- Traveling during low season on a weekday was a great way to avoid the usual holiday crowds and long lines. We were also able to find great deals on flights and hotels.
- We stumbled upon (and subsequently have become obsessed with) the website Spotted by Locals during our research for this trip. It’s a fantastic resource for finding yummy eateries in new cities.
- Using public transportation instead of taxis whenever possible is lovely budget-wise, especially to/from the airport.
- Although I am a huge fan of Hop On Hop Off buses, they are not ideal for every city. After reading so many negative reviews, we decided to skip the HO/HO bus in Rome and get two 48-hour metro tickets instead, which worked out much better.
- I definitely recommend double, even triple, checking times when planning outings in Europe. For example, I really wanted to visit a particular chapel, but it was closed when I went. The hours of operation in Italy can be very random. I had a similar experience in Barcelona when I had a churro craving during siesta hours. *sigh* The more you know.
- Pastificio: TripAdvisor / Yelp / Spotted by Locals
We literally ran across the city to get in line at Pastificio for lunch. It was worth the run for a box of hot, fresh, Italian pasta for only 4 euros ! Read Quest for Authentic Italian Pasta for more details.
- Osteria St. Ana: TripAdvisor / Yelp / Zomato
Three words: Life. Changing. Lasagna. All other lasagnas shall be compared to (and probably fall short of) this epic entrée drenched in creamy truffle sauce. Osteria St. Ana was cozy and eclectic, which was the perfect setting for a romantic dinner date night in Rome. That being said, it the other room was completely packed with boisterous Italian men the night we went (on a Monday night), so I guess it’s also good for non-date night fun.
- Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè: TripAdvisor / Yelp / Spotted by Locals
Locals love it for a reason. The coffee was so good, we bought a couple of bags for our family back home.
- Antico Caffè Greco: TripAdvisor / Yelp / Virtual Tourist
This fabulous Belle Époque style cafe is the oldest cafe in Rome (1760) and was frequented by Buffalo Bill, Cassanova, Keats, Mendelssohn, and Hans Christian Anderson, amongst many others, back in the day. Are their coffees and treats overpriced? Is it perhaps a super touristy attraction? Guilty on both accounts. But think of it as paying a museum fee that comes with a coffee and sandwich (which were actually quite delicious), and it will feel like a much more reasonably-priced experience.
- Residenza Horti Luculliani: TripAdvisor
The location was incredibly convenient, and I got a great deal on Hotwire. In light of that, we did not mind climbing the nine flights of stairs up to our room because there was no elevator. We thought of it as a great way to burn off the pasta we ate earlier. We also did not mind how hard it was to find. We thought of it as a scavenger hunt with a warm bed as the grand prize. Overall, it was centrally located, the room was super cute (in a kitschy sort of way) and we got the Hermione room which as Harry Potter fans, made us squeal with delight.