Hello everyone!! Sorry it has been a while since you have heard from me..if you follow along on instagram (@gracieparish) and snapchat (gracieparish), you will know that I have been traveling around Europe for the past two weeks !! With spotty internet in Europe and some maintenance going on to Snapped by Gracie’s website, I have not been able to blog for a bit longer than usual but was sure to keep you all up to date through social media!!
To start my trip off in Europe, my mom and I flew into Rome, Italy! This was my first time to Europe and I could not have been more excited. We took the red-eye flight from Cincinnati to New York and then straight to Rome; while a long flight like that is never easy, I slept most of the way which made it a little less painful! Plus after my trip to Asia last summer, this flight felt like nothing!
From New York to Rome was 11 hours and we flew with Delta. Luckily, we did not have any issues with our flight (Delta was short-staffed this past week and canceled tons of flights so we were definitely grateful), and the food they served was surprisingly really good! While I usually plan ahead and pack food while traveling, Delta had many options this time and I just got a grilled chicken breast with vegetables, hummus, and fruit! They also had a bunch of really good movies that had not been released from theaters yet; I finally got to watch La La Land and loved it !
When we arrived in Rome, we were beyond jet-lagged. We landed at 10am and with about 4ish hours of rough sleep on the flight but we could not have been more excited to be there! After landing we immediately hopped in a cab to drive about 30 minutes into the city of Rome and to our hotel, the Boscolo Excedra! The Boscolo Excedra is a Marriott owned hotel and was absolutely amazing. From the moment we stepped in the lobby we knew we were in love. The marble decor, the chandeliers, the friendly staff, everything was perfect! Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready yet, but the staff was very helpful and got us in our room around 1pm instead of 4pm, when it was supposed to be ready!
The entire time we stayed in Rome we could not have been more pleased with the hotel, the amenities, the staff, and just about everything else. While our room was pretty small, it was perfect since just my mom and I were traveling and we did not spend much time in the room. The bathroom was very large and beautiful (with perfect lighting for makeup, hair, and all other glam 😉 ) and the bed was very comfortable. The concierge helped us make reservations at some of the hippest places, including restaurants, sights, and tours, and they could not have been nicer. Every morning I worked out in the work out room and ate the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. While the workout room was very small, they had a nice treadmill and a rack full of weights suiting my workout perfectly! The included breakfast buffet every morning was amazing and had a selection of all sorts of typical breakfast foods from around the world along with a menu to order omelettes and such! INSIDER TIP: Breakfast only comes included in Superior rooms though ($30 more per night than the Deluxe room) and breakfast is $25 a person if you have a deluxe room, so if you think you are going to enjoy the breakfast and have more than one person, it is actually cheaper to upgrade your room!
Where We Ate:
Street Cafes: In Rome, a couple times we ate at some cute cafes along the streets. After walking around and exploring for hours, we would lose track of time and find ourselves very hungry. Cute cafes were everywhere along the streets and were all very similar, we would just pick the cutest one, read the menu, and enjoy! They all ended up being very good and perfect so we could sit down and enjoy a nice Italian meal before hitting the streets again and continue shopping or sight seeing.
Food Tour: While we didn’t have time on this trip, many people have recommended and suggest doing food tours! In Rome, I know you can take a food tour and enjoy a variety of Pizzas while exploring the city before making your own authentic, Italian pizza! This is honestly something I am dying to try next time I visit Rome and know many people who have recommended. See more information here!
Zuma: If you have ever been to or heard of the Japanese restaurant Zuma, then I highly suggest visiting their location in Rome! Located on top of the Fendi Store and Private Fendi Suites, from the outside terrace Zuma makes for a great view of Rome and is an overall amazing atmosphere. The food is really good, but I would argue the main reason to go there is for the location and environment! Here you can order sushi, sashimi, salmon, steak, and while it is pretty pricey, the food and experience are worth it.
i Sofa: On top of the Indigo hotel, i Sofa has an amazing atmosphere and awesome food. While their food is again not your typical Italian, you can order an amazing pizza or pasta while enjoying it surrounded by greenery seated on top of Rome. We enjoyed lunch here before catching our flight to Paris, but you could also definitely enjoy dinner or drinks here as well!
Eataly: An American favorite, we were so excited to have an Eataly right by our hotel!! Filled with authentic Italian coffee, chocolates, pastries, sandwiches, pastas, and salads, stop in here to enjoy a quick meal from the counter or sit down and enjoy their restaurant! Trust me, the food will not disappoint and there is a wide variety of options to choose from.
Colosseum: When you’re in Rome, duh you gotta see the Colosseum!! This was by far my favorite sight to see in all of Europe. While guided tours are offered and are definitely the fastest way to get inside, they generally last quite a while so we just bought the skip the line passes and went at our own pace, since we were only in Rome for a day in a half and wanted to pack in as much as possible! While you still have to wait in line for quite a bit to get through security with the Skip the Line passes, it was better than buying tickets at the Colosseum and the passes were fairly inexpensive (only about $30). We did notice some people were booking guided tours however and not following the group, they only booked the tour to skip the line and get inside ! This can be pricey, but definitely a smart way to get in and out quick if that’s what you’re looking for. We ended up staying at the Colosseum for about 2 hours and felt a little rushed, but we were in a hurry to get to our tour of the Vatican! The Colosseum was crowded, but since the area is so big and it was outdoors in Rome’s beautiful weather, the crowd did not bother me. We were still able to wander wherever we pleased and did not ever feel uncomfortable or claustrophobic. The Colosseum and Roman Forums really makes you appreciate the Roman’s beautiful architecture and is an amazing opportunity to take in some history and take pictures.
The Vatican: To see the Vatican, you have to book a tour or have a skip the line pass or expect to wait for quite some time..the line wrapped around the gates and was painfully long! While The Vatican is definitely considered a “must see” in Rome..I personally did not love it only because of the enormous crowds. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely beautiful, however I could have done without it. With all the people, it was very hard to take in the beauty and honestly it was very uncomfortable and claustrophobic. Being indoors and with tight halls, stairwells, and with one path, everyone is walking on top of each other together and once you start, there is no stopping. We ended up at the Vatican for 4 hours and were pretty uncomfortable and could not wait to get out of there, but if the Vatican is something you are looking forward to seeing please do not let me turn you off.
The Trevi Fountain: The Trevi Fountain was again similar to the Vatican in the sense it was very hard to get to due to crowds. There were people everywhere and you definitely had to push your way through to get to the front, but it is worth it. The Trevi Fountain is so beautiful and since we were outdoors with no tight halls or stairways, the crowds did not make me feel nearly as uncomfortable and I would definitely not recommend going to Rome without seeing the Trevi Fountain.
SHOP THIS OUTFIT..
The Spanish Steps: Again, jammed with people but since the area surrounding the Spanish steps is so spread out and is outdoors, this is definitely something I think you have to do in Rome ! Along with seeing the historical steps, this area is surrounded with all kinds of shopping and was definitely my favorite area.
SHOP THE LOOK:
While this trip we did mainly sight seeing, the shopping in Rome is still fabulous! Some of my favorites included Zara, H&M, Hermes, Dior, Fendi (Fendi is from Rome), Valentino, 7 For All Mankind, and so many more along with cute little boutiques all along side streets!! Most of the shopping is all around the Spanish Steps so I suggest going there, walking around, and seeing where the shopping takes you! Sometimes the unexpected shops are your favorite ones. Also, remember all European brands are dramatically cheaper in Europe than they are in the Unites States so be prepared to shop til you drop!! I know we did.. 😉
Rome is pretty small so most places you can walk, but taxis are very accessible if needed! Because of all the walking, the entire city is pretty busy but it’s not bad.