I almost feel bad for saying this, what with feeling some loyalty towards Paris as a French student, but Rome is without a doubt my favourite European city…
It’s got some tough competition! Florence comes pretty close, as does Prague, Budapest, Edinburgh, and of course, London. But, there’s something about Rome which just captures my heart every time.
The city somehow manages to be modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan, while full of history and romance. I love to get lost among the winding streets, finding small cafes in which to sip a latte and admire the beautiful buildings and churches that seem to pop up at every corner.
I like to take a stroll down to the Piazza Navona, stopping for ice cream or a Granita al Caffe con Panna (iced coffee with whipped cream).
This bustling square is one of the most well-known hang out spots in Rome.
Take a look at all the art work put on by street sellers (be prepared to get hassled occasionally!), sit in one of the restaurants which line the piazza, or just perch on the fountain and people-watch (one of my favourite pastimes).
Clearly even Italy hasn’t escaped the Will and Kate fever!
My tourist tip would be to avoid eating in any of the restaurants which are actually in the Piazza. They’re perfect for a quick drink or croissant, but the food is often overpriced and not actually that good.
Instead, just explore a few streets back and you should find somewhere less commercial and more authentic. I recommend diving into a bowl of Spaghetti Amatriciana…
This traditional Roman dish is probably one of the most heart-warming meals I tried in Italy.
A spicy tomato sauce mixed with bacon and onions? You can’t get much more comforting than that.
Top with Parmesan and you really will be in pasta heaven.
Now that you’re nice and full, I recommend heading towards the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
These are two of the most famous landmarks in Rome, and without a doubt two of the most beautiful.
Sadly, the Trevi Fountain was under construction!
Covered in scaffolding and drained of any water was not how I wanted my friends to get their first glimpse of this beautiful feature.
Opposite the Spanish Steps lies one of my favourite streets… Via dei Condotti.
This is a shopper’s heaven!
If you can afford it of course… Sadly most of the labels here are a little out of my price range! But I can still enjoy window shopping right?
Finally, we finished the evening with a delicious meal outside the Pantheon.
I really don’t think you could ask for a better setting.
We tucked into our meals, along with a delicious carafe of wine.
We went for another Roman delicacy of Suppli alla Romana, or fried risotto balls. These are not to be confused with the Sicilian version of Arancini though, which are commonly filled with ragu, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, and often served with a tomato sauce to dip.
Roman Suppli, on the other hand, are a slightly drier version, stuffed simply with melted mozzarella.
For mains, I tucked into a particularly fabulous steak and chips with green peppercorn sauce.
As daylight disappeared, we drank, giggled, and chatted, as street performers entertained us with music.
It truly was magical!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first of my Rome posts! Have you ever been to Rome? What were your favourite parts? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Joanna xxxxx