By Natalie Kennedy
Our guest blogger, Natalie Kennedy, founder of An American in Rome, did not intend to remain in The Eternal City for, well, eternity. Oddly enough, she stayed for an Irishman (who is now her husband), and her year in Rome became six and counting. As a travel writer, she’s journeyed the world over, but Rome has her heart.
“Even with all the travel I’ve been lucky enough to undertake for work and for pleasure, Rome is still the most beautiful city I have ever seen,” she writes. “I love the unexpected corners of Rome, and the delicious Roman restaurants (naturally).”
Want to be a Midwesterner in Rome? You can now fly from MSP to Rome nonstop via Delta’s new seasonal service, which runs through the end of August. Plan your trip with Kennedy’s recommendations and feast your eyes on her photographs of magnifico Roma in the slideshow above.
Where to start: It is impossible to come to Rome and miss the Colosseum. Gorgeous from the outside, the interior is even more striking. A combined ticket also grants you access to the Forum and Palatine Hill. From there, walk up Via Fori Imperiale and into the heart of the historic center.
Where to stay: Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the exclusive Roma Cavalieri hotel, which boasts a luxury spa and Michelin-starred restaurant. For a perfect location and modern comfort, try Hotel Madrid, which lies between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.
How to get around: The center of Rome is walkable, with buses and subways to get you to further city outposts, but the best way to see bella Roma is most definitely by Vespa. Join Minnesotan Annie and her Italian husband Giovanni on a dolce vita tour of Rome via two wheels with Scooteroma. You’ll whizz by the Colosseum, out to the aqueducts and back to the basilicas, seeing the entire city like a local in just a few hours.
Where to eat: Grab a crispy thin Roman pizza at Pizzeria ai Marmi in Trastevere. The best seats in summer are outside, but fill up quickly. For a lovely sit-down dinner, book a table at Pierluigi for an Italian seafood feast on a pretty terrace a few steps from Campo de’ Fiori.
Where to get gelato: Beeline for Fatamorgana, which serves some of the best (and most interesting) gelato in Rome right now. For chocolate overload near Piazza Navona, Frigidarium will dip your cone in a dangerously delicious candy shell.
Where to order a glass of wine: After walking along cobblestone streets all day, slip into Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi to relax with a glass of vino and a bit of cheese. Alternatively, seek out casual neighbourhood bar Il Vinaietto to order a vino and sip it outside as Vespas zip by.
Where to shop: High-end fashion lovers should flock to Piazza di Spagna for luxury brands. Leading away from the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti is packed with extravagant shops, and leads to Via del Corso — the main shopping street in Rome. Try the Monti neighbourhood for more unique offerings, including the lovely lol Boutique and Mercato Monti for vintage finds.
Where to people watch: In Italy, the entire day leads up the passegiatta — the sunset stroll. It’s the time to dress up to see and been seen. Wander through Piazza della Rotonda (by the Pantheon) and stop for a drink in Piazza di Pietra to watch the well-dressed crowds pass by.
Where to take in the view: Rome’s stunning skyline can’t be compared to any other city on earth. Layered terracotta colors and the dignified domes create incredible views from many vantage points throughout the Eternal City. Pause at the Pincio Terrace in Villa Borghese, or climb the Janiculum hill to see all of Rome spread out before you.
Where to take a side trip: Get out of the city for the day with a trip to Castel Gandolfo — a beautiful hilltop town beside a lake. The Pope has his summer house here, so you know it must be good. Easily accessible with a 40-minute train ride, the tranquil setting is a perfect Roman escape.
Have you been to Rome? We’d love to hear your tips! Write to us in the comments below.