The first few days of our Italian honeymoon seem like a very long time ago now. Every now and again I think back to the balmy nights spent as newly-weds in the Gran Melia, and the blissful days spent wandering hand in hand through the streets of Rome.
There isn’t a better city on earth for lovers to explore together, if you know where to go and what to do. Here are my top tips for a truly rome-antic getaway.
Take in the view from the Gianicolo
Just west of the Tiber, on the outskirts of the ancient city, a winding road meanders its way up the hillside of the Gianicolo. The serene and beautiful panarama of the rooftops of Rome which can be viewed from the top will take your breath away.
(As did my new husband when he climbed onto this rather tall wall in order to get a better photo!)
Take a wander around historic Trastevere
Make sure you stop for a bowl of authentic hand-pulled Spaghetti Carbonara in one of the locality’s numerous Osterias. This gorgeous bowl came from Osteria Der Belli in Piazza di Sant’Apollonia.
Afterwards, it would be criminal to walk past one of the area’s tiny cubby-hole Gelaterias without stopping for a gelato or lemon granita. Our favourite is Gelateria Alla Scala on Via Della Scala.
Finally, have a nose around any one of the beautiful old churches / basilicas in the area. They might not look like much from the outside, but inside they are brimming with treasures and beauty. Convento di San Maria Della Scala was a particular surprise. Don’t forget to be respectful and cover shoulders and knees!
See the sights on foot
Take a walk around the Vatican city, enjoying the history and grandeur of St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
Throw a Euro into the iconic 18th Century sculpted Trevi Fountain. They say if you do this as a couple, the next time you return to Rome you will have had your first child. It worked for us!
Hang out with the Roman elite at the Piazza di Spagna, and climb the ancient baroque staircase of the Spanish steps.
Escape the crowds, and have a little snoop around the Pantheon.
Take a guided tour around the Colosseum and Roman Forum, soaking up the history as you go.
Most importantly, don’t forget to return to all of these places again after sunset, when the romance really comes alive with the beautiful lighting, and a special kind of buzzy atmosphere which is completely unique to Rome.
Eat, eat and eat some more
You all know that Mr Sunshine and I love our food, and therefore it doesn’t get more romantic than sampling the local delights of some of Rome’s best restaurants.
Top choice for us was the famous Antica Pesa, where you can celebrity-spot while enjoying delectable traditional Roman fayre cooked in an ancient, family-run setting. For a full review, head here.
If you are looking for something a little more casual, then the ancient Trattoria del Pantheon di Fortunato on Via del Pantheon is our pick of the Trattorias; a bustling, family-run restaurant selling delicious homemade pasta, a good range of local beer and wine, and showcasing a killer view.
When in Rome, you must sample some truffle, so a visit to Ad Hoc Restaurant is a must. For a full review head here.
Finally, when all of that strolling around catches up with you, stop at one of the Angelina Ristorantes in Testaccio or Trevi for service with a smile and a slice of traditional Crostata di Marmellata – or jam tart to you or me.
Take a stroll through one of the city’s beautiful parks
Are you beginning to notice a theme here? Rome is a city that is best seen by foot. It’s the only way that you are able to stop for long enough to soak up the city’s unique atmosphere and to truly enjoy the romance of the moment.
There are numerous green spaces to choose from, but we took a winding path through Villa Doria Pamphilli.
There are 445 acres of beautiful parkland here, including a splendid villa, manicured gardens and a walking trail.
For a long time in the hot, July sun we got absolutely, irrevocably lost. I don’t think we saw another person for at least two hours.
And there is nothing on this earth more romantic than that!
Have you visited Rome with a loved one? What romantic tips do you have that I’ve missed?