The words “last minute” and “vacation to Rome” don’t usually go together, but when Jeff had an opportunity to speak at a conference in Frascati, a suburb of Rome, I immediately started looking at plane tickets to see if I could swing tagging along. The timing was perfect—we’d be there during our anniversary, and the only thing I had scheduled was a dentist appointment (November is usually a great time to relax after a very busy fall as a photographer).
I managed to find reasonable flights out of Chicago (literally half the price of most flights—thank you, Aer Lingus), and before I knew it, I was standing in the center of Rome.
From a photography perspective, this was an interesting trip for me. I decided at the last minute to leave my go-to camera at home and bring along my small Sony camera instead. I brought only one lens—a 35mm (those who know me know well that I typically live by my 85mm portrait lens, but the limitations that this put on me were a fun creative experiment). You’ll see in a few photos that Jeff ended up doing a lot of the camera bag carrying (thanks, Jeff!).
- We had the best tour guide at the Roman Forum. In fact, he was so great that we ended up hiring him to do a private tour to show us some of the “secrets of Rome” before we left. If you’re ever in Rome, message @thegladiatorguide on Instagram and see what you can set up. He’s given tours to the likes of Justin Bieber (ha) and the Kardashians (ha again).
- We love just walking around the city. If you’re ever in Rome, be sure to venture across the river to Trastevere for incredible food and views (you’ll see a photo below overlooking the city from Trastevere). This also happens to be where I lived when I studied abroad in Rome.
- Cremeria Monteforte by the Pantheon (still my favorite gelato): Via della Rotonda, 22, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
- Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè by the Pantheon (the absolute best espresso shot in the whole word, pulled from a machine worth $20,000+): Piazza di S. Eustachio, 82, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
- St. Peter’s Basilica will never cease to amaze me (just be sure to look up hours; it closes early)
- I went on an Old Frascati wine tour in Frascati. We stayed most of the week in Frascati, but it’s only a short train ride away if you’re staying in the city.
- I spent part of a day at the Baths of Diocletian. This is a lesser explored museum (I was often the only one looking at amazing ruins), but they tell a really cool story. This was essentially a spa in the days of the Romans—think hot and cold baths and gyms to work out.
- We spent our last night at the hotel overlooking the Trevi Fountain and paid a bit more for a view of the fountain (rates are surprisingly reasonable in November, and the weather was amazing. Jeff said he’d never go to Rome in the summer again. But side note—I don’t necessarily recommend this hotel (it was stinky). I do, however, highly recommend Foro Romano Luxury Suites.
If you’re ever planning a trip to Rome, don’t hesitate to reach out! It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and I’m always happy to share my tips and experiences.