WHERE WE STAYED
I have to start out this post by aknowledging the patience of our lovely host Emily. We had a rocky start getting into Rome, and she waited up for us until 11pm to ensure we started our Roman journey on a good foot. She showed us around her apartment which boasted all the necessary amenities: Coffee, shampoo/conditioner, wine, wifi, an iron, etc. After Emily left, we went off to explore, happy to find that there was a restaurant filled plaza just steps from the front door. The location was perfect! It was about a fifteen minute walk from downtown, but a two minute walk to the previously mentioned Plaza which housed amazing food at far better prices than would be found in town!
What we Ate: Rome
Rome was the perfect place to start our Italian culinary journey, and our Airbnb just happened to be situated next to what was coined by the locals as the “Restaurant District”. In our short two days we enjoyed many of the locals staples; bruschetta, croissants, cappuccinos, eggplant parmigiana, roman pizza, negroni’s and most importantly cacio e pepe. Frankly, I don’t understand how such a minimalist dish, consisting of just pasta, parmesan cheese, and black pepper can be so satisfying. But, let me tell you the rendition at Grazia and Graziella was the best I have ever had. It was made with slightly chewy homemade pasta, TONS of cheese, and just the right amount of fresh cracked black pepper. If I could recommend one meal we had in Rome, this would definitely be it! There is however one other dish that you cannot miss while in the Eternal City, Roman Pizza. I cannot really liken it too anything in the US. It is a thin crispy square sliced pizza adorned with more toppings than its neighboring Neapolitan pizza. It is served by the slice, in a napkin for an on the go snack. It was our go-to confection when roaming the streets of ROME.
What we Ate: Naples
Although we didn’t stay in Naples, I did drag Cody for a quick stop in the city so that we could experience the famous Pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria de Michele. For those of you who don’t read trashy novels, this is the spot claimed to serve “the best pizza in the world” in “Eat Pray Love”. And I have to say, although I felt very touristy visiting the spot (there is a line out the door), the book may be right. Cody and I each got our own pizza and spent every minute eating it gawking over the texture of the perfectly chewy crust, and praising the fresh tomato sauce. This truly may be the best pizza in the world.
What we Saw
Although we only had one full day in Rome we packed in quite the full schedule. We hiked from our Airbnb up to Il Buco Della Serratura, then through some windy roads to the Colosseum. From there we journeyed to the Altar della Patria, and then off to the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. For me, the highlight was unexpected: the view through the keyhole at Il Buco Della Serratura. There, tourists gaze through an old fashion keyhole to see a picturesque view of Saint Peters Basilica at the end of a long arch of greenery. It’s a completely unique spectacle.
Lessons we Learned
1) Taxis are more efficient and cost effective than Ubers in Rome. We attempted to Uber 3 times, all of which the Uber got lost or didn’t show up. At the airport Uber drivers park and enter the airport to wait for you with sign, an inefficient use of time in my opinion. Instead I would recommend jumping into a ride-share taxi to save some money. This may take a bit more time to get to your destination depending on where the other passengers are going, but the drivers usually narrate a tour of the city as you go, so you can get an idea of where everything is situated around town.
2) Download Google Maps for your destination. Cody and I downloaded all the towns we would be visiting on google maps prior to our trip to ensure we could navigate our way throughout town without using any data and it was a lifesaver. We were able to find all of our destinations with ease.
3) Don’t try and break in a new pair of shoes on the first day of vacation. Sounds silly, but the blisters are still haunting me a week later.