Rome: a fantastically romantic and interesting city, with ancient and breath-taking historic icons, hidden amongst modern day architecture.
The best way to get around is on foot, and despite my eating carbohydrates for breakfast, lunch & dinner (washed down largely with wine), I have managed to lose 4lbs over the course of the week, simply due to the walking.
The food, the people, the history and the energy of the city are the reason why you will fall in love, and want to return again and again.
So if you have a trip planned, or are maybe thinking about it, and want to know where you should go, let me share my favourite spots with you.
Shopping in Rome has certainly changed over the years in my opinion. I first visited in 2007 and was quite excited by the volume of affordable, independent Italian boutiques selling quality shoes, boots, handbags and leather jackets.
On my returning trip, I was sorry to see that most of these family-run shops had gone, being replaced by global brands such as Zara, Diesel, Nike and Sephora.
That said, there are still hidden gems to be found…
The luxury stores reside around the area of the Spanish Steps. Here you can browse boutiques such as Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton & Salvatore Ferragamo.
Wonder up the steep steps to the Trinità dei Monti, or sit and take-in the sights with an espresso from the sunny Piazza di Spagna.
Via del Corso is the main retail area in Rome – this long, straight street is pedestrianized at various points in the day, and is lined either side by shops and cafes. It is along this street that you can find stores including Sephora, Liu Jo, Zara and H&M.
Walk along Via del Corso to the impressive white Emmanuelle II Monument, it’s a breath-taking sight but I was disappointed to find there was nothing beyond the steps!
Hands-down, my favourite part of Rome is on the Vatican side of the river. Keep walking past the Vatican and you’ll soon find yourself off the tourist path, and in the area the locals live, shop and work.
Via Crescenzio is the equivalent of Via del Corso – but instead of global brands, you’ll find home grown cafes, gelato stores, pharmacies, delicatessens and boutiques.
Better still is the market, known as Mercato Rionale on Via Cola di Rienzo. Head here to view and browse the fresh fruit and veg – it honestly looks like the stereotypical image we see in commercials of ‘Mediterranean life’ – beautiful!
There are so many great places to eat out in Rome. Though we really noticed that there isn’t a great variety when it comes to cuisines – pizza, pasta & sandwiches seem to be the majority of what you’ll find.
Places we loved to eat at included:
Word of warning; try and avoid the cafes and restaurants directly opposite the Vatican. They target tourists by not putting prices on their menus and charge ridiculous amounts (we were charged 20 Euros for two bowls of fries and two Cokes). Always check the prices before ordering, so that this doesn't happen to you.
Eating in lesser-tourist areas is a safer way of avoiding this issue.
Finally - enjoy your trip!