property, you can call a taxi, limousine, Uber, or you can rent a supercar on the property. Call ahead and reserve your Ferrari or Lamborghini.
Hotel Cristoforo Colombo,
Via Cristoforo Colombo, 710, 00144 Roma RM
3.8 star on Google rating
Outside of the city, near a shopping mall, with plenty of room for kids to run and play in the pool, this is a hotel my friends stay at with children when they visit Rome.
On a budget
Hotel ibis Styles Roma Art Noba,
Via Nomentana, 543/547, 00141 Roma RM
4.1 star on Google rating
Bring your shampoo and conditioner and soap. Any time I stay at a budget hotel I also bring a pair of slippers (because I won’t walk barefoot on the carpet and most budget hotels don’t supply them)
The place is quaint, but they bend over backward to give you a better experience. It’s probably the reason it has a 4.1-star rating on Google but is only listed as a 3-star hotel.
The rooms are small, but you can open the window which is a big plus. The hotel has non-smoking floors, but they are allowed to go outside and smoke on the balcony.
Pro tip – Bring empty bottles with you. All fitness centers at each hotel had water fountains to fill your bottles. When you’re strolling through the heart of Rome you won’t have to buy water.
Getting to and from the airport and around the heart of Rome
There are plenty of taxis, limousine services, uber and trains and buses to get you from the airport to most places you are going. If you have a lot of luggage then, of course, you will want to use a service. If you don’t, for 8 Euros you can get to the city, or the airport, in around an hour.
But if you are going out sightseeing all day, you might want to take a train or bus. Rome is one of the most congested car cities in Europe, so not thinking about driving or parking can be a relief.
Italian wines and bringing them home
I only buy two bottles of wine a trip, and I use a Jet Bag, WineSkin or Wine Diaper (bought through Amazon.com). I will also wrap the wine in a towel or shirt and put it in the bag out of the hotel room. I’ve never had a bottle of wine break because I pack it so thoughtfully, but if it did the wine would be soaked up in the towel and bag.
My favorites are
Barolo, Brunello, Chianti, Super Tuscan
If you get a Biandi make sure it say’s “imbottigliato all’origine” – in-house. It’s the same with Napa wine; you have to make sure it says an in-house winery or Napa. Otherwise, the grape could be from California, but not Napa. It’s all in the grape. The quest is to find the perfect Italian Chianti, a true Italian wine.
Places to eat
La Piccola Amatrice,
Via Tripoli, 24, 00100 Roma RM
Good old-fashioned food that you can eat there, takeaway, or have delivered.
Via dei Gracchi, 55, 00192 Roma RM
Old-world Roman, with such popular dishes as
Cicoria saltati, Spinaci saltati, Broccoli Romani saltati, Zucchine, La Vignarola, pasta and Quinto-quatro.
Gelateria dei Gracchi
Via dei Gracchi, 272, 00193 Roma RM, Italy
How can you go to Italy and not have Gelato? Visit Gelateria dei Gracchi for some delicious homemade Gelato.
Rome is the perfect place to go if you love to eat. Most Italian restaurants serve an array of fresh and delectable vegetables.
There are seasonal dishes such as La Vignarola that are exceptional. Vignarola is made with Fava beans, peas, artichokes, and Roman lettuce. The vignarola is perfect to eat as a side dish, in pasta, or alone with a slice of toasted bread. I asked the waiter at Il Matriciano for the Vignarola. He laughed and said I was two weeks early, but everyone was asking for that dish. It’s that well-known, that well-liked.
If you are visiting the Coliseum area stop into
Trattoria Pizzeria Luzzi, Rome
Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 88, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
An inexpensive down-to-earth trattoria that is renowned for its classic, wood-oven pizzas, stop in for lunch or dinner.
I like to do more than just visit ruins and museums, and experience history, culture, so I will visit flea markets and thrift stores to get a flare of the real city.
Two places I enjoyed were Mercato Monti and Vecchia America Via Ostilia, 6, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. Take the blue line to Via Cavour and enjoy a flea market and a thrift store and the Coliseum.
I’ll be back to Rome later in the year and will update this article then. If you have suggestions for what to do in Rome, let me know.
Bring water bottles. Only Americans carry bottles of water with them. Bring your empty water bottles with you to the hotel (I kept the empty bottles they gave me on the airplane on the way over) and fill them up in the fitness center. Even the budget hotel, Hotel ibis Styles Roma Art Noba, has filtered water in their gym.
Do you get knots in your back from sitting in an airplane, or sleeping on a bed that is not yours? Bring a tennis ball with you on the plane. After about five hours of sitting my hips start hurting, but if I sit on the tennis ball, it loosens my muscles. The same for my back. Try it.
Get your tickets to see the Vatican etc. from the original websites. There are fewer handling charges, and you know you have the right tickets.
Instead of doing just the tourist thing, I like to get a flair for the city by doing something I would do at home; go to the flea market, go to the thrift stores, find a grocery store and buy Italian food. Remember, you can’t bring meat or fruit back to the United States (I believe you can if it is bought in the airport through duty-free and it is vacuum-sealed, but check to make sure.)
Mangia bene, gioca bene, goditi la vacanza
Eat well, play well, enjoy your vacation