Buongiorno! 16 hours of travel time, two planes, two countries, and 30+ hours of being awake, this girl has officially landed back on Americano soil. After spending 1 week in Italy, I wanted to share a little bit of my experience with you, and list some of the place I'd recommend checking out if you ever made your way over to the Motherland.
Before I do that, though, I need to tell you - traveling to Italy changed my life. I went there by myself, not really knowing what to expect, and I was basically in tears getting on that plane to come home. It has opened my eyes to a world I have never seen, to a world I didn't know existed. The liberating feeling that I had my entire trip is absolutely indescribable. I don't think I'll ever be able to find the words to fully explain the happiness that I felt this past week, but I'll try my best to form sentences for this blog.
P.S I put together a little video recapping my trip! You can see it at the bottom of this post. ;)
First off, we need to talk GELATO. Unsurprisingly, gelato is everywhere. Literally everywhere. Even random stores that aren't official gelateria's, have gelato. I wasn't upset by this discovery at all. I also ate it every single day of my trip besides the last two, which is a decision I will regret forever. Even though I'll be back, it's two less days of my life that involved gelato.
Also, I didn't look up suggestions for the best gelato in Rome, or even the best food in general for that matter. I wanted to find my own hidden treasures and discover places on my own. The city is jam packed with restaurants and cafes, so I didn't want to just be limited to where people thought I should go, vs places that stood out to me on their own.
However, my three recommendations are (in order of photos):
- Gelateria Valentino: lemon in a chocolate/peanut cone
- San Crispino al Pantheon: pistachio & chocolate chip
- FLOR Gelato; pistachio & tiramisu
This photo has nothing to do with food, but it represents a huge part of my trip. I found this little alleyway on the first day that I arrived in Rome, and visited it every single day thereafter. I had gotten really lost without having wifi service on my phone to activate my maps app, and had no idea where I was. I was roaming around Rome (ha!) having no clue what every corner would turn into or if I'd ever make it back to my hotel. Thoughts of dying on a Roman corner flashes through my mind more times than I'd like to admit. This, of course, was before I realized Rome has Uber. Because of course Rome has Uber.
Anyway, this is the jet lag rambling off, but I came and sat on these steps every day to reflect on my life. Each day I thought of something or someone to think about, and to mentally check off pros and cons of situations. My trip to Italy was meant to self-discover, and this little alleyway definitely helped with that process. I thought of things I wished I to tell people in the future, things I wish I didn't say in the past, and situations I have found myself in recently and what they could all mean.
Some may call it over thinking, I call it self reflection. Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself.
Another thing I ate everyday? Pizza. This is Italy, folks. You don't visit Italy and not eat pizza everyday. I marathon dieted before I left for my trip for that simple fact alone. I think I gained
10 lbs because of it, but it was worth every bite. Every. Single. Bite. I'm also not very adventurous when it comes to pizza, as I feel good ol' margherita is where it's at, so that's pretty much the only variation that I tried.
Out of all the places, though, two stood out to me that I wanted to mention:
- Caffe Vitti (photo with the wine glass): I sat at Caffe Vitti for hours. It's located in a beautiful piazza that's filled with shops and gorgeous Roman men
to stare at, that are great for people watching. Their margherita was the first pizza that I had upon my arrival in Rome, and it remained my absolute favorite throughout my trip. I went back for it again the night after.
- Pizza Forum (last photo): I was very skeptic of Pizza Forum from the jump. It's located across the street some the Colosseum, so it screamed tourist trap to me. The name also isn't that creative, or should I say Italian enough, for me to assume they offer a great margherita. The truth is, on my last night in Rome, I was too exhausted to go out exploring. I had to be up at 4AM for my flight (in which I ended up just pulling an all nighter), and didn't feel like venturing off too far from my hotel. Luckily, I decided to finally try Pizza Forum after walking by it a handful of times throughout my trip. The result? I regretted not trying it sooner.
While I only listed 5 places in this post, I visited at least 20+ different establishments during my week long trip. I was hesitant to even recommend the ones that I did, because I truly feel this is the type of city to just go into blind. There's way too many places for me to ever say that the ones I went to are the ones you have to try. But I did want to mention a few, just to give you somewhat of a guide.
I'll be posting tips on traveling to Italy by yourself (especially if you're a woman), as well as some more stories from my trip, within the week, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!
Italy - I'll never find the words to be able to express my love for you in its entirety. It was truly a life changing experience, and I can't wait to go back.
Ciao for now. x Mel