Oh my gosh SO, my original plan was to share a recipe today and this recap Friday, but when I went to type up the recipe I realized I never wrote it down in my recipe notebook. THE WORST. So, here I am, getting over it and chatting about Rome instead. Not going to lie, remembering Rome was even more difficult than remembering the Amalfi Coast, but I’m going to try my best!
We had a driver take us from Amalfi to Naples and from there we took the train from Naples to Rome. We ended up staying at Baghirova which was….fine. It was a quiet and very basic hotel that was only a 3 minute walk from the Pantheon. So yes, the location was wonderful, but I think after we had just stayed in a magical hotel in Positano, I had higher expectations. Reflecting back, it was all that we needed, especially considering we were out and about most days on the trip. Plus, we were served breakfast in bed every morning, which is something I got used to! So, we arrived in Rome and checked into our hotel before making our way to the Pantheon to look around. It’s honestly insane to wrap your head around how ancient the entire city is—insane in a good way!
We actually spent the entire first day just exploring, in the 95° weather, which was fun and also exhausting. We were getting cranky from the heat, so after plenty of walking we stopped at an outdoor restaurant with mist-fans to cool down a bit and enjoy some authentic Italian food. I had a delicious caprese salad and an ICED coffee. Side note: a lot of places didn’t list iced coffee on the menu, so I made sure to always ask. Oh, and the coffee was DELICIOUS. I don’t know what makes their coffee so good—I’m sure quick Google search could answer this for me—but it was just what I needed. We continued walking around and exploring before heading back to our hotel to shower and then back out to watch the European Championship Final between Portugal and France. The game was insaaaaane, and by that I mean there were so many soccer fans. We ended up going to a nearby Irish pub and it was jam packed and hot—like, everyone was sweating because that’s how packed it was. It was an awesome atmosphere, but we ended up leaving before the game ended because we were way too warm.
The next day, we headed out and walked around before going to Ginger, a recommended lunch spot. Though we both love pasta, we were happy to come across a healthy place that sold pasta and a whole lot more. We both ordered a fresh pressed juice along with rice, vegetables and chicken meatballs. Super light, super tasty and just what we needed. We continued exploring by foot when we stumbled across the Forum of Augustus, a museum in front with a ton of awesome Roman ruins in the back. We were stoked to have found such a gem! Hardly anyone was there when we were there, so we thought we struck gold but it turns out it’s really close to the Colosseum, so I’m sure plenty of people know about it. That night, we headed to a cool area of the city called Trastevere, where there were restaurants lined up along the Tiber River. TONS of restaurants—maybe 30 or so—that are apparently only there in the summer months. Out of all the places to eat, we ended up choosing a totally average, not-so-delicious Brazilian restaurant. Random, but the view was gorgeous and we still enjoyed a few drinks.
Not to play favorites, but day three might have been my favorite. We decided to travel one hour outside the city to Ostia Antica, ancient ruins of an entire town. The floor plan is all still there—the houses and the theater and it’s crazy yet somewhat easy to imagine people living there at one point. We stayed there for close to two hours before traveling a bit further to the nearby beach! It was SO hot every single day, so it was nice to be able to cool down and take a break from all the walking. Later that evening, we went to the recommended Roma Sparita for dinner to try the infamous cacio e pepe, aka cheesy, buttery pasta with LOTS of black pepper. It was delicious, and while there we made friends with a younger couple from Chicago and they told us all about their trip and vice versa. Afterward, we went to a nearby bar that I can’t remember the name of (seriously, I’ve been Googling for the past 20 minutes and I got nothin’). It was small and quiet, but the drinks, service and ambience were stellar and Miguel and I kept wishing there was a similar bar in Pittsburgh. Afterward, we went to a cool indoor/outdoor bar called Freni e Frizioni because apparently Anthony Bourdain went there on ‘Parts Unknown’ so you know we had to check it out. Again, awesome vibe, lots of people but not too overcrowded and all in all a good time.
Day 4 was our Vatican day which was… cool.. To be honest, my memory of the Vatican is that it was so crowded with people that at certain points we couldn’t even move. And I’m not an overly claustrophobic person! It was beautiful and I’m glad we did it, but the heat was a bit overwhelming with the amount of people. I know, woe is me. We ended up grabbing lunch at Duecentro Gradi, a sandwich restaurant the Chicago couple recommended to us. Miguel loved his sandwich and mine was..ok. I was starving though so I ended up gobbling it right up. At this point, it was around 4 pm, so we headed back to our hotel to shower before going to L’asino D’oro in Monti for dinner. My meal was DELICIOUS as was the wine, and I loved that we were able to snag an outdoor table in the shade. We ordered the sausage appetizer, and if you happen to be reading this and you happen to be traveling to Rome, you must get it. SO good.
Day 5 was our last day, and we purposely dedicated it to the Colosseum, which I loved. Yes it was crowded, but since it’s outdoors there’s more room for people to move around. It was quite the spectacle and we were both in awe of how old the bricks were (ok the entire thing really) yet how so much of it is still in tact. Mind blowing, really. Since it was our last day I let Miguel choose where to eat for lunch, so obviously he chose the Irish pub again because he wanted wings -_- If you know Miguel, this was zero percent surprising. We ate dinner at another restaurant along the Tiber River, and grabbed drinks at a PITTSBURGH-themed bar called La Botticella. We certainly didn’t expect there to be one, but there was and they had tons of Steelers stuff and even a Point Park flag hanging proud.
And THAT was our Rome trip. Again, apologies for the word vomit. In summary, here’s a list of places to eat:
Roma Sparita-authentic Italian food (make a reservation if you go!)
Ginger-a healthy, mostly organic lunch spot with fresh pressed juice
Scholars Lounge-an Irish Pub for those moments when you’re craving a burger instead of pasta
L’asino D’oro-classic Italian food with plenty of meat-based meal options
Freni e Frizioni-a bar in Trastevere with a ton of indoor and outdoor space, tasty cocktails