We woke on our final day in Rome with slightly sore heads from the night before – plodded up to the breakfast area and sorted ourselves out with strong coffee, fruit & juices.
We hadn’t planned much for the final day, we just wanted to amble about and explore the city in our own time. Unfortunately the weekend we were there the Trevi Fountain was going under a big restoration, so there wasn’t much to see, but we headed down towards it, eager to explore the area. I’m sure that when the fountain is up and running it’s the most beautiful thing – unfortunately for us it was just a scaffolded square, heaving with tourists taking photos of the giant photo of the fountain that had been erected in front of all the scaffolding.
We moved swiftly through the crowds, picked up an ice-cream, fired up google maps and went in search of the Pantheon. The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus in 27 BC and then rebuilt by emperor Hadrian around 126 AD. It’s one of the best preserved building in all of Ancient Rome, and has been in continuous use throughout its history.
The interior is the real deal. It boasts a huge central opening, or oculus – which is completely open to the elements. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It’s a truly magnificent piece of architecture – I’m still blown away as to how these spaces were built so many thousands of years ago. If you are in Rome it’s a definite must-see.
One of the things I loved most about Rome (other than the food!) was how easy it was to get wonderfully lost, and end up in the most beautiful square or street. After admiring the Pantheon, we did just that. We took a turn somewhere and ended up in Piazza Navona. Another great people watching spot – we ducked into small café and ordered some cold beers. It did turn out to be a bit of a tourist trap and we ended up spending nearly €20 on two beers – the most expensive of the weekend – but well worth it if you fancy a break and to watch the world go by.
By this point we’d started getting peckish, and decided to head back over to our new favourite place, Trastevere for lunch. By the time we got down there, the place was already busy with lazy Sunday lunch goers. We put our name down on a waiting list and sat in the next door bar. I love the laid back, chilled lunch vibe places like Italy, Spain & Greece have. Being in the bustling city of Rome is no different. We lunched at I Vascellari. A quaint little restaurant on a quiet street. The food was nice, but didn’t blow us away. The antipasti & primi were delicious. R had a gorgeous garlic, chilli pasta for mains (which I forgot to take a picture of – bad blogger!) My vegetarian house lasagne was ok, but lacked in flavour. Loads of cheese though – so every cloud… We spent the afternoon chatting to another couple from London and before we knew it the sun was setting and we had to race off to get ready for dinner. We’d booked Ad Hoc for our final evening, with a truffle tasting course thrown in beforehand.We arrived at the restaurant and were told to pop next door to their truffle tasting room. Here you taste 8 different types of truffle, accompanied by a glass of bubbles – my absolute fave was the white truffle. Upstairs you go on to taste truffled honey (amazing!) and have the chance to buy a few pots to take home. I couldn’t leave without buying a jar of the white truffles – when I think of a recipe involving it I’ll let you know. We went on to have the tasting menu at Ad Hoc – well worth a visit if you’re in the area and want to treat yourself (menus are all on their website). I’d advise to book in advance, and say YES to the truffle tasting experience!
Completely stuffed, full of fizz and a tad exhausted we headed back to the hotel for a relatively early night before our return back to London.
It was all over too soon! Rome really is the most incredible city. As our first proper city break it was perfect. Loads to see – plenty for any culture-vulture to get their fix. So much food. So much lovely food and Prosecco (can you tell I enjoy fizz and food yet?) Surprisingly good value (we over budgeted for the trip and actually came back with some €). Wonderfully friendly people.
April may have been the perfect time to visit. It was warm but not boiling – I can imagine in the summer it would get HOT. It was also just outside of the main tourist season so the crowds (although large) were far less large than they will be over the summer months.
I couldn’t recommend it enough. Have you been? Are you planning to go? I’m 100% going to go back, so if there is something I must see next time, tell me!
Now where to next…..?