Rome is one of those cities, like many places in the world, where you could spend weeks visiting and still want to experience more. We only stayed a week, but we were determined to do as much exploring as we could. From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain to the Vatican, there are so many historical and amazing things to see. We decided to choose one or two major places a day to leave room for “rome’ing” in between.
In order to see as much as we could (and to burn calories to make up for all the Italian food we consumed), we decided to go everywhere by foot and not take public transportation or use Uber. This turned out to be an awesome decision because we made so many memories walking on the streets that we wouldn’t trade for the world. The first day we set out with our map to find the Trevi Fountain followed by the Colosseum. It is safe to say we took a few wrong terms here and there, but that ended up being the best part because we found streets and neighborhoods with such character that we would have never thought to go to otherwise. We had so much fun walking around exploring that we ended up all the way in Trastevere (the town across the river that was on the other side of the city from where we were staying) on the first day. Trastevere ended up being our favorite area because it was full of quaint shops, restaurants, and neighborhoods; we went back every day.
From traveling around on foot, we quickly discovered that one street near our Hostel was the street that we always needed to start on to get where we needed to go: Nazionale. It is a huge busy street that we learned to love and hate, as it provided us with a few monumental and hilarious memories we will never forget … memories that we never would have had if we didn’t travel everywhere by foot (ask me in person if you want to hear them!). Another place that we ended up running into at least a couple times per day was Il Vittoriano monument, aka “The Wedding Cake.” It is located in such a central part of Rome, so we should have expected to run into it as much as we did. However, every time we turned the corner and saw the monument we were surprised, so it started to become an ongoing joke as well as a way to help us navigate where we were heading.
Another fun perk of traveling by foot was making use of drinking wine on the streets. In most places in the US, it is illegal to drink alcohol or have open containers in public. However, that is not the case in Rome. It felt like every other store we walked by sold wine, so we definitely took advantage. If we made dinner plans in Trastevere or other areas that required quite a bit of walking to get there, we would buy a cheap bottle and drink it on the way as a pre-dinner cocktail.
Our favorite part of traveling by foot (and what turned out to be what we call “the best decision we’ve ever made,”) was learning our way around well enough to rent a Vespa towards the end of our trip. This is something that we really wanted to do, but we brushed off the idea because we thought it would either be too expensive, too hard to navigate while driving, or unsafe because we didn’t really have much experience driving the Vespas. However, when we started to be able to navigate our way around the city without using the map, we decided to look into renting a Vespa. It ended up being unbelievably cheap and not hard to drive at all. We rented it for 24 hours and had the time of our lives experiencing the city traveling like the locals do. We revisited all of our favorite areas and saw new places exploring by scooter. If I could recommend one thing, I would absolutely suggest exploring Rome by Vespa.
All in all, we were so glad that we explored by foot and scooter because we really got to know the city in a different way. There is definitely more that we want to do in Rome, but now we know that wherever we travel next, we will absolutely be exploring by foot.