These are Jessica’s tips from two of her trips to Rome, Italy with friends. Jessica visited Rome each time to experience the culture, sites and food!  Jessica discusses here favorite places to eat and streets to wander around. Plus – details on the best neighborhood for nightlife.

Any hotels, restaurants or activities especially awesome?

I cannot recommend staying in the neighborhood of Trastevere enough. This is an absolute must. You can get a hotel or an AirBnB. This is where all the amazing authentic food is, winding, bustling streets with locals partying in the streets on the weekend (or really Tuesday – Saturday). This is much calmer than the chaotic but lovely heart of Rome. Its where the locals go to eat and enjoy their nights and weekends.  The food (and vibes) are AMAZING.

My favorite piazza to walk through again and again is Piazza Navona.

If you are looking for some good shopping, aside from the popular and upscale Spanish Steps area (Piazza di Spagna), visit Fruits and Bags boutique.

After mingling with the shop owners and buying some quality products made in Italy – by Italians, stroll through Campo di Fiori to Via del Pellegrino. This off the beaten path street has many small, boutique shops.

Food: Grazia y Graziella (amazing affordable Roman dishes, great service, serve prosecco while you wait for your table). Also, visit Dar Poete (best pizza I’ve had in Italy), 8 millimetri (get your spot at the bar early, make friends with the smart and funny bartenders and wait for the loads of locals to show up).

Dislikes/things you would have done differently? 

My first visit to Rome I stayed near Villa Borghese and after visiting Trastevere I completely regretted not staying there!

If you had one more day? One less day?

Five nights is an excellent amount of time to spend in Rome, one of my favorite cities. Be sure to book tickets or tours for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and Colosseum/Forum in advance! I do not recommend a tour guide for Vatican, just an audio guide. However it’s great to have one at the Colosseum and Forum. St. Peter’s Basilica is free and cannot reserve tickets in advance, so prepare to wait in line for around 90 minutes, unless you go around 5:30 pm.