It didn’t take Dave and I very long to decide that we wanted to go to Rome for at least part of our honeymoon. It is one of our favorite cities in the world, and it’s also where we have some of our earliest memories, so it meant a lot to us to spend our first week of marriage there. We love the cobblestone streets, the combination of urban hustle and leisurely café culture, the dinners that last late into the night, the cappuccinos, and the history around every corner. Especially for us as Catholics, there are few places in the world more breathtaking and awe-inspiring. We said over and over again that Rome was the perfect decision for us, and I’d love to share a few of our favorite experiences!
Since we’ve both been to Rome before, we didn’t feel pressured to do and see EVERYTHING during our week there. Instead, we got to revisit our favorite places, do lots of walking around and exploring without necessarily having a destination, and decide what we felt like doing at the beginning of every day. Some of my favorite moments on our honeymoon were the hours we spent sitting outside at cafés, splitting a bottle of wine, people watching, and just talking. It felt like we barely saw each other the week leading up to the wedding, so all we wanted to do was be together with no distractions, and that’s exactly what we got :)
We ate SO well in Rome, no surprise there! Our hotel (the Rome Times Hotel–highly recommend!) had complimentary breakfast, so we started each day there with cappuccinos, breads and meats for Dave, and cereal and fruit for me (so boring, I know–I was trying to save my calories for later!). After that, our typical day of meals included a quick lunch, an afternoon snack and bottle of wine, and a long, late dinner. We were blessed with beautiful weather every day we were in Rome, so we ate literally every meal but breakfast outside! A few of our favorite places:
Crisciotti al Boschetto: (near Republicca) This restaurant was recommended to us by the hotel concierge on our first night, when we were jet-lagged and just wanted good pasta somewhere super nearby. We loved it so much, we ended up going back on our last night as well! We sat under string lights in the garden both times–it was so cozy and romantic, and the food was fantastic. The bucatini all’amatriciana we both had on the first night is the meal I’ll always remember from our honeymoon, bookended by bruschetta and tiramisu. So good!
Peppone: (near Spagna) This restaurant was a little pricier, but well worth it for a great dinner. I had the cacio e pepe, which is one of my favorite Italian dishes, and it was delicious. We overheard the owner tell someone the restaurant has been in his family for 125 years, which we thought was really cool!
Ristorante Domiziano: (near Piazza Navona) One of my favorite pizzas we had in Rome! The restaurant is right around the corner from Piazza Navona.
Alice Pizza: (near St. Peter’s) This is one of Dave’s go-to spots every time he’s in Rome (our honeymoon was his seventh trip!). It’s right around the corner from St. Peter’s, and they sell pizza by the slice. They only take cash and the only seating is on the steps outside, but it’s a great spot for a quick, cheap, tasty lunch.
Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè: (near Piazza Navona) We loved this historic espresso shop–it’s been there since 1938, and the coffee was fantastic.
Er Buchetto: (near Termini): Dave stumbled upon this hole in the wall sandwich shop while he was researching restaurants, and it was another really great place to grab a quick, cheap, yummy lunch. Their specialty is pork sandwiches, and we took them to go on one of our busier days.
We went to St. Peter’s Square three times–it’s without a doubt our favorite place, and we couldn’t keep away! The first day was for Pope Francis’ General Audience, so we arrived at 7 in the morning. Anytime I’m traveling in a city, I love getting out early at least once–it’s amazing to see a place that is usually so crazy and busy totally quiet and still. The second time was to walk around St. Peter’s Basilica, pray at the tomb of Saint Pope John Paul II, and climb the cupola. I had never climbed the cupola before and I loved it–the view was unreal, and it was so cool to see St. Peter’s from a totally different perspective. Finally, the third time was for the Sunday Angelus right before we left Rome.
Another highlight of our week was the cooking class we took! We went to Cooking Classes in Rome because it had great reviews and was far less expensive than some other classes we had seen. Our instructor, Chef Andrea, had gathered all of the ingredients at the market that morning, and taught us all about how to select them and the roles they play in Roman cuisine specifically. We then got to work, and each person in the class did a different task to prep for one of the four courses we were going to make. Dave and I cleaned and chopped mushrooms :) Once all the prep work was done, the chef walked us through each step. We wanted to make the most of the opportunity, so we tried to volunteer to do things often, even if we were a bit out of our comfort zone! After about four hours, we had learned and had a hand in making all four courses: Roman-style artichokes as an appetizer, homemade cavatelli with fresh tomato sauce and basil for the pasta course, beef scallopine with mushrooms and fresh green peas for the entrée, and traditional tiramisu (our favorite!) for dessert. When everything was ready, we sat down at a big table with our class and ate it all! I can’t recommend the class highly enough–we had the best time, and we love that it was in a different area of Rome than we were familiar with (Trastevere), so we got to explore another part of the city.
Like many places in Europe, Rome can feel “too tourist-y” really quickly, but I think it’s important to remember that if you’re visiting all of the top tourist spots, chances are, you won’t be the only tourist there :) And that’s okay! We avoided some popular attractions that we had seen before and didn’t care to re-visit, but in other cases, we knew that what we would get to see was worth braving the crowds. For us, the places worth returning to were the Trevi Fountain (we were so sad it was under construction!), Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, St. John Lateran, the Vatican Museum (we didn’t go this trip, but highly recommend it), and of course, St. Peter’s. We balanced that time well with some more leisurely spots, like a long walk around Villa Borghese and hanging out on the steps of a museum near our hotel in the evenings.
This last picture is one of my favorites–it’s in the same spot where our first picture together ever was taken. I love that our first time in Rome, we were just meeting, and this time, we were there as husband and wife!
After a wonderful week in Rome, we packed our bags and hopped on the train to Lake Como! In my next honeymoon recap, I’ll be sharing some of the outfits I wore in both places (you can find my packing inspiration here and here), and then, I’ll share all about Lake Como. Get ready for some seriously beautiful scenery! :)