100 degrees in Rome | July, 2017
For me, Rome is one of those places that you need to visit, but don’t necessarily need to go back to. That being said, both times I’ve visited were in the thick of summer. The architecture, innovation and history is undeniably incredible and it’s amazing to be in a city with modern transport, and highrises along side ruins from 80 AD. We spent our time hitting the typical sites, the Roman Forum and Colosseum, we woke up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat and crowds and hiked up the 550+ steps to the top of Saint Peters Basilica, and did a tour of the catacombs, as well as explored the streets and alleyways in search of cheap food and funky bars.
We really enjoy staying in neighborhoods where people really live - places outside of the tourist zones where you can find your local coffeeshop and dive bar. We stayed in San Lorenzo, a neighborhood near the University and it was great. Close to affordable, great food, away from the crowds, and steps from busses and trams to take us to the city center. To find this particular place, I found Airbnb’s neighborhood guide very helpful. I wish they had them for more cities we have travelled to, it proved to be a great guide to get the feel for various pockets around the city. Staying out of the tourist areas is not only more affordable, it’s also a great way to get a feel for how people really live. Our Airbnb was walkable to the main train station and right off the light rail line and near many busses that got us anywhere we needed to go. And Celestino quickly became our go to dive bar - a small hole in the wall that flooded the streets with people, negronis and cigarettes in hand, until early hours of the morning.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from visiting Rome. It is undeniably a romantic city with incredible history, hidden pockets of charm and mystery and of course, delicious food and wine, but if you have the choice avoid it at all costs in the summer.