Out of all the Italian cities I’ve visited, Rome is my favorite. It’s so rich in history and no matter where you look, there are beautiful sights to see and things to do. From where my husband and I lived, Rome was a short train ride away, and it was the first city we were able to explore together given his hectic basketball schedule. It’s also were we celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Rome is an excellent city for a romantic getaway or a girls trip and I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t enjoy seeing the sights that we see in movies and hear about in the history books. Here are my picks for where to stay, dine, shop, and play in Italy’s capital city:

Stay: In Rome, I’ve stayed at both the St. Regis and the Westin Excelsior. While both hotels are very nice and centrally enough located to reach shopping, dining, and sightseeing by foot, the St. Regis was my favorite (and has a FABULOUS breakfast and spa).

stregis

Dine: There’s nothing like Italian food in Italy! While, in my opinion, the best food is in Florence, the food in Rome did not disappoint! It’s easy to find delicious gelato, fabulous pizza, and exquisite pasta at any corner cafe in Rome. My favorites for something a little out of the ordinary are as follows:

  • Ristorante Sardegna –  The brunch at Ristorante Sardegna featured bottomless Prosecco and the buffet style brunch selections included delicious breakfast items, an array of fresh seafood, beef tenderloin, and of course, salamis and prosciuttos.

    Source: The Fork It

    Source: The Fork It

  • Ginger – Located in the center of Rome’s premier shopping area, Ginger is a casual restaurant perfect for lunch if you’re in the mood for a great salad or sandwich. My favorite thing about this restaurant is that they make fresh squeezed juices and smoothies to order. My husband and I both LOVE the San Diego smoothie (a pineapple, papaya, and mint smoothie said to burn fat and improve metabolism) to fuel us through the day.

    Source: Spotted by locals

    Source: Spotted by locals

  • Glass Hostaria – My husband and I celebrated our 6-month wedding anniversary at Glass Hostaria and it’s a meal I’ll never forget. The food was phenomenal and the ambiance was perfect for the occasion. The ultra-modern but still cozy restaurant by head chef Cristina Bowerman is on almost every list of “best restaurants in Rome” you can find and the lamb is exquisite.

    Source: Via Michelin

    Source: Via Michelin

Shop: I love shopping in Rome! Although it usually comes second to sightseeing, the city holds its own among the other Italian cities and there’s no shortage of boutiques to visit. Located near the infamous Spanish Steps, Via Condotti and the adjacent streets are the main streets for luxury brands such as Chanel, Burberry, Christian Louboutin, Hermes and Louis Vuitton (you name it, they have it) while street fashion brands such as Zara and H&M can be found on Via del Corso, a short walk away. When in Rome, be sure to visit the Valentino flagship boutique. The brand, which is one of my favorites, was established in Rome, so the boutique is one you don’t want to miss.

Play: I have never seen a city more beautiful and rich in history than Rome and there’s nothing like taking in all that history and beauty with someone you love. Although I usually opt for organized tours, Rome is one city that you can explore on your own. All of the major sights are walking distance from each other (or hire a rickshaw for a super fun experience), except for Vatican City, which is a short taxi ride away. There is literally a sight to see around every corner, but the ones to be sure not to miss include the Coliseum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Coliseum

The Roman Forum

St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City