GO Rome students depart for Italy in just a matter of days! We are so excited to share a guest blog from Scott Heptonstall with Bus2Alps, one of our tour operators! Don’t miss these great tips as you prepare to embark on your Italian adventure.
So you’ve made it! You’ve arrived in Roma with only minor incidents occurring on your travels and may have (probably) already bumped into multiple beautiful Italian men or lady friends who will no doubt be the perfect specimens of the human form. That will happen a lot now that you are here.
Aside from these perfect humans, the Eternal City has endless other treasures to offer. Like an ambitious shepherd, I want to lead you away from the rest of the sheep and towards all of these undiscovered gems. So turn your sense of adventure up to 11 and pack a picnic because there is a whole city out there to discover…
1. Ponte Sisto
This bad-boy-bridge is about to get a lot more famous when the next James Bond movie hits the box offices; it’s going to be the bit where JB parachutes onto the bridge (JB stands for James Bond, not Jack Black, but I haven’t seen the movie yet so cannot be 100% sure). But this bridge is my favourite in Rome and possibly in the world. It’s always filled with musicians and street artists and leads onto Piazza Trilussa in which everyone hangs out with a supermarket beverage of choice and just chats. The vibe changes depending on the time and on the day but can range from the chill afternoon jazz vibes of that bloke with the red Fender stratocaster to a small Asian magician who comes along every odd day and does the same tricks but always dazzles. Oh and ‘dem views ‘doe. #isweardownnofilter
2. The River Bars
Still connected to the Ponte Sisto (you can see them in the above picture) are the summer river bars. Only there for a few months of the year, they are mostly riverside representatives of bars within the city. Yes, it is cheaper to go to the bars in town and if you are going down that route then head for Conad for brewskis. But this is an experience beyond beer. Italians are known for their social nature; they will chat with anyone. In fact, they will argue with anyone as well. They love a good argument but always in good humor, so if you are looking for the best place to indulge in that contest then head down over here. Oh and eh … good luck.
3. The view point at Gianicolo Hill
Alright, so you can climb the Vittoriano and see some stuff and there are some pretty cool views from the tall buildings in the centre of Rome. But for the most part, you can’t actually see the cool stuff because, well, you’re standing on it. So move your fine ass selves up to the top of the hill behind Trastevere. You can see all of Rome from up there and if you are there at sunrise / sunset, well your body clock is all off and you are nowhere near anything, but you will get THE best view of the city without a doubt. Check shirts and Nike shoes optional.
While this is in no way a hidden gem for Romans, you haven’t heard about it so I need to tell you about it. It’s the best gelateria in Rome. There, I’ve said it. It is also the oldest one and to describe it properly, I would use some sort of clouds in solid form analogy which is then laced with such flavour that it is almost insulting that my taste buds haven’t ventured this far before. Imagine that fruit and happiness had a baby and they decided to raise it in your mouth—that’s what you get.
5. That bar opposite Bir & Fud in Trastevere
So it doesn’t actually have a name (like all good places) and Bir & Fud is great for Beer & Food despite their clear lack of comprehension of the English language. But if you are looking for good craft beers then this is going to tickle your fancy like nothing else. I’m talking a spread of blond to red and constantly changing local beers. What’s more, these guys know what they are talking about and can help you out with what you want. If you are going for a night out on the town with tequila shots and loose morals then this is what you want to visit the day after. It’s cosy and non judgmental. It’s a safe haven for beer fans and hungover-ites.
6. The Abbey
I know, I know, it’s an Irish bar. And I would normally avoid Irish bars like the plague in any European city because it would be filled to the brim with sleazy expats and broken dreams. But this place has a charm about it. There are as many Italian as there are English speakers and the real reason everyone goes is the staff. They are all heroes in disguise. They will look after you and you can make the best of friends here. It honestly feels like a local pub despite the amount of people that are in there. While you are not going for the Italian experience, you are going for a great time with a lot of lovely locals.
7. The ancient art of aperitivo
This isn’t just a Roman thing but it is present throughout Italy. In layman’s terms, you buy one drink and get an unlimited amount of buffet food. I don’t get exactly how it works in terms of profit but take advantage of this while they haven’t caught on. I can recommend you hundreds of them in Rome—Freni e Frizioni, Fluid, T-bar, but honestly most bars around the city will do aperitivo for those who are worthy.
I know I am biased but we do live here and we know about all the best events in the city probably well before you do. Whether it’s turning the Colosseum green for St Patrick’s Day or getting involved in a trip to a Roma game / concert, it’s our job to help you make the most out of your time abroad. So just let us know when you need the experts.
This post also appears on the Bus2Alps blog.