I totally assumed Rome would be an overwhelming, touristy experience and DREADED our visit there. But my darling husband wielded his expert travel knowledge, taking us directly into the quiet and beloved Trastevere neighborhood, and I quickly became spellbound by the colorful charm of Roma.
Wandering in charming Trastevere
After we enjoyed our first bowl of Cacio e Pepe together, we took to the winding alleys and narrow streets. I immediately fell in love as we wandered warm, frescoed alleys scented with ample restaurants cooking slow, simple and delicious food, covered with vines, and lined with shops.
Our fourth wedding anniversary
It was in Rome that Stephen and I celebrated our fourth anniversary and marveled that we had been married that long and that we got to celebrate in Rome, of all places! What a dream! It was a magical way to celebrate four beautiful year together.
I have so many unconnected observations from our time in Rome that I am just going list them below. Our time in Rome was far better than I expected and I absolutely loved learning about this nuanced, historic city and the people whose daily routines carry over from ancient times.
Tips for a trip to Rome
Bring shoes with a sturdy sole. Of all the cobbled streets we walked that month of travel, the unevenness of Rome's cobbled streets absolutely destroyed my feet!
Don’t drive in Rome. Roman drivers are like dogs: they can sense fear. A short jaunt to a local post office to send off a few dozen rolls of film on the way out of town was the thrill of a life time—and not the good kind.
Yeah, you should definitely see the Colosseum & Forum. In fact, just swallow your pride and take a tour for this one. Yeah it will be crowded. Yeah, you'll feel like a tourist. But the deeper insight you'll get of this massive ancient ruin is worth it.
Enjoy those Roman evenings! I still long for warm evening aperitifs as dusk settled in along the charming and buzzing streets. The evening is really the main event here, so learn to stretch it out a bit. If you're eating dinner before 8:30 or in bed before midnight, you're not trying hard enough!
Watch those ZTL signs man. You may regret it otherwise—thankfully not speaking first-hand experience here. But then again, if you take my previous advice and don’t drive in Rome, you don’t have to worry about it.
Walk the Tiber River for a spell. You won't believe how still and serene it is in such a bustling city!
Just stop for a minute and stare at the bridges there. Holy moly, they are beautiful!
Don’t dress or act like a tourist. Have I said this before? Yes? Well, if you haven’t listened to me yet, now’s a good time to do so because the petty theft industry is a thriving one in Rome. But if you look around at what residents look like and act like and at least try to fit in, you’ll just LOVE your time there!
Watch out when wandering! Romans do not share sidewalks well and will confidently walk side-by-side without regard to bidirectional traffic.
I’ve heard Rome can get unbearably hot. We were there at the end of September and the weather was absolutely perfect-sunny days in the mid 70’s, long pastel sunsets, and a slower, welcoming pace after dark. Be like us-go in September.