I utterly adore Rome!!! To be fair there was little doubt when I first went that I would enjoy my time there as I am a total history geek and there is nowhere more full of ancient relics on this planet. But I never knew just how much I would fall in love with it. There is something which just sucks you in, everything is beautiful, the lifestyle is so laid back and obviously the food and architecture are top notch! If I had to holiday in the same place forever more, it would be Rome. My most recent trip was in May, so fashionably late, I decided to create my list of the best places to eat, sleep and visit based on my visits to the city.
We have stayed in a few different hotels, but the Kolbe Hotel is perfect. It is a little distance from most hotels but once you get your bearings you will realise it is actually in a great spot for some of the best tourist attractions Rome has to offer. It has a gorgeous patio where you can eat breakfast or have a drink on a sunny day too. The hotel looks straight on to the Forum, and is just a very short walk up to the Capitoline Museums (although I have never been in any museums in Rome, I have never had the time!).
On another occasion we stayed closer to the Spanish Steps. Whilst it was a gorgeous area we found it that little bit more difficult to find really good food in the vicinity as it is so touristy. However, if you want to hit the shops, this is the area for you!
As with most cities Rome is full of over priced mediocre restaurants. Although I must say I have never had a *bad* meal in Italy, even the most average is still yummy! But for something a bit more authentic (and cheaper!) head on over to Trastavere. Honestly I do not remember the names of most of the places I have visited here but all have been great. There are far too many restaurants to choose from, but the whole area is a lot less touristy so you can’t go wrong!
Regardless of where you eat though, being vegan the main options are always Penne Arribiata (just double check there is no egg in the pasta) or a trusty Marinara Pizza which has no cheese by definition (but again double check what is in the dough!). A lot of vegans and vegetarians are quick to say this is not what they want to eat, but I love pizza and pasta so am more than happy with it. My only add on would be to mix it up every now and then with a salad lunch or dinner.
Specifically for vegan food, my fave is Rifugio Romano. As soon as I walked in to the restaurant I loved it. The staff are friendly, the menu is vast (too vast, I made the waitress order for me haha!) and the atmosphere is fantastic. On the menu there are a number of fairly different vegan options and some Roman staples made vegan. The arancini was utterly amazing. I would also highly recommend the seitan. And obviously to finish I went for a tiramisu. My mum and I genuinely considered going back here every night, it is that good! It was queued out the door when we went (off-season) so I would book to be sure you get a table as it is small! And sorry for the photos, I only had an iPhone!
Another place which deserves a shout out is Il Margutta. We have only been for the buffet lunch, but I really enjoyed it. There was a huge selection, although it is only a veggie restaurant not full vegan, so remember you cant eat everything! The buffet had a great selection with lots of different types of food so hopefully something for everyone. My only slight complaint would be it was mostly all cold food when we visited but on another day this may not be the case.
Top Places to Visit
I almost feel like this is a no brainer. The Colloseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon. But on top of all the normal tourist locations I have a few gems I found and highly recommend!
Keyhole view of St Bascilica on to the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome & Pyramid of Caius Cestius
The keyhole view of St Bascilica is in the Piazza Dei Cavalieri Di Malta. This is utterly random but a great experience. I recommend you make the trek, but only if you have time to spare. Try to go early morning though as a huge queue can form for something which lasts only seconds. Either on the way there or the way back, I would also suggest you visit the Non-Catholic Cemetery and Pyramid. The graves are beautiful and it is just the most tranquil experience in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a very busy city. An added bonus is there is a cat sanctuary next door so you will often see cute cats lying all over the graveyard, they were adorable!
My favourite curch is the Bascilica of Santa Maria Del Popolo. There are literally hundereds of churches in Rome, but I really love this one the most. The sculptures and pictures are not the norm so it makes for something slightly ddifferent. If you find yourself up this end of town (Piazza del Popolo), it is defintley worth a quick look inside! And on the way stop by the gelato shops, lots of them had vegan ice cream, which is practically essential on a long(ish) walk in Rome.
Another great church to visit is the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano, near the Colloseum. Basically it is three churches in one as they were built over each other in years gone by. To enter the underground area and step back into Rome of the past there is an admission charge, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and to be honest Rome attractions are generally so cheap that having to pay €20 for one is no big deal! It is a great place for history buffs like me!
For those who love something a bit weird, this is it! I loved this little church with its decoration made out of bones. There is a museum first which leads down to the main crypt. It is the most perfect mix of creepy, interesting and goth. Love it!
This is a gorgeous little market close to the Piazza Navona. It has a huge selection of fruit and veg so if you are in an AirBNB it is a great place to stop by. It also has lots of different herbs, oils and pastas on offer. A lot is a bit touristy, but I still think it is worth a look. The fresh juices are amazing too!
If you have the time, make the day trip. It is easy to get to by train and pretty cheap as well if you book it in advance! The fast train takes just 90 mins and cost us about €40 each. Once you get to Naples it is either another train (which is easy to find) or a taxi on to Pompeii. In my opinion you could spend a week in Pompeii looking around at all the ruins. It is spectacular. Some of what has been uncovered is amazing. As a bonus it even serves vegan croissants in the restaurant haha!
I hope you have enjoyed my mini guide to Rome. If you have discovered places I haven’t please comment below, I would love to find new places for my next visit!