In Brussels, we cheat a little bit and take a flight to Rome.
Our flight lands at mid-day when the sun and the temperature are at their highest. We check-in, drop our bags and take a quick shower. Within an hour we’re in Piazza di Spagna with its famous Spanish Steps, which is only a stone’s throw away from our central yet incredibly poor-value-for-price hotel. (Note to self: If travelling to Italy mid-July, always check to make sure all the rooms have AC).
But hey, once we are in the gorgeous streets and piazzas of Rome, we forget all about it! We join the masses (locals and tourists alike) strolling and shopping on Via del Corso. Then make our way to Piazza del Popolo:
When in Rome….
Feeling slightly baked under the sun, we seek refuge in the Villa Borghese Gardens. It’s impossible to cover all 80 hectares of it, but we sure give it a good go before it’s time to head to…
This restaurant is a Roman staple, famous for serving meals with delicious Italian black and white truffles. And lucky for us, we have a table waiting for us there. As it is rather small, reservation in advance is highly recommended. (Of note: This establishment takes pride in its timely service and expects the same from its guests. So much that they actually sign their e-mails with “The puntuality (sic) is a must” when you make a reservation).
The service is exceptional and the atmosphere convivial. Our waiter greets us with the best that Italy has to offer: A great humour and a nice, cold bottle of crisp Italian white! We start with tortino di melanzane alla parmigiana, bruschetta al tartufo nero e pecorino di grotta and mozzarella di bufala. And continue with truffle risotto and tiramisu. All very fresh and delicious!
After our meal, we decide to go for a “passeggiata” or evening stroll. We walk first to the Trevi Fountain, where we miraculously resist the urge to grab an ice cream at Venchi. Then past the Pantheon, before we head to Campo de’ Fiori for some drinks. On the way back to the hotel, we walk through the beautiful Piazza Navona, and take a mental note to come back here during the day.
If you would like to follow in our footsteps:
PS. While we invested in a 72h Biglietto Roma (for 18 euros) for our time in Rome, we ended up walking to most places on our first day. Having said that, it was still a good investment for a ride back to the hotel in the evening and for reaching those further out places during the subsequent days, particularly during daytime when the temperatures get to 30+ degrees.