Recently D and I went to Rome on a spontaneous trip and stayed for a week at the fantastic Hotel Laetitia. It cost more than we usually spend on accommodation, but we found a really great deal on expedia (for about 100€ less than the price advertised in the hotel). We usually don’t prioritize in accomodation when planning a trip, but I’m glad we did here. The hotel absolutely blew my mind. I loved the layout, our room with our own roof top terrace, the Lagerfeld sketches on the walls, the beautiful breakfast parlor, the friendly service… as you can see I loved pretty much everything about it.
The most wonderful thing about Rome is that you’re hit at absolutely every corner by how old everything is. It has this amazing energy where you can just feel yourself become part of its vast history. However small a footprint you leave, in that moment you feel sort of connected to this immense past and the millions of people who walked those streets before you and who loved and grieved and laughed and lived their lives. The people are long gone but their creations most certainly still stand.
We had – as per usual – no itinerary and basically just walked through the city more or less randomly. The weather was great, so all we did was pick a starting point and walk around for about 7 hours a day. And EAT. And let me just say that Rome seems to be made for walking and eating. We ate our weight in pizza and ice-cream! We mostly walked into whatever restaurant/trattoria looked good to us. Two things stand out in my memory as particularly good. First there’s Settembrini, where we sat outside on our first night. They had live music playing and the atmosphere was full of laughter and conversation (plus they had great wine and food).
Then we discovered Mondo Arancina and had these amazing fried rice balls. So.good. Both places saw us more than once and were well worth it. Settembrini is a lovely romantic restaurant for dinnertime, Mondo Arancina was perfect for a quick lunch (sometimes even to go).
We went to the Colosseum and the Forum Romanum, walked by the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain (although that was partially covered due to construction) and got lost in many quaint neighborhoods. Rome definitely has its fair share of tourists, but you can get away from the mainstream. Our “own” neighborhood close to the hotel felt definitely more residential.
The visit to the Vatican took a little more planning in advance as per recommendation from friends and family.We got tickets online for the Vatican Museum (the hotel arranged this) which was worth it because we could just skip the line. It was so crowded, but really interesting and I loved it despite the crowds. We looked at every exhibit that was open to the public and it took pretty much the whole day (honestly, 7 straight hours of walking through the museum). The Sistine Chapel looked amazing, but there were so many people in there that I started to feel a bit claustrophobic and felt I could not enjoy the artwork as much. You’re not allowed to take photos in there. I’m fine with that but they have guards that need to constantly remind and/or reprimand people and that kinda destroys the atmosphere a bit. It was a great day though with SO MUCH to see and explore. My favorite was a hallway where lots of old maps were on display, because the artwork was great and also, well, I have a thing for maps… I would have absolutely loved to have a look into the library, alas it’s closed for visitors.
There was no chance to get into St.Peter’s at any time while we were there. We tried twice and were not willing to stand in line for what looked like the whole day. For anyone who wants to go: Afterwards my Dad told me that really close to closing time (6-7pm) is a good time to go. And please be aware that there is a dress code.
Close to the Vatican city you can also find the Castel Sant’Angelo from where you have a beautiful view of Rome.
Since we had no real plan, we certainly didn’t see all the tourist attractions. This leaves us with a great reason for a return visit. Next time we would try our luck again with St. Peter’s Cathedral and I would love to explore Mueso e Galleria Borghese or go down to walk on the Via Appica Antica.
all photos by happyelsewhere