We arrived in Rome on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon. After checking into our Airbnb rental, and in an effort to stave off jetlag and resist the urge for a quick nap, we quickly set out to get a lay of the land. No easy feat, considering we were staying in the Trastevere neighborhood of the city. Full of windy, tucked-away streets, cobblestone piazzas, and endless old-world charm, Trastevere sits on the south bank of the Tiber river and was just far enough off the beaten tourist track to really give us a sense of how the locals live. (We basically found the Montmartre of Rome.) We decided to familiarize ourselves with our new, temporary home, and save all the major sightseeing –including the Colosseum and the Forum– for Monday. We stayed in Rome for three and a half days, and could’ve spend the full two weeks just there. There was so much to see and discover on both sides of the river, and while we mostly stuck to Trastevere when it came to dinner options, we were floored with how good the food was wherever we ate. I know, I know, it’s Italy, they’re kind of known for their food. But my best friend had gone to Venice and Milan in February, and came back sadly underwhelmed and lamenting the quality of the food; maybe it was my lowered expectations, or maybe it’s more of a regional difference in cuisine, a northern Italy vs. southern Italy thing, but MY GOD THE FOOD. That dish of spaghetti carbonara up there? Yeah, it cost a whopping €5 and was some of the most delicious pasta I’ve ever eaten. (I’d go on to have carbonara or cacio e pepe, a simple pasta with tons of pepper and cheese, almost every single day. Give me bacon and melty egg yolk and cheese and carbs any day.) Our first night in Rome, we split an enormous, thin crust pizza with heaps of fresh mozzarella for the absurd price of €3. Three!
And then there were all the sights. The centuries-old ruins Rome is famous for. On Monday we ventured across the river to the Circus Maximus, the Forum, and the Colosseum. The surreal feeling of standing in the Colosseum where gladiators and emperors once stood was one of the highlights of the trip. You read about these things in grade school and they seem so abstract and faraway, and seeing them in person, standing in them, is a beautifully humbling experience. I am so grateful to have been able to see them (and equally as grateful for the delicious gelato we gorged on right after).
This is Rome, part 1. See you on Friday for part 2!