There is an truly surreal feeling about stepping into a city that has been depicted so often in art, film, and literature...arriving in a place with an identity so robust it's often considered more of a character than simply a location. Every gap on the cobblestone streets and every crack in a facade seem to retain secrets of centuries past.
While navigating hordes of tourists during the busy summer season got a bit laborious, it is easy to see why Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. Standing in the middle of the Pantheon gazing at the sunlight filter in through the domed roof, we marveled at the architectural feats of the Romans and the vision and patience required to execute such grand structures before the age of motorized machinery.
Although we did visit many of the "must-do's" of Rome, some of my favorite images from the trip evoke memories of brief visceral moments in between landmarks; the majestic shafts of light that must have inspired so many painters, and the juxtaposition of contemporary life amid a city that has been vibrant for centuries and has the patina to prove it.
One of the highlights of our short stay: pick up prosciutto and bread at Giselda and hike up to Giardino degli Aranci for a classic Roman sunset over the city.
Dar Poeta Vicolo del Bologna, 45, 00153 Roma, Italy
Highly recommended by a friend who grew up in Rome, this no frills pizza restaurant in Trastevere frequently has a waiting list on the sidewalk.
Regoli Pasticceria Via dello Statuto, 60, 00185 Roma, Italy
We spent our Sunday morning in Rome at Regoli's, ordering a selection of pastries, hot cocoa, and tea, lingering at our table watching locals float in wearing an assortment of workout and church attire and carrying out boxes of sweets in the signature Regoli blue wrapping.