Any resident of Canada will tell you that travelling is a hassle. It’s far! Really far! Hop on a plane for 5 hours and guess what – chances are, you’ll still be in Canada! With that being said, one of the most convenient things about being based in Dubai is its proximity to so many places (most of which you can get to for a ridiculously cheap price).
If you’ve been following my instagram or snapchat, you probably already know that I spent the long weekend in Rome with my cousins. Being the explorers we are, we managed to get through every single notable sightseeing attraction; but naturally (for our family at least), we managed to explore the local side of things as well. For those of you who have asked for a list, here goes!
- Trastevere: You know you’re in the right place when you’re the only tourists around. This quaint little area is a bit of a walk if you’re staying near the Vatican; but don’t hop in a cab! Much of Italy’s charm is wandering down an unknown street or alley, and Trastevere is the gift that keeps on giving. Family run restaurants, gelaterias, bookstores, art galleries, and bars with spectacular happy hour specials. Recommendation: Have dinner under the vine branches on the patio of Il Ponentino. Really delicious food and beyond fair pricing.
- Ponte: If you are in the mood for authentically local with a dash of fancy then you’re in luck. There are two sides of Ponte: 1) the side you see as a tourist walking down the street; and 2) the secret hidden gem side that locals will tell you about if they like you. Both sides are amazing, but the latter is nothing short of spectacular. Recommendation: Go to the Jerry Thomas Project for delicious (and really really strong – I discovered that the hard way) cocktails. All the drinks are beautifully presented by an equally stunning staff – creep the “manbunmonday” instagram account for examples.
- Piazza del Catalone: This area seems like a miss since it’s just east of Vatican City and as a result is quite touristy in the day; however, it is completely different at night when the restaurants actually worth experiencing are filled with locals and laughter and lots and lots of wine. Recommendation: Make a reservation at Osteria Nuvolari. Then make a reservation for the day after as well. I am unable to find words suitable to describe this place. Just trust me on this (and let me know when you’ve made the reservations for because I will likely fly in for that). Also worth mentioning (for my gelato lovers) is Sweetness & Co. Try their secret flavour and thank me later!
Now for the really intense touristy must-sees…
- St. Peter’s Cathedral: The view from the top is worth the steep 500+ steps that get you there.
- The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Pay for the tour and bypass all the lines. It makes it way more enjoyable and you will see some of the most famous pieces of art in the history of humankind.
- Trevi Fountain: Almost impossible to find. Pay for data roaming and use your google maps or ask more than one local to point you in the right direction.
- Pantheon: Not the most colourful experience but definitely one of the most interesting in terms of structure and design.
- Spanish Steps: After a long day of exploring, reward yourself with wine at one of the rooftop restaurants, followed by shopping at some of the best designer boutiques in Rome.
- Piazza Navona: The restaurants and bars are super busy and filled primarily with tourists. But its worth strolling through to see the fountains and street performers.
- Coliseum: Stunning from the outside, less stunning on the inside but still very very cool.
- Roman Forum: The ruins of the Forum will give you the most legitimate feel for ancient Rome. There are small museums throughout; amazing lookout points; and Julius Caesar’s grave.
Till next time! xo