Rome | September 2017
When we [The Joneses] think of Rome, we think of gladiators, history, cheerful dinners by candlelight with rich mahogany glasses of wine spilling over laughter and rich pasta dishes.
And that really is not too far off what Rome is.
As you wander through small cobbled alleyways, distracted by all of the artisan stores, you find yourself turning a corner and coming face to face with a historical monument or building which seems to have appeared out of nowhere, towering above everything else.
You get lost standing and staring at, essentially, a building that is now acknowledged as a work of art but was originally built with a structural or religious purpose. Rome, with all of its history and beautiful people really does give the city an air of history, appreciation and love.
WHERE WE STAYED
Rome was a place we wanted to see as much of as possible, so we booked our hotel just a short walk out of the main square.
Hotel Donna Laura Palace is in the district of Pati which is a few minutes walk from Vatican City, a 5-10 minute stroll into the main cobbled streets centre and in walking distance to all of the cities main historical attractions. The only time we needed to take a taxi was to and from the airport.
The concierge of Hotel Donna Laura is what we wish we had back home in Australia. The level of detail and wealth of knowledge they possess is incredible. You could explore Rome and not even leave the hotel, just by chatting to them.
The hotel itself has a wonderful European charm about it and the rooms continue that elegant charm, throughout. The hotels rooftop was one of our favourite parts to sit and enjoy the late afternoon sun with a glass of red wine [because; when in Rome].
OUTSIDE THE HOTEL
One of the reasons we love to stay a few minutes walk out of the main squares of a town, is so we don’t end up walking in the same direction.
Instead of heading into town one afternoon, we chose to walk away from it and behind our hotel. This is where we found streets full of life in restaurants, small shops and cafes. The restaurant we chose to eat at that afternoon seemed to be full of locals [always a good sign]. Small but with seating spilling out into the streets, it felt like the most authentic restaurant we had come across. The rules here were that there are no menus, and they speak no English. The head waitress tells you what you will have and that’s that. Although, that could just be the rules for the non-locals who look confused and scour the place for a menu. Either way, we loved it.
While we can’t recall the exact name of this restaurant [sorry] we wanted to share this to encourage you to walk the other way and to not always go to the ‘hot spots’ that every other traveller has been to before you.
Outside of the usual historical visits and tours, our favourite was the night tour of the Vatican. Rather than exploring by day, we chose to do the night tour. The numbers are much more restricted so less crowds, and on the top floor balcony at night, overlooking the courtyard while the moon sat above us, was something truly special.
The Joneses Rating
Food in Rome is honestly really reasonable, and there is so much sight-seeing to do which you don’t need to pay pay, if you’re on a budget.
Even then, the prices to get into some of the historical sights is fair, it’s just the crowds that might put you off.
WHAT WE WOULD RETURN FOR
Mr Jones loves history and would happily return here to explore more of what Rome has to offer and its historical tales. Mrs Jones however would happily return for the atmosphere of an espresso shot in the morning pre adventure and all the pasta dishes with red wine in the evenings.
We spent five full days in Rome and felt like we had seen and explored most of it. Of course we would never pass up an opportunity to visit Rome [or any other city for that matter] to learn more and see more, but if we had to choose, we would choose another European city over Rome.
WHAT WE WERE HAPPY TO LEAVE
We can’t recall there being anything we didn’t like or could have done without, during our time in Rome.
The people are genuinely so caring and lovely, and most of all, charismatic. The crowds are something you find all over the world so not something we think is ever worth complaining about [I mean .. we’ve done the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona so if there was ever a time to crowd-complain, it was then]. Also, for the small times we were a bit CBF’d with people [like going inside the Colosseum for a tour] we chose to sit it out.
If you’re ever someone who complains about crowds, remember, you’re one of those people in that crowd as well, and someone else is likely complaining about you.
Rome city guide
The Joneses Rome
The Vatican by night is a whole new experience and one that, we feel, brings the place alive more so than during the day.
Rome is one of the best people watching cities. So grab some pastries and find a sunny spot on the grass outfront of the Colosseum.
The crowds to get the ‘perfect shot’ at hot spots like the Trevi Fountain are brutally annoying. Wake up early and explore the city pre-crowds and pre-tourist rushes. You’ll also get the chance to sit and take in the fountain without people and their cameras pushing.
Wander and get lost through unknown alleyways. Go off the ‘Instagram recommended’ map and dine in at spots that pull you in. Explore the city for it’s sights and emotions, and not for that one great IG shot.