Checked into the Gran Melia Hotel
We took the expensive cab over… like, double the price. Lesson learned even for my 3rd time in the city: the white coated cabs are you and your wallet’s best friend. We were greeted by a lovely staff upon arrival, who sat us in their great room –which was converted from a cathedral and adorned with Spanish furniture (FYI: the global hotel chain is based out of Spain) — to review our room and amenities. Veering close to 10:30 by this point, right when breakfast was about to end, we cut our introduction short to take advantage and fuel for the day.
Wandered, aka ‘got lost’
Within reason, this is probably one of my favorite things to do in any city I go. Just a 10 minute walk from our hotel is the Vatican, which is an absolute and without question necessity to visit. I’ve been inside before the last time I was in Rome almost five years ago, so we spared the lengthy queue (the Pope being in NYC didn’t deter the crowds — go super early). But as I recall, it’s one of those moments where you’re in awe upon walking inside and you truly marvel at greatness of human artistry and potential. I’ll just leave that to your imagination…
Clockwise // Canon G16 Digital Camera: For when an iPhone in low light situations doesn’t cut it or if you need more manual control. // iPhone 6S Mophie Charger: My battery goes out in 2 hours, what about yours? This literally saves the day. // Bottega Veneta Wallet: Holds exactly what you need (I’m also selling a brand new one on my Depop — meaning directly from me — here for $100 less… good stuff, huh?). // Uri Minkoff Backpack: Just launched this season, I’ve been obsessed with his modern, yet minimal, take on menswear accessories — perfect for traveling. // Montblanc Pen & LIFE Notebook: Inspiration’s around you and sometimes digital format doesn’t cut it. // Celine Sunglasses: Alex of Mr. Essentialist introduced these to me and I’ve had to pry them off my eyes to keep from wearing them to bed.
Stumbled upon a late lunch spot
Continuing our meandering, we ventured into Trastevere — a little region of Rome in the 13th rione just west of the Tiber — and stumbled upon a little restaurant called Ostura Da Fortuna. Hear me out: quite possibly the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life. I mean, the woman was making it from scratch with her bare hands next to us. Lesson learned the first few times I went to Rome that not all restaurants have great pasta (or pizza, which we surprisingly didn’t have on this trip). They simply lure tourists in because they bet on the fact that it’s, technically speaking, an authentic (by means of location) Italian restaurant; and the pasta you’re enjoying simply tastes that much better because you’re physically in Italy eating Italian food — some odd placebo effect. Anyway, go here. I had the carbonara (insane) and Kat had the pesto (made with almonds, incredible). Sit outside, sip wine, people watch, catch up, phones down. It’s that eat moment Julia Roberts had. Yeah. That one.
IT’S AN EASY THING to let time fly here. By this point — delightfully stuffed — two hours had easily gone by and the afternoon was coming to an end. I wouldn’t say Rome is a terribly large city, so the 30 minute walk back to our hotel to get ready for the evening was what we needed to yet again stumble upon more of Rome’s hidden treasures — not to mention walk off the carbs and wine we just indulged ourselves with — getting back just in time to take full advantage of the incredible views from our hotel room terrace before a beautiful sunset.