Rome, Italy

top 3 favorites from rome

Friday, July 27, 2018

Rome was a mixture of jet-lag, espresso, bustling streets, and scorching sun... Rome was alive.

Actually, it was packed, really. The hotel seemed full and the streets flowed with rivers of tourists. Being tourists ourselves, we did a lot of the typical sight-seeing, which naturally involved vast amounts of people, long ques, and packed-out historical sites. I've always been a huge fan of 'off-season' no matter where I'm going: I love to take my time and not be literally shoulder to shoulder with other people in a sea of tourists.

It was busy when we visited Rome last August, (if you're looking for a quiet time to hit the city up, Walks of Italy recommends Mid-November to Easter) but even in the midst of the hectic summer season, we had a blast. There were three places in particular that turned out to be real gems, and that's actually what I want to share with you today. :)

# 3 The top of St. Peter's Basilica 

Nothing makes you feel far away from a crowd like being far above the crowd.

We toured the Vatican museum and St. Peter's with City Wonders' package tour for the two (this one here, actually), which is about $72 per person, but is SO worth it. (If you prefer to wander on your own, note that admission into St Peter's is free) The tour was about two hours long and took us through the Vatican museum and St. Peter's, our tour guide was awesome, and it was great to be able to skip the very (very) long line.

After the tour, our guide mentioned that for an extra 10 euros we could purchase tickets to climb to the top of the Basilica. It was a sizzling hot day in Rome, and Tyler and I were both already drenched in sweat, but me being me, I thought it would be a great idea to climb the approximate 500 stairs to see the view from the top.

We purchased tickets for this and then filed into the line for the elevator which took us halfway up, to the wrap-around balcony that overlooks the interior of St Peter's. There was about a hundred(ish) people waiting here in a line, for no apparent reason. We ended up chatting with a family of fellow American tourists in front of us who were just as confused by the lack of signage. After about a half an hour of waiting with 0 instruction or hints as to what exactly we were waiting for in the steaming hot upper level, Tyler was ready to leave. I was fairly certain this small (but beautiful) overlook into the various sanctuaries below was not "the top" of St. Peters, so I convinced my poor husband to wait a few more minutes with me.

Our patience was rewarded when a small door opened unceremoniously further down the hall (probably 50 yards away). Everyone poured through, and then - ah, there it was: the winding 500 step staircase.

From here we climbed to the actual top, which overlooks St. Peter's Square, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican museum, and the Vatican gardens. The view was breath-taking, and though it was crowded (still) there were far less people climbing to the top than there were heading out to the other sight-seeing locations down below.

The street noise and the roar of the crowds seemed to melt away in the golden Italian sunlight as we walked the parameter and drank in the views like they were nectar.

# 2 The Trevi Fountain area

The Trevi fountain and the surrounding area is honestly WHAT I think of when I think of Rome. The streets are like poetry: made of uneven, old stone, freckled with cafes, pasta shops, and gelaterías, and bursting with baskets of flowers.

The fountain was swarmed with crowds and the air was filled with a repetitive shriek of a whistle every time someone tried to sit or climb on the fountain (come ON, people), but the scale of the fountain itself was so overwhelming I hardly remember the other parts.

We ate pizza and gelato in some local shops that were bursting with character and local flair. Then we bought a few bags of pasta to take home. Trevi fountain and the area around it is ideal for a leisurely, late afternoon walk.

# 1 The Colosseum at night

I'll admit it right off, this was probably my favorite thing we did in Rome.

The first day we spent in Rome was a super jet-lagged blur. I ended up sleeping most of the day actually. By the time we got up and headed out, it was dinner time (even though it felt strangely like breakfast) So we ate pizza and then talked to the friendly concierge at our hotel about the Colosseum. He recommended taking the short walk down to see it in the twilight, lit up in shades of tungsten, explaining that it would be perfect for the photos I was adamant about taking.

We didn't need to be told twice.

Rome transforms at night. It becomes a different place, somehow. The streets radiate with the heat they soaked in all day from the sun, music swells with the clanking of dishes and chatter from the cafes, and the air cools to a soft breeze. Couples stroll the streets, and buskers come out of the wood work. Music is everywhere, mixing with the yellow lights.

We walked to the Colosseum strolled a around, sitting for a while in the shadow of the massive, ancient structure, while a nearby busker strummed Bryan Adams on his electric guitar. Tyler's eyes twinkled a dusty navy in the lowlight, and I drank in the night air. Everything was a hush - a complete contrast to the madness it is during the daylight hours (a whole other post for a whole other time).

That night reminded me of how it often isn't the "big" things you do when you're on a trip that you remember... it's all the little moments and savorings, and quiet, starry nights in between.

SO THERE WE HAVE IT - me top three favorite locations from Rome, Italy. Now it's YOUR turn! Tell me three things you LOVE about the last place you visited! GO! 

stay stoked,


  1. Oh my goodness, this sounds utterly magical. Reading this made me feel like I'd been there, too. <3

    1. EEEPPP Grace Anne your comment made my morning! I'm so glad you liked this post. Writing it brought me right back there!

  2. BEAUTY!!! Rome is definitely high on my travel list, and it's good to know that some of the really touristy stuff is actually worth it. XD

    1. some were DEFINITELY worth it. There were a few touristy things that I'm glad we didn't do because it was just crazy and honestly not worth the money, haha. Maybe I'll do a post about that in the future. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, Evangeline! Your comments always put a smile on my face.

  3. Rome is SO AMAZING! I went a couple years ago, when the Trevi Fountain was under construction. I’d love to go back when it’s not under construction, and I threw a coin in there, so here’s hoping! ;) I still loved it, although Piazza Navona had my favorite fountains. And of course, the gelato in Rome was amazing. Gelateria del Teatro (I hope that’s what the name is...) was my favorite gelateria. We went to one near Trevi but I forget the name.... I love the way you describe this beautiful city and your adventures. <3

    Great post, and I love the pictures! =D

    1. AGREED, MICAIAH! Wow, it sounds like you had a STUNNING trip *insert heart-eyed emojis* I just googled that gelateria and it looks so cute. I tried to find the one we went to because it was gorgeous inside, but I couldn't find it. It was right near the fountain though. LOVED HEARING ABOUT YOUR ADVENTURES! I bet you'll be back in Rome before long ;)