SATURDAY, AUGUST 13TH – 2.5 DAYS IN ROME
We took a 6AM flight from Split, Croatia to Rome, Italy and landed around 9AM and took a taxi to our Airbnb which was located near the Pantheon near the center of the city. We barely had sleep the night before and we laid down just for a minute before refreshing ourselves and starting our journey to the Vatican.
Vatican City is located across the river on the west side of Rome, but lucky for us there was a taxi stand next to the Pantheon which made our lives easier.
The Vatican & The Vatican Museum
Even driving through the narrow streets of Rome, the trip was relatively quick and we found ourselves on the outskirts of Vatican City in no time. Turning around the corner, we saw the end of what was already a massive line of people along the Vatican City walls and it was only 11AM. Luckily we purchased tickets in advance, so our line was significantly shorter, but we still were still surprised by the mass amounts of tourists already in the main check-in building.
We wished that we would have known there were options to visit the Vatican outside of the normal business hours. If there was one thing we wished we had done differently, it would have been that. Check out my post on the best way to visit the Vatican.
We assumed that the museum would limit the amount of people allowed in the building at the same time, and that house rules would prevent people from taking pictures of the artwork on display. This was NOT the case.
We had a ticket with a reservation at 11:30AM and it was like going to Times Square, it was wall-to-wall people, 100’s of tour groups each with 30 people (the ones who claim you “skip the lines”) who unfortunately lack respect for the rules. Being shoulder-to-shoulder with so many people in the galleries and hallways made it tough to move throughout the exhibits and sadly, very tough to enjoy the Vatican. And if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, you WILL be spending a few hours at the Vatican because like IKEA, you have to go through the entire museum just to see the chapel.
The worst were the tourists who had to get a selfie with everything; they were very unaware of where their selfie-sticks were pointing. In the end, the experience was so miserable that we walked as quickly through the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel as quickly as possible, and even that took us over 5 in-a-half hours.
Slightly annoyed about our experience and needing a break from the crowds, we walked a few blocks away from the Vatican and began searching for somewhere we could grab a drink. We found a cute little sidewalk cafe and ordered 2 Aperol spritzers and drank them slowly under a shaded umbrella, planning the rest of our evening. I had made it a goal of mine to try and eat as many truffles as possible while on the trip, so we found a few restaurants that looked promising, finished our drinks and decided to walk back towards the direction of our Airbnb.
We decided to walk the rest of the way home in order to take in the sights of the city, walking past the Castel Sant’Angelo and Corte Suprema di Cassazione. The walk along the water was beautiful and even though the day was hot you could feel the breeze coming from the water.
A few of the restaurants that had potentially had truffles on the menu were on the way back to the Airbnb, so we stopped by those spots to check out the menu. After looking at the menus for both La Campana and La Tavernetta 48, we decided that La Tavernetta 48 would be the place for our first meal.
We were pretty hungry from our walk and needed a snack to hold us over for dinnertime, so we looked up the highest-rated spot on TripAdvisor near our Airbnb and found La Locanda del Prosciutto. It was the perfect place to grab a quick snack and a glass of wine before a late dinner at Ristorante La Tavernetta 48. Check out my reviews of both restaurants below – I highly recommend visiting both if you are in Rome!
La Locanda del Prosciutto (Near the Pantheon)
Website / TripAdvisor
Walking into La Locanda del Prosciutto I noticed that the restaurant had clearly been around for a while. With wrought-iron gates at the entrance and exposed brick from another century, it was the quintessential Italian charcuterie restaurant. The waitress led us down a spiral staircase to the small basement where about 8 low and high-top tables were spread throughout the room. Overhead, entire legs of pork and other cured meats were hanging from the rafters by chains. We knew we had hit gold. The waiter came over and made a recommendation for a light white wine given how hot it was outside that day. We ordered what was supposed to be the small charcuterie plate and the portion that came out was massive. It was a lot more food than we had expected for our pre-dinner snack, but we definitely got our money’s worth.
Ristorante La Tavernetta 48 (Near the Pantheon)
Website / TripAdvisor
This was THE BEST PASTA WE HAD OUR ENTIRE TRIP. My only regret going here for our first dinner was that every meal following had high expectations to live up to. The whole dining experience was perfect, from the complimentary soup at the beginning of the meal to an additional complementary lemon cello digestif. Our waitress was outstanding, she was extremely friendly and provided great recommendations on which wine and main dishes to order. The truffle pasta was the BEST we had all trip, it had a healthy serving of shaved black truffles overly a perfectly creamy pasta. If I was going to recommend one place to visit while in Rome, it would be La Tavernetta 48.
The truffle pasta is out-of-this-world amazing!