Roaming In Rome: City Guide

26th Jun 2014
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 1/8 by Ashley & Alex
Bir Fud
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 2/8 by Ashley & Alex
Galleria Borghese
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 3/8 by Ashley & Alex
Ma che siete venuti a fà-
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 4/8 by Ashley & Alex
Monte Testaccio
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 5/8 by Ashley & Alex
Protestant Cemetery
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 6/8 by Ashley & Alex
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 7/8 by Ashley & Alex
Photo of Roaming In Rome: City Guide 8/8 by Ashley & Alex
Sunset in Rome

So Rome definitely makes the cut for a City Profile because not only did Ashley and I live and work there but it is also just a fantastic place to visit.  We absolutely love Rome and understand that it can be overwhelming trying to cram it all in but hopefully with our City Profile you will get an idea of what you want to see in Rome.  

It’s old and I mean really old and you can see it everywhere. Maybe this is just an archeological nerd talking but I love Rome for not only its history but for the thousands of layer of history. You can see old ruins all over the city in the great monuments but what I love is that you can see it where you least expect it. I was dining in a restaurant once and their wine cellar is a Jewish synagogue dating back to 80BC, thats pretty amazing when you realize that this is 100 years BEFORE the Colosseum. Pretty freaking cool. Also its layers of history are never ending and if you really want to see layers check out the church of St. Clemente. Turns out its not just a church, but underneath the church there is an older church, and then a pagan shrine from the 2nd century under that and then a public building from the 1st century under that. 

Have euros before you land in Rome.  While Rome is becoming more credit card friendly, it is still a city that runs on cash.  You would think that a city that runs on cash would have working ATMs at the airport but from our experience, the ATMs are almost always out of order.  It is always best to have some Euros before you land in Rome, even if its just 100e.  That would be enough to last you for a day to reach the city and grab some food until you find a working ATM.

Speaking of the the airport if you plan to take a taxi you should know that all taxis from the airports are a flat fee.  Never ride a taxi from the airport with the meter on.  Make sure that you stand in a taxi line at the airport and make sure the taxi that you are taking has Roma Commune sticker.  This way you know that the taxi is legal and that you will get a fair rate.  You can also pick up legal taxis at Taxi Stands; most taxis will ignore you if you flag them down on the streets and go straight to the Taxi Stands.  One of the largest Taxi Stands is just outside Termini Train Station where both metro lines connect.

If you plan on staying in Rome for a few days and you are on a budget take my advice and just stay in a hotel or  airBnB or couch surf.  It is worth it to pay the price for a hotel or a room on airbnb because the hostels are awful in Rome and way too expensive (take it from me, I lived in Roman hostels for over a month).  They are small, dirty rooms, and entirely overpriced.  The only upside is that they are all close to Termini Station which the only station connected to both metro lines.  But that means there are a lot of tourists and a lot of pickpockets.

Rome is a very safe city with almost no violent crime, however there are pickpockets all over the city.  The best advice we can give is for men to carry their wallet in their front pocket and for women to carry a bag with a zipper and a strap that can be worn across the body.  Keep an eye on your stuff when entering and exiting public transportation and keep a hand over your pocket or purse.

When you are looking for an authentic Roman restaurant a good rule of thumb is to look at the prices of the food.  If the pizza is over 10e and pasta is more than 15e and it is not a fancy restaurant than it is way overpriced.  You can get fantastic pizza at a sit down restaurant in Rome for 3euros (check out Carlo Menta in Trastevere), so there is no sense paying 20euros for a margherita pizza.

Alleys are good, you always find the best food down alleys in Rome.  Go explore and eat!

Monte Testaccio. This is an ancient man made mountain of pottery which today is surrounded by clubs and bars. Only in Rome will you see this happen and I love it. By day you can go play on monte testaccio and climb up all of this old amphora from all over the ancient world: Spain, Africa, Greece and Egypt, and then later you can go back to the same area to go to bars and clubs and go to the Macro, one of Rome’s brand new Modern art museums. Now I realize that this is once again history but I think a mountain of pottery deserves its own spot.
Photo of Monte Testaccio, Via di Monte Testaccio, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
Trastevere. Where would romans be without this neighborhood? Located on just the other side of the Tiber, Trastevere is “where real Romans go” or at least thats what all the guidebooks say. And to be fair a lot of Romans go here but then again so do study abroads and tourists, but there is a reason. Its a great neighborhood. Some of my favorite restaurants are located here and also my favorite place to get shots that are served in chocolate cups. Its a great area that really has what you want in Rome, great food, great nightlife and medieval streets with quaint cobblestone streets that will give you a twisted ankle if you aren’t careful.
Photo of Trastevere, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
This awesome gallery is probably my favorite museum in all of Rome and yes its higher on the list than the Vatican. Why you may ask? Because its not crowded, really ever, because you must reserve tickets and a time slot. But really I think I would go there even if it was crowded. It has six Caravaggio paintings, one is even an apology by Caravaggio to the Pope (who happens to be a Borghese). It has the most beautiful Bernini pieces to be found in Rome and some amazing paintings with great stories behind them (like a Raphael that was taken in the middle of the night by the Pope’s nephew who set up the gallery). So much awesome in the art world is packed into just that one museum.
Photo of Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
Osteria Del Pegno is one of our favorites and we would have recommended it to everyone when we were in Rome but we only shared our secret with a few special people so count yourself lucky. It is a tiny little Osteria located just a ways from Piazza Navona. It specialized in new Italian Cooking. You can find traditional Roman dishes here like Bucatini Amatriciana and Carbonara but you will also find Sea Bass Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Ravoli in a Zucchini Flower, Saffron and Orange Cream Sauce. It is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a bit of a nicer restaurant to eat at without a huge price tag.
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà is located in Trastevere on Via di Benedetta, 25. Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà means “What the hell are you doing here” and is a tiny, fun bar that is really serious about their beers. They have beer selections from all over the world and currently they have 9 Italian beers on tap, 4 English beers, 1 Swiss beer, a Belgian beer and a German beer on tap. They are open from 11am-2am everyday so if you find yourself in Trastevere and you cannot handle anymore wine head here. You may even see our roommate Adrian here (our wonderful guest poster on Paris) but you may not recognize him anymore without all his hair.
Photo of Ma che siete venuti a fà, Via Benedetta, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
Bir e fud is another fantastic beer bar in Trastevere and it is actually across the street from Ma Che Siete. Bir e Fud has both (as you may have noticed) beer and food. Bir e Fud has over 100 microbrews from all over Italy and they specialize in Neapolitan style pizza (and yes pizza is different all over Italy). This is a great place to start your evening of beer and then head across the street to Ma Che Siete.
Photo of Bir Fud, Via Benedetta, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
The Protestant Cemetery is an out of the way spot in Rome located in the neighborhood of Testaccio. It is a really serene place to spend a few hours exploring. The cemetery holds the graves of several well known expats and it’s located just within the Aurelian Walls, which allows you to get up close to ancient Roman walls and the pyramid tomb of Gaius Cestius.
Photo of The Protestant Cemetery of Rome, Via Caio Cestio, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
Santa Marinella is a beach town just outside of Rome, it is about thirty minutes away by train. It is a straight shot out of Rome; you just take the Roma-Pisa line heading toward Cittavechia, the main port. Santa Marinella is a large beautiful beach and well worth the trip. There is a slightly closer beach to Rome, Ostia, but it’s always crowded and the water isn’t too clean. You’re better off going to the ruins there instead. Plus the train ride is along the coast so plus there! Santa Marinella is a great day trip to escape the crowds and the heat of Rome.
Photo of Santa Marinella, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex
Anyone who knows me or who has met me or has talked to me about Rome knows that this is my favorite spot in the whole of Rome, probably my favorite monument from all of ancient history except maybe the Parthenon….. But it is truly a must see. I could probably do five reasons why I love the Pantheon alone but I will restrain myself. The main reason you should go see it is because it was built in the 120’sAD and it is to this day the largest free standing concrete dome in the world and NO ONE knows how Hadrian built, even Michelangelo couldn’t figure it out. So it is obviously awesome.
Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy by Ashley & Alex