Last May, my husband and I took a week-long trip to Italy. I can’t believe that was almost a year ago already! It was our first big trip, just the two of us, and my first visit to Europe. It had always been my dream to go to Rome, and I remember exactly how it felt to finally buy those tickets and start planning our itinerary. Today I’m excited to share a few of the off-the-beaten-path spots that I loved the most.
- Mini pizza at Yotvata.
Our first night in Italy, we settled into this quiet outdoor cafe and ordered a selection of mini pizzas to kick off our adventure. The luxury of the warm weather, the snowy tablecloths under the big umbrellas, the people-watching, will all stay with me forever.
- The Spanish Steps
This isn’t exactly a secret, but the Spanish Steps are a glorious place to be as the sun goes down. Locals and tourists find themselves a seat and watch as the Piazza di Spagna fills with warm pink light. Friends perch on the edge of the fountain and vendors sell red roses to passerby. Everyone is there, from professionals with their briefcases to nuns nursing small cups of gelato.
- Laura Tonatto Perfume
Located in Piazza di Pietra (my favorite piazza in Rome), this beautiful perfume gallery felt like stepping into an older, more romantic time. The small shop was full of little bottles and tiny, beautifully wrapped packages. It didn’t seem to matter that my Italian was limited, the man behind the counter helped me to choose the perfect scent to bring back to my sister. I described her taste, and the gentleman guided me to the perfect combination: warm and sweet, with a little bit of spice. I wish I had brought some home for myself!
- My Guest Roma
This kosher bed and breakfast was one of the highlights of our stay. The owner, Stefano, made sure we had everything we needed to navigate the city and provided a gorgeous breakfast each morning. We loved sitting by the window, drinking coffee and grabbing a second croissant as we planned our day.
- Il Boccione
Tucked into an unassuming storefront in the Jewish Ghetto is a two hundred year old bakery. Try the “Jewish Pizza”, a delicious dried fruit cookie bar, the fresh donuts on Sunday morning, or the incredible the ricotta cheesecake (with a chocolate hazelnut layer) that I may or may not have brought on the plane home. The elderly ladies behind the counter don’t speak English, and don’t look the type to suffer tourists, but I’m convinced they’re angels.
- Sara Pavoncello Tours
Don’t let anyone else show you around the Jewish Ghetto. Email Sara at JewishRoma@gmail.com.
- Terra di Seta Winery
This organic, kosher winery is right outside of Siena and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It was our one overcast day in Italy, but the lush rolling hills and bright green vines were no less inviting, even if we couldn’t take an afternoon swim. We stayed in the beautiful stone farmhouse and tasted Terra di Seta’s delicious Chianti. The owners made us feel so welcome, and for one night we got a taste of what it’s like to live in rhythm with the land, making art from what nature offers.
There are so many other exciting things to do in Italy, but I have loved sharing a few of my own favorites with you.
Are you going to Italy any time soon? Below are a few items that I was so glad I brought with me.