Gelato. Two things in the world are universal: smiling and ice cream. But Italy has something better than either: Gelato! Gelaterias are found in almost every neighborhood and they serve flavors from stracciatella to chocolate, and hazelnut to coffee. I would recommend pistachio. Gelato is a little pricey, especially for the amount that is served—most Americans are used to larger serving sizes. You’ll walk it off on the cobblestones.
Pasta. Did you know that on average, every Italian consumes about 55 lbs of pasta every year? Of course one cannot go to Rome (or Italy, for that matter) without eating at least one good pasta dish. After all, pasta originates from Italy and is one of the most popular dishes of the country. Remember that Italian pasta is served al dente!
Pizza. Forget Burger King and McDonalds. This is a quick meal that you pay for by the pound. Just point at the slice you want and pay. But don’t waste your time asking for pepperoni because they don’t have it. More than likely, you’ll end up with bacon on top. Tomatoes, oregano, and olive oil are popular ingredients in Europe. Try a margherita pizza (made with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, and basil) if you’re looking for something familiar.
Breakfast bars abroad can never go wrong– especially in Italy, where “breakfast usually consists of black coffee and a cigarette” according to our guide Tyson (spoken while smoking) at 7am. If you’re lucky, cold cuts and juice may also be provided at your hotel.
In Italy, red wine goes with just about anything!
Table wine. Italy has the perfect climate for growing grapes to make wine. If you don’t like red wine, have it in Italy and you’ll soon change your mind. Drinking red wine with classic Italian pasta or bread makes for the perfect combination.
Spumante is a light sparkling white wine. If you’re lucky enough to be in Rome over New Year’s, you’ll find almost everyone drinking this fizzy sweet beverage in the streets. Not 21 yet? No problem—the drinking age in Italy is 18.
The Colosseum is open to the public.
The Colosseum. Aside from being a great place to buy cheap souvenirs, the Colosseum serves as one of the world’s most iconic tourist attractions. Located close to the Roman Forum, the towering Colosseum is almost 2000 years old and used to seat 50,000 spectators who watched the bloody battles between beast and man.
The Roman Forum. Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world, and the Forum is a big reason because it is the oldest part of ancient Rome. You can’t miss it because it’s right up the street from the Colosseum. The Forum is a combination of ancient temples, basilicas, stairs, and arches. Get a picture by the Temple of Saturn for a postcard image.
Trastevere. Be sure to visit this classic area of Rome where the real Italians (and food) can be found walking down the narrow alleys of cobblestone. The name translates as “beyond the Tiber,” so (you guessed it!), it can be found right up from the Tiber River.
The Spanish Steps. This is Europe’s widest staircase, but you can hardly see the steps for the people! There is a large fountain at the bottom that resembles a huge gravy boat, so don’t forget your camera! Be sure to make a stop by the Piazza di Spagna for some high-end shopping and to spot some real Italians.
The Trevi Fountain is always crowded with tourists.
Toss a coin in the Trevi fountain if you want to return to Rome. The tradition continues with the number of coins: toss in two coins if you want to find love in Rome; three coins will apparently ensure a speedy divorce or marriage. To do it right: hold the coin(s) in your right hand, turn your back to the fountain, and throw it over your left shoulder. About 1500 Euros are thrown in the fountain everyday (and are sucked out with a vacuum to be donated to charity), but don’t wade in—I hear that carries a hefty fine!
Ride the metro– because when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And Romans utilize public transportation. The Metropolitana di Roma has two lines (A &B) that form an “X” across the city to stop all over Rome. So just remember a map and buy a ticket!
Stand in line for hours to get into the Vatican. Vatican City is actually the smallest country in the world, and it is found in the center of Rome surrounded by high walls. On top of being home to the Pope, the Vatican is also home to the Vatican Museums– which contain more than 50 galleries and the Sistine Chapel. In the Chapel, you can look straight up to view Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.” It’s worth the wait!