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  • Writer's pictureCaylie Poola

Weekender Guide: Rome, Italy

Studying abroad in Florence, it was absolutely inevitable that I would visit Rome. Italy is the most beautiful, lively, culture-filled, artistic place - so it goes without saying Rome was all of those things and more. However, it wouldn't be a goinginblonde travel blog if I wasn't overly honest with my experience in each place. That being said, Rome did not overly impress me. Growing up watching the Lizzie McGuire movie, I guess my expectations were outrageously high. Unfortunately no Italian men took me on a Vespa ride - but I still had fun! I would say that compared to the other places I have visited, it lacked the charm and character that many other European cities have, and if you took away the iconic historic sites (The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican), there wouldn't be a whole lot that makes it stand out. (This is completely my opinion and you may go to Rome and feel the opposite!)

That being said - it is a must-see while in Italy and I do not regret visiting one bit.

So, lets get into it! The tips, recommendations, must-dos and more of Rome.

My weekend in Rome was one of my favorite of the semester - not because of the place, but because of the person I was with. I visited Rome with my best friend Christina, who came from home to see me over thanksgiving break. Rome was our first adventure of her European visit and it was a blast.

Where We Stayed & How We Got There

I had heard from numerous friends that I was crazy for thinking I could do Rome in 1 night and 2 days. We left on a train from Florence to Rome early on a Saturday morning and came back to Florence on a train the next day in the evening. Truthfully, it was the perfect amount of time for us. It was jam-packed, fun, and we felt we had plenty of time to see exactly what we intended to see. My recommendation would be to visit Rome for 2 nights (if looking to divide up time in Italy or visit other places), just to ensure you have ample time and can space out your bookings for certain museums/historic sites. If you are not studying in Italy and only have a few nights - knock off an extra night and Rome so you can take the train to Florence (about two hours long) and see my favorite Italian city.

This semester I booked all trains with an amazing easy-to-use app called Omio! It is very user-friendly and helpful, so I recommend it when booking trains!

Staying in Rome for just one night, we wanted to avoid the hassle of checking into an airbnb and decided stay at an inexpensive hotel. We made it a priority to book somewhere that was in a desirable location, and ultimately went with the Relais Trevi 95 Boutique Hotel - it was a 2 minute walk to the Trevi Fountain which was MAGICAL. We went to see the fountain probably 5 times simply because of the convenient proximity. They allowed us to keep our bags there before check-in and after check-out, the room was small but overall perfect for what we needed! The room was about $110 for the night on and split two ways was extremely justifiable to us!

Where We Ate

Like anywhere in Italy, we couldn't really go wrong when it came to food in Rome.

For the most part, we ate when we came across a delicious looking gelato or pizza place, kind of just winging it. However one particular restaurant stood out and I HAVE to share.

If you visit Italy and have never had truffle or "tartufi" before....RUN don't walk to your nearest restaurant and order it immediately. For those of you who have had truffle, if you are anything like me - you know it is one of the most delectable flavors that exists. Christina and I share this love of truffle, so when we heard there was a truffle lounge / restaurant in Rome, we had to make a reservation.

Here we enjoyed spritz, followed with an appetizer & entrees filled with truffle. There truthfully wasn't anything on the menu that didn't include truffle. They even had fresh white and black truffle you could pay extra to have freshly shaved on your food as if it was parmigiana. Truffle in general can be quite pricey, but we felt everything here was reasonable and because of how much we each enjoy truffle, it was worth it 100%.

*We made a reservation that morning for this restaurant, which I always recommend doing. However, I would say if you don't have a reservation and a smaller party, you'll probably be able to get a table!*

Dinner at Tartufi & Friends

Brunch at Coromandel

I made a reservation here by email a few days before arriving to Rome and am so glad I did. People were getting turned away at the door.

If you're like me and enjoy a filling breakfast, than you'll realize very quickly a croissant and cappuccino as delicious as it is doesn't keep you full long enough. This is why I made it a point while traveling through Italy to find brunch/breakfast spots with a larger menu. These can be hard to come by, and because of this - they are a hot commodity. So, don't forget to call or email in advance.

Restaurant Website:

What We Did

There is SO much history to see in Rome, and we knew we couldn't miss out on any of the big stuff. My greatest tip - book these attractions in advance, make a plan of your day, prioritize what you want to do when and stick to it! Rome is a must-see but only if you make the most of all it has to offer!

The Colosseum

My biggest recommendation when it comes to the Colosseum is to book your tickets in advance. And I don't mean two days before you plan to go - I mean 2-3 weeks beforehand. You will have to pick your time slot when you book your visit, so make sure you talk to your friends and make sure everyone is on the same page!

Visiting the Colosseum was the most exciting part of my visit to Rome. I was absolutely speechless by the size, beauty, history, and details of it in person. It was even cooler than I had anticipated it would be, and I will always be grateful I got to visit. Don't miss out!

The Trevi Fountain

Did you really go to Rome if you didn't have your Lizzie McGuire moment at the Trevi Fountain?

Short answer, no.

Long answer, also no.

I don't have much to say about the Trevi Fountain other than go see it! Stand in awe like we did for 10 minutes! It is absolutely breathtaking. My only advice would be to try to get there before 10AM if you want to take some high quality pictures. It gets unbelievably crowded as I saw for myself during peak daylight hours. At one point, it was to packed to even stand in front of the fountain. Going earlier in the morning you will have a greater opportunity of seeing it with less people around. And most importantly, don't forget to have some coins with you to make a wish!

The Spanish Steps

Being honest as always, the Spanish Steps were over-hyped. I genuinely thought we had walked by it several times while using my map to direct us there because it just did not stand out. It was covered with people sitting and standing all around the steps, so naturally, we got gelato and had a seat ourselves. Then, we left. I am glad I got the chance to see it and to say I did, but don't have crazy expectations.

The Vatican

I had been told repeatedly by friends that spending one night in Rome I simply would not have time to visit the Vatican. It is a considerably long walk from the Trevi Fountain, and requires a little more planning to book the Vatican museum and tickets to see the Sistine Chapel (which I regret not doing and completely recommend). However, as we strolled the streets of Rome on our last day, we realized we were only about 25 minutes away in walking distance from the Vatican and it felt like a no-brainer that we had to go and see it for ourselves. We had no tickets to any churches, museums - essentially everything Vatican related. We walked over there anyway, went through the bag check which closely resembles airport security, and found ourselves inside the Vatican, on a Sunday, during the weekly church service given by the Pope himself.

We started to notice that it was becoming increasingly more & more crowded inside the square we were standing in, realizing eventually that the Pope was soon giving the "Angelus Prayer" which he does every Sunday at 12PM overlooking St. Peters Square. Essentially, the Pope stands outside a window, while a crowd of people from all over the world stand to listen to him pray for about 30 minutes or so. We knew we had to stay, despite not understanding more than 2 words of the blessing, it was a surreal experience. I especially enjoyed seeing elderly nuns look up in pure disbelief at being in the same proximity of the Pope. I saw tears, people fall to the floor, people just stare into space. Moral of the story, go to the Vatican if you can! I truly believe that whatever your religious affiliation may be, it is still a place with so much history, a story to tell and it was fascinating to see it for myself.


  • Book Colosseum tickets EARLY.

  • If taking the train, give yourself ample time to arrive at the train station and find the track that your train is taking off (we almost missed ours - not fun).

  • Visit the Zara. (It was seriously the biggest Zara I have ever seen).

  • Rome reminded me of NYC in many ways. It is HUGE, give yourself time to walk around, shop, eat.

  • When you get into a taxi (not just in Rome, but anywhere) make sure you verify that they take credit card incase you do not have Euros with you or you end up not having enough. This can lead to a bad situation, so don't forget to check!

  • One of my new favorite influencers who lives in Rome currently has great recs as well! I wish I had found her account before I went myself! @Alexandra_webb

If you have never been to NYC and go for the first time, I would tell you it is impossible to see everything in one day. I feel the same with Rome. Prioritize what you want to see most and don't push your itinerary, that will only distract you from being in the moment! Enjoy every minute of it - Rome is a world treasure (in my humble opinion)

XO, see you for another weekend soon!

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