So I’ve turned one year older again. And to celebrate this rare occasion, the Italian took me to the Eternal City (any subtle hints about my aging, there?). I love A Roman Holiday and not-so secretly wish I was Audrey Hepburn, so of course I pictured myself on a vespa with the Italian, whizzing past Colosseum and the Vatican City. As the Italian shuns public transport, I new that a vespa could well be a possibility. But no, we were instead mostly chauffeured around by Dodo, the Italian’s best friend who proved to be an excellent tour guide. Or at least his girlfriend was.
The best part of our weekend was lunch on the seaside. Only a 25 minute ride away, we sat looking out over the Mediterranean (or the Tyrrhenian sea if you want to be fussy) and could hardly believe or luck that it was so sunny. While in Rome it had been a bit chilly, on the beach I could sit in my blazer and scarf, sipping my glass of wine with only the occasional shiver.
We ate seafood salad, calamari, pasta with langoustine x 2, pasta with clams x 2, fresh mussels, grilled fish with vegetables, strawberries, and a form of donut with nutella. If you think we were a party of 5 you’d be wrong; it was just me, Dodo and the Italian. If you think we were stuffed afterwards, you’d be right.
Although I’d recommend tourists to take some time off the heavy sightseeing and go to the seaside, I do also recommend just walking around aimlessly. You’re bound to stumble upon a beautiful church or a fantastic boutique. I had been once before, but I still enjoyed seeing Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza de Venezia and the Vatican City. These landmarks are especially impressive at night. It feels as you’re walking around in an open air museum that never ends.
When in Rome…
Stay at Hotel Aleph.
Decorated in a Paradise meets Hell theme (which sounds naff but isn’t), Aleph is a lovely boutique hotel, which feels surprisingly homely. Staying in a hotel like this is dangerous, you get used to the service, the breakfast, the quality shampoo bottles and the attention to (design) detail. I could’ve lived in their lounge (above).
Eat a panino outside the Vatican City
Can you imagine landing after a 2 hour flight and going straight to a posh restaurant? Me neither, so we went for the best panini I’ve ever had. Crusty bread, endless choice of fillings and the knowledge that the Pope is sleeping safe and sound hundred metres away, do it for me. 200 Gradi might be packed by tourists during the day, but at night it feels like a neighbourhood cafe.
Shop in Eleonora
Granted, to spend any money in Eleonora, you better save up for months before parting with your cash. But it might be worth it. Dresses made for St Tropez and Ibiza, top designer handbags and shoes you want to eat (this season showed many pastel and neon colours that looked delicious); even if you can’t afford anything in here, it’s a treat walking around.
Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Yes, it’s touristy and yes, people with fanny packs do it, but if you want to return to Rome you better throw in at least 10 cents. The Italian threw one pound just to be on the safe side. Now let’s wait and see when Rome beckons us again.