Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
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Ohhh Roma. You have my heart.
I first visited the “eternal city” in 2015 during our honeymoon. It was my first time in Europe and I made us cram in as much as possible during our ten days in Italy.
Our route : Milan > Rapallo > Portofino > Cinque Terre > Rome > Naples > Positano > Capri > Ravello > Bari — where we planned to catch our ferry to Croatia.
It was a dream — but certainly far too little time in each place. But after spending two days in Rome, I knew right upon leaving I had to return.
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Which brings us to 2018 — the year we attended a beautiful wedding abroad in Orvieto, Italy, and had the opportunity to make a larger trip out of our visit.
Our route : Orvieto > Mykonos > Santorini > Rome — yes, we learned to slow it down a bit ;).
It was perfection. Enough time in a new country and just enough time to revisit beloved Italy again.
Now I don’t mean to jump the gun, as I’ve got a very extensive travel guide in the works for the Grecian leg of our trip — the true meat — but I was really excited to share how we spent one day in Rome, for my birthday.
We thought it’d be a really great end to our trip to have a stopover in Rome from Greece, to ease back into heading home and to have one more night of fun.
Best. decision. ever.
So in the case you have this beautiful city on your radar for your next Italian vacation — reference this guide for what we put at the top of our list to take this city in during such limited time.
We flew into Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport around 9am so that we were able to grab our bags and cab to our hotel arriving between 10-11am so that we could make early check-in.
#ProTip: request early check in so that you can drop your bags off, freshen up and then hit the streets for your full day of exploring.
We wanted to stay in an area that was in the heart of all things important to us — sights, cafes and ristorantes galore and shopping. You know, the essentials.
This led us to land in the center of fashion, the bustling Rione IV in Rome’s City Centre, Campo Marzio. This neighborhood includes the Piazza al Popolo — the “people’s square” and the Piazza Di Spagna which is the square that contains the Spanish Steps. And, it’s walking distance to the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. It was perfect for what we were seeking.
Tucked away in the busy streets, a stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, is the most elegant boutique hotel I’ve ever experienced — Nobildonne Relais. What was once a palazzo that belonged to Roman Nobility, is now a collection of four incredible suites that each have their own story, layout and character. A true representation of Modern Roman Chic.
We had the opportunity to stay in the Olympia Pamphilj (Donna Olimpia) Suite which — as you can see from the video and images, is insane. A ceiling of hand-painted frescos with ornate molding and the most gorgeous chandelier. The most comfortable bed and sleigh bed in the case you have a third guest, or for simple lounging in your hotel bath robe. And modernized art that shares the story of where it is you’re staying in this private pocket of Rome.
The staff made our stay worth while. We were greeted with espresso upon arrival, had treats waiting in our room, access to their full stocked bar at all times and a map with recommendations of where to eat and enjoy the city for our day here.
After we got settled, took the room in, sipped the champagne we were given for my birthday, we were ready to conquer the city.
I highly recommend staying at this hotel during your future visit — you can book here and reference this guide.
Usually I’ll separate these two categories in my travel guides, but given the short time period, it’s only necessary to eat and drink everywhere you go — because do as the Romans do :).
One of our favorite things to do as soon as we arrive in a foreign city is get on our walking shoes and explore. Get lost, snap photos, get a lay of the land and most importantly, follow our nose and eyes to the cutest and tastiest spots to quench our thirst and fill our bellies.
So we set out to do just that.
This is a beautiful space to sip your first Italian cappuccino, take in the atmosphere and roman design of the area. I won’t lie, I ordered two capps I liked them so much.
We went here during our honeymoon during our first visit to the Spanish Steps. You can sit above the steps under umbrellas to truly take the area all in. We like a glass of rosé as our first glass of wine for the day.
After a ton of walking and photo snapping and really taking it all in, we decided it was time for a caprese, pasta and wine lunch — our fave. We were near the Pantheon and were told we could find tons of restaurants around the area, and we most definitely did. I love to scope out vibes of outdoor cafes and ristorantes that look chic, authentic and buzzy. Which is why when we passed Clemente alla Maddalena, we knew we’d come across the perfect lunch spot. We ordered Chiante, split our salad and enjoyed our truffle and bolognese tagliatelle.
Conveniently across the street from this delectable restaurant, was a gelato shop calling our name. We were pulled in to get the most tastiest cones — and yes we stacked. My fave flavors to order when in Italy are straciatella and pistachio.
Following our sugar high we were in need for a little pick me up. So we continued our march around and ended up at the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori where there’s a farmers market. We scored a table outside at this cafe, ordered espressos with a side of Aperol Spritz and watched the locals do their thing. It was just what we needed.
If you’re seeking a rooftop to take in more lay of the land and see the city from above, check out this rooftop recommended to us by our hotel. It has a beautiful outdoor terrace while you can eat some bites, sip some sips and take in Rome more before your night begins.
Talk about good vibes. This bohemian style hot spot is a great place to get a pre-dinner drink and soak in all of the neighborhood feels. Amazing pizza, a glass atrium and al the shabby chic vibes.
Another recommendation from our hotel, this was where we chose to have my birthday dinner. It was such a amazing spot — tucked away in a boutique hotel, up a small elevator and out to an elegant, modern space with an outside eating area and the most amazing views of Rome at night. We had complimentary bites and enjoyed one amazing bottle of Nebbiolo — a favorite varietal of ours from Italy. We dabbled in pasta again — Trevor was in love with his lobster choice and I fell in love with the pesto option I was gravitated to.
My favorite category abroad — who doesn’t love to pick up a little something to remember your experience in a new place?
Since our honeymoon, when Trevor and I take an international trip we love to save for one of us to get a “big gift” while we’re there. Trevor got a nice watch when we were in Rome back in 2015, I got my first designer bag when we were in Paris in 2016 and skip ahead to 2018 — we decided to do a little shared bigger gift, because it just felt right.
Before getting into what we got, there are several shopping streets to know around the Spanish Steps:
Go here for the highest concentration of well-known stores like H&M, Sephora, Zara and Nike. The sidewalks will be packed.
On this street you’ll find the elegant, luxury brands like Gucci, Chanel and Jimmy Choo. It runs perpendicular to the Spanish Steps and if you’re planning on purchasing something big, make sure you get a drink before to loosen up :).
Via Borgognona and Via Delle Carrozze
These two streets are full of high end brands and those that are more Italian known. Names like Bruno Cucinelli, Roberto Cavalli and Malo. A little more spacious then the other crowded streets, you can enjoy your time window shopping or popping in and out for looks.
This. brand. So. obsessed. Under the H&M umbrella, this one-stop destination for all things style has design ateliers in Paris, Stockholm and LA. They offer amazing ready-to-wear styles that truly complement your edit. You’ll find this store along your cruise down Via Borgognona. AND follow along as there’s a fun ongoing collaboration in the works — fan girl moment!
Now let’s talk specifics — the birthday gift that I convinced Trevor to join in on too — because couples who sneaker together, stay together. I’ve been obsessed with Golden Goose since I learned about them from my favorite blogger, Mary Lawless Lee of Happily Grey.
I know, I’m obsessed.
Anyways. GGDB is an Italian born brand that was created by two Venetian designers that sought to create a lifestyle for customers by combining a refined, modern style with a vintage feel for their product. Something that was a true representation of Italian tradition.
When we walked past one of their very few flagship stores near the Piazza del Poppo, I knew it had to be done. GGDB Italian sneakers inspired by our 24 hours of exploring were a necessary.
We went clean — because normally this brand has dirty, but I already have a high top dirty ;). I got the very on-brand black, white and gold superstar and Trevor got the black and white starter (on sale now ladies, for your men!).
Talk about two giddy golden gooses strolling around town to dinner.
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It’s no doubt the streets of Roma are a playground. You can spend the whole day walking and getting lost and finding new areas and beautiful history and architecture.
But to help you out in staying focused in your area around Nobildonne Relais — here’s what I recommend:
Obviously, because it’s in your backyard from the hotel — and it’s simply gorgeous, AND it’s my favorite part of Rome. The Spanish Steps were built at the beginning of the eighteenth century and contains exactly 135 steps. Relax, sit and take it all in (and of course, snap some pics).
The large urban square you’ve got to wander and spin in. Birds flying above, locals sitting — it’s a great place to start before you hit the shopping streets.
This square — so good and oh so beautiful. Go here to hang with tons of people, admire the surrounding buildings, watch visitors and locals enjoy each others company at the surrounding cafes and make a wish at the fountain. Loved this area.
This former Roman temple turned church is a must visit. Open to the public, always busy but worth the pop in — the Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It was dedicated to the gods of pagan Rome and it was built between AD 117-138 — wow. My favorite part about this architectural lovers dream is the series of intersecting arches and top of the dome oculus that acts as a sun dial, allowing the sun to shine in on the floor.
This area — also called Via Veneto — is one of the most famous, sophisticated, and expensive streets of Rome. In the 50s and 60s, celebs would come visit to be seen and stay at the luxurious hotels and hang at the cafes. This is where you go to experience “La Dolce Vita”. Visit the Fontana delle Api and the Piazza Barberini. Pop into the well known Hotel Excelsior and have a drink at the Hotel Eden rooftop bar.
And finally — last but certainly not least, the most beautiful fountain you’ll ever encounter. The Trevi Fountain is a massive fountain located in the Trevi district of Rome and one spectacular sight spanning 20 meters wide and 26 meters high. Its origins go back to 19 BC. The best time to go is at night, as you can see the fountain at all its spectacular sight — lit and glowing with magic. There’s a myth with throwing in coins to the fountain — one coin meaning you’ll return to Rome, two coins to fall in love with an attractive Italian and three coins to marry the person that you met. Given the fact that I’d already met the most attractive man and had the chance to marry him, I made one special birthday wish with one coin. And let’s just say, it was elevated. 🙂
Our 24 hours in Rome were nothing short of extraordinary. This city truly gives so many feels. Surrounded by beauty in the form of architecture, ancient history, food, wine and people. It’s a place I aspire to spend a long chunk of time in someday, with Trevor and who knows, maybe a little one by our side. 😉
Make sure to spend at least 24 hours in Rome during your next Italian vacation. I hope this guide can be helpful to you and yours.
Addio, buna fortuna e vivi la dolce vita —
// cb ✌????
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Lifestyle blogger, photographer, mother to my son Boden and frenchie Smalls, wife to my hubs Trevor.
I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Get To Know Me
Mother. Wife. Blogger. Photographer. I built this space in an attempt to inspire you to find your edit and empower you to create the life you desire. Through digital content and honest storytelling, I hope to guide you along the way. Because everyone has an edit, and I'm here to help you find yours.
Hi, I'm Cortney
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