Time flies, doesn’t it? As I write this post, I realize it’s been almost 3 months since we got home from our honeymoon and it’s almost been 5 months since our wedding! I wanted to share some of my favorite parts of our honeymoon and I’ll start in Rome since that was probably the best part of our honeymoon aka we experienced no food poisoning, air traffic control strikes, lost iPads, etc. which definitely were things that marked the first half of our trip. (haha… only funny in hindsight!)
This was my second time to Rome, but I hadn’t been in 5 years. It’s got to be one of the most historically preserved cities in the entire world – and the city still exists right where it always has! You’ll be walking in the midst of modern restaurants, stores, and buildings and you turn a corner and bam! there’s the colosseum (opened in 80 AD), bam! there’s the Pantheon (128 AD). Aside from the amazing history, there’s also beautiful architecture, incredible food, and amazing shopping. It’s a great city to walk and bike in as well.
We stayed at Palazzo Manfredi and I cannot say enough about it – a Coliseum view from the hotel, a Michelin star restaurant inside, as well as a rooftop bar. The rooms have been beautifully and recently renovated and it had the most comfortable bed of our entire trip. (Europe isn’t exactly known for having comfortable mattresses or pillows.) The staff couldn’t have been more welcoming or helpful, the lobby smelled incredible, and a phenomenal breakfast was offered each morning. Our room had an amazing soaking tub in it (with Aqua di Parma products!) and my only regret is that we didn’t stay longer!
Neither Tim nor I are big on tours, but you can’t go to Rome and not so we committed to doing one each day and while they were long (4 hours each!!) we were really glad we did them.
Bike Tour: We did this one on our first day and it was really fun to see Rome by bike. I didn’t realize we would be getting on electrical assist bikes, but they were very easy to ride and helped getting you up some of the major hills the city has. The group stays pretty small (12 max) and the guide takes you to most of Rome’s most historic sites and neighborhoods. It felt a bit long, but you wouldn’t want to miss seeing the places, plus there was a break for gelato.
Vatican Tour: On the website this tour is labeled as semi private – let me fill you in on something, it’s not. Your tour size is limited to 12, but you’ll be sardined into the Vatican along with everyone else. However, you do get to skip some lines, the tour guide is great (ours literally had a PhD in Vatican City History), and I don’t know of any better way to do it. You can’t go to Rome and not go to Vatican City, Saint Peter’s Basilica, The Sistine Chapel, etc. Again, at 4 hours there were times it felt painfully long to me (like seriously, I do NOT care about the tapestries haha) but seeing the amazing buildings and art and learning about the history really is incredible and cannot be missed.
Shopping at the Spanish Steps: After all the touring we were in the mood to have a couple of cocktails and do some shopping. It’s so much fun to wander in and out of all the high end shops in the area – Cartier, Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Stella McCartney, and more were all within a stone’s throw of each other. PLUS if you make a large purchase, you can get your tax back at the airport when you leave! Prices are also significantly lower on some of these designer items overseas.
Aroma: This phenomenal fine dining restaurant is located inside the Palazzo Manfredi hotel and offers a stunning view of the Coliseum as you enjoy your Michelin star dinner. The service here is incredible – on point, timed perfectly, friendly but professional and not pretentious in the least.
Al Vero Girarrosto Toscano: Our Uber driver suggested this spot to us and it was unbelievable. We had lunch here and it was definitely the best gnocchi I’ve had in my life. (And I’ve had a lot of gnocchi.)
We ate at a few other places that were good, but not worth specifically mentioning – the beauty of Rome is that you can wander in almost anywhere and have a phenomenal meal. A few suggested to me that we didn’t get to try that I really wanted to were: Emma (for pizza), Armando el Pantheon, and Jerry Thomas Speakeasy. Speaking of that, we were in Rome on a Sunday and Monday and many things are closed those days in Rome, so if you only have a couple of days to spend, try to make it on other days of the week.
Uber in Rome is phenomenal. They have a luxury car option that is so fun and the service is safe, professional and fast. If you’ve never used uber, sign up with this link to get a free ride!
Rome is a city I could visit over and over again and never get tired of it. If you’re planning your first Europe trip, make sure it’s on your list of stops.