When in Rome, Eat Pasta!

April 26, 2014 · 8 comments

I have been waiting to visit Rome since I was in High School. I had hoped to study abroad here but instead got my Spanish requirement taken care of in Costa Rica. I kind of regret that decision writing this 9 years later.

We decided to use AirBnB for the first time in Rome. Hotels were pricey due to Easter and the double canonization at the Vatican (we did not realize). But, it was easy and worked out great. I found a simple loft in Trastevere for around $125 a night, a steal compared to the hotels. Our host met us at the loft right on time, handed over the keys and gave us a quick orientation with restaurant recommendations and all.

Roomie had a conference call for work so I took the free time to go for my first run oversees. It felt good to stretch and shake out my legs. I followed our AirBnB hosts’ suggestion to jog up towards a park that overlooks the city.

After I got back, we walked over to the Colloseum. This was and is the most fascinating piece of history I have ever seen first hand.

It truly is breathtaking to see and think a group of men were able to build this masterpiece without machinery. Since we got in late, the crowds were small but we couldn’t catch a tour of the underground chambers. The Forum was already closed for the day so we headed to happy hour at Campo di Fiori.

We grabbed a few glasses of wine bar hopping around and put our name in at Roscioli’s, although I recommend making a reservation which you can do online by sending them an email.

It was on my list of places to visit and Ashley recommended it to us as well. We were sat around 9:45pm and were in for the best meal of our entire European vacation. We started with the burrata and caponata. These by far were the best two appetizers I have ever had in my life. I’m not exaggerating. The burrata came with sun dried roasted tomatoes and the caponata was just heaven.

I will be drooling about these two dishes for years. They are worth every euro. Our main meals of carbonara and amatriciana pastas were also very good, so by the time our main dish of meatballs came we could barely fit anything else. We still were given the complimentary chocolate fondue with meringuea and baby biscuit cookies. They too were delicious.

I woke up our first morning in Rome to an email from the Zurich train station. They found my bag, but without the two cameras I lost. They said they would send it back to me for $140, but I am curious what else was taken. HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU GUYS. A reader left the website to report my bag which is how I located it and the rest of you gave me hope it might be retrieved (minus my jewelry, the slr & bloggie cameras).

Day two we headed back to the Forum where we spent at least 2 hours in awe. The most incredible sight for me was Livia’s home. Located below ground level, it looked like a giant palace made out of marble with incredibly tall large arched hallways. It was not open for us to go inside but we could peak inside the foggy grey windows from above by looking down. The line to see her husband, Ceasar Augustus’ palace/home was not moving and very long so we passed but I’m sure it was equally as grand however Livia’s was said to be one of the best preserved still standing homes so how much more impressive could it be I thought…

Next we headed to the Roscioli’s deli near their restaurant for a quick lunch. If we thought dinner was good, lunch was just as amazing. The eggplant Parmesan was hands down the best I have ever had and I am an eggplant parm lover. The pizza and gnocchi were equally as delicious. I forgot to take a picture but trust me on this one. You must go to both the restaurant and deli if you go to Rome. You will not regret it.

Next we headed to the Parthenon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Palazo de Popolo. We had a glass of wine on the Spanish Steps and then I got gelato at the famous Gioviani’s. It was just as good as people told me. I was worried it was a tourist trap but whatever I ordered was freaking good. Ice Cream

The whip cream and chocolate fudge they put on top were divine and icing on the cake. Roomie took a picture of me and now you know why most of my pictures are selfies (spot a finger in the bottom right corner and eyes closed).

We tried to go to Roma Sparita for dinner, aka restaurant X from Anthony Bourdain’s Rome episode, but they were all booked for the next two weeks (seriously!?), so we ate at a restaurant recommended by Katie Parla, a food blogger in Rome called Da Teo that was good. We oddly were charged for bread, what I thought was tap water and a cover charge which are all typical in Rome.

We ordered the calamari and artichoke appetizer. It was really good, but I wish it had marinara sauce like the calamari back home. It was way too salty and I think made me sick. Roomie ordered the seafood dish, talk about order envy.

I ordered by accident that same pasta dish as I did at Roscioli’s and it was not nearly as good but at half the price, I was OK with it. Again, we were too full to order dessert and this time we even skipped the “main” course.

Day three was spent at the Vatican. By this point in our trip, I was almost numb to how amazing every piece of art you see actually is.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is just as amazing in person as you would expect but smaller than I expected. Definetly buy your tickets in advance if you plan to visit the museum. Ashley again recommended this and saved us a 2 hour wait in line.

Afterwards, we went to Pizzarium for lunch near by. This place has amazing reviews but the selection of pizza slices offered were disappointing, many with fish – which I love but catfish on my pizza, not so much. We did try a few slices and liked them as well as the aracini and suppli which were killer.

We hopped on the train over to the Spanish Steps to just chill and ended up hanging out at what appeared to be the Central Park of Rome, the Borghese Gardens. It was relaxing and a beautiful day. The park was bursting with activity and people from all around the world as Frank Sinatra played in the background. Most eye catching for me was the amount of PDA the couples were displaying. Full on makeout sessions in the park are no big deal in Europe I guess, ass grabs and all.

From there, I was determined to try 00100 Trapizzinos. It didn’t disappoint. Italy knows how to cook eggplant and I need to learn. This place is out of the way from tourist attractions and felt like we weren’t supposed to be there (like a yuppie in a townie bar) but I am glad we went. From there, we were able to walk back to our apartment from it which was good.

Instead of dinner for our last night, we did drinks at Freni e Frizioli, recommended to me by a good friend. It was the coolest spot that served amazing cocktails for about $7-8 euros. They also had free happy hour food out until 10pm! I had some fennel salad and beets and was content. We got home around 10 pm so that we could wake up at 3 am to head to the airport.

Our flight was at 6:10 am and without public transportation running, I reserved a cab online which actually worked. I was shocked they showed up and for $45 it was worth it. Uber runs in Rome and would have cost $65, which was my backup in case the cab didn’t come.

With a few cat naps on the plane, we landed around noon back home. I took a nap, went to Recycle for a 45 minute spin class and dinner at Life Alive. Bed time was 9 am and I woke up at 8 am, rested without jet lag and have been great ever since. Who knew!?

Have you ever visited Europe? What was your favorite city? We are already planning a trip next Spring to perhaps the Croatian coast or Portugal!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 joni April 30, 2014 at 6:45 am

My hubby and I returned from Rome a few weeks ago. You really missed out not being able to eat at Roma Sparita. We ended up going twice it was so good! I loved the Colloseum and my husband was in total awe at the Sistine chapel. We definitely want to go back. Either to Rome or somewhere else in Europe.

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2 Lexi April 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Ahhh, I absolutely loved this post! I was also just in Rome right around Easter weekend, and as someone who studied abroad there and then moved back after college for a couple of months, I cannot agree more that it is such an amazing place! I laughed at your pictures of Amatriciana and Carbonara because those are my ABSOLUTE favooooorite! I literally cannot get enough…and I was doing a Paleo challenge at the time, but like you said, “When in Rome, Eat Pasta!” I’m actually salivate thinking about all the Amatriciana I downed while there…yummm.

Check out my post from my own Italian Getaway :)
http://www.prettyandfresh.com/2014/04/24/italian-getaway/

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3 Livi April 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Your gelato looks so amazing!! I wish I were there!!

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4 rachel @ lou lou belle April 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Italy will always be special to me! My fiance proposed at Lake Como last October! So glad to see you enjoyed your first European adventure!

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5 Ush April 30, 2014 at 9:55 pm

I am always amazed at how people built all those huge structures so long ago! I love seeing all the cathedrals and old buildings when I visit Europe, but Rome was not my favorite city. My last trip to Europe was to Central Europe (Prague, Vienna, and Budapest) which I really really loved! Prague is breathtakingly gorgeous and Budapest is so interesting, it might be my favorite European city (although I also really love Florence, Paris, and London). Croatia is on my list of places to visit!

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6 Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness April 30, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Great pics, enjoying reading your trip recaps! I absolutely adore Italy. I studied abroad in Sicily and it was amazing, and last year I got to Venice, which was so beautiful. I wish I was there eating pasta and drinking wine right now!

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7 Katie Morse - The Project Neon May 2, 2014 at 1:14 am

Seriously. My mouth is watering just looking at those pasta dishes. Europe truly has some of the best food in the world. What an amazing foodie adventure! My favorite city I’ve been to in Europe is Valencia. It is the absolute best! Beach, ocean, culture, art, food, amazing.

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8 Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork May 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

We did a similar two-week trip last summer: Paris, Interlaken (Switzerland), Florence/Cinque Terre, and Rome. Rome was actually our least favorite. I’ll give it a break and say it’s because it was at the end of our trip when we were getting weary and over-museumed. It was insanely hot and so wide open with litte shade and we honestly found many people to be quite rude. I loved Switzerland and want to go back. It was my second time in Paris and I still want to go again (and again and again). Cinque Terre was amazing. I liked the food in Italy the most, mostly because I was more familiar with it and could find gluten-free items more easily.
Thanks for sharing your adventure! Travel always broadens the mind!

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