Italy Restaurant Recommendations
Perche No is my favorite gelato shop
Love the Gucci Museum- it cost money but you can just walk in
Gustapizza next to Santo Spirito has great, quick pizza that you can take to go
Mercato Centrale has an amazing food hall upstairs and it's open all day. Easy place to get lunch, especially if you're browsing the leather market outside. I didn’t love the leather market but the food hall was great for getting a snack
Amazing views from the roof of Oblate Library
Giglio Rosso is one of my favorite places for Florentine steak and really everything (my husband loved this place)
Get reservations in advance for the Uffizi and Accademia museums, as well as reservations to climb the dome if that's something you're interested in.
Belvedere is my favorite restaurant. If you're into seafood, go here and order the amphora to share. It's such an experience.
Ristorante Il Piccolo Diavolo is also good! (this place was amazing)
There's a place on the main drag in the old town that does limoncello slushies.
Grom is my favorite gelato (it's actually a chain, you'll see a few locations here and also in the other cities...but it's good!). I also like Suso.
Bar All'Arco and the cicchetti bars (like Venetian tapas) around the area are delicious and fun.
Enoteca Al Volto is a good low-key wine-focused restaurant a bit off the beaten path.
Italian Bistrot Chat Qui Rit is fancier but worth the price and the food is consistent.
Make reservations for entry into the Basilica San Marco.
Go to Burano to get out of the crowds and see the pretty houses. My daughter enjoyed Burano so much. Here is a glimpse of it.
Vatican: you need to make advanced reservations online, and I would suggest going as early in the day as possible. It gets extremely busy there, so just be prepared for a crowd. I actually bought a experiance tour via Air b-n-b that had us skip the line along guided tour. Totally worth it, the Vatican was amazing.
Colosseum/Roman Forum: You can make reservations here as well, but if you want to keep it loose just know that the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine hill are on a combo ticket. If you go to the Palatine ticket box there is hardly ever a line, and then you'll have your ticket and be able to skip the line at the Colosseum. A couple times I've tried to book the "underground" Colosseum tour through their website. It's supposed to be good but it's always full when I've wanted to go. If you're interested in that, check online to see what's available.
Borghese Gallery: This is the only other site you would really need a reservation for. It's a beautiful sculpture gallery and they limit entrance to 300 people in 2-hour windows. Look online and see if you're interested and make sure you book ahead.
Ostia Antica: Ostia was Ancient Rome's port city for a time and then it was abandoned, so now there are amazing ruins and I honestly like it better than Pompeii. It's a great chance to walk around an ancient Roman town.
As far as where to stay, there are so many options in Rome. I really like the Monti neighborhood which is kind of young and up-and-coming, but also very centrally located. There aren't many hotels over there but plenty of AirBnBs I'm sure. I also like the areas around the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. When I was in Rome I lived in Trastevere...which is amazing but a little out of the way. I would definitely suggest you spend an afternoon or evening over there at least, because there are lots of cute restaurants and side streets...it feels a world away from the rest of Rome's chaos.
Pizzeria da Baffetto: The best pizza I've ever had in my life. Expect to wait in line. There are two locations (the other one is Baffetto 2) but go to the original. The pizzas are large but thin so you should each get your own. (I got there right at opening, super good)
Gelateria Frigidarium: Next door to Baffetto, conveniently, this is my favorite gelato shop in town. There was a huge line so it must be good. There are also several locations of the gelato chain Grom, and they are all excellent. Giolitti is one of the most historic gelato shops in Rome and it’s amazing, too.
Ba Ghetto: In the Jewish ghetto, this restaurant does amazing traditional fried artichokes.
Il Fico: Great little family run trattoria with traditional fare. Try the cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta). (ate here and it did not disappoint)
Al Pompiere: Another favorite restaurant of mine. This one is a little more white tablecloth but the staff is very nice and they specialize in traditional Roman food.
Cuoco e Camicia: Does delicious modern takes on traditional food.
****Roscioli: Also amazing modern Italian food with lots of local sourcing. A bit of a splurge and you need a reservation.****
Trattoria di Monti / If there's one restaurant you can't miss, it's this one. Fabulous very high quality Roman food, every bite delicious--get the single big raviolo pasta filled with liquid egg yolk and herbs, and the ricotta pudding. Great wines. Upscale but lively. Lunch or dinner. Reservations a must.
Agustarello a Testaccio / A wonderful rustic spot in Testaccio, the neighborhood where all the butcher shops and meat markets used to be, and thus the restaurants there are famous for meat dishes and especially offal, lights, sweetbreads, oxtail, and less well known cuts of meat. Oddly enough I loved the fresh vegetables there--puntarelle, a bitter green in anchovy dressing was delicious. And fresh fava beans in the spring. It gets crazy later in the evening.
Flavio al Velavevodetto / Another great find in Testaccio. Their caponata is the best I've ever tasted. Pasta is their specialty. New York Times wrote about them in the last couple years.
Caminetto / I've never found this place listed in a guidebook. It's very much tucked away from any tourist foot traffic, in a quiet (i.e. very boring) residential neighborhood. We found it from a recommendation by a taxi driver. It serves wonderful traditional Roman food, big plates of pasta, veal, squash blossoms, simple vegetable side dishes, bowl of fruit for dessert. We went for Sunday lunch and were surrounded by Roman families with young children and groups of older Roman people and their friends, everyone still dressed up from church.
Checco er Cherittiere / One of the most famous, oldest, and beloved neighborhood restaurants in the city. In Trastevere. The waiters are old and have seen everything. Go for a long lunch in the middle of your day walking through the neighborhood. Everything's tasty and simply prepared.
Tazza d'Oro / famous old espresso bar right off the Pantheon. Amazing art-deco design and it's completely packed. Very Roman experience, stand at the bar and quickly down an espresso.
My favorite gelato shops are San Crispino and especially Gelateria del Teatro; they both have wonderful light gelato with clear flavors. Others worth trying are Fior di Luna, Fata Morgana, Gracchi, Ti Amo, and Vitti.