Ahhhh Rome, the historical, beautiful, rustic city in Italy.
I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days there recently and well of course I got up to quite a number of things. I was in Rome to visit my aunt, she was in Europe for a month travelling and attending a conference. I had hoped during her travelling we would meet up, and when she asked if I was free to visit her in Rome, well why would anyone say no?!
So off I went on a Sunday, flying from the very close airport in Rotterdam. When I arrived I could feel the warmth in the air, after all its summer here in Europe, it was definitely a nice welcome especially at 9pm at night!
I had done a bit of research through fellow bloggers and concluded that the easiest and CHEAPEST way for me to get to the city from the airport was by train. From Fiumicino Airport I was able to buy a €14ticket (one way) to Termini, Rome’s central station, on the Leonardo Express train.
The train was quick, about 30 minutes and I arrived in the busiest station I’ve ever seen! It was late at night and absolutely packed, welcome to Rome.
I had planned on taking a bus from central station to the hotel, however when I tried to locate a ticket machine I was unsuccessful. However I did finally find the right bus, but when I got on and asked to buy a ticket the driver yelled something in Italian and then proceeded to get off the bus. I stood there for about 10 minutes, wondering what to do…Do I get off and search for a ticket machine again? Do I wait on the bus till a new driver comes? Do I sneakily take the bus without a ticket? Or do I get off, go stand in the taxi line and get there much faster?
The later was what I actually did and you know what, for €10 I was able to see some awesome sites along the way without being crammed in a bus.
Now I wont bore you with every detail of every day, but I will share with you a tragic/funny moment we had, as well as some AMAZING, MIND BLOWING restaurants we visited.
So first story that must be shared is our terrible experience when attempting to go on our pre-paid tour of the Colosseum and it’s surrounding grounds….
We arrive 30-40 minutes before the tour, I had booked it a while back online, done my research too, so they seemed to check out. You can see where the story will go….
We stood in the designated spot our guide was to meet us, after 15 minutes we wandered around close by, it was a very small area right next to the Colosseum so we couldn’t have missed them.
But after 40 minutes of looking around asking other tour companies and even speaking with someone at the ticket box, it was clear that our guide had stood us up. Not a happy little Aussie!
So what now?
Well in the end we went back to the ticket office, we got ourselves two entrance tickets and we joined the que. It was insanely busy, after all it’s the Colosseum. Now we had been informed that there was a 2 hour wait in the line, however in the end it only took a half hour, which we were thrilled about!
In the que I had called the tour company and made a formal complaint, that is a whole other story in itself which I will relay in another blog to come.
Once inside, well it was just a breathtaking site. I have been to the Colosseum before with my family, it had been just as interesting and stunning then as it was seeing it with my aunt.
Since we did not have a tour guide we were a little unsure what every area was and meant, but at times, when we heard other tours in English, we just stood to the side and sneakily listened, no harm in that right?
After a good hour of walking around, joining other tours, and taking in the historical site, it was time to move on and go exploring.
During the 3 days there, as mentioned we visited the Colosseum, and then we walked and walked and walked. We walked near Vatican City, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and many twisting, hidden back streets.
Walking by far was the best way to have seen the city, and we got exercise to walk off all the amazing food we ate, OH MY GOODNESS!
Which of course brings me to the epic meals we had that I have to share with the world!!!
Of course, being me, I got extremely excited about restaurant hunting, after all when visiting a new place, or anywhere for that matter, I love to find hidden, local and delicious places to eat! I had done some research and found an amazing blog with some descriptions and pictures of food I could not not look into. Her name is Natalie, she lives in Rome and created her own app for discovering the city, her website though gave me the best recommendations: An American in Rome. I was also given an extensive and very amazing list of all things to do in Rome, from my Italian friend I had met in Dutch school. Her list had some amazing recommendations for all things in Rome, something I will always keep and update, as well as share with anyone going to Rome who wants tips of what the Romans do.
So your wondering why haven’t I shared the restaurant locations and food pictures yet? Well here it is, my Roman finds thanks to others that I am so thankful to have tried!
BEST PIZZA IN EXISTENCE: Sue Pizza Illuminati
So for some that title may seem like an overstatement, but I assume you it is not!
Natalie’s blog about this restaurant sold me on eating a particular pizza, which had a shit load of cheese on it. Yep I ate a pizza with cheese and by far it was the best food ever to have been eaten by me at the point in time!
Natalie’s blog mentioned the “Sue” pizza, a pizza with yellow pomodorini (tomatoes), smoked provola (cheese) and mint. Weird as combination right? But look at the picture and tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water?
I was sold on this pizza the moment I read the blog, but then in the restaurant I had doubts, of course about the cheese, me getting unwell from the cheese and the whole decision to eat vegan for the last 8 months and counting. Well my aunt quickly got my mind back on the pizza and said, you’re here for a few days, you haven’t shut up about this pizza, your getting it. Classic Forbes comment, thank you very much Aunty Therese!
Safe to say it was a good decision to have made!!!!!! Read Natalie’s blog here, where I was inspired to try this pizza and restaurant!
BEST PASTA EVER: Sora Margherita
Eating the pizza at Sue’s was epic and I am not a pizza person. So when it came to a recommendation for epic, homemade pasta, I was there. In fact we were there two days in a row for lunch and we only had 3 lunch’s in Rome. I think that clearly shows it was amazing!
The restaurant is tiny!
I knew enough from research that the place was very traditional, a small kitchen where everything was made by hand, even the pasta (yep no machine used), that the menu’s were all in Italian and absolutely no one spoke English. Fantastic, how can it be more authentic?!
We had to wait a bit for a table, as I said its quite small and its extremely popular and busy! But one in side we were seated in a tiny table, thrown our menu’s and given some bread. Another fantastic moment! The room is covered in hand written notes of appreciation and love for the food, kept on the wall since opening from what I understood. Even though we couldn’t read any of it, along with the menu, it really made the place!
Again I had read into what to try, the most famous options were:
Cacio e pepe with fettucine, aka parmesan and peper with fresh fettunici!
And the traditional Roman pasta:
Bucatini Amatriciana, spaghetti pasta but with a hole in the middle, with a red tomato sauce to die for!
Each time we ordered these two dishes, some wine from the biggest bottle I have ever seen and that delicious bread with oil and balsamic. Every time we were blown away by the flavour, how amazing everything tasted, how perfect the pasta was cooked and ahh just how much I wanted to eat it every meal!
Now there are many other places we tried, like for coffee and pastries (yep it’s a breakfast thing in Rome), and gelato, ahh gelatoooooo. But let’s face it Italy is coffee, and gelato so most places we went were epic, especially when we tried lemon sorbet!
But if ever in Rome, do yourself a favour, visit these two restaurants, one is new and one is so beautifully old, but both serve amazing full flavoured Italian meals that I will continue to dream about.
Thanks Rome, you were epic!