My long-term goal of visiting Italy finally came true this month and I was not dissapointed. We spent almost two weeks in Rome, Florence and Amalfi Coast. Taking a quarter of Italian has also proven to be extremely useful. This is a first post dedicated to Rome. As always the hope is that some will find this useful on your next trip.
We flew on Lufthansa from Seattle to Rome with a stop in Frankfurt. Our hotel arranged for a car from the airport.
We stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel Villa Laetitia, which is owned by Fendi family. It is located in a Prati neighborhood, away from the main tourist sites. It is close to the Vatican City and from talks to the locals hosts a lot of law firms. The hotel is elegant and quiet. You can feel how much soul has been put in in designing every room. Hotel is still only 3 stars so it is affordable. One can see Anna Fendi Venturini on a property as well, probably working. Below are the pictures of the main dining room and the lounge areas.
We mostly ate in our neighborhood, which had several good restaurants and bars.
Settembrini has several eating spots in the Prati neighborhood. We went to 3 - a wine bar, a beer bar and a restaurant. All were good. Plus its very lively atmosphere filled with locals makes it for a fun outing.
Tastevin (no Web site) was another place we had dinner. I particularly liked the appetizer made with anchovies and mozzarella.
Cacio e Pepe was disappointing, so I won't recommend it. Seems like they were heating pasta in the microwave.
The famous Roscioli's met its high expectations. We went there for lunch and had burrata, prosciutto and pasta carbonara.
Another traditional roman food restaurant was recommended to me and I can pass the recommendation on. La Campana is close to the Pantheon and we enjoyed our fried artichokes and pasta with fresh black truffles. Veal and chicken were also good.
Gelateria dei Gracchi was the best. Tony gave a great recommendation here. Here is an instagrammed picture of my treat one night.
I relied on Rick Steves to tell me what sites to visit in Rome. We went to Colosseum, Borghese Gallery, Modern Art Museum, Pantheon, Vatican and even Capuchin Crypt! I especially enjoyed climbing the St. Peter's Basilica and the Maps Hall in Vatican, and walking in the Borghese Gardens. We used Viator tours for Colosseum and Vatican but I was not too impressed with the quality of the guides we had so would not recommend it.
Few establishments are worth mentioning.
For food it was fun to visit Trionfale Market where you can buy meat, fish, cheeses, pasta, fruit, mushrooms and even truffles plus many many other things. Pictures are below.
We picked up few items for our lunch back in the hotel. This is what it was.
For clothes I enjoyed shopping in the Prati neighborhood near Piazza Mazzini. You can find boutique shops with clothes made in Italy by some unknown designers. I spent some good change in the kid shop Nikilo.
We walked to most sites from our hotel and when tired we would catch a cab. TripAdvisor Off Maps iPhone App proved to be very useful so make sure to download it before you go.
We went to Florence by train one day and so the next post will be dedicated to it. Off to Part II.