Yes, the city where all roads lead to, the capital of Italy today and the center of the known world during the Roman Empire. This place is steeped in history, and even spending several months in Rome wouldn’t be enough to get a true grasp on the ancient city’s Roman way of life. With its popularity among tourists, Rome is no longer the cheap city it used to be, but there are ways around both the crowds and inflated prices.
If you’re trying to cut corners on the food budget, you have plenty of options. A favorite of many visitors for lunch is just stopping in any little bakery (paninoteca) for deliciously fresh sandwiches.
Fiesty Mikki runs is a favorite student hangout in Rome located just at the back corner of the E Pantheon. It’s a party every time. Ask for their famous student menu for 15 Euros: salad, pizza, two types of pasta, dessert, wine, and of course, Mikki’s “Sexy wine”.
Isola del Panino
Between largo Argentina and the Pantheon, you’ll find one of the best values in the heart of Rome. This one-man show is run by friendly Fabio and attracts high-powered businessmen and budget backpackers alike. Hours are tight so be sure to pop in between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Not much English is spoken here so order by pointing.
Rome’s best pizzeria is tucked away in a small alley in Trastevere. Run by three friends, this place pumps out an incredible menu of wood-fired pizzas for a great price. If you’re in a spicy mood, go for the Lingua del Fuoco. Hungry? Ask for “pizza alto” to get a double crust.
There are tons of knock-your-socks-off gelaterias across Rome. But before stepping inside, first you must learn how to tell if a gelateria is worth its weight in gelato. A proven technique for determining the quality of gelato, and ice cream in general, is comparing the fruit flavors to the actual color of the fruit ingredients. Banana, for example should be grey-ish; if it’s bright yellow, you know the place is making up for their shortcomings with food coloring. Likewise for pistachio; it should be a muted green color, so avoid places where it is neon. You don’t necessarily have to get those flavors, but they’re a good indicator of the overall quality of a place.
This incredible gelateria is located in the perfect location to help you fortify against or recover from the daunting Vatican experience. This place always has a line halfway around the block. Don’t be scared, just roll up your sleeves and dive into the crowd. Aggressively get up to the front and place your order at the same time as paying.
Pay for your order first as you step in the door, then take your receipt over to their overflowing supply of chillingly-good flavors. Located a 3-minute walk away from the Pantheon.
Casa del Café
While not technically a gelateria, this café still has some favorite frozen treats in Rome: their famous Granita del Café, or coffee granita. Pay at the counter in the back first, then bring your receipt to the front to claim your prize.
Rome is packed to the gills with world-class sightseeing, there are plenty of can’t-miss attractions.
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican is the center of the worldwide Catholic church and its public museums offer a glimpse into the worldly riches of the church. The hallways are dripping in Renaissance masterpieces and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel is quite literally jaw dropping. Reserve your entry ahead of time to skip the line. Otherwise, beat the lines by getting up early, or going late. Allow three hours inside to see everything, and bring a bottle of water and snacks to survive.
Coliseum & Roman Forum
Commissioned nearly 1000 years ago, the Coliseum is one of Rome’s most popular attractions. The same ticket will get you into the Forum so consider picking yours up at the gate to the Forum if the Coliseum’s line is too long. You’ll get hounded by tour promoters and gladiators so put your game face on and enjoy!
An incredible feat of architecture and engineering, the Pantheon has been studied and replicated since its creation. Commissioned by Hadrian, and completed in about A.D. 125, it is now an active Catholic church and you can catch Mass here several times a week.