City Guide: Rome & Vatican City

A December adventure in spectacular Rome, a guide on what to see and where to eat.

We like to do an annual German Christmas Market break (which has extended far beyond Germany in recent years) and for December 2014 Rome seemed like a great option, plus we'd never been to Italian city together.

Frustratingly, we were delayed by 3 or so hours but our amazing Airbnb host Vanni stayed up til almost midnight to enthusiastically greet us and demonstrate how to make a Caffé Latte from scratch.

There were a ton of breakfast goodies waiting for us in his cupboards and some chocolatey treats too. This was for sure the best Airbnb experience we'd ever had to date...and we hadn't even seen Rome yet!

So before we begin here's a sneak peak into the comforts that greeted us upon our arrival. I didn't take many photos of the place, so I pinched the photos from Vanni's Airbnb listing.

Rome was huge, and for some reason we decided to walk everywhere! So first thing in the morning we set off aiming for Trevi Fountain, and then we'd sightsee around the Pantheon. Disappointingly, the Trevi Fountain was closed, it's been undergoing a year long restoration and set to be complete in the Autumn 2015. We didn't mind too much though, after all, there's a hell of a lot more to see in this city!

When we finally got to explore, it felt less like Christmas and more like summer, with temperatures in the 20s. So our thoughts of Christmas markets were soon forgotten about which turned out was a good thing too, because they didn't really do Christmas like the Germans. Realistically though, that was a relief because there was too much city to explore in such little time, that a Christmas market or two would have certainly slowed us down!

The Colosseum

We then thought it was time to check out the Colosseum. I've seen so many pictures of it, I thought it would be situated in between ordinary Italian streets. I knew Rome had a lot of history, but I really wasn't expecting the sheer scale of history surrounding it. I remember turning a corner and suddenly seeing the Colosseum in the distance, it was breathtaking.

Roman Forum

And then there was the Roman Forum. A vast excavated area of Roman temples, squares and government buildings, some dating back 2,000 years. You buy a ticket for the Colosseum and it's valid for two days for a visit to both sites. There was so much history here, I really couldn't keep up. All I know is, it was incredible. Plus there's a great platform for viewing the Colosseum where you can get amazing photos. Don't miss it!


One of the most ancient districts in Rome, and we could have missed it too, if it was't for our host Vanni's recommendation. It was our favourite place to go to eat & drink in Rome day & night. Lively, loud and full of locals. You know you're in the right place when there are fewer tourists around.

In monti we stumbled upon a great little restaurant called Scuié Scuié that we were lucky to get a seat at. It isn't much to look at and you could easily walk past it. It seemed to be a popular spot for the locals. After we sat down, we saw about ten groups turned away, so we were pleased to be the last in for that evening and we knew it was going to be good. The perfect place for an evening of wine and pasta!

Vatican City

The sun was soon to set, and we had been tipped off that you can't miss sunset over Vatican City. So we set off on the banks of the Tiber towards the Castel Sant'Angelo. It started off as a stroll, but we actually ended up running because we were worried the sun would set before we made it.

As our adventure came to an end we were sad to say goodbye. We made an off the beaten path trip to the Crypt of Capuchins, a museum with a difference. The walls and ceiling are adorned with human bones.  We then spent our last evening around the Colosseum's massive Christmas tree.

We were in awe of Rome and cannot wait to return. Hopefully next time, we'll be able to see the Trevi Fountain!

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