Bella Roma! I could go back to Rome over and over again and would never tire of the Eternal City, I just need to keep throwing that penny into the Trevi Fountain to secure my return visit. It had been ten years since our last visit when I officially name Rome has my favourite city and ultimate happy place. Happily my view has not shifted one bit, as soon as we stepped out of the taxi and walked down the it felt as if we had never left. This time the trip was in honour of Wes’ 40th Birthday, so a secret escape to the Eternal City was had, two days of pasta, pizza, history, sights, gelato and Aperol Spritz. We wandered aimlessly soaking it up, getting lost in the back streets, visiting old favourites and finding new little places off the tourist track, cementing old memories and making new ones. At every corner, you are in awe of what you see, which ironically never gets old, Rome is a truly beautiful city.
We stayed at The Fifteen Keys Hotel, a small boutique abode with just, yes, you guessed it, fifteen rooms, perfectly situated in Via Urbana in the Monti district, which was a ten minute stroll to the Coliseum but also had an array of really lovely and rather cool restaurants and bars, a charming residential neighbourhood. With a bohemian edge but also secluded, so we felt we were off the typical tourist trappings, hanging with the locals but close enough to all the major sights. An old Townhouse recently converted, with individually designed minimalist rooms, with gorgeous white bathrooms. The hotel is a pallet of blues and greys with the bar area full of home goals, mirrored walls, huge sofas and cocktail tables, and twinkling lights, which leads in to the leafy courtyard, turing into garden goals. All so chic but comfortable with amazingly friendly staff, it was suitably perfect for our weekend.
After a Prosecco in the courtyard we headed out for pizza at Alle Carrette a little place I had read about in Conde Nast, and according to them one of the top 30 places to eat in and the perfect place to spend our first evening. It was super relaxed, chilled, easy and and very Roman. If you get the chance to go make sure you order the small plates, we tucked into fried Zucchini flowers stuffed with Mozzarella, honestly heaven and the pizzas well, just go and taste for yourselves! Gelato’s were picked up on the route home, before crashing out, full of pizza, full of gelato and pretty happy!
I think one of the best things about returning to a city, is the feeling of being in less of a rush to cram everything in, yes we wanted to see the main sights but we could really take our time and stroll through the day. After breakfast we made our way to the Villa Borghese Gardens, passing the Spanish Steps and taking in the best view of Rome in my opinion from the entrance of the Villa Borghese Park. The warm reds, pinks and oranges, I can imagine it is even more spectacular as the sun sets for the day. From here the view reaches out to The Piazza del Popolo, and the Prati district, with the dominating Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican holding the main attraction. It was a breath taking WOW moment, in awe of the history, the past world, the beauty of the city in your sight and it’s pretty darn romantic too! The Borghese Gardens was actually something we didn’t do last time, so we happily strolled in to the park. It was quiet, cool, tranquil and felt a long way from the energy and heat of the rest of the city but with still with a regal feel with it’s Roman statues and fountains, but a calming respite, we were easing ourselves into the day.
From there the clocking up of the KM’s commenced, we dropped down into the Piazza del Popolo and onto the Vatican, stopping for gelatos when we pleased. The Vatican is a must when visiting Rome, the last time we visited we spent the afternoon with a guide, soaking up the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basillica, all this I hugely recommend but the queues were insane this time and time wasn’t really on our side, so we just took sometime soaking up the city from inside the walls. It really is a wonder from the outside and in, just make sure you book before you go. We continued to walk across the Ponte Sant’Angelo, popping into beautiful churches which are at every corner, heading to Campo de Fiori for lunch, where we tucked into orange and olive salads, mouth watering ravioli, washed down with cold white wine under the sun, that there, that moment I was living my best life and is now one of the most happiest times.
Onwards we went, but first a little look around the market and buying splattered ceramic plates, which I managed to get home without breaking. We strolled to Piazza Navona browsing the paintings and prints and headed on to the Trevi Fountain. What is so remarkable about the Trevi Fountain is you just turn a corner and it is there, just relaxed and there in all its glory. It is one of the most beautiful things in Rome and quite possibly up there as my favourite. Yes it is rammed with tourists but if you move up to the right a bit and look down onto the Fountain, you can still get an amazing view, and I quite easily managed to zone everyone out and imagined it was just us there taking it all in, I could have stayed there all day…….
Alas the Pantheon was calling and so was another gelato. I think by this point we had clocked up over 14 Kms of walking and were in a little need of a rest before dinner, before watching the Changing of the Guard at Quirinale Palace and taking in the view of the city from the Palace, with a gelato in hand.
We were a little tired to say the least, with hips and knees feeling more like senior citizens than just turned 40 but we were most definitely perked up by the Aperol Spritz (my first ever) A quick peep at the Coliseum and we were then sitting outside with our drinks, amongst the old Fiat 500’s, mopeds and locals was the best way to start the evening and tucking into the tastiest and creamiest Spaghetti Carbonara whilst watching all the locals gather, hang out in the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, was the best way to finish a rather wonderful and happy day in Bella Roma….
Next time, The Coliseum and Travestere……
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Thank you for reading x