Italy: Rome

Before traveling to Rome, my knowledge of the city came from history classes, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and google.  I imagined the street littered with scooters and the sounds of Italian swears filling the air, surely some linen table cloths filled with plate after plate of pizza and spaghetti and bruschetta and olive oil.

My friends who had first-hand Roman experience instructed that I prepare for the best food of my life. Okay, duh, I thought. It's Rome. But I get it now. It's not just good. It's "how the hell did they get this to taste like this/I am going to bury myself in this pizza sauce and sleep inside it like an Italian thumbelina" kind of good. The spaghetti! The olive oil! The buffalo mozzarella comes from a real buffalo! It's stringy and salty and tastes like a savory cloud. 

Now that I've been, I can say that Rome is one big party. It's loud, beautiful, full of outgoing people, free wine (not really free but so cheap it practically is), delicious, and someone is always drunk and asking for bucatini. 

I recommend... 

Vecchia Locanda // A dinner restaurant located on a beautiful side street, away from the tourists and with ceiling of stars and laundry lines. Best ravioli ever. 

Sant'Eustachio Il Caffé // An espresso bar with the best coffee in Rome. The cappuccinos are creamy and thick, and they serve the caffe freddos (ice coffee) in shaved ice form, nestled in between two fat dollops of whipped cream, parfait style. 

The Colosseum / The Forum // These two outdoor explorations are nestled right next to one another, so you can knock out both before lunch if you go early and bring a water bottle. The Forum is long and sprawling, and wandering it's paths made me like a little goddess chasing a lamb. 

Gelateria Della Palma // 150 flavors of gelato!!!!!! Make any flavor combination your heart desires come true.  Highly recommend merengue+dark chocolate OR raspberry+lemon OR straccittella+mint chocolate chip. 

Dar Poeta // Casual and delicious pizza place packed with the younger crowd. Imagine sipping the house wine out of a juice cup and tearing off fat slices of some of the most epic pizza I've ever tasted. They don't slice their pizza in Italy, so you're left to pull off the pieces like a ravenous 11-year-old girl at a sleepover. 

St. Peter's Basilica // Even if you are not religious or catholic, this place is breathtaking. The art is fantastic. The way the light shines in, the aura of peace...! Oh! And if you are like my dad and uncle, there are beer trucks right outside.

Da Francesco // My FAVORITE restaurant in Rome! When we arrived, there were men outside playing chess and drinking beer. Inside it's cramped and cozy, so you're guaranteed conversation with the students traveling from barcelona at the table next you. Go with friends, because it's impossible to decide between the pasta and pizza, and you really should get both. (linguine with clams, bologonese, any pizza with mozzarella, grilled veggies!!!!!!)

The Spanish Steps // Offer a beautiful view of the city and you can get blackmarket Ray Bans.

More on the way! Florence and San Gimignano! Until then - I wrote a thing for Saveur on peaches, and my bff, Alex Testere, did the lovely illustration. We both hail from VA and love our summer stonefruit. 

- Stay cozy