My Favorite Things I’ve Done in Rome

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Allison Derrick
May 14, 2024

Places to Go: 

Villa Borghese

Sometimes called the “green lung” of Rome, this park has been the site of some of my favorite memories here. We go up there on sunny days to walk around and look at the water and the expanse of green grass. We also visit Villa Borghese for sunset, where people sing Italian songs live and you can get a panoramic view of Rome and all the activity as the night starts to pick up. We brought our friends for sunset here a few times, and sometimes we would end up dancing with everyone as the music played. It’s a wonderful place to experience, and I think it’s essential to add it to your list while in Rome. 

Giardino degli Aranci

This is the Garden of Oranges, and it is probably my favorite place I’ve been to. As another place for a sunset view over the city, it is full of bright orange trees and up on a beautiful hill of quiet streets. My roommate, Ella, and I went here on St. Patrick’s Day weekend as per IES Abroad’s recommendation, and we stayed there for a few hours to watch the sun fully set and then walk back down the streets on the hill. This is another essential location to see in Rome, and it’s near the iconic Keyhole site, so you can see that when you visit the Garden of Oranges as well. 

The Rose Garden

When my friend Caitlin visited, we went to the Rose Garden, located just down the street from the Garden of Oranges. It was Rome’s birthday that day, a Sunday that had perfectly warm weather, and we sat on the wall and just looked around for a long time. It was a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city, and a free, easy activity that I absolutely recommend. 

IES Abroad Neighborhood

The area directly surrounding the IES Abroad Rome Center is full of interesting shops, streets, and amazing food. Via dei Coronari is the name of the main street, and my friends and I would wander around here between classes. There are jewelry stores, print stores, leather stores, and so much more. We loved going to I Supplì dei Coronari to try supplì, a famous street food item. We also went to Rosamunda’s at least once a week for takeaway pizza. Both of these places are affordable and became staples in our school week. 


Soccer Game

I was intent on seeing an Italian soccer (or I should say football!) game while I was abroad, and it was such a fun experience. We wanted to see a Roma team game, but the tickets didn’t work out in time. We instead saw the Lazio vs. Juventus Coppa Italia semi-final game on April 23rd, and we loved the energy in the stadium and learning the team chants. This is absolutely something I recommend doing in Italy, especially in Rome. 


Roma Sparita & Tonnarello

Although I could go on and on about my favorite foods and restaurants in Rome, there are two winners for me: Roma Sparita, and Tonnarello, both in Trastevere. Ella and I went to Roma Sparita with my Italian relative in February, and insisted on our roommates coming with us the next time we went. It has all the classic dishes of Rome at a reasonable price. We love the Roman artichoke, the cacio e pepe, and the artichoke pasta they serve here. 

I went to Tonnarello with my family while they were here, staying in Trastevere. It always has a long line wrapping around buildings, but they move it forward surprisingly fast. We only waited for about 15 minutes during a busy time of night, and the food was truly amazing. I recommend the pesto pasta!


Old Bridge & Da Giovanni Gelateria

Although I didn’t really ever meet a gelato place I didn’t like, I quickly discovered my favorite place: Old Bridge Gelato, by the Vatican. It was about a 15 minute walk from my apartment and we sure took advantage of it. It’s affordable and has an array of unique flavors to choose from. Safe to say we were frequent customers throughout the semester. 

An honorable mention is Da Giovanni Gelateria Duse dal 1958, a 3-minute walk from my apartment. We loved the rice flavor they had here, so we were here very often as well. These are my two favorite gelato places that you shouldn’t leave Rome without trying.

I could go on for pages about my favorite parts of Rome, but this captures some of the essentials for me!


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Allison Derrick

Hi, I'm Allison! I’m from Maine and a big fan of iced chai lattes, taking pictures with my 2011 digital camera, some good throwback music, and falling asleep on the beach. I'm in search of finding the very best pasta and gelato in Italy, so join me!

2024 Spring
Home University:
Lafayette College
Environmental Studies
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