Some fat person once called Italy ‘Eataly’ and the fat person was right. Food in Rome is obviously amazing and that becomes a problem after the first week. Vacationing means you can eat amazing wine and caprese every day, but living in Rome is like being trapped in carb convention, where they only sell panino e pizza, yet somehow all stay skinny. Nobody exercises, so don’t even try that. If you go for a run in Rome you’ll get honked at the entire time, and not by the vespas, it’ll be the pervs in the ATAC trash trucks. The only way to combat this problem is to eat at restaurants with small portions and unreal views. And luckily, there are a ton of those.
The Romans do this thing called aperitivo and it’s fantastic. It’s basically happy hour but better because you’re sipping champagne by the Pantheon while some hot Italian serves you mini appetizers. Because they’re European, the Italians don’t eat dinner until like 10 pm. So aperitivo usually happens from 6-8, and then they have dinner afterwards. It’s Italy and there are a ton of amazing restaurants so it’s difficult to go wrong. If you want a great meal go to Jardin de Russie or Aroma, which has insane views of the Colosseum.
Where to go out:
Trastevere is great and has lots of shops, bars and restaurants. You can spend the night wandering through the medieval cobblestone side streets and you’ll always find something good. Piazza Navona is full of wine bars with a more local feel and if you’re looking for Americans, you can find them all up and in Campo dei Fiori. If you want to get grimy there’s the Drunken Ship and Sloppy Sam’s, but if you want to remember your night, stick to Trastevere and Piazza Navona.
Things to know about Rome:
There isn’t a Starbucks within 500 miles. When in Rome, you’ll have to get used to Italian caffe, and that doesn’t mean coffee. It’s their aggressively strong thimble sized espresso shots. Obviously betches choose cappuccinos, but know Italy doesn’t do iced coffee or pumpkin spice, and that basically is the most shocking culture shock out there.
From May to September it’s hot as fuck. No matter how inappropriately American you dress, in a crop top and denim cut offs, you will still be sweating in the 90 degree heat and 100% humidity, or “32 degrees Celcius,” whatever that means. But when all your friends are Instagramming what looks like a dandruff covered dying tree before Halloween, titled “the first snow of the season <3,” you’ll be strolling around the Spanish Steps in jeans and a t-shirt.
What to do during the day:
There are about ten thousand churches in Rome. That may sound lame but most of them have paintings by Michelangelo, Caravaggio or Raphael in them, which is chill. There’s obviously the COLOSSEO to visit, because you can’t go to Rome without that pic. If you’re into art, you can go to the Vatican, but there are usually insane crowds. Visit the Galleria Borghese or the Galleria Doria Pamphilj instead. Those house elite private collections in elite private villas. Win, win. Of course a trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain a la Lizzie McGuire, but that’s currently under construction until Fall 2015. And by Fall 2015, they mean probably sometime before 2023.
Start at the Spanish steps and wander around for a mix of high-end retail and smaller shops. Via Cola di Renzo is also decent. There are a lot of “authentic markets,” but unless you came to Rome to buy a pear or wooden gladiator whittled by a homeless man, stick to stores with roofs.
You might be wondering, if I go to Rome does that mean I have to learn Italian?
No, graze ragazzi! Or as the Italians say GHRAT-ZEEE-AYH. The only Italian you need to know is vino and cappuccino, and that’s essentially English. After three seconds of trying to speak Italian, the waiters will realize you’re #63 American (as if everything about you didn’t already clue them in) and then they’ll start speaking English. Don’t even bother trying to make your experience authentic, they don’t want to hear your botched “VORRR-AY un tavOOH-LO per QUATTRO per fav-ORE” any more than you want to say it.
It’ll be a lot like this:
CIAOO. Un cappuccino per favor.
Un EAAURO cinquanta.
Oh. GRHAAT-ZEEAY. CIAO.
Even though you can’t buy eight dollar trentas in Italy, Rome’s still a betch heaven. The city is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the weather is amazing and no one does any work, ever. Stroll through the ancient streets as much as possible. You’ll run into ruins, churches and monuments you never knew existed. The food and vine really is delicious. Plus Rome has easy access to every other Italian city. Go north to Milan, or south to Capri. Rome is the epicenter of Italy and Italy is everything.