Okay, well in all actuality I was in Rome for slightly more than a day — just under 36 hours to be precise. It wasn’t my first time to the Eternal City, though, so I wasn’t feeling much pressure to see all the sights. This time around was just about eating well, having some fun and discovering some cool and hip hotspots. Here’s what my day in Rome looked like:
ROME FOR A DAY, HEY!
12:30pm — Arrive via train from Florence
Since I was only staying in Rome for a single night, I opted to stay at one of the many cheap hotels and hostels near Roma Termini station. The main train station is massive and just to the northeast are countless 3-star hotels and backpacker hostels. I stayed at The Yellow Hostel which was significantly better than the hostel I’d previously stayed at in Rome (this one).
12:45pm — Check-in to my hostel
The Yellow staff were super friendly, there were signs everywhere promoting their events and social media and the lounge area was comfortable and relaxed. They told me when checking in that the entire hostel should have super-fast wifi, but whether because of my bad luck or the fact that Mercury is in retrograde, my room didn’t have any. But probably my favorite part of the hostel (read the full review) was the fact they had several signs up about “love is love” and little drawings of same-sex and heterosexual couples holding hands. Yellow Hostel isn’t a “gay hostel” but they were certainly welcoming!
1:30pm — Cheap lunch!
Last year when I was visiting, I discovered Rome’s most famous street food: suppli’. It quickly became an addiction and now I look out for it whenever I’m at a pizza restaurant. So my first order of business after dumping my bags was to find some suppli’ and a slice of pizza (pizza al taglio). Lazy, I stumbled into a pizzeria nearby my hostel Antica Pizzeria del Secolo. The guy inside was super nice and even rounded down the price for me because I didn’t have small change.
2:00pm — Sightseeing in Rome
After filling up on the fried goodness that is suppli’, I decided I should probably snap some photos of a few Rome attractions just so that my Facebook friends could be jealous. First stop was the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. I also took the afternoon to stop and have a coffee at Rome’s most famous gay bar, Coming Out. It’s located across the street from the Colosseum.
Rome Colosseum Tickets can be purchased in advance (recommended if you’re on a tight schedule of sightseeing!).
4:00pm — Shopping in Rome
Last year when I was in Rome I discovered what a great shopping mecca the city is. Via del Corso and Via dei Condotti are both the main shopping streets, for budget-friendly deals and high-end fashion respectively. I stuck to Via del Corso obviously and went into the Alcot.eu shop to look at jeans and sweaters.
6:00pm — More sightseeing
After window-shopping I walked a few more blocks to revisit the Trevi Fountain. There’s that famous Rome tradition where you’re supposed to drop a coin or two in so that you’ll return to Rome. And seeing as how my wish had come true and I had found myself once again in Rome, I decided I owed the gods at Trevi Fountain a visit. It was too crowded to really enjoy it, but nice to see it at dusk regardless.
After that I walked over to the Spanish Steps just to round-out my day of tourist overload. The guys selling random flying objects and sticky balls were out in full force. There are so many things to do in Rome!
8:00pm — Dinner & a Night Out in Monti
Having heard repeatedly how cool the Monti neighborhood of Rome is, I opted for dinner up on the hill. My friends from Italy Tours and Heart Rome recommended L’Asino d’Oro, an Umbrian restaurant on Via del Boschetto. After several hours, a bottle of wine and some amazing Umbrian food, I was ready to call it a night! But not before checking out some of the bars and piazzas around Monti. Piazza della Madonna dei Monti was crowded with young locals and students. Everyone was buying drinks at the convenience store opposite the fountain and just enjoying the warm October evening. It was the perfect place to end a packed day of sightseeing, shopping and eating in Rome!
The next day…
9:00am — Breakfast in Rome
Skipping the offerings at my hostel, I went out in search of a real Roman cafe to get that oh-so-typical Rome breakfast: cornetto & cappuccino! It was a small place and I managed to do it in true Italian fashion: it can be a rather complicated process in Italy when ordering coffee!
10:00am — More coffee in Rome :)
A single shot of espresso, while nice, wasn’t enough for me so I went straight to a place I’d seen the night before but didn’t get the chance to check out for myself: 2 Periodico Cafe. It’s probably the most hipster place I spotted in the Monti neighborhood. On evenings they put on concerts and shows; during the day it’s a great place to find free wifi, snacks and good drinks. I sat there for a few hours until lunchtime, when I decided to pick up a foccacia sandwich at the nearby bar, Full Monti.
12:00pm — Lunch in the Piazza
Sitting by the fountain in Piazza della Madonna dei Monti with my sandwich and an Italian soda from Full Monti, I finally realized the real beauty of Rome. It’s such a mesmerizing city with its pockets of culture and lively people. There was a woman playing an acoustic guitar, crowds of tourists coming and going and a woman in a black-and-white polka dot dress posing for a small photoshoot. She had that Audrey Hepburn hairstyle and the red stilettos. This is the image of Rome I always dreamed of. And there it was right in front of me!
3:00pm — Shopping in Monti
Having not found many clothes on Via die (co03eri) the day before, I’d heard from friends to try the boutiques in Monti. Up and down Boschetto Street there were shops selling just about everything. An bookstore with historic posters, a t-shirt shop, and more than a few mens boutiques. Boscetto Street was my favorite store, with brands like Scotch & Soda and Englishman in New York. Though it was around the corner from Boschetto Street at a small boutique on Via Leonina that I found what I was looking for: a new wallet. I snagged a black wallet made out of a bicycle wheel from Mnmur.
4:00pm — Heading Home
Getting the train from Termini Station to the Rome airport, I couldn’t help but dream of another visit to the Eternal City. Rome used to be a faraway place. It was something I’d read about in my history books. It’d pop up quite often when studying art history and, in the movies, it always looked like a dream. Sitting on the train though, listening to the pre-recorded announcement while we were about to depart the station, Rome suddenly became something more. It’s a living and breathing city. No wonder they call it eternal. This city was built to last. And even if just for a day, it’s hard not to notice how important it is and will continue to be.
GETTING TO ROME
While Rome may seem like a faraway place, a destination for just once in a lifetime, it’s actually quite easy to get to and from. Rome Fiumicino airport is serviced by countless budget airlines. If you’re looking for cheap fares, I can highly recommend using Dohop.com to find flights. Based in Europe, their search engine turns up flight routes I wouldn’t normally be able to discover.
Have you ever returned to Rome? Or was it just a once-in-a-lifetime kind of place for you?
WIN A TRIP TO ROME
Well isn’t this lucky?! An eco-friendly hotel & hostel has partnered with Eating Italy Food Tours to give away five nights accommodation + 2 spots on a food tour + gift card for shopping in a gourmet food shop. Learn about the contest and enter it here.
Thanks for posting this, I’d love to go back to Rome one day! Unfortunately the link to enter the contest doesn’t work.
Hope you make it back there Natasja! And sorry about that – the link is now fixed!!! Try it here.
You definitely made good use of your time! I think I’d have run around trying to see everything, and wound up too stressed to enjoy it.
Haha yes, I did feel a little pressed for time but having already seen all the major sites, I was just there to take some photographs and take it all in :)
hey adam, loved this post! i’m a huge fan of the new york times “36 hours in…” series so naturally, this was great. it’s so interesting to read where someone would go with such limited time in a city! good recommendations. i’m seriously thinking about entering that contest now.
Thanks for the kind feedback Cynthia! Can’t hurt to enter the contest – you’ve got nothing to lose!
We like your style, Adam. You’ve definitely adopted the When-in-Rome ethos. Some top tips for visitors looking to avoid the usual tourist hangouts.
This is what I love about Rome as well – there are so many things to see and do – yet it doesn’t really matter what you do end up seeing and doing. Sometimes just being in Rome is enough.
God, I miss this city! Great guide Adam. :)
It’s funny – I never really expected to fall for Rome, but it’s become one of my most favorite cities in Europe!
[…] Authored by Adam Groffman. See the Full Story at Travels of Adam here. […]
Been twice to Rome, already. Every time discovered new places. This city need probably more than one month to be discovered!
Oh I think you’re spot on about needing a month in Rome, Sorin! I’d love to spend more time in this amazing city!
Hey, Adam. If you would get such a luxury opportunity of a complete week off, take it and go to Rome with no hurry schedule. Relaxing days in Rome with no time pressure would most probably uncover the real Rome with its charming atmosphere and mentality ;-)
Even just on my short visits to Rome I’ve realized how “charming” the city is. Such a great way to describe it.
Hope I can manage to spend more time in Rome in the future. It’s a city I just love returning to.
Hey Adam, what’s the name of that building in the picture just below “Cheap Lunch?” I last visited Rome 20 years ago and I remember being fascinated by it.
Jasper, that’s the Piazza Venezia. It’s MASSIVE!
Rome always seems absolutely beautiful, but I’d def need more than a day there! :)
It’s a beautiful city for sure! And yes, if you can spend more than a day, it’s definitely worth it. I’d been before so didn’t have much time on this trip unfortunately. But I know I’ll be back again soon :)
only god knows how everyone would love to have a stay for long time in this city
seems like a day of eating and drinking! soudns like an awesome way to spend time in Rome lol
Haha yes indeed, Rebecca! Rome is all about enjoying life + all the major sightseeing so no surprise to learn I spent most of my time there eating and drinking!
Love the roundup, looks like you packed in a lot in in a short time period.
Love returning to a place you’ve already visited – you’re right, the pressure is off to see it all and you can relax and get more of a feel for what it’d be like to live there.
Great pictures Adam. A friend and I are planning a trip around Rome and I am definitely going to consider taking some of your ideas for our itinerary for next year.
Glad to hear it Mark – feel free to shout if you need any other Rome tips. I like to think I know the city pretty well
i love this post, makes me miss rome! p.s. i’ve stayed at the yellow hostel and i absolutely LOVED it!
It’s an awesome hostel – great location, friendly staff and wonderful color :)
We are planing a car trip throughout Italy this summer and Rome will definitely be on the top of the list. We are also planing a two days stay so this read is perfect :) Thanks
Glad it was helpful! Enjoy your trip. If you can, I’d recommend more than just 2 days in Rome – it’s one of my favorite cities and there are so many things to see & do!
Rome isn’t that far for me. Only a direct flight from Brussels away. Yet I haven’t been there so far. I do really want to go, but a part of me is a bit afraid to. It’s such an iconic destination. A bit like Paris and London. I’m afraid that if I go, it will disappoint me.
I know that feeling all too well, Sofie… I went to Amsterdam for the first time last month and thought it would be a disappointment, but it totally held its own. Give Rome a chance! It’s one of my top favorite cities in Europe…
Rome is incredible that won’t disappoint. Just be street smart around the main tourist areas and exercise common sense. I have traveled to some of the most traveled cities in the world that include London, Berlin, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles just to mention a few.
Rome is 2nd on my list right behind San Francisco, absolutely a fantastic city….go!
[…] After spending a rather exorbitant amount of money in duty-free today at the Madrid Airport—and not feeling guilty about it—I realized that this is no new trend of mine. I’ve been spoiling myself since last October! Whether it’s mens grooming products, health/beauty crap, nicer clothes or locally-made arts & crafts, I’ve been collecting all sorts of nice things these past months. And I can pretty much trace it down to my one day in Rome… […]