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I didn’t know it, of course, but I’d arrive in Rome in October 2008 an un-engaged lady and leave a few days later having been proposed to in a cobblestone Italian street close to midnight. (By Sean, I should add. You know, in case that wasn’t clear.) Before we left on what turned out to be the most eventful trip we’d ever taken together---see again: unexpected diamond on finger!—we asked for advice on what we should see and do there. While the list below is excellent and contains many great suggestions, I’d also like to add Pettinary Village B &B, where we stayed---it’s not really a B&B, more a charming studio apartment in the center of Rome with a gorgeous little balcony, incredibly friendly owners, and a surprisingly satisfactory price tag---and a restaurant called Da Francesco, where I had what is probably still the absolute best meal of my life. It was so good, in fact, that it compelled Sean to propose while we were strolling home afterwards. That’s some good tiramisu right there.

36 Reader Suggestions

jenB says:

How many points for being smokin' hot n' sexy?

Nothing But Bonfires says:

Aw man, the creepily awesome apartment is not available for our dates. I've never been so disappointed in my life. WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO BE IN ROME FROM OCTOBER 11th-14th? Do they GIVE AWAY the mozzarella then or something?

Jen says:

YAY! We went to Rome 2 years ago (before we started The Baby Making Extravaganza of 2006) and it was just amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat. I'm so jealous!!

Sheila says:

Ahh... Roma. It was all romance and beauty for me. I seriously did not see ONE unattractive person the entire time I was in Italy. Babies, twentysomethings, the elderly-- they are all STUNNING there. I wholeheartedly support the travel decision. Once again, I find myself living vicariously through you (and I mean that in the least creepy way possible. If that's possible). Can't wait for the planning updates!

Marcheline says:

I'm not going to tell you how long I stared at the screen, scratching my head and thinking "Butter service? What the hell is butter service?"

I need sleep.

- M

Mom on the Run says:

Rome is a wonderful city. Must dos---ice cream...possibly the best I have ever eaten...real chocolate and vanilla bean. --Stand with one foot in Vatican and one foot in Rome. --Attend mass at St. Peter's...someone got us tickets to Good Friday mass. Pope John Paul II passed within 10 feet of me.

Driving in Rome is insane...everyone drives fast.

I was last in Rome as a teenager. My dad had a business trip and we stayed at the Cavalieri Hilton...possibly the swankiest hotel I have ever stayed at.

casacaudill says:

I just found your blog today - all the decor and BlogHer talk led me here. Having been to both Rome & Paris in the last two years, I'm excited to see you chose Rome as it's really the funner of the two. We used a site called Romeby.com to find our lodgings for 5 nights while there. It wasn't the most luxurious place, but it was pretty nice and the location was great and it was only 139 euro/night so I was very excited.

Nothing But Bonfires says:

Butter service sounds FANTASTIC. I would also like bacon service.

Kristabella says:

I have never been to Rome, so I have no suggestions.

But I am a hundred kinds of jealous!

barbie2be says:

yay! ROME!!!!

we stayed at the hotel scott house http://www.scotthouse.com/ it's right near termini but very quiet and safe. there were two of us, but my friend booked us a quad. we ended up with what they call the penthouse. it is the only room on the rooftop, so it is completely private and it has a beautiful patio. it was only about 88 euros per night. :) you would love it!!!! it's right down the street from santa maria maggiore basillica where bernini is buried!

Sanguine Spice says:

Hooray! My favorite city in Europe. If you want a lovely Sunday brunch or great aptertifs before heading out totally check out Salotto 42. You will also want to redecorate your bathroom slash entire house in homage to their aesthetic! Sooooo sToKEd for you guys! Woohoo!

HouseofJules says:

YAY for Rome! If you plan to go to the Sistine Chapel to see The Creation of Adam, e-mail me. I have a cautionary tale that would be most helpful. TRUST ME, you're gonna want this information.

That apartment you linked to DOES look creepily awesome. Very exciting!
Jules
House of Jules

Marguerite says:

ROME! Oh, how I envy you, I do have a great hotel reccomandation somewhere, and will try to dig it out if you want.
There is a fabulous gallery that you must check out if you have time to do contemporary art with all the vestiges of past times at the ready: it's called Lorcan O Neill (http://www.lorcanoneill.com).
And also, I am glad to see I am not the only one still counting days to big events (15 to my vacation in South of France, YAY!)!

Sher says:

You'll love Rome. If you're planning on visiting the vatican at all just make sure you follow the dress code as the 'bouncers' take their job very seriously.

aBd libbing says:

Hurray for Rome! I was one of those people who thought Paris made sense for practicality's sake, but it's awesome that you've picked the place you really want to visit. Good luck with accommodation; when I was there with my family we stayed in an awesome, huge two-bedroom apartment, but I'm guessing that would be out of your budget.

Raven says:

How exciting! I've always wanted to go to Rome!

Suzy in DC says:

Yay for Roma!! You will love it. You will also start to notice as you look for hotels that the bathrooms are out-of-control NICE. They are very into marble there, and normally they are also very spacious, even in a small/inexpensive hotel/apt/B&B. Have so much fun eating and drinking!

Tressa says:

The apartment you linked to is in a fantastic neighborhood. It's centrally located to all the great sights, but there are many wonderful yet inexpensive restaurants as well. We stayed closer to the Vatican but seemed to end up in Piazza Navona every night for dinner because we loved it so much!

B says:

Holly - my husband and I were just there in May to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary! I confess that my heart belonged to Positano, but we liked Rome as well - we did 2 nights at the beginning of our trip and one at the end.

First two nights, we stayed here: http://www.hotelcapodafrica.com/ Super cute, actually a pretty good deal for Rome, and couldn't be easier for all the Ancient Rome sites (which were my big priority). Don't regret staying there b/c it was so convenient but if I had to do it over again, DEFINITELY would stay near the Piazza Navona - we thought it was the cutest, most "Roman" area of Rome.

The last night we stayed on the Spanish Steps - eh. Wasn't that into that location. It's all high end shopping, which is great if you're in the market for Gucci, but us ... not so much.

If you want to go to the Vatican, I *highly* recommend forking over the cash to one of the tour agencies which can get you past the line. Seriously, the line is CRAZY (as are the crowds inside, fwiw). We opted for the cheapest option, which was to skip the line but not take a tour. We used these people and all went well: http://www.prestotours.com/index.html

Also, if you are planning to go to St Peters after the Sistine Chapel, take the "tour group only" exit to your RIGHT at the back of the Chapel. You may throw off the count of some cruise directors, but the guards could care less and you will save yourself another 30-40 minutes in line.

Email me if you have any other questions!

Kirsten says:

I used this company (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/) to find a great studio apartment in London right off of Fleet Street on New Fetter Lane for $100 a night. It was a great apartment with a washer, kitchen, couch and bed in a fantastic neighborhood.

There are currently 340 apartments available for Rome.

Have fun!

Em says:

Oh, I am SO jealous! And that apartment looks wicked cool. Plus, I noticed it offered the opportunity for hunting nearby...which is awesome, you know, because who WOULDN'T want to go hunting...when in Rome? :)

MetroDad says:

Sacre bleu! I can't believe you're not going to Paris. Zoot alors.

Anyway, you can't go wrong with either decision. I love Italy too and have logged a lot of time there. I've only been to Rome 3-4 times. However, whenever I'm there, I make sure to take time and grab some pizza at Da Baffetto. It's near Piazza Navona. Everyone knows it. The place is kind of an institution in Italy and their reputation is well-deserved. Great place to sit outside, eat a slice, and people watch. You'll love it. Have I ever steered you wrong?

Meanwhile, I'm laughing my ass off that you think Heathrow is hell. You haven't seen hell until you've been to Fiumicino Airport. They must lose more bags per capita than any other airport in the world. It's almost comical. I once flew there on my way to a ski vacation in Cortina. Guess what? They LOST my fucking skis!

If you can do carry-on, do it. Also, when you're leaving Rome, make sure you get to the airport 2 hours in advance. Getting through Customs and Immigration at that airport can take forever.

Buone vacanze!

Lawyerish says:

Rome. Oh, how I love Rome. You definitely made the right choice.

Every time I've gone, I've stayed near the Pantheon, and the location does not get any better than that. You can walk EVERYWHERE. I believe the names of the hotels I've stayed at were the Albergo Abruzzi (which used to be, ah, very bare-bones, to put it mildly, but recently it was renovated and is now much more expensive so I assume it's pretty cushy, and in any event the rooms LOOK OUT AT THE PANTHEON) and the Hotel Pantheon (innovative name! it was very cute and very nice and again, in the middle of the action), and now I can't remember the name of the third place I stayed in that area, but it wasn't all that great so never mind.

DiaryofWhy says:

Anytime balsamic vinegar is listed as one of the hotel's amenities, I think you pretty much have to stay there. Also, autonomous heating! Autonomous heating!! It kind of makes me want to cheer.

Maryann says:

Yea Rome! I haven't been back there since the late 80s when I lived there for six months during a study abroad program, but I've been dying to take my husband there some day. Even though a diet Coke costs about $3 a can - warm - where else can you wander around and constantly bump into historical monuments and order pizza by weight! The food and wine in your future are making me so jealous! The apartment looks adorable (except maybe for that giant portrait which seems to be all nose). Great decision.

hannah says:

Hi Holly,

I've been reading your site for awhile now and am commenting for the first time because, well, ROME!

I went last October with my father and we had an amazing time until our flight home was delayed for 13 hours. May you have better luck.

I wanted to pass along a hotel recommendation. We stayed at the Hotel Modigliani and really enjoyed our stay there. The hotel staff are extremely friendly and it's just a couple of minutes from the Spanish Steps. http://www.hotelmodigliani.com/

Also, our favorite restaurant is not far from there. With all of the amazing food in Rome (which, truth be told, is why we went), we ate there twice! It's called Sora Lucia and is a quaint, homestyle, place run by a mother and her son. This is the best link I could find: http://www.hoteljulia.it/sora_lucia.htm

Enjoy your trip!

Moose says:

I love Rome, but I can't think about Rome. For much the same reason I can't venture into the Mission for delicious, delicious burritos.

Just be warned that once you've seen the Sistine Chapel, THERE IS NO GOING BACK. They will herd you out of the Vatican like cattle. So see anything else you want to see before venturing in.

Also: the croissants and coffee are AMAZING. Think of me while you enjoy your breakfast. :)

Nothing But Bonfires says:

You guys, these suggestions are amazing, and I love the enthusiasm with which they're given. Thank you! Right now, I have a crush on the whole Internet.

Dianna says:

You will have a great time there. My favorite thing was the Colliseum (can't spell). The only downfall was no elevators and steep stairs at the hotel. Evidently I brought too much luggage!

Elizabeth says:

How exciting! I can't wait to hear all about it.
But I am still planning my own someday trip to Paris. :)

kat says:

roma! oh how i miss living there. if i can give you a tip about gelato b/c that's UBER important. old bridge gelato which is right near vatican city/st. peter's. i'm assuming and praying it's still there. it's on via del bastioni di michaelangelo, 5. it's fantastic. and they pile on the gelato - you can definitely choose more than one flavor, 3 in fact! mmmmmm. nothing says a cool way to cool off like gelato. the other best way to cool off is to duck inside a church. :)

Anne & May says:

My favorite part about Rome has to be the coffee bars. Emphasis on the word bars. Romans like to walk in, saddle up to the bar, say the Italian equivalent of "HIT ME!", then the barista slides them a shot of espresso, they knock it back in one gulp, and leave a few coins on the counter.

And they do this ALL DAY!

Also, be prepared it is a labyrinth. I often felt I was trapped in a maze.

danielle Bishop says:

Um, wow. That sounds amazing.

I, too, voted for Paris for logical reasons. But you're right: you can't ignore caps and that many exclamation marks!

The apartment looks awesome, even in its creepiness.

Rhi says:

That apartment is THE AWESOME.

Yay! Rome!

Jordyn says:

YAY FOR ROME!!! *sigh* I'm envious of your traveling. But I hope you guys have oodles of awesome in ROME ROME ROME!!!

Katherine says:

I'm just the sort of tourist to exclaim, "It sounds so much better here than it did in Fort Worth!" Next time I'll be a little more cognizant of the situation instead of so enamored.