The hotel I chose in Rome was the Arpinelli Relias. I chose this residence based on location (right up the road from the Trevi Fountain). I booked this place thinking it was a hotel, but it has a distinct Bed and Breakfast feel. Please don’t book this place if you are looking for a Hotel, this is a “Guest House”. Although I was set on booking a hotel I was pleasantly surprised with this property. There are two common areas at this residence and about 8 rooms. The room wasn’t big (like most rooms in Europe) but had enough room to rest my head and also had free WiFi. This property boasted beautiful high ceilings and a balcony that wrapped around the room giving a great view of the markets below. The owners of this residence live on the top floor which is extremely convenient, if you need anything they are on-sight to help. I was very pleased that when I came back to the property after being a tourist, I was greeted by fresh sheets every time (which is more than you could say for a hotel).
The flight I took into Rome was 5 hours delayed, so by the time I landed and cleared customs there wasn’t time to take an in-depth tour of Rome. I wandered around in the area surrounding our hotel to see what hidden wonders there were to be discovered. This blog post is going to contain a lot of historical information because words don’t do justice to the beauty Rome has to offer.
The first night in Rome I got pizza from a cute little restaurant by my hotel “Al Picchio”. I figured that you can’t go to Italy and not try real Italian pizza. The crust is different than I’m used to but really good, they make the crust thin and crispy! Also Italians love their garlic and it was made very clear when I bit into my first slice of pizza.
A quick side note before I get started on the monuments – If you’re trying to get around Rome and visit the big monuments (the Colloseum, Paletine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, etc) the hop-on hop-off bus is perfect. This bus will bring you to the biggest monuments and you can go on and off at your pleasure. Most of the large companies make a round every 20 minutes. You can by a 24 hour pass (which I purchased at a bus stop for 18 Euros). Make sure that you explore around the monuments as well (don’t just walk to the monument and back to the bus- wander around). If you don’t wander you will miss a lot of hidden gems (restaurants, cute shops, statues etc). Also I can not stress this enough BUY YOUR TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. The lines at these places to buy tickets are very long, and you will thank me later if you buy your tickets in advance.
The Trevi Fountain, believe it or not, is my favorite site that I had the opportunity to visit. This fountain is breath taking. I recommend visiting this fountain very early in the morning or very late at night to avoid crowds – and if you have the time to visit it at both times, do it. This fountain is absolutely marvelous at night and offers a completely different experience than during the day time. The Trevi Fountain was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi, and it was completed by Pietro Bracci. This fountain opened in 1762 and was restored in 2014 (reopened November 2015). I can attest that the restoration was a great success, the fountain is absolutely stunning and remarkably clean.
The Piazza Venezia is the located in the center of Rome, Italy. The Piazza Venezia was named after the man who ordered the construction of his own palace, Cardinal Venezia. Many people like to hang out on the stairs (on the southern side of the piazza) that lead up to the monument. There are many statues on this property. One statue is of Victor Emanuel II, this statue was built to celebrate the Italian unification. An easy way to get to the Piazza Venezia is by taking bus number 40, get off at the Piazza Venezia stop.
Of course, anyone who thinks of Rome thinks of the Colloseum. Remember I was talking about long lines for tickets ? The Colloseum has the worst lines, you must buy your tickets ahead of time for this or you will be very angry that you didn’t listen to me, haha. You can also buy your tickets for the Colloseum at the Palatine Hill (there are virtually no lines compared to the ones at the Colloseum). The Colloseum of Rome is the biggest amphitheater ever built. When you think of the Colloseum, gladiators is what comes to mind (well at least for me). The Colloseum was built for gladiator shows and wild animal hunts. The construction for the Colloseum started in 70 A.D and was completed in 80 A.D. Any easy way to get to the Colloseum is by taking the metro. You can take the “B” line to the Colosseo metro station. The Pantheon is about a 8 minute walk away from the Trevi Fountain. This building is absolutely magnificent. It’s not a huge building so you can visit fairly quick. The Pantheon is known as the best preserved building for Ancient Rome.
After dark a local band set up between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, they call themselves FMD LIVE (included the link for their Facebook profile). This band did covers for many rock songs and they drew quite a crowd. This is a very talented bunch, and if passing by you will be drawn into giving them a listen. This music filled the streets and made my walk back from the Pantheon very enjoyable. People sat for hours and watched them play their music (without moving).
After journeying to the Pantheon, I worked up a bit of an appetite. I stopped by the Habana which offered a dinner deal for 12 Euros. Their dinner deal included a pasta, a meat, and a drink (they also threw in a complimentary glass of champagne). They had other dinner deals as well but I chose the one for 12 Euros (I included a picture of the menu for that deal above). I ordered the lasagna, pork with mushrooms, and salad. Usually I refuse to eat any lasagna that’s not cooked by my grandmother, because honestly no one could beat it, this lasagna was so good and I was happy I ordered it. The pork was cooked and seasoned to perfection. I would recommend this restaurant to any one who wants really good food at an awesome price!
Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the Vatican City (due to Jubilee the hop-on hop-off bus did not stop there). Also I was unable to see the Spanish Steps (they are currently baracaded and covered due to renovations). Whenever I get the chance to make it back to Rome those will be my first priorities.
Overall Rome is a beautiful city and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. This is one of those cities I would be happy to visit multiple times.
Any questions or comments? Leave them below!
Until next time.