So it’s actually been about six months since our trip to Rome but once we got back in October we were thrown head-first into Winter in the UK so I thought I’d save a travel post until city break season was back on the cards!
It’s safe to say that our first trip to Italy was a bit of a mixed bag, if you watched my vlog from our time in Rome then you’ll know that we had a bit of bad luck during our time there (infected insect bites, rainy days and a dissapointing tour of the colloseum to name a few) but there were some real highlights too so I thought I’d round up 5 alternative things to do in the Italian capital that hopefully might not already be on your bucket list!
Learn How to Cook Like an Italian
If there’s one thing you HAVE to do whilst you’re in Rome then it’s booking in for a cooking class because where better to learn how to make amazing pasta than in the heart of Italy?! We did some research before leaving on our trip and saw that Cook With us in Rome got amazing reviews online (I can now see why!) and so we choose to book in with them for a morning class on our second day in Rome.
On the day of our cooking class we were asked to meet at Campo de’Fiori to pick out our ingredients and take a look around one of the oldest markets in Rome. There we met Gianni who was to be our host for the day, a chef who owned a restaurant in London for ten years before returning to Rome to set up his own cookery school. We learnt more about the ingredients that we were going to be cooking with that day before heading back to the studio ready to get stuck in!
The studio space was lovely and the experience felt very intimate due to the small group of only five couples. We gathered around a kitchen island sipping on glasses of proescco and each had our own area for chopping and preparing the ingredients.
In the class we created starters, mains AND dessert which was a lot to cover in just one morning but it was amazing to work with such a variety of fresh ingredients. With (a considerable amount of) help from Gianni and the other chefs on hand we made roman style artichokes and fried zucchini blossoms for starter, for mains we made two types of pasta: fettuccine with a classic tomato sauce and cavatelli pasta in a brocoli sauce and finally, for dessert the best tiramisu I have EVER tasted. I honestly don’t know if I can have it anywhere else now as I just know that it simply won’t compare!
We then got to sit down at the beautifully laid dining table and were served the dishes made by our own fair hands which were washed down with a couple of glasses of wine (we definitely left feeling a tad tipsy). It was such an incredible experience and one that I’m sure we’ll never forget!
Top Tip: The markets close at around midday so if you want to visit them as part of your experience be sure to book on to the morning cooking class!
Visit the Free Light Show at Rome’s Temple of Hadrian
One of my favourite things about our trip to Rome was how you really could just wander around the winding streets and discover something new every single day.
One evening after dinner we were scouring in search of the best gelato when we came across a free light show in Piazza di Pietro. The historic façade of Rome’s Temple of Hadrian is illuminated each evening in a spectacular light and sound show which was incredible to simply stumble upon and I definitely recommend checking it out (especially as it’s free!)
Get Lost Wandering the Streets of Trastevere
Trastevere was definitely our favourite area of the city, we just wished we’d spent more time there as that’s where we enjoyed the tastiest food and received the best service. Located across the Tiber river you definitely feel the atmoshere shifting from the bustling, tourist filled streets of central Rome as you head towards the eclectic, cobblestoned streets lined with interesting cafes, restaurants and cute shops.
We spent two evenings and a morning wandering around Trastevere and we probably still didn’t manage to scratch the surface! It’s one of those lovely areas where you can just spend time simply wandering and getting lost amongst the windy streets. This really did feel like classic Rome to me with it’s beautiful buildings in all of it’s gorgeous orange-y toned glory!
Top tip: Head to Tonnarello for delicious pasta dishes, although be sure to get there early as the queues tend to get pretty long!
Escape the Cities Crowds at Villa Borghese
Feel like you need a break from the bustling city streets? Why not head to Villa Borghese, the third largest park in Rome and one with plenty to keep you occupied for a couple of hours.
Situated on the Pincian Hill (it’s quite a climb) close to the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, it’s the perfect place to rest and recharge on a busy city break. Whether you fancy exploring the beautiful gardens, grabbing a bite to eat in one of the cafes or renting a bike for a pleasant cycle, this really is a little green haven in the middle of the city!
Visit The Vatican in the Evening
Now if you want to take a trip inside The Vatican then you’re obviously going to need to head there during the opening times but if like Adam and I, you are quite satisfied with seeing the incredible building from the outside then I really suggest taking a stroll over there in the evening. Of course you need to be cautious as the area attracts a lot of homeless people but I found it to be so incredibly peaceful after sunset and became our chosen route back to the hotel every evening.
Top Tip: You can create some pretty epic shots of The Vatican without the hundreds of tourists queing in front of the cathedral once the sun has gone down so be sure to take your camera!