I recently went on a weekend getaway to Rome as a first date. It probably would have been much more awkward if I was in a city any less cool, but as fate (or my dates preference) would have it, we found ourselves in Rome. You may enter your Roman getaway with a detailed list of all the monuments and museums you want to see. But in reality, you really could just wing it. Rome is the kind of place you can wander around and accidentally stumble across a bunch of historic gems.
After living in Florence, Rome seems extremely metropolitan. It even has a metro line! But it is most certainly a walkable city if you’ve got good weather and a good walking companion. On our first night we decided to walk to the center to have dinner. The energy of Rome on a Friday night was palpable. I expected swarms of tourists, but pleasantly found that everywhere we walked there was a solid mix of foreigners and Italians. (My Australian date and I were certainly in the tourist category, but our dark features allowed us to fool vendors and restaurant staff into local treatment.)
Ten minutes into our walk we heard a rushing of water. After turning a corner, we were pleasantly surprised to find we had tripped right over the Trevi Fountain, whose magic I had heard about and was certainly not overrated. Allow yourself a moment of childlike wonder and toss a coin into the fountain and make a wish. It’s said a coin in the Trevi guarantees a safe trip back someday!
Just a few moments later we found ourselves standing in front of the Pantheon, its doors were open and we stopped in for a quick, spontaneous walk around to admire the architecture, tombs and artwork. Twenty minutes into our date and we had already seen two major sites!
For dinner I went with the classic Roman dish, Cacio e Pepe, something we began to refer to as Roman mac n cheese. You can’t go wrong with this simple dish of pecorino cheese and black pepper. Another classic must try in Rome is the Pasta alla Amatriciana, spaghetti or pici smothered in tomato sauce with pork cheek (I indulged in this two times that weekend.)
If you can get a reasonably early start to your next day in Rome, head on over to the Colosseum. The iconic ancient structure is absolutely striking, and leaving Rome without a Colosseum photo op might be a cardinal sin. A ticket into the Colosseum also allows entrance into the Forum, a collection of ruins from ancient Roman government buildings. You could easily spend an entire sunny afternoon walking around the Forum, imagining life as it was. As a bonus it also offers one of my favorite views in Rome.
After all that walking you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. Head over to Cantina e Cucina for dinner. It’s a hip Italian spot filled with locals that offers everything from pizza and pasta to calamari, fried artichoke and veal! We tried it all and it was all perfection. Plus, they hand you a glass of prosecco upon walking in the door, what beats that? After dinner stroll over to the other side of the river for some local Italian bars and pubs to split an after dinner bottle of vino rosso.
So now it’s Sunday and you’ve had a big night out. We wouldn’t blame you for sleeping in, you’ve already seen some of Rome’s best. If you’ve still got some culture cravings head over to the Vatican for an unbelievable tour of the city and a glimpse of the Sistine Chapel. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, the National Roman Museum is also a great option filled with unbelievable artifacts and endless sculptures.
First date, 500th date or a weekend away with friends, Rome is a fantastic city filled with culture, cuisine and incredibly welcoming people that is sure to be the perfect place for your cheeky weekend getaway!