Everybody loves Rome, right? Rome is the capital of Italy, the eternal city, full of memories of her glorious past and a permanent attraction for million of tourists. Being so, during high season, it is pretty hard not to find queues at the museums, hordes of people at the main landmarks, crowd at the restaurants. Unless you choose to explore it during the cold season. #winterinrome was for me the chance to enjoy a calm, relaxed Rome, away from the madding crowd, thanks to the initiative of three Americans in Rome: the inspiring Linda and Steve, owners of The Beehive Hostel, and the “volcano” Annie of Personal Italy and Scooteroma.
- PROMOTIONAL CODE TO STAY AT THE BEEHIVE IN ROME DURING WINTER
- 10% discount for my readers for any stays at The Beehive (description at the bottom of this page – Where to sleep) that take place in winter from November to February (not including 31 December and 1 January). No expiration date, so you can use it in 2018, 2019 and so on. You just have to use the code mycornerofitalyWIR. You can book at www.the-beehive.com
Thanks to them I experienced different and interesting activities. So now I can tell you what to do in Rome in winter. For those who want to watch rather than read, go to the video:
What to do in Rome in winter
- Romantic Poets Timeless Inspiration tour with the amazing Hillary. With a past in the fashion industry (and you can tell) and the fire of poetry that fills her veins, she will pass on you jer knowledge and passion, telling the stories of Keats, Shelley, Byron and other poets who lived in Rome and loved this city. I will only spoil that the tour ended in Shelley-Keats House, with a toast overlooking the Spanish steps. Know that, if you like other kinds of tours, the company Context Travel offers lots of different compelling tours in Rome for the “intellectually curious traveller”, like Ancient Rome Discovery, Evening Passeggiata or Vatican for Families.
- Scooteroma Classic Vespa tour. This was for me the highlight of my winterinrome experience. I’m not able to ride a scooter, but I was a passenger many times. In Italy it is a common thing. But in Rome like Audrey Hepburn? No way! It was sooo funny! I’m going to write a separate post asap, in the meantime I just tell you: Go! And rest reassured, they drive slowly! More info at scooteroma.com
- Street Art with Personalized Italy. Like celebrities, we drove through Rome in a private van and reached with no hurry some clue points for the Roman street art, in the areas of Ostiense and Pigneto. Form the first work in Rome ever, by Kid Acne, stating “Paint over the cracks”, as to find a solution for the state of neglect of some areas. To the colorful Wall of Fame by JB Rock. Or my personal favourite, the colorful building along via del Porto Fluviale by artist Blu (the one with bananas, if you recall my pic on social media). Personalized Italy offers different kind of exclusive and bespoke tours, from classic tours of must-see landmarks to unique experiences in lesser-known spots of the city, that only locals know.
- Wine tasting pop-up with sommelier Sarah May Grunwald, of Antiqua tours, wine expert and wine storyteller. As you know I don’t drink much, so wine tastings are always a challenge for me. But I know for sure that many of you love Italian wine and would be delighted to learn more about wines from the Lazio region, lesser known than Italian wines of other areas.
- Storytellers Rome. This is a peculiar thing, that takes place once a month. A group of expats meeting in a café near the train station Termini to share their personal stories about a specific topic. I was just a listener at Caffè Fondi, sipping a fruit cocktail and having fun. You can learn more and join their next appointment at Facebook group here.
- Eating Italy Sunday food tour. 6 different food stops in the Ghetto neighbourhood to taste Roman and Roman-Jewish specialities: caffé and maritozzo (a sweet bread with whipped cream), Roman pizza, carciofi alla giudìa (fried Jewish style artichokes) and concia di zucchine (marinated zucchini), pizzarella (a fried Jewish sweet), craft beer and gelato.
The post wouldn’t be complete if, other than what to do in Rome in winter, if I didn’t mention where to eat and where to sleep. The following suggestions are based on my firsthand experiences while in Rome.
Where to eat
- Ristorante Santa Lucia. 1 minute from Piazza Navona, beloved by celebrities. The core of their philosophy is let different chefs from different cultures and culinary traditions express themselves. Their most pleasant feature is the wonderful terrace (you can see it in the film Eat Pray Love).
- Osteria Grappolo d’oro. The slow food osteria near Campo de’ Fiori. Roman cuisine between tradition and modernity. Good food, kind staff, cozy atmosphere. A carbonara to die for. Perfectly al dente, rich, delicious.
- Ristorante Regina, just around the corner of The Beehive hostel (see below). It is a simple place where you can taste local cuisine as if you were at mamma or nonna’s house.
- Trapizzino Trislussa. Halfway between a pizza and a tramezzino (small italian sandwich) with tons of different local fillings (meatballs, veggies, chicken, etc). I had the one with meatballs (polpette). Not easy to eat but yummy. And a classic supplì (scrumptious).
- Forno Campo de Fiori, renowned for their delicious pizza Romana, actually a sort of focaccia, plain or with tomato sauce. Different from Italian pizza served in a restaurant. We had the chance to prepare our own pizza thanks to beautiful and kind Dominique. You can contact her at foodiesinrome.com to organize your own food tour in Rome.
- Gelateria del Teatro. Two different addresses, via dei Coronari, 65 and Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25, to taste a genuine, true Italian gelato. I had ricotta (of course!) and dark chocolate, both amazing.
Where to sleep
I had the chance to stay at The Beehive Hostel. It was super convenient, since I went in Rome by train and it was located 2 minutes away from Roma Termini train station. Besides, it has dormitories, but also private rooms with ensuite bathroom. Therefore my stay was quite comfortable.
I utterly appreciated the vegan/vegetarian breakfast, rich and copious. You can choose your treat from a blackboard. I took advantage of it to have scrambled eggs, toasted bread and fruit salad. There’s always someone preparing everything for you. Since I got home I’m still longing for that kind of treatment and that kind of breakfast.
Breakfast is also open for non-guests from 7.30 to 10.30 am. The café is also open during the afternoon. For example, on the departure day, I stopped by for a green tea, since I still had 40 minutes before my train back to Padova.
Of course it is a hostel, not a fancy hotel. So you can judge by yourselves if The Beehive can be the place for you or not. I liked it very much, since I feel at ease both in five stars hotels and in hostels. I liked the easy going, international atmosphere of the place, the homey lounge and the cute garden.
If you want to take advantage of a 10% discount you can use the promotional code mycornerofitalyWIR. It can be used only in winter from November to February (not including 31 December and 1 January). No expiration date, so you can use it in 2018, 2019 and so on.
In conclusion, I surely recommend you to take advantage of the low season and winter period to enjoy a more relaxed Rome, with no queues. Besides, Rome in January was absolutely pleasant, not that cold and sunny enough to enjoy our days there.