I mean, if I am being honest, there are no imperfect days in Rome. One walk down a cobbled-stone alleyway will enchant you for an eternity. From the sweet smells coming out of a pasticceria (pastry shop) to the sounds of a million church bells dancing around your ears and throughout the city. A perfect day could mean walking around and discovering the utter charm that is Rome or getting lost in the deep history of the city through museums. I may not be a museum girl so for me, my perfect day in Rome goes a little something like this:
Rise and shine:
Spring is my favorite season in Rome. The weather becomes beautiful and you often do not need a jacket during the day (although true Romani and Romane will still be wearing a winter jacket). I mean any season is divine but if you can, go in spring. The flowers are blooming and fill up the city with beautiful life after the cold winter.
In my dreams, if I could wake up anywhere in Rome, it would be in Trastevere, but further back near Monteverde and near Villa Pamphili, the largest park in the city and the most GORGEOUS one in my opinion. Mostly locals go here verse the tourist-favored park, Villa Borghese. During the spring, meadows in the park are full of pretty little wild flowers. It is a great place to walk, run or bike, or to come with some friends during the day and enjoy fresh air in the center of Rome.
But to back up, no day can truly start without…. coffee. A visit to a bar for an espresso or maybe even a cappuccino if it is before 10 and of course some freshly squeezed orange juice before I continue on with my day is a must. *By the way… a bar is not a bar in Italy, if you see a place that says bar on it, do not walk in assuming you can order a cocktail (although it would be funny to see the look on the servers face if you do). A bar in Italy is a place to get coffee throughout the day, or tea or other drinks and maybe something light to eat to hold you over while you walk around the city.
Pizza, oh pizza…
I don’t believe in soulmates but if I did, forget a guy, I choose pizza. A food group in Italy because there are soooo many ways to consume it and soooo many things you can put on top (like HELLO carbonara pizza: you changed my life). Pizza is a serious matter to say the least. Forget a pizza pie with 8 slices, it’s personal here with toppings galore. Street pizza, unlike its round counterpart, is my favorite though. You can be walking down the street, walk into a pizzeria, get some to go, and eat it on your way to wherever you are going. These pizzerias, like I said, aren’t round pies like we usually think of but instead they are sheets of different types of pizza, from the basic pizza rosso or bianca and simple margehrtita to more elaborate versions. You tell the worker how much you want and they will cut, usually with a scissor, the amount you want off, warm it up for you and then if you’re like me, you consume it without breathing and like magic, BOOM it’s gone. I’ve eaten pizza with potato and cinnamon on top and holy hell was it amazing. But if you ever want to please me, and on my perfect day in Rome, the pizza must have prosciutto on it and that is all I require. ALSO don’t forget to grab a suppli from the pizza shop, which is the best Roman street food that will make you question your life before knowing what it is and how life changing it tastes. One of my favorite places to grab some pizza and suppli is from the namesake, I Suppli. In Trastevere, right off the main avenue, the people who work there are the sweetest and the suppli is the most delicious.
Okay so now that I have spent a whole paragraph just talking about pizza I think it is time to move on and not lose all my dignity….
I take my pizza to go because I like my food with a view, and Rome has plenty. With some friends, or even alone, my perfect day in Rome includes a visit to Villa Pamphili, which I mentioned earlier. It’s my favorite park for many reasons. There is an old villa in the park, and fields of what I call “lorax trees” to dream under for hours, or in this instance, to enjoy some pizza with the company of nature. I used to live near the park when I studied in Rome, and the park was the perfect place to meet up with friends or to just relax and soak up the sun.
After Villa Pamphilli, I would hike back down the gianicolo, stopping at a favorite look out spot which across from the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola (I like pretty views as you can tell) and from there, I would wonder through the backstreets of Trastevere snapping pics of the ivy hanging off the buildings, the faded oranges and reds that consume the streets and cobble stones I will trip on at least once.
All the picture taking will have made me work up an appetite I can tell you now, which only gelato could fix and no perfect day in Rome is complete without a scoop… or three. Gelato is 100000x better than ice cream and Rome is full of gelaterias, so check out my favorite gelato spots in Rome here. One of my favorites is Gelateria del Teatro. So fresh and delicious, I am not a fruity gelato or ice cream person, but here I can’t resist. The tartufo flavor though, which is four types of chocolate, is my favorite.
Rome isn’t known for its vintage shopping like other cities but this is Italy and even the least impeccably dressed Italians are still better dressed than most Americans….and they know their fashion, whether it is new or old. The vintage shops in Rome have some great hidden gems for a real bargain which I crave. On the street of my other favorite geleteria Fridgidarium, Via del Governo Vecchio, are a few vintage stores. The Pantheon and Piazza Navona are very close by and two marvels that, if you know the history behind and aren’t just like “oooh look the Pantheon”, are quite interesting to visit.
Because I HAVE to catch the pretty sunset in Rome, staying along the Tiber river is always a good idea to see the cupola of the Vatican glow with a backdrop of purples and pinks but if I can manage, my favorite place to see the sunset it from Monte Mario, the tallest hill in Rome and the perfect place to see the whole city and surrounding countryside as fiery reds and oranges reflect off the buildings and make Rome shine! There is also an restaurant on the hill called Lo Zodiaco which during the warmer seasons, offers up great Roman and international cuisine on the terrace overlooking Rome, a real treat!
After a nice little nap at my apartment (essential for the ideal night ahead!) I would grab dinner around 8 or 9 depending on the time of year (in summer, 10 is more appropriate). For my perfect day in Rome, it is very hard to choose where to eat. So, I will embrace my inner fat-self and have two dinners…
La Prosciutteria is one of my favorite places in Rome. Here they celebrate the simplicity of Italian food and showcase it with charcuterie boards that are different every time I am there. Order a bottle of vino and go to town! Warning: it is a small place (the one in Trastevere) and fills up quickly but the wait is always worth it!
So after meal #1, a true Roman meal is in the cards and to Testaccio I head which is the foodie neighborhood of Rome and really you can’t go wrong with wherever you eat here. Carbonara or gricia, my two favorite Roman pastas, and carciofi alla giudia (fried artichoke that originates from the neighborhood) will be consumed by the end of the night.
Can you keep a secret?
Speakeasies are all the rage in Rome. A secret password or a knock on an unsuspecting door to enter a secret world of fancy boos and inviting atmospheres make going out for a drink 10x better! Behind an armoire of Osteria delle Coppelle is Club Derrière where bartenders in vests and ties make old-fashioned cocktails in a dimly-lit setting that gives off a mysterious vibe!
To finish off the night (if I can go on further after the strong drinks at Club Derrière) I would head to Circolo with some friends. It’s my favorite discoteca to dance away the night (Goa is another great club to go to and is right next door).
And that’s a wrap…
My perfect day in Rome has to end at some point (although that might be at 7am the next day…). Fortunately just being in Roma makes my heart happy and I will never tire of her eternal glory!