When in Rome, eat as much gelato as possible!
January 1, 1970
by Isabell Andersson
Rome, and the blistering summer heat
One thing you need to know before you plan your trip to Rome (which I didn’t know, and wish someone would’ve told me) is that during the European summer months, June to August, it is extremely hot in Rome. It gets ridiculously hot and humid in the already tight packed city, and the buildings makes sure there’s no breeze whatsoever. Guess when I went… Middle of July – off course having no idea then of that a giant heat wave was about to hit me the second I got out of the airport. I am not kidding around about the disturbingly high temperatures, saying it’s some adorable temperature of 30-ish degrees. No… More like 45 degrees!
Listen, I am not one to normally complain about hot weather. I’m from Sweden for God´s sake. The sun is like a rare precious diamond here. Swedes gets absolutely crazy if the sun is out for a whole day without rain or clouds. We feel not only an obligation, but a need, to seize the hell out of that day. It’s as celebrated and festively welcome as any other public holiday. It is only fitting to interlace “the perfect sunny day” in Sweden as a public holiday, because it happens – accordingly – about once a year.
Walking among history
I think that’s enough shade thrown on Sweden for one day. (It truly an amazing and beautiful country. You should come visit! Just make sure you come for other purposes then the rare phenomena of a sunny day, and you’ll be fine.) Back to Italy, and Rome. I always visit visitacity.com before traveling to a big city like Rome. It’s a good way to make sure you’re not missing anything and you can see everything there is to do at the specific location. Hot tip, they also have an app. I’m not sponsored, I promise (ha ha) it’s just a good app I use frequently. The city of Rome, with all its narrow streets; crowded cafes and gelaterias; beautiful scenery and gorgeous historical architecture scattered around, is a mesmerizing and entertaining experience. Wandering the streets of Rome, you not only feel as if you’re walking around in ancient history – you are! The sights – with all its acclaimed history – is all around you. And no matter where you go you can’t help but stop to consider just how beautiful it is, take some photos, and continue five meters until your jaw drops again and you simply have to stop once more. I would imagine it to be someone with a passion for architecture´s top 5 places for inspiration.
The home of gelato
I went to Rome two years ago, on a spontaneous weekend that lasted for three days, and the one thing I still can remember being the best thing about the trip was – you’re all going to think I’m crazy – the ice cream, or gelato, as it is called over there. If you like gelato Rome is definitely the place you need to visit asap for some proper gelato education for your pallet, as well as for your soul. Whichever gelateria in Rome you visit, they will make sure you get more than just some half-sized spoonful’s of it.
They have this flat special gelato paddle, instead of the standard rounded ice cream scooper, which they generously grab the gelato with. I don’t remember the exact price of a two flavour waffle, but it was pricy. To be honest though, why would you think that something truly awesome as gelato in Rome would be cheap? Off course not. At least I was prepared. I remember having a special gelato budget set aside. Yes, I’m a bit of an ice cream and gelato freak – ask anyone who knows me. The city of Rome has the widest range of gelato flavours I’ve ever seen. For me, where even picking out what kind of drink to get at the movies is a struggle, this was a decision-making that gave me anxiety beyond this world. How’d you think I did with at least 45 different flavours of gelato? I remember walking in to my first gelato bar in Rome, seeing all the flavours, and I just sighted “Oh boy!” and it wasn’t joyfully expressed. It took me the longest time. I remember being exhausted by the time I got my heavy pile of gelato, and then feeling like I was competing in the Olympics while eating it. Trying to beat the sun from melting away all my hard work. I made a promise to myself to eat a lot of gelato while I was there because I thought it would picking the flavours easier. I could just go “But I really want that flavour too. Oh well, I’ll just get that one next time” and all would be okay. I think you get the fact that I did eat a lot of gelato during my three days in Rome. I might even have had it for lunch or dinner once (or twice) – no pun intended – and whiles that was so good, it was nothing I can recommend or stand behind as a good replacement for a nutritious meal that you need after a long day hiking in 45 degrees. The gelato in Rome is truly the definition of how gelato should be, look and taste. But that shouldn’t strike as odd, since Italy is where this dense heavenly sweetness origin.
Colosseum is such an amazingly beautiful piece of art, and history. But the queues are long and takes time. You can skip in line if you buy this tour ticket that’s more pricy. What I would recommend though, is to pre-buy your ticket online. That way you can skip the line and don’t have to pay more. This is what they call a fast track ticket. You can buy the ticket here. When you queue you eventually pass these rocky walls, which everyone apparently touches (and so did I) with their greasy fingers – leaving some very shiny spots of rock. It makes you realize how many people actually had been there before you, and that along was quite impressive to me. You should also know I am very easily impressed… It also makes you note to self to use disinfectant gel before you eat anything! Moving on, this place really impressed me.
Colosseum is so big, and just thinking about what went down there gave me goose bumps. I remember unleashing a lot of thoughts of creative thinking during my strolling around the Colosseum. And yes, a brain that’s too imaginative can sometimes be a problem when it distracts you from the main reason you’re there. But trying to block out all the graphic pictures that I planted in my head, when all I wanted to do was to just explore the ruins, wasn’t that big of a problem as I paint it out to be. It was amazing – truly.
The queuing from hell
Rome is a perfect getaway weekend trip. But it might be a bit naive to expect to do and see it all during that short period of time. Especially during the high season, when the amount of time you spent on queuing to tourist attractions will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and then cry until you give up and decide to go and get some more gelato instead (where the queue is only 30 minutes) – ridiculous. Make sure you set realistic goals and limit down the tourist attraction to maybe one a day, if you want to survive and enjoy your trip. And like I said, buy the fast track tickets!
Where to stay?
So, where to stay? The public transportation works, they have buses that goes around in the city, but they are not very reliable. I would therefore recommend to not stay to far from the core of the city (if you’re not planning on renting a car off course) so that you can walk to wherever you’re going if the bus doesn’t show. As far as places to stay goes, I remember looking through the standard websites like Expedia and booking.com.
Whether it is throwing a coin into the famous fountain Fonta di Trevi or visit the jaw dropping Pantheon, Rome really is as atmospheric and beautifully stereotypic as you would think. And I say this with only good intentions. The people really do talk with their hands – body language is key – waving around in big motion gestures. The traffic is as crazy and loud as you would think, and they really do have the best gelato I’ve ever tasted, to this day.