7 Things You Must See, Do and Eat in Rome

My birthday is normally marked with a little getaway and this year, that getaway was to Rome. The beautiful city is a wonderful place to explore and Italians are just so lovely, that it's hard not to love it. Time after time, we were astounded by the generosity and just how much they went above and beyond to accommodate us. We were a little unlucky with the weather, it was rainy and cold, but the blue sky came out for my birthday so all was not lost and we still enjoyed this city immensely. With that being said, I have listed my top 7 things that I am glad I did, from vegan meals to touristy things, whilst on my holiday in Rome.

Pizza
There's no point going to Italy and not taking advantage of how good the pizza is. I mean, the tomatoes over there even made me like tomatoes, that says it all really. We didn't try nearly enough pizza places, as most were very touristy and not the authentic ones we were looking for. The image above shows a vegan pizza from Rifugio Romano. I found the restaurant on Happy Cow and loved how they had a whole vegan selection on their menu, always a joy to see this. The place is easy to walk to from the capital of Rome and the staff were very friendly and helpful and the price was pretty good, at around 10 euros per pizza.

However, the pizza was mediocre compared to what we tried in Monti, at Trieste Pizza, a family-owned eatery that specialises in pizzettes aka mini pizzas. We tried this eatery on my birthday and it was beautiful. I didn't take a picture, as I was too busy scoffing my face but it was really good. The place is full of character, especially the fella that served us. He spoke broken English and told us of the history behind the eatery. I had my pizzette with olives, tomatoes and peppers, it was great, the dough and the sauce were just so tasty, and the portion also makes it a great starter or if you want to try out two different pizzas then this perfect. But Trieste is a eat and go kinda place, so if you're looking for a good sit down meal then Rifugio Romano (RR) would be better suited but I could only halfheartedly recommend RR, especially as I saw they had Indian chefs.

Chocolate
Italians also know their chocolate and boy, do they do it well. Even their dark chocolate is beautiful and well worth grabbing when in a supermarket. I particularly love Nocciato Fondente Novi, which is a dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts. I actually discovered it in Marks and Spencers but it's around a pound cheaper in Italy and the bargain hunter in me couldn't resist. Worth seeking out when in M and S or a supermarket in Italy.

If you're seeking something a little different and decadent then Grezzo Raw Chocolate is a great place to visit. As everything is raw, it's all vegan, everything from their truffles, gelato, hot chocolate and even their desserts. I brought a box of their chocolates home and I am so glad I did, they are beautiful. I also tried one of their desserts and again, it was a pleasure. It's also a great place to relax and get away from all of the tourists. Seek it out and you won't go wrong!

Healthy Foods
It's so easy on holiday to go a little crazy but whenever I do that, my IBS goes crazy so it's nice to take a little break from gelato and pizza and have something a little healthier. The eateries that I found do this really well, are Aromaticus and Vero. I loved everything I tried at Aromaticus, which was the Power Bowl, Jackfruit Burger and Veggie Meatballs with Aubergine Chutney. Tasty, flavoursome and great service too. I unfortunately found an ant crawling in my salad but the manager quickly rectified this. They mean it when they say organic! So just double check your salad. The place is so relaxed, they sell plants too so you're surrounded by greenery, very bright, and it's full of Italians, not just tourists. Authentic for real. The place is not fully vegan but everything is clearly labelled on their menu.

Vero reminded me so much of Pret. It's bright, airy, fresh and has some lovely vegan options. They had the most intriguing combos, such as what I tried, which was the veggie meatballs, red rice, spicy mushrooms, half a potato and a sauce that went well with everything. So weird but so good, like me haha. Plus their juices were lovely. A great lunch place that has all the Italians running to on their lunch break.

Ice Cream
Gelato is something that is sent from the Roman Gods. Creamy, decadent and so full of flavour. My favourite place was Wonderful Ice Cream. There were two of these places near my hotel. One had soya milk based ice-creams and the other had rice milk based ice-creams. Both had fruit based gelatos, which were also beautiful. I highly recommend the soy milk based ice-creams, they are just so creamy and beautiful. The rice milk ones were watery in comparison and lacked that depth of flavour. They also had vegan cones, which were clearly labelled. Love it when everything is so clearly labelled and staff know what is exactly vegan and what is not.

Coffee
I fell in love with Italian coffee, they are just so creamy and smooth, especially soy lattes and cappuccinos. The soya milk over there even tastes better. So I highly recommend having coffee at any and every opportunity whilst in Rome. Italian tap water tastes really good so I think this is why their coffee tastes so good. Yep, I love Italy. Can you tell? Everywhere had good coffee, including my hotel but El Barreto was the best place overall for coffee, as it was also presented so nicely although mine  (right) seems to looks slightly phallic or is that just me?

Rome Times Hotel
It always takes me so long to pick out a hotel but Rome Times Hotel was the ideal pick for my mum and I. The central location made it easy for us to walk to everywhere from, there were vegan options at breakfast, the staff were attentive and so accommodating and the room had everything we needed, including a comfy bed and great shower. I highly recommend this place if you're looking on going to Rome soon.

Food items to look out for
Whilst in tourist places such as Pompeii, Termini Station and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, it was hard to find vegan options but the Mediterranean Sandwich on the left of the image above was a great option. Expensive, yes but when it's the only option it's not bad at all. The vegan croissants in Italy are also great, especially when they are stuffed with apricot jam, so yummy and so good. I highly recommend trying them out whenever you can. Why can't we get them like that in the UK?

Special Mentions
Whilst in Rome, I am also glad we did the Red Tourist Bus, as it allowed us to see everything that makes this city great. Also, I would ensure that you walk everywhere, as it allowed us to discover so many new places. Go and see the Colosseum and Roman Forum too, it can be depressing but it's vastness is something that should be seen. Pompeii was also an amazing site to see, especially Mount Vesuvius. My favourite of the tourist spots was the Trevi Fountain, what an absolute beauty! Make sure you see that over everything else and have that selfie stick ready!

Overall, this is a great city and the 5 days that we had there allowed us to discover a lot of the city. I think 7 days would be an even better way to explore this city. Everyone go to Rome and explore!

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