One of us recently jetted off to Rome (okay, flew…via Alitalia) sans kids, with hubby and four HEUCY picks in tow. We thought it would be interesting to see how HEUCY really travels. Is it possible to eat, drink, sight-see and gallivant, entirely in HEUCY? Now we can say — emphatically and from experience — YES, it is possible. And enjoyable. You feel so much freer with just a carry-on!
We also thought, wouldn’t it be nice to post a travel guide for a real modern woman — someone who wants to see the sights, but also enjoys a little downtime while on vacation? Real life is hectic. Travel should be relaxing. And somewhat affordable. Just like our clothes.
So…Below is our itinerary, which includes a list of outfits plus lots of great Rome travel recommendations. Enjoy!!
Friday: Arrive in Rome, around noon. Wore the HEUCY #PerfectTen dress for roughly 24 hours, including on the overnight flight. As comfortable as PJ’s, but sophisticated enough to garner lounge access.
Stayed at: Hotel de Russie. An incredibly chic, smallish boutique hotel right off the Piazza del Popolo, just steps from the Borghese Gardens. When we saw the courtyard, we were happy.
After a piadina, some espresso, some vino biancho, a nap, a shower and a change into the HEUCY #HighSchoolReunion (hey, you never know who you’ll run into in Roma), we walked around the Spanish Steps and met up with our friends for dinner at Dal Bolognese, also on the Piazza del Popolo. The most. amazing. truffles. ever. The weight gain begins here, but we tell ourselves that a) European wine does not have tannins. Therefore no hangover. And b) you can’t gain weight in Europe because the food is not processed. No looking back now.
Saturday: sight-seeing, eating, drinking and shopping
After a good night’s sleep, we woke and ambled toward the “historic heart” of Rome — Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Campo de Fiori. We stopped by Sant’Eustachio for un caffe e agostina with nutella. OMG. Words cannot describe how delicious. I wore the HEUCY #AlterEgo Jumpsuit all day — comfort with a little bit of edge — perfetto for walking around the ancient city.
I remembered being absolutely floored by the Pantheon twenty years before, when I had studied in Rome (we’ll get to that later). Built in 120 A.D., still standing, a true architectural marvel. Oh, and Raphael is buried there. What, exactly, have I been doing with my time? Hmmm.
After a stroll around the Campo de Fiori, we were hungry again. We had a long, leisurely lunch at Pier Luigi…a fabulous seafood restaurant in a secluded alley off the Campo. Afternoon light, some delicious sea bass, vino biancho and espresso. Heaven.
After lunch, we strolled down to Il Giolitti for gelato. It was a bit like an arms race to get my cone of straciatella, but definitely worth the fight. Conveniently, there was an adorable children’s clothing store, Boutique ZeroSei, located just a few steps away. I had my HEUCY for the trip, so didn’t really need to shop for myself. My daughter got very lucky that day.
Back at the hotel, we were delighted to see paparazzi. I started to help myself to a bar that seemed to have just “popped up out of nowhere” in the hotel lobby, but was swiftly turned away because I was not “with Universal.” My imagination was abuzz, who could it be? I decided to wear my HEUCY #DateNight dress that night, to wow this celeb.
We dined at a charming open-air restaurant called Antica Pesa that eve, in Trastevere, and discovered that our hotel celeb was there too! I mean, what are the odds? And can you guess who it was? None other than Richard “Riccardo” Gere. Luckily, I felt like “Pretty Woman” in my Date Night!
Sunday — day trip to Castelgandolfo and Nemi, two very cute villages on Lake Albano. Normally a thirty minute drive outside of Rome. But we had forgotten how seriously Romans take their Sunday lunch, so it took a bit longer than expected to get to our first spot.
We lunched on the terrace at Antico Ristorante Pagnanelli, in Castelgandolfo. Delicious grilled herbs. And wine. And espresso. You know, when in Rome…our just outside…
Back in Rome, we caught the sunset at the Borghese Gardens. And then dined outside at Emma, a wonderful new pizzeria off the beaten path on Monte della Farina. I was sporting my HEUCY #HighSchoolReunion dress again. Too comfy to just wear once. And the elastic waistband was forgiving. I indulged in pizza con funghi e prosciutto as well as a few Peroni.
Monday — a tour of the Vatican and a stroll down memory lane (literally and figuratively)
Monday morning we woke very early and I put on my HEUCY #PerfectTen (shoulders covered, knees sort of) to meet our guide at the Vatican for a semi-private tour of the Vatican museum, St. Peter’s and other surprises we were definitely not expecting. Angelo Amorico, our wonderful guide from Access Italy, greeted us at a cafe and told us he had just taken Oprah truffle hunting in Umbria. I thought to myself, hey, if this guy is good enough for Oprah…then I suppose he’s good enough for me. It turns out, Angelo is fairly well-connected in Italy and in Hollywood. And he looks a bit like Robert de Niro. Surreal morning.
Inside the the Vatican museums, the Raphael rooms, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s, we were again reminded that we are just mere mortals. Honestly, how did people build structures like this without modern technology? And how did Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel and sculpt The Pieta with chronic back pain and corrupt clergy breathing down his neck? Seriously awe-inspiring.
One of the surprises Angelo showed us was quite impressive. We went “backstage” to meet some of The Vatican’s renowned mosaic artists, who create the works that Il Papa (The Pope) gives to world leaders. The level of detail and craftsmanship in their works is truly amazing. Does the picture below look like a painting? It’s actually a mosaic. We got to see some of the artists in action.
We kissed Angelo goodbye, promised to say hello to Oprah for him…and headed toward the Aventine Hill, where I had studied abroad almost twenty years ago. It’s located near many awesome Roman ruins, such as the Roman Forum on the Palatine Hill, an ancient aqueduct, the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum, the Via Sacra and the Arch of Titus. And much, much more.
I felt like Jason Bourne as we walked through the lovely orange grove park where I used to “study” and we found the Convento di Suore Camaldolesi, the convent where the students in my program had studied and lived. I was having flashbacks of discotheques in Testaccio and not really studying. The Suore were kind enough to house and feed us, and to turn a blind eye to our night-time activities. We were 20 and in Europe, sine parente. Nuff said.
I really should not be sharing this class photo, for a variety of reasons (namely, my roots and a very obvious love of carbs)…but I have to. What on earth was I thinking, wearing a chunky cable knit sweater when I could have been wearing easy-to-pack jersey dresses and feeling like Audrey Hepburn? If only HEUCY had been available then. Oh, well. You live and you learn.
Feeling a bit exhausted — mentally, emotionally and physically — we headed to Da Pietro, a lovely Roman hosteria recommended by Angelo. Really yummy pasta y fagioli and — yep, you guessed it — vino biancho. We were on vacation, after all.
After an afternoon nap and a stroll around the Piazza, we had a lovely dinner at the bar at Roscioli and a nightcap in the courtyard at the hotel. I paired my HEUCY #PerfectTen dress with my mom’s vintage belt, and some diamond earrings. Full disclosure: the carbonara did make my belt feel tighter…but that’s the beauty of accessorizing. You can just take the belt off!
Woke up the next morning, put on my HEUCY #AlterEgo jumpsuit, and readied myself for the long journey home.
Arrivederci and Happy Thursday!
The HEUCY Team
P.S. Coming soon: a London travel guide from one of our fave #HEUCYgals, Brett Tyne, the super-chic yet incredibly down-to-earth designer/founder of Wilbur and Gussie handbags.