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Rome for Beginners

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Rome in 3 days… Arrive and hit the ground running, or should I say whizzing around on a Vespa!

Typically when traveling from the States you will arrive to your destination in the morning. The best way to get over jet lag is to adapt to the country’s schedule as quickly as possible.

If a shot of espresso isn’t enough, this morning scooter tour is bound to wake you up! It is also a great way to see all the best sites and become familiar with the city in about two hours.

Now, it is time to stretch your legs and see the sites up close. Whether you choose to book a private walking tour or explore on your own, The Colosseum, The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill have to be your first stop. This is the main archeological area and what brings so many to Rome. Get ready to be a Gladiator!

Insider Tips-Arrange for your tickets ahead of time to avoid the long lines and make sure it includes access to both the underground and upper level in the Colosseum.

Also just around the corner is San Pietro in Vincoli, Saint Peter in Chains, which houses the prison chains of the church's first pope.

While there are several churches in Rome with relics this church is best known for Michelangelo's magnificent statue of Moses.


Between the walking and lack of sleep, stopping for a great bowl of pasta is just the fuel you need. There are four famous types of pasta in Roma; Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana, and Gricia. Don’t worry you have time to try them all.

*stroll over to my blog Eating through Rome for restaurant recommendations!

After lunch head to The Pantheon- meaning, “everything divine. This temple is the best-preserved monument from ancient Rome. Famous for the mixture of Greek and Roman architecture combing the long sequence of columns in the front joined by the cylindrical structure, which is the largest brick dome in history.

To keep that pep in your step, I would swing by Sant Eustachio Il Caffe. This coffee shop is just around the corner and has been serving customers since 1938. Take it to go and explore the charming neighborhood and cobblestone streets for some shopping.

Insider tip- Diagonal from the café is Gammarelli the official tailor of the pope and cardinals. The window displays beautifully sewn vestments… we are in Rome after all, so you never know what you will find when you are window-shopping.

If you are still awake after dinner, I would head over to the Trevi Fountain, and don’t forget a coin. It has been said that if you toss a coin in to the fountain you will return to Rome, but I have also heard that you will find love. Of course there is a proper technique, which needs to be followed- using your right hand throw the coin over your left shoulder- also this makes for a great photo…formaggio!

Day 2

Another big draw to Rome is the Vatican & St Peter’s Basilica. I recommend organizing a private tour and arranging for tickets well in advance. This will gain you access quicker than having to stand on line for eternity, or missing it entirely. I realize private tour guides can be expensive, but sometimes value out weighs the cost. Besides your return on your limited time, the detail and attention you get is well worth the price.

Michelangelo’s sculpture “La Pieta” and the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel can both be seen on these tours, arguably the two most famous pieces of art in Rome.

If time doesn’t permit, or you are unable to gain access - another great reason to use a travel advisor, I still recommend visiting St. Peter’s Square to see the beautiful façade of the basilica and no dress code is needed!

For lunch you have several options near by… A quick grab and go slice from Pizzarium Bonci, or a sit down at Be.Re. who are famous for their trapizzino- little pizza pockets and an extensive beer menu. Who knows you might be tired of wine and want a cold beer.

Not me however, I would cross the bridge to Pizza Novona and enjoy an aperol spritz “alfresco style” at one of the many trattorias, while taking in the beautiful view of Bernini’s fountain.

Wanting to escape the tourists? Then Ristorante Salumeria Rosciol is a great choice near this location, but reservations are highly recommended.

If yesterday was too much and you never made it to The Pantheon, no worries it’s just around the corner about a five-minute walk from Piazza Novona.

Time to cool off and have some gelato…la dolce vita

If you are just wanting to enjoy- Frigidarium is close to the Piazza and is a great choice, but if you stayed near the Vatican, Old Bridge Gelateria is a must.

But if you want a behind the scenes look- have a private lesson in the art of making Italian ice cream, from the giant mixers in the back to serving the customer upfront. Don’t worry it isn’t all work, sampling the gelato is a must! Giolitti is popular with kids and offers more than ice cream. Considered a Roman institution and is close to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.

You could also take a stroll after dinner to the Spanish Steps and check out the night scene while enjoying gelato from Fatamorgana for the adventurous palate while Ciampini is more for the traditionalist.

If you are looking for a place to celebrate and enjoy a romantic dinner with incredible views, then I would suggest Aroma Roma. This Michelin Star restaurant offers a seven course tasting menu over looking the Coliseum and is a proud member of Virtuoso. Reservations are required!

However, I have to mention Chef Heinz Beck's La Pergola- the only three Michelin star restaurant in Rome, which is another great option for my foodies.

Day 3

After you have enjoyed your breakfast explore the Villa Borghese Gardens with a morning golf cart tour. All the walking can catch-up with you and depending on whom you are traveling with some of us might need a break.

The stretch golf cart will pick you up from your hotel and whisk you up to what seems like the top of Rome. From Pincian Hill you will find incredible views and a beautiful public garden.

The Borghese Gallery is also here, but tickets are needed to tour. The museum houses Bernini’s marble sculptures Apollo and Daphne and his David, as well as many other famous pieces.

You can continue exploring Rome by golf cart and head to

Campo de’ fiori. This beautiful square is famous for its market, which sells fresh produce and flowers, like the name suggests, but it is also a popular meeting place and has great restaurants. For lunch I would stop by Hosteria Grappolo d’oro. Perfect for sampling the famous four pastas I mentioned, we loved their carbonare.


If you are in the mood for some shopping after lunch I would suggest strolling around for a unique souvenir in this popular neighborhood. I would also buy Italian leather. While Italy is famous for food and wine, these items are more difficult to bring back to the states. But a leather bag or travel journal reminding you of your trip is perfect. After all this walking, everyone could probably use a new pair of shoes as well. Marta Ray is famous for their ballet flats and the handbags are like butter, Fausto Santini offers shoes and bags for both men and woman and Campo Marzio, another historic Rome brand offers great leather accessories.

If you are looking for some more high end shopping, strolling down Via Condotti is where you should go. 5th Ave has nothing on this Italian street close to the Spanish steps- Hermès, Bulgari, Gucci, Prada, La Perla, Jimmy Choo, the list goes on. There are also several jewelry stores that will catch your eye selling beautiful estate pieces. Via Borgognona and Via delle Carrozze are on either side of this street and are filled with top brands as well.

There is so much to see and do in Rome, but it is your last day…so I would hop in car and venture over to Trastevere. This hip neighborhood is worth a visit. Stroll the winding picturesque streets and pop into any bar or restaurant for an aperitif, they are among the cities finest. For dinner I would head to Taverna Trilussa. This lively spot is always packed and loved by the locals. They even serve the pasta in the pan they prepare it in.

For my wine lovers Enoteca Ferrara, is a great option. The encyclopedic wine menu is very impressive. You can choose your adventure between a more high end dining experience at their restaurant, more casual affair at the tavern, or just a small bite and sip at the bar. All are wonderful!

Seeing a city at night is something I love to do. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Vittoriano transform at night, but the Aventine Hill keyhole with the secret view is such a surprise. Peeking through and seeing St. Peter’s Dome and Rome lit up at night is magical.

Hiring a driver to escort you to these highlights, while you hop out and get that perfect picture is a must. As an added bonus there are usually a lot less tourists ruining your shot, and booking a local photographer to come along can be arranged!

My Top 5 Places to Stay….

Sir Rocco Forte –Hotel de la Ville & Hotel de Russie

Hotel Eden

Hotel Hassler

JK Rome

All offer great dining options as well!

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