When in Rome…

When in Rome…

Romeing the Streets

 

Hey Y’all!

I’m currently on my 2.5 hour flight from Rome (FCO) to Turkey (IST) and decided to use this time to reflect on my trip. I’ve been posting nonstop all week on social media, mainly Instagram, so I’m sure most of you that follow me have a pretty good idea of what the trip was like. You can also watch the video recap via my “Romeing the Streets” mini series on my YouTube Channel.

I’ve spent a significant amount of my life on airplanes, in hotels, living out of bags—packing, unpacking, repacking. Some might view my lifestyle as exhausting and unstable— at times, it definitely is. Others might see it as interesting and spontaneous. I actually enjoy being constantly on-the-go. Traveling has instilled an intense appreciation for home (Virginia) that you can’t understand if you have not spent enough time away. I’m hoping to motivate people who were either born with the travel bug —like myself— or recently came down with a heavy case of it to plan your next trip NOW! Rome would be a great place to start…

In this post, I will go into some detail about the week from where I stayed to my personal experiences with restaurants, transportation, sightseeing, and shopping. If you have any other questions for me feel free to comment or contact me via the contact page. Enjoy!

 

 

Photo by Darrell Thomas

AirBnb

I’m very picky with the conditions I have to live in no matter the duration. I’m usually looking for the best hotels or AirBnB’s at the most affordable prices. They aren’t always the cheapest because the features most important to me— comfort, cleanliness, appropriate space, amenities and location— influence the price the most. It’s easiest to find more affordable places when traveling in a small group. If you’re traveling alone and/or looking for an eat-pray-love, backpacking style adventure then you can definitely use cheaper resources. For instance, hostels or couch surfing. I’m not opposed to those options, they just aren’t for me.

In my experience, a standard room at 3-to-5 star hotel in a good location is almost always equal to or more than the price of an entire home on Airbnb. When deciding on what to reserve, hotel vs. AirBnb, I like to see which will give me more space and practical amenities (i.e. full kitchen) for the price. AirBnb usually wins…

I traveled to Rome in a party of three— me, my brother and sister-in-law. We reserved a three-level penthouse loft with a full kitchen in the heart of Trilussa Square. The rental had two comfortable sofa-beds, and a queen-sized bed in the lofted bedroom. It costs us $636 for 6 nights once divided between us it was even more affordable! The hostess was extremely responsive and accommodating. If you want more information on the specific rental, contact me directly and I’ll send you the link!

Trilussa is a great location to stay in Rome as there are plenty of vibrant bars, restaurants and small shops in the Trilussa-Trastevere area. This location made it easy for us to navigate the city and get to the main sights. This leads me to the next thing you will have to prepare for — walking and transportation.

 

 

Via della Conciliazione from Piazza Pio XII (Photo by Jasmine Thomas)

Getting Around

Pack a great attitude + walking shoes!

 

We walked over 37 miles and climbed about 101 flights (as tracked by our Fitness Apps). At the start of the trip, the weather was cold but clear and sunny. At the time, walking to everything felt like the best way to not miss even the smallest details. It’s very easy to navigate Rome by foot but it is definitely exhausting. The last two days were full of rain so we resorted to taxis and Uber. Uber was convenient but there is no uberX, only uberBlack and up, so it cost twice as much as a taxi. The taxis, while cheaper, still will cost you at least 10 euro just to go a mile. You can also do the hop-on/hop-off double-decker buses that start at around 20 euro for a day pass.

If I were to do it again, I think I would use the public transportation— trolley, metro train, or bus. I know it would be most affordable but I believe it could also be most convenient.

 

 

Colosseum with Nikki + Darrell.

Sightseeing

Do Your Research

 

We arrived fairly late in the evening on the first night, so we thought it best to sit down and plan out the week. This way, we wouldn’t miss any of the things we really wanted to see and we could also leave room to freestyle. Well… when we set out to explore on that first day, we stumbled upon almost everything we had planned for the rest of the week, ha!

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One could easily hit all the major landmarks in 2-3 days and many experiences are free to enter or see but some are not. I suggest spacing everything out throughout your stay and figure out which sights need tickets for entry beforehand. This way, you won’t be surprised by a fee or an insanely long line. We pre-purchased skip-the-line tickets online for the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum. Since we were visiting during the off-season, we only needed to book a day or two in advance. For those of you planning to go in the warmer months you might want to buy before you even arrive to Rome.

Another important fact about sightseeing is that some places do not allow pictures or videos (i.e. The Sistine Chapel) and there’s a dress code for the Vatican and St. Peter’s.

 

 

Food

Cappuccino + Pasta + Pizza  + Wine + Gelato; Repeat.

 

I came into this trip pumped about trying every wine possible and eating at the best reviewed restaurants. Well, I did drink wine everyday with each meal from sun up to sun down, but where we chose to eat happened more by convenience than research.

After hours upon hours of walking, trying to find our way to a specific restaurant took energy we just didn’t have. So, we’d just pull up Yelp or Maps Nearby and head to the best reviewed places within a half-mile radius. Fortunately, it worked out perfectly! We tried a delicious variety of pastas, pizza and desserts. The food, wine, coffee and gelato were all unbelievably delicious! Here’s a list of some of the restaurants we stumbled upon:

  1. Meccanismo
  2. Homebaked
  3. Pepy’s Bar
  4. Dar Poeta
  5. Ombré Rosse
  6. Virgilio
  7. San Crispino

My only disappointment was that every time I ordered tiramisu it was in pudding form, served in a glass. I love tiramisu as the creamy, layered coffee cake thingy I usually eat. I’m still not sure which way is the proper way to prepare it…

 

 

Holding my handcrafted Italian leather backpack from Laboratorio Palleteria.

Shopping

There are tons of little boutiques and souvenir shops throughout the small streets of Rome. We stumbled upon two streets that were really for fashion shopping. Via dei Condotti is lined with the high fashion, expensive designer stores such as Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada… and Via del Corso, one of the longest streets, was where I found Zara. It’s also lined with designer stores and boutiques.

Somehow I ended up with a Gucci t-shirt, loafer mules, and fannie pack. The cool thing is that you can get the money you’re charge in tax for these items refunded back to you at the airport (VAT Refund). Definitely makes me feel better about expensive purchases! I also bought an authentic handmade Italian leather backpack from a leather craftsman. Visit their website here.

 

 

Travel Bucket List

Next Up: Barcelona

 

I can’t think of much else to share with you all, but surely you can tell how much I enjoyed my experience. I’m already planning my next adventure to Barcelona!! As always, it’s hard to find time with my hectic basketball schedules but I know I’ll make it happen someway, somehow! Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my YouTube channel as well!

Tunnel in the Colosseum (Photo by Darrell Thomas)

 

 

Until next time…

 

XO,

Jas

 

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