Thursday, 27 June 2019

A Luxury Girl's Weekend in Rome, Italy.

Rome is such a magical city, and with it being five years since we had last been there in 2014, Jasiminne and I figured it was time to return! It had also been over a year since Jasiminne and I last had a girl's trip, so we were determined to explore Rome's bars, trendy neighbourhoods, shops, and of course a good dose of the history and sights! We stayed at the most beautiful apartment right opposite the Spanish Steps which is part of The Hideaways Club, and spent a long weekend exploring everything the city had to offer.

[All photos of me in this post were kindly taken by Jasiminne]

Day 1

We had a very chilled day on our first day as I was working most of the day, but we still managed to fit a fair amount in on my lunch break and in the late afternoon. We started with a gelato at Rome’s famous Giolitti gelato, which is one of the oldest gelato shops in the city! It was incredible - so incredible we returned multiple times over the next few days! 

Whilst still enjoying our gelato we wandered over to Piazza Navona, which is one of my favourite sites in Rome. It just has the best atmosphere - people buzzing about the place, cafes and restaurants around the square, and the beautiful Bernini fountain in the centre. Piazza Navona is also one of the key locations from Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons if you’re a fan of his books and the movies! 

The Pantheon is right by Piazza Navona so it’s best to visit both at the same time. The building was built between 113-125AD, making it nearly 2,000 years old, and walking inside and knowing how many millions of people have walked there before me over thousands of years really takes my breath away! It was originally built as a Roman Temple, but it’s now a church and if you walk through the front doors to the opposite side, you can sit in the pews opposite the altar and take it all in.

Lunch was at Armando Al Pantheon, which is Rome’s most famous restaurant for the traditional Roman dish, Carbonara! You must book in advance - I booked about two weeks beforehand - and I’m so glad we booked as there was a huge queue outside and everyone who hadn’t booked was turned away as they just didn’t have room. The restaurant is very small, but the food is exceptionally good and I absolutely loved my Carbonara! It’s also reasonably priced and not too pricey considering how in-demand it is.

An afternoon working with my feet poking out of the french doors onto our Juliet Balcony was blissful, and before I knew it the work day was over and it was time for some dinner and drinks! Jasiminne and I headed for dinner at Hostaria da Pietro which is a local Italian restaurant near the Spanish Steps apartment. It was recommended to us by our Hideaways Club local concierge, and the food was delicious!

After refueling we then wandered up the road to the Stravinskij bar inside the glamorous Hotel de Russie for cocktails and snacks. We absolutely loved this bar and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it - it’s a gorgeous courtyard bar which was just lovely in the evening with its twinkling fairy lights and heaters dotted around to keep us warm on a fairly chilly night.

After a relaxing cocktail, a reasonably early night was very much needed before our intensely busy day the following day! 

Day 2

Our Saturday started bright and early with us attempting to get to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain before all of the crowds! We got to the Spanish Steps around 8am and managed to capture the most gorgeous light as the sun was slowly peeking out behind the TrinitĂ  dei Monti church at the very top of the steps. We were SO grateful to be staying in the Hideaways Club apartment as it was literally less than a 2-minute walk from the apartment to the steps, which made it much easier to get to them early.

After the Spanish Steps we then wandered over to the Trevi Fountain, and even at 9am the fountain was bustling with tourists! Thankfully it was still reasonably quiet though, and quiet enough to get some decent snaps. Last time I was on holiday in Rome I had hardly any nice photos taken as I was with family, so I’m super grateful to Jasiminne for taking so many lovely ones of me this time around. The Trevi Fountain is just such an impressive piece of architecture, and a trip to Rome is not complete without a visit to the fountain!

We wandered down to the Altare della Patria, and had a gelato sitting in a little cafe opposite the temple and huge roundabout in-front of it, and then continued on our way to the Colosseum, stopping along the way to take photos of the ruins of temples that have stood there for over two millennia. 

The Colosseum needs no introduction of course, and as Jasiminne and I had both been inside the Colosseum before (make sure you pre-book your tickets or book one of the Hideaways Club concierge’s private tours!), we simply had a walk around it and felt humbled as we considered just how old it was and all the people before us who had also stood and stared up at it in awe. 

By this point we were fairly peckish so got a taxi back towards Piazza Navona and enjoyed a delicious clam and truffle tagliatelle lunch at Antica Trattoria della Pace, a restaurant just behind the Piazza that came highly recommended. 

The afternoon was spent on a guided tour of Villa Medici, one of the Medici family’s famous properties. We enjoyed the tour thoroughly, although it only really takes you through the gardens and a few of the rooms of the villa, so don’t go along expecting a full tour of the house itself! 

With almost 17,000 steps on my tracker, it was time for another gelato! The nearby Caffè Ciampini di Marco Ciampini was our gelato location of choice, where we devoured a delicious banana split whilst staring out over Rome’s rooftops - it was glorious!

We returned to the apartment to get changed and freshen up, shot a few photos on the stunning balcony of the apartment, and then headed to Salotto 42 and Club Derriere for drinks. 

The Hideaways Club local concierge had kindly made reservations for us so we had wonderful tables and enjoyed the cocktails at both bars! Slightly inebriated we stumbled our way to Emma, one of Rome’s most celebrated pizzeria’s, for a late dinner. 

Needless to say, we ended up in bed very full, very exhausted, but very happy that we conquered most of Rome in one day!

Day 3

Our third day in Rome was a Sunday, and unfortunately we made the mistake of deciding to go along to the Republic Day celebrations back at the Altare della Patria. It was packed, and very hot, and we couldn’t really see anything. So once again we found our little gelato cafe and sat there with gelato just taking in the atmosphere waiting for the flypast. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, I decided to nip to the bathroom and whilst in there heard the planes go overhead! I couldn’t believe I missed it!! 

We were quite tired from our late night and busy day the previous day, so we wandered back towards the apartment and went shopping! Despite it being a Sunday all of the shops were open, and so we had great fun exploring the designer shops on Via Condotti and the more high-street shops further down the road. We also loved all of the incredible street musicians!

When we were overloaded with bags and all shopped out, we dropped it all off at the apartment and then walked over the bridge to Zanzara for a late lunch. Zanzara was about a half hour walk from the apartment, enroute to Vatican City. We loved our Carbonara lunch here (yes, we did basically only eat pasta and pizza the entire trip - When in Rome!), and they had the most moreish fresh bread and salted butter! The restaurant has a very East London/New York vibe to it, and although the interiors were beautiful we chose to sit outside.

Suitably re-fueled, we continued on our way to Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica! We arrived at the perfect time - around 4pm, and as a Catholic I was very happy to catch the end of a mass there and the Vespers that followed. The light in the Basilica was just beautiful, and the time of day and Republic Day celebrations meant it was fairly empty, so I would definitely recommend visiting later in the day rather than the morning or midday! 

After another gelato stop we jumped in a taxi to the Trastevere neighbourhood, which is Rome’s trendy area full of cute little restaurants on cobblestone streets, and hip bars with locals sitting outside with their drinks. 

We wandered a while, and then decided that we were both quite exhausted and still a little full from lunch. So we got a taxi back to our apartment and popped to the nearby Carrefour supermarket to buy fruit and healthy snacks for dinner. We loved having the ability to pop to the supermarket whenever we wanted to buy meats, cheeses, and fruit! Our breakfast each morning consisted of yoghurt and banana, and cold meats, which we couldn’t have done without the fridge!

Day 4

Day four of our trip was another work day for me - it was brilliant having the apartment as it meant I had a great workspace with wifi! I loved working in the living room with the doors to the balcony thrown open, allowing the noise from the hustle and bustle below to keep me company.

But I wanted to tell you about two restaurants we went to as we loved them so much! For lunch we went to La Buvette, a restaurant I’d spotted a couple of days prior and exclaimed how incredible it looked. It certainly didn’t disappoint, and once again we enjoyed a huge moreish dish of pasta! We both chose the fresh truffle fettuccine and it was magical. 

After an afternoon of working some more, I closed my laptop and we headed toward the Trevi Fountain. Our final dinner was at Vineria il Chianti, another restaurant that came highly recommended, and once again we had a fabulous meal that didn’t disappoint. We sat outside in the courtyard, the scent of Jasmine filling the air, and devoured one last Roman pizza! For dessert we opted for gelato from Gelateria Della Palma, which has over 150 different flavours of gelato! I had peach and strachiatella which was truly delicious!

On our way back to our apartment we stumbled across this Saxophonist again...have you ever seen such a well-dressed street musician!? Only in Italy!

On our last morning we only had an hour or so before we had to leave for our flight, so after popping to nearby Ginger for breakfast, we naturally couldn’t leave Rome without one last gelato from Giolitti. And of course, a wander into a couple of beautiful churches...

We had the best girl’s weekend in Rome, and we absolutely adored the Hideaways Club Spanish Steps apartment - it made our trip so much less stressful and easier as it really did feel as though we were in a home-from-home! 

Find out more about The Hideaways Club HERE, and view some of their dreamy properties here!

Watch my Girl's Weekend in Rome Vlog here:

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