When In Rome… 48 hours in the Eternal City: what to see, eat and drink
Back from Rome 2 weeks ago, all I just want is to go back , the eternal city is one of my favorite destination in the world: the history, the architecture, the climate, the food and colours…but just not that, just like Paris (where I am from), Rome also is an international metropolis, bursting with life. From the main touristic attractions such as the Vatican or Colosseum to the lesser known charming areas such as Testaccio or Aventino, there is so much to do…So I decided to share my favorite spots:
We set base in Trastevere district on the west bank of the river Tiber, this ancient popular district has now become one of the boho-hipster spot of the city and is overcrowded at night, yet it has a real roman vibe and offer genuine caffés and restaurants, where you can eat simple yet delicious local cuisine at decent prices, and avoid tourist traps!
My favorite places to eat or have drinks around Trastevere would be Da Enzo (one of the most sought after trattoria in the area for genuine, delicious cuisine, so book in advance to avoid the queue! Via dei Vascellari, 29, Roma), alternatively and equally delicious is La Botticella (Vicolo del Leopardo 39a), go for the black truffle and mushrooms raviolis, it’s one of the best pasta I ever had! Closer to the superb Piazza Navona is the popular and trendy Bar Del Fico (Via della Pace, 34/36 00186 Rome).
In Trastevere not to be missed is the Santa Maria in Trastevere church, built between the 12th and 17th centuries, the place is renowned for its magnificent medieval mosaics, and the Piazza is equally lovely with its central fountain and bars.
above: the 12th century mosaic inside Santa Maria in Trastevere church and a external view from the church
above: the fountain in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
From there in less than 20 minutes, follow the main Viale di Trastevere road that leads to the Garibaldi bridge to get to the historical centre. Rome centro storico is small, it’s possible to walk all around the city, which is just perfect during warm spring days….Coming from the Garibaldi bridge via Arunela street on the way to Piazza Venezia, stop at the Largo di Torre Argentina and take a look at these 2000 yrs old brownish columns: this is where was situated the Curia of Pompey and where Julius Ceasar was assassinated at this exact spot in 44 BC.
Above: a beautiful church along the Viale di Trastevere road
The mysterious archeological site of Torre di Largo Argentina – Ceasar’s assassination spot
Arriving at Piazza Venezia you’ll be able to admire the majestic marble of the Vittoriano, built at the turn of the 20th century, the Altar of the Nation was erected to honor the first king of a unified Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, who died in 1878. On top of the monument the view on Rome is panoramic and accessible by a lift, from there the Roman Forum and Palatine is at a very short walking distance.
It takes about 1h30 to visit the Roman Forum (without a guide), and in spring, poppies and roses are everywhere, adding even more magic to this unique historical site!
The imposing white marble facade of the Vittoriano monument on Piazza Venezia
Roman arch among other ruins and poppy flowers in the Roman Forum
A view of the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum
On the Palatine Hill in the Roman Forum, wearing a Sandro white dress.
Orange trees on the Palatine Hill in the Roman Forum
Leaving the Roman Forum back to the Piazza Venezia, stop for a quick look at the Casa Romana dell’Ara Coeli, the only Roman-era home still standing. Almost ignored by the crowds, this original building would have included shops on the ground floor, a store-owner’s loft upstairs and three apartments above that.
Casa Romana dell’Ara Coeli
Enough historical sites for the day? Head to Via del Corso for high-street shopping and then to the famous Via Condotti for some of the luxury boutiques (especially the gorgeous Bvlgari flagship) near the Spanish Steps.
After a pause at the beautiful Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), my last stop of the day would have to be the scenic Piazza del Popolo, where the twin churches Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli churchs are both worth the visit.
The Spanish Steps or Piazza di Spania
For chic drinks and dramatic setting, the best address in the area is the Hotel de Russie palace and its garden bar for a Spritz Aperol, Italy’s most popular cocktail (Via del Babuino, 9, 00187 Roma) followed by a dinner at the famous Antico Greco Caffé (Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma).
To end the day on a baroque note, make a detour to the world famous Trevi Fountain: even more beautiful and perhaps less crowded at night, the 17th century fountain where Fellini filmed his iconic scene in La Dolce Vita is absolutely stunning.
Superstitious: if you want to return to Rome, throw a coin in the fountain!
Wake up as late as you can and go down to the nearest caffé to enjoy la colazione, a light breakfast with the locals: caffe latte, freshly squeezed orange juice and a croissant. There are plenty of excellent caffés and bars all around Rome, in the Trastevere district where I stayed, all the ones around Piazza San Cosimato were good and at very decent prices especially Caffe Nero.
Delicious chocolate or jam croissants at caffé Nero
In spring, the scent of bougainvilea and jasmin flowers are everywhere
After strolling along the sun soaked streets, head to the Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma,), if you are lucky enough to get there early, you’ll be able to enjoy this absolutely unique monument without the crowds. The Pantheon is one of my favorite place in Rome, charged with history. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) it was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD. Located in the small Piazza della Rotonda, this roman temple is 2 thousand yrs old and is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman world. Entering it is an instant journey back in time…
The imposing entrance of the Pantheon
The Dome of the Pantheon is architectural genius
Going more, is the fashionable Monti district, while strolling the cobblestones streets stop at the yummy and hip bistrot Ai Tre Scalini (Via Panisperna, 251, 00184 Roma)the food is to die for and the service super friendly.
Ai Tre Scalini bistrot in Monti
Going up and down the cobblestones roman streets requires comfy yet pretty sandals . Crochet shorts by Zara, leather sandals Les Tropeziennes, bracelets Mya Bay.
A gorgeous church façade in Monti district
A hidden gem near the Termini station is the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme Museum, away from the tourist crowds, this small museum contains one of the world’s most important collection of Classical art including incredible mosaics, sculptures and homes frescoed walls from the Empress Livia.
Frescoed walls of the house of Livia (1st century BC) details – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Colourful mosaic – Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme
Above: vase and bust from Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme
Before leaving Rome, try a gelato (ice cream) at Fatamorgana, a gluten-free creative ice cream roman chain!
To end your roman holiday on a unforgettable note, head to the Borghese Gardens. Also called Villa Borghese, it’s one of Rome’s largest public parks and houses severals museums among which the Galleria Borghese, filled with world class renaissance and classical masterpieces such as Caravaggio, but if you have no time for museums visits, the gardens ‘s ravishing beauty will do the thrill until your next visit to Rome!
a view from the Borghese gardens