Of all the amazing cities I’ve seen in my life, Rome is the one I keep coming back to. This effortless ancient monumentality merged with modern accents makes me feel right at home. You don’t need to visit museums or galleries: just walk around and take everything in. I spent almost a week in Rome and every single day started the same, I woke up early, took a shower and went out. My hotel was close to the Colosseum so I literally stepped out, had a coffee and bought something to snack on. I spent a few hours chilling around Forum Romanum: reading a book, listening to music, while it was still too early for tourist groups. Then I picked a direction and started walking. I also almost died a couple of times, underneath the seemingly small wheels of colourful Vespa’s. What a nightmare, Romans can’t drive for shit. Freak accidents aside, you walk around Rome and trip over ancient sights, what’s there around the corner? Oh, it’s the Trevi Fountain. Walk a bit further; who’s that guy on top of those stairs? Oh hi Marcus Aurelius, the emperor-philosopher. Visiting Rome is like having a pocket time-traveling device, ancient artefacts to the left, posh fashion shops to the right, the classic pizza here and modern fusion restaurants over there. I enjoyed spending some time by hanging around the Spanish Steps. I was told that agents are scouting the area for fashion model material. No one scouted me though; such bad luck. Let’s not forget about this city’s rich sex history, having multiple women in one household was nothing out of ordinary, many of those traditions are still well kept.
Roma is very easy to fall in love with, especially when you’re not tripping over other tourists. Do yourself a favour and pick a time of the year other than summer, when it’s not only crowded but also steaming hot. Some attractions are even closed during the hottest months. Moving around the Eternal City is very convenient; metro stations are spaced out perfectly between the most important areas. But to my opinion Rome it’s best to explore on foot, there aren’t that many stairs or hills so you don’t get overly tired. Plus you don’t want to miss all those narrow alleyways and tiny squares, gems.. Why do they even call it the Eternal City? Because it’s timeless, remains unchanged for centuries, sure it expands, but in essence, in its core, Rome is the same it was even before Christ. Think about the Colosseum being almost 2000 years old and let it sink. I was a witness to a discussion how Italians are worthless, bring nothing to the EU and it would be best if they left it. But people seem to forget that the Roman imperial ruins are still standing as a foundation of innumerable European cities.
The real highlight of any trip to Rome is food. The original is incomparable to anything you get, even in best restaurants outside of Italy. This famous cuisine has always been very simple and filling. It was simple enough for poor people to work their lives around it and filling enough to enable the legions to march for thousands of kilometres. They’ve improved those dishes that consisted of a handful of ingredients for centuries, to the point of mastery. Simple, good quality stuff is always good, but there is a movement in Rome that tries to turn those staples into something different. Take Roman pizza, for example, it’s rectangular and often sold by weight, which already makes it different to other Italian kinds of pizza, But people are trying new things, unheard of things, like putting potatoes, figs, fresh cucumber on a pizza, or pizza in a cone. Visit Roscioli, a legendary bakery opened since the 18th century, famous for their pizza Bianca, with olive oil and a bit of salt as its only toppings. Or head to one of Gabriele Bonci’s pizzerias and try out some of those unorthodox toppings. Armando al Pantheon (http://www.armandoalpantheon.it/) at Salita dei Crescenzi, 31 is one of the go-to spots for a more traditional take on Roman cuisine. Campo di Fiori and Santa Maria Square are where both locals and tourists hang out during warm Italian evenings. That’s where you should go for drinks and food before a night out. Some people organize bar crawls, party busses and all that group events but I’d rather organically meet some new people while walking around the city on my own.