Team Travels: Sophie’s Trip To Rome

Rome is one of those places I’d always heard people rave about, so I thought it was about time I made it my next city break destination. My boyfriend and I flew out mid-March and we had the most incredible time experiencing this romantic, ancient and beautiful city. We visited for four nights – the perfect length of time, in my opinion – and as well as seeing some of the most breathtaking sights, we ate our body weight in pizza, pasta and gelato (of course!). As I’m sure you can gather, we had the best time and I have plenty of handy tips to share with you if you’re also planning an adventure in the Eternal City.

Getting There

We flew from Leeds Bradford to Rome, and both our journey through the airport and our flight were a total breeze. The flight time was just under three hours, giving me plenty of time to get stuck into a book and squeeze in a nap (I was lucky enough to get a window seat!) before we touched down in Italy.

Ahead of our trip, we booked a transfer coach from the airport to the city centre through a service called SIT Bus Shuttle (Societa Italiana Transporti) and as well as being easy to find, the journey was smooth and the coach itself was spacious and comfortable, with free WiFi. We were dropped off just a 10-minute walk from our hotel, and we fell in love with Rome from the moment we stepped off the coach!

The Hotel

We crossed over the beautiful River Tiber and ventured down quaint cobbled streets to get to our hotel: the Navona Palace Luxury Inn. It was in such a great location and had everything we needed for our stay. The room was perfectly clean, had plenty of space and included a coffee machine which we made good use of each morning before heading down to breakfast (we had breakfast included at the restaurant next door – a pleasant buffet with lots to choose from). With friendly staff and a prime spot right by some fabulous bars and restaurants, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Rome.

Things To Do In Rome

Needless to say, at no point did we find ourselves struggling for things to do and see in beautiful Roma. There are magnificent churches and towering landmarks around every corner! We walked miles through fascinating Italian streets and by unfathomably old ruins – our days were filled from dawn to dusk. Here’s a little breakdown of the amazing things we did…

The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Basilica

The weather forecast was a little overcast and threatening to rain on our first full day in Rome, so we decided to take that as a sign to do one of the activities that’s predominantly indoors: the Vatican Museum. We booked through Musement and got a great package that included a guided tour of the main museum, followed by a walk through the breathtaking Sistine Chapel and skip-the-queue entry to the magnificent St Peter’s Basilica (we were told the queue if you were to visit this outside of a booked group was over two hours long, so it was definitely worth it!).

The guide who took our group through the Vatican was just fabulous. She was so knowledgeable and friendly – it really made the difference to our visit. The paintings, monuments, mosaics and tapestries were completely fascinating as we made our way through the museum, and the Basilica itself was spectacular. It’s hard to put into words quite how beautiful it all is. I would certainly recommend a visit on your trip to Rome.

The Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum

Luckily, the weather was on our side the following day and we woke up to beaming sunshine just before heading over to the Colosseum for our 11am time slot. We found the entrance really easily and the whole process of getting in was refreshingly simple. Again, this was a piece of history that I found quite difficult to comprehend. Even when you’re standing there outside it, wandering the floors and stepping out into the arena, you can’t quite believe the things that took place there, nor that it’s still standing almost 2,000 years later!

There are plenty of ticket types available for the Colosseum. We opted for a ticket that included access to the arena floor, meaning you can walk in through the tunnel the gladiators used to, along with entry to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. We’d booked this package before our trip and didn’t think to book a guided tour, which in hindsight we maybe should have after knowing how much this elevated our visit to the Vatican. However, we were able to buy audio-guides for around €5 which really helped bring the history to life and was a great alternative to having a tour guide.

Once we’d spent an hour or two soaking up the midday sun in the fascinating surroundings of the Colosseum and grabbed a bite to eat, we headed over to the entrance to the site where both Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum sit. It felt like something out of a movie scene, with huge pillars in one direction and jagged remains of ancient buildings in the other. There are endless photo opportunities and some fabulous views of the city from the highest point, so don’t forget to bring your camera along!

The Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

These iconic spots were an absolute must-see for us. They’re two of the main things people picture when they think of Rome, and they’re quite a sight! Seeing the Trevi Fountain was one of my favourite parts of our trip, and with us staying just a 15-minute walk away we passed by it at least three times. One thing I would say is that the crowds are large in the height of the day. If you’re bold enough to battle your way to the front, you’ll have a chance of getting an amazing photo. It’s gorgeous to see glowing in the sun, but we found the experience on the whole a little more pleasant first thing in the morning or last thing at night, when fewer people were gathered around.

The Spanish Steps are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Trevi Fountain, and with them being another of the most famous spots to visit, you can expect them to be pretty busy! We wandered up the Spanish Steps on our first night in Rome and spent some time at the top looking out over the city as the sun was setting. They’re the longest and widest set of steps in Europe, and certainly worth adding to your Rome to-do list.

Gelato by The Pantheon

The Pantheon was really close to our hotel, so it was one of the first major landmarks we came across. Its size is immense and it’s another of Rome’s buildings that dates back almost 2,000 years. We headed for the Pantheon after we first dropped our bags off at the hotel, and couldn’t resist grabbing an ice cream as we passed by some very enticing gelato shops on the way. Outside the Pantheon was a great place to sit and watch the world go by!

It’s free to go inside the Pantheon, so once we were ready we headed over and joined the fast-flowing queue (it only took a matter of minutes to get in). Inside, we saw the tomb of one of Rome’s most famous artists, Raphael, along with a beautiful chapel and incredible marble flooring that’s allegedly the original flooring from centuries ago. Totally amazing!

Food & Drink in Trastevere

Trastevere is a cool and quirky neighbourhood steeped in history and bursting with lively bars and amazing local restaurants, just across the river from where we were staying. We’d read some recommendations online before our trip urging people to visit this area, because it’s not only beautiful and a little quieter than the streets surrounding the main tourist attractions, but you’ll often find delicious food and drink for really great prices here (read on for a recommendation!).

Another great thing about this area is that you can sometimes pick up souvenirs for a little cheaper than in the more popular spots. I passed by a shop with a really vibrant, arty print of an Aperol Spritz that I instantly wanted for our kitchen. We bought it for €5 and later saw the same print at a stall close to the Trevi Fountain for double the price.

Browse the Campo De’ Fiori Market

For me, browsing markets is a bit of a city break staple. I just love finding little souvenirs to take home and having a look at products from local market stalls. We spent an hour or two at the Campo De’ Fiori Market on our final day in Rome, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! There was everything from flourishing flowers to typical holiday mementos like magnets and keyrings, not to mention colourful bags of pasta and limoncello by the bottle. If you’re also someone who loves a little shop on their city break, this market is a fantastic one to go to.

The Altar of the Fatherland

When you’re walking towards the Colosseum, you’ll most likely see the grand and beautiful spectacle that is the Altar of the Fatherland. This colossal white marble monument was built in honour of Victor Emanuel II and sees thousands of visitors pass by it every day. You can wander up the steps free of charge to get a closer view, as well as bagging panoramic views over the city while you’re there. We went to the very top and grabbed a drink at a terrace bar with the most beautiful views over the Roman Forum and Colosseum. I think this is one of my favourite memories from the trip.

Takeout Pizza in Piazza Navona

One of the rules of our Rome trip was that no amount of pizza could be too much pizza! On the second day, we found ourselves a little peckish so decided to grab a take-away slice from a small pizzeria on our way to Piazza Navona. Not only was the pizza completely delicious but this piazza in the sun was the perfect spot to enjoy it. You have the backdrop of a huge baroque church in the centre, the soft sounds of trickling fountains and the buzz of tourists, photographers and caricaturists all around. I could have spent hours there!

Bars & Restaurants In Rome

Needless to say, we visited more than our fair share of bars and restaurants in Rome, so I have plenty of recommendations to share. Whether you’re looking for a swanky rooftop bar with champagne cocktails or a tasty restaurant tucked away down a side street and lit up with fairy lights, you’ll find something to tickle your tastebuds, I’m sure…

Er Faciolaro

We stopped at this restaurant one night for our evening meal, and it was just fabulous. We were welcomed with a complimentary glass of prosecco before being sat beneath a ceiling filled with twinkly lights. I ordered a mushroom calzone which was to die for, and my partner had a huge steak which he really enjoyed. Our meal was rounded off with a limoncello and a friendly goodbye from the waiters – on the whole, a really great place to visit!

Cremi Gelateria

When you’re in Rome, it’s a given that you simply must try some gelato. We visited Cremi Gelateria as it was near to our hotel (just by Piazza Navona) and it was amazing, as well as being really reasonably priced. We even went back to visit a second time a couple of days into our trip. I tried the Nutella, cheesecake and mango flavours and they were all divine! They had plenty on offer for vegans too – the mango flavour I tried was vegan and I couldn’t believe how amazing it was.

Famo Pace

This fun and friendly bar was right across the street from our hotel, and the staff drew us in from the get-go. They were so lovely, and offered a varied selection of drinks at decent prices. I had my fair share of Aperol Spritzes here (a local favourite – it’s served everywhere!) and my boyfriend sampled a range of the draft lagers and pale ales. If you’re looking for casual drinks with a fabulous atmosphere, I’d recommend swinging by Famo Pace.


When I mentioned a take-away pizza slice earlier, this is the place we went. You paid for your pizza by the weight and there was SO much choice. We also eyed up some of the sandwiches on offer, but didn’t get round to trying them which is a shame as if the pizza is anything to go off, I’m sure they would have been amazing! Where street food is concerned, I’d go here a hundred times over.

9Hotel Cesari

We were unsure what to do for our final night in Rome as we had to be up fairly early for our flight, so I did a little research to see if there was anywhere we could watch the sunset before having a quick bite to eat and heading back. This place came up – a hotel’s rooftop bar right near the Temple of Hadrian – and we decided to give it a go. It was picture-perfect! We were in a sea of traditional Italian rooftops, and the sky was a captivating candy-floss pink as we waited for nightfall. We stayed for two drinks and were offered blankets and heaters as the evening cooled off. It was the best end to our trip and I’d go back in a heartbeat if I’m lucky enough to visit Rome again.

Dar Poeta

Remember when I mentioned visiting Trastevere earlier on? This little place was one of the restaurants we stopped at there, and we loved it! They had just about any pizza topping combination you could think of, as well as a range of drinks at really cheap prices. We even tried a dessert calzone filled with Nutella which was so tasty for those with a sweet tooth. If you’re over in Trastevere and in the mood for pizza, I’d recommend Dar Poeta!

Raviolo D’Oro

Another meal you simply must eat in Rome is a hearty bowl of pasta. We opted to have pasta at this gorgeous restaurant nestled in a side-street quite close to the Pantheon. I had ravioli and my partner had carbonara, and it was so delicious. The staff were very attentive and the whole outside of the restaurant was covered in fairy lights (if you can’t tell by now, I’m very drawn in by a fairy light!) and it was such a pretty setting to eat our evening meal in.

Pasqualino Al Colosseo

Between our visit to the Colosseum and our venture round the Roman Forum, we were getting a bit hungry. We’d heard to avoid the restaurants directly beside the Colosseum as they would be fairly expensive, so we wandered just a minute or two away and came across this lovely little eatery that was reasonably priced and clearly quite popular. The Pasqualino Al Colosseo had an extensive menu, and the four cheese gnocchi I opted for was cooked to perfection. I wish I could eat it all over again!

Ready For Roma?

If you’re in the mood for mind-blowing history, stunning views and unbeatable cuisine, Rome is waiting for your arrival! Check out our best holidays to Rome and set the countdown to your dream Italian escape. After the trip we had, I just know you won’t regret it!