Tag Archives: Local Recommendations

Ponza Island Day Trip from Rome

Ponza Island's beautiful beaches

Ponza Island’s beautiful beaches

Rome is far enough inland that you might not think of it as the ideal base for a day trip to an island. The port isn’t as far away as you might think, however, and there are plenty of islands close enough to make day trips easy and fun. Try visiting the historic island of Ponza, first settled by the Etruscans.

Ponza Island is the largest in the Pontine archipelago, named after a Roman politician but with a history dating back to the Etruscan era long before the Roman Empire. One of Ponza’s drawing attractions are the famed Blue Grottoes, created by the Etruscans.

The Blue Grottoes at Ponza are similar to the even more famous one on the island of Capri – although the one on Capri is believed to be a naturally-occurring cave, whereas the ones on Ponza were carved (or at least enhanced) by the Etruscans. The phenomenon is the same, however, with light suffusing the water from below, making it glow a bright blue inside the cave.

A day trip to Ponza Island from Rome is a long day, to be sure, but with an organized tour all the transport is taken care of so you can relax and enjoy it. You’ll travel from Rome to the port on the coast, and then by boat to Ponza Island for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the island itself. You’ll have time to see the grottoes as well as do some shopping in the many boutiques on Ponza.

- Contributed by Jessica Spiegel

Ponza Island Day Trip from Rome from Viator Rome

Take Viator With You – Download Our Insider’s Guide to Rome

At Viator, our goal has always been to help travelers find the best things to see and do around the world. Our team of travel insiders handpicks every tour, our mobile apps keep you connected on the go, and our blogs bring you tips and advice from real locals. Now you can also download our Insider’s Guide to Rome so you can have our best recommendations at your fingertips – even when you don’t have a wifi connection.

In this guide, our local insiders share their top recommendations for the best things to see and do in Rome, including tips on avoiding the crowds at the most popular landmarks and museums; how to shop, eat, and drink like a local; and some of the coolest activities and attractions you’ve never heard of!

We’ve handpicked the very best of what makes Rome so special — both on and off the beaten path — so you can travel like an insider in Rome!

Rome has earned its ancient nickname of The Eternal City – no matter how many places in Italy vie for our attention, there’s no city that compares to Rome. Here you can walk the same streets that Caesar once walked, then turn a corner to see how modern Romans live alongside the city’s historic splendor. The vastness of Rome encompasses everything from the epicenter of the once-mighty Roman Empire to the smallest independent nation on earth – but this city won’t truly grab your heart until you get past the must-see list and dig a little deeper into its neighborhoods. Watch artisans at work, sit with locals enjoying their afternoon coffee, and explore the cracks between the attractions. That’s where the charm lies.

Download the guide here!

Take Viator With You – Download Our Insider’s Guide to Rome from Viator Rome

Espresso, Gelato and Tiramisu in Rome

Espresso, gelato and tiramisu. Nothing says Italy quite like the sweeter side of the country famous for their culinary delights. With the assistance of our local guide we walked around the city eating and drinking like a Roman. With so many options in a city the size of Rome it’s best to go with someone who knows.

Coffee Photo Collages 2 (1)

When in Rome.

To drink coffee like a true Roman you need to be on your feet. Coffee isn’t taken at a cafe leisurely, but at a bar usually on the go. Unique to Italy the coffee bar has no chairs, just a counter lined with espresso machines serving cups of the potent brown stuff. Our guide explains to us the typical Italian will have about four espressos per day from a shop like the one she took us to. We visited one of the landmark coffee bars in the city for a unique coffee treat. We ordered a granite di caffe, where espresso and ice are blended and then topped with whipped cream. The bitterness of the espresso combines on the spoon with the cream to make a perfect bite. It was a nice way to beat the July heat and start our food filled tour of Rome.

Coffee Tour Photo Collages

Some espresso to give us energy for the tour.

Our next stop on the tour continues the cooling trend with another famous Italian food, gelato. Our guide explained that just like coffee there is a particular way Italians eat their ice cream too. Similar to ice cream only in temperature, Italian gelato is made with only a few simple ingredients. There are a few things to look for when picking a gelato shop and basically bigger is not always better. Starting with the amount of flavors, if a shop has hundreds it’s probably not all fresh. Also the showy displays where the gelato stands high above the tub is not natural. The towering gelato either has additives in it, or you are just paying for extra air that was whipped in. Either way we learned bigger isn’t better when it comes to gelato.

Gelato and Coffee Photo Collages

So many fantastic flavors.

The shop where we have our sample fits all the criteria. We even got to watch the owner hard at work in the kitchen making fresh batches of gelato.

Rome Gelato and Espresso Tour-20

An incredible finish to the tour.

Along the way our guide brings us to a few more hotspots for both gelato and espresso before our final stop of the night. To finish the evening we make our way to the locally famous Pompi tiramisu shop. All they make is tiramisu and the line is out the door. We ordered three of their most popular flavors and dug in. The original coffee cream is what put the shop on the map, but the banana cream wasn’t bad either. To conclude the tour we took the last of our treats and enjoyed while sitting on the nearby Spanish steps. The night left us full and feeling like a Roman, at least for a few days.

– Contributed by Hannah Lukaszewicz

Espresso, Gelato and Tiramisu in Rome from Viator Rome

Perfetto! Your Perfect Cooking Class in Rome

Rome Walking Tour and Cooking Class

One of the greatest pleasures of a visit to Rome is eating your way through the city. Sampling local specialties like Roman-style artichokes, bucatini all’amatriciana, porchetta, and cacio e pepe (a “comfort food” pasta dish with grated pecorino cheese and black pepper), not to mention the city’s array of fabulous gelato shops.

But if you’d like to make those mouth-watering memories last longer than your vacation, you absolutely can – sign up for a cooking class in Rome and learn to re-create those famous dishes once you return to your own kitchen.

Some people think cooking classes in Italy are only held on Tuscan farms or other rural locations, but there are plenty of great options for cooking classes in big cities like Rome, too. In fact, for those taking shorter trips and who aren’t already planning tours of more rural areas, taking a cooking class in a city (rather than a more remote countryside locale) can mean less time spent in transit.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re browsing your options for cooking classes, whether it’s in Rome or elsewhere.

How long is the class?
Cooking classes can range from a few hours to multiple days, so it’s important to know how much time you have to set aside for a class before you start looking at the options. Again, if you’ve only got a few days to spend in Rome, you may gravitate toward a half-day class rather than one taking up an entire day so that you have more time to explore the city itself. Note that if the class isn’t in Rome’s city center you’ll need to factor in transportation time, too (and if it’s in the country outside Rome, make sure to check on whether the class provides the transportation).

You may like the Rome Walking Tour and Cooking Class, which combines an historic walking tour of the city with a small group cooking class – all in roughly four hours, leaving you plenty of time to do what you’d like with the rest of your holiday.

Is it hands-on?
Not all cooking classes are the same – some are more “demonstration” than hands-on class. You can certainly learn from such demo-only classes, but nothing can replace actually getting your hands dirty with an instructor around to help provide guidance. Hands-on classes may take a little longer, but that’s time well spent. Additionally, if there’s ever an issue with a language barrier, then being able to get hands-on instruction will circumvent the confusion of a misunderstood word.

How many people are involved?
Any student will tell you learning is more effective when class size is kept small, and cooking classes are no exception. Choosing a cooking class with a good teacher-to-student ratio means you’re more likely to get personal assistance when you need it. Plus, you’re likely to have more fun that way, too.

Viator’s Small Group Cooking Lesson in Rome will be no more than eight people, and includes shopping for the ingredients and then turning them into a meal in a private kitchen.

Does it include anything else?
Does the class begin with a walking tour of the local market, so you can learn about choosing what goes into the meal you’re about to prepare? Will you get wine pairing tips to go with your newly-learned cooking skills? Is the class outside the city center, which will give you a chance to see another environment than just Rome? Check out every class listing to see if it includes “extras” that can make the experience richer – that may explain why some classes are more expensive than others, and that added cost may be totally worth it.

The Small Group Cooking Lesson in the Roman Countryside offers a full day of market shopping, cooking class, and wine matching tips, all of which takes place outside Rome for a beautiful change of scenery.

 – Jessica Spiegel

Planning a Trip? Browse Viator’s Rome tours and things to do, Rome attractions, and Rome travel recommendations. Or book a private tour guide in Rome for a customized tour!

Perfetto! Your Perfect Cooking Class in Rome from Rome Things To Do