a day in the life
I love reading “a day in the life” posts. I love getting a glimpse into someone’s life and routine. Different cultures, different cities, different routines — it’s basically what we’re all doing on social media anyway, right? We receive a lot of comments that people love following along and are interested in our day to day lives, so I thought what the heck and decided to document my Saturday in Rome. No weekend is the same for us here, maybe we’re staying in and resting with Netflix, maybe we’re taking a day trip on the train, maybe we’re in a different country, maybe we’re eating gelato while exploring Rome. It’s always different, but I thought this was a fun post to write and a great way to look back at this period in our lives.
Andiamo! (Let’s go!)
09:30 AM: Woke up, rolled over, and cuddled with the pups for a few minutes before officially getting out of bed. I put on a little eyeliner, mascara, and most importantly sunscreen. Ladies and gents, it’s so important to wear sunscreen even when you think you don’t need it! Protect that beautiful face of yours. I made my way downstairs and made sure my purse had all my essentials: battery pack + charging cord, wallet, chapstick, phone, headphones, and keys. Jaime had a long week at work and has been feeling under the weather, so this weekend I ventured out alone.
10:00 AM: Directly across the street from our apartment is a bar. A bar you say? Don’t worry, I didn’t get up and go have a cocktail first thing in the morning. Bars in Italy are coffee shops in the morning, offer light bites and coffee during the day, and then liquor later in the day. My favorite thing to have in the morning is a cappuccino and cornetto semplice (plain croissant, sometimes with a little sugar on top). They also offer croissants with chocolate, nuts, and marmalade. If you’re feeling like a quick shot of espresso ask for a caffè and if you’d like a latte ask for a caffè latte (coffee with milk). In a touristy area they’ll probably know you want a coffee with milk if you ask for a latte, but there’s a chance you may end up with a glass of milk and a weird look. Latte in Italian means milk.
10:20 AM: We live off a main street in Rome which makes it easy for us to get to the centro storico (historic center). After I finished up at the bar, I made a quick walk to the bus stop where I waited for my “chariot”. Bus life isn’t glamorous, but it’s cheap and having a car in Rome doesn’t make sense. We have a parking space at our complex, but it’s not worth the hassle of finding parking out in town. My yearly pass cost €250 and covers all bus and metro lines within the city limits. Buses in Rome have a schedule, but most of the time you wouldn’t know it. I’ve never waited more than 30 minutes for a bus, but I’ve heard stories of people waiting over an hour. If you’re visiting Rome and planning to use public transit, make sure to download the Probus Rome and Citymapper apps. You can read more about how they work in my travel essentials blog post.
10:50 AM: I took the bus to Monti, a very chic and hip neighborhood in Rome. If you’re looking for a picturesque neighborhood with good eats and a chill vibe, Monti is where it’s at. Monti has been around since the ancient times and is actually known as Rione I (district one) of the 22 districts. I came to Monti to check out the MercatoMonti Urban Market. The market is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 8 PM (except August for Ferragosto) where you’ll find jewelry, purses, clothes, and more. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir that’s been handcrafted by someone in Rome, make sure to stop by the market. All the vendors I spoke to also spoke English. This weekend was the first time visiting the market and I definitely plan to come back.
11:30 AM: The weather was great this weekend (high of 75F (24C)) so instead of taking the bus to the next market I decided to walk the 1.1 miles (1.7 km). Walking around cities is my favorite way to experience them if time permits. While I’ve walked around Monti, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum various times, this weekend’s walk showed me new areas with great views of the ruins that I had never been to before.
12:00 PM: At noon I decided to take a break and hangout in Campidoglio, a hilltop square designed by Michaelangelo. While I was there I saw three weddings! Love, family, friends, and beautiful wedding dresses in a dreamy city like Rome… talk about beautiful! There were children everywhere and I’m pretty sure one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard is little kids speaking Italian. It’s a fact that Italians communicate with hand gestures and it’s so precious and comical to see young children doing the same. I hung out and people watched for 20 minutes and then made my way to the second market.
12:30 PM: I finally arrived at Mercato di Campagna Amica. Campagna Amica is a foundation that promotes local, sustainable agriculture and commerce. The philosophy of these markets is “0 km” meaning the products are made or grown within 100 kilometers from the point of sale. They had everything from cured and raw meats, seafood, honey, bread, cheese, produce, olive oil, spreads, to wines. I purchased three spreads: dried tomato, asparagus and artichoke, and red onion for €5 each and four mini apricot tarts for €3 total. Mercato di Campagna Amica isn’t corporate, it’s a farmer’s market and Rome’s largest. Products are handcrafted or grown and most likely aren’t products you’ll find at mainstream supermarkets. If you’re looking to support local during your time in Rome and are here on the weekend, I highly recommend Mercato di Campagna Amica near Circo Massimo. It’s not exactly close to our home, but I plan to make weekend trips here part of our routine. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 08:00 AM to 03:00 PM.
01:15 PM: I walked to Piazza Venezia to catch my bus back home. I bring my Kindle with me everywhere because the bus rides home are longer than 10 minutes and I never know how long I’ll have to wait for the bus to arrive.
01:30 PM: Upon walking up to my apartment complex I was greeted by the flower truck. We have guests coming into town this week so I decided to stop and purchase fresh flowers for the dining table. I ended up leaving with two bouquets because the man offered me a discount if I purchased both, so why not.
02:45 PM: After unpacking my bags and snacking on some Greek yogurt, I settled down and finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It’s a great book and really insightful into the culture and struggles of white, underclass Americans in a neglected part of the country.
05:00 PM: I finished crocheting another blanket and also finished the British crime drama, The Fall. I highly recommend watching The Fall. It’s about Paul Spector, played by Jamie Dorian, and his crimes as a serial killer. It’s only three seasons long will less than 10 episodes per season. Perfect for a weekend binge!
06:45 PM: I headed back to the bus stop to take the bus to the US Embassy gym. One of the biggest perks of being here with the US government is the access to resources we wouldn’t otherwise have. From door to door and assuming the bus is running somewhat on time, the trip to the embassy is about 25 minutes. Because we have access to the embassy compound, the gym is free to use and on the weekends it’s always empty. There are no Crunch Fitness, Chuze Fitness, or 24 Hour Fitness gyms here where memberships range from $9.99/month to $50/month. The starting price we’ve seen for gyms in town is $90/month. While the location is much more convenient, I’ll continue to opt for the free and almost always empty gym.
07:45 PM: After my workout, I usually skip the closest bus stop and walk to the next one, which is about 0.75 miles away. It’s a nice cooldown and I enjoy walking through that part of town. The bus stop also has more traffic and is better lit, so at night it’s a safer option.
08:30 PM: Because I love to cook and we have a ton of guests coming into town over the next two months, we’ve been making an effort to cook more whole foods and eat at home. A couple of days ago, I made Budget Byte’s Basic Chili. I’ve made it many times before, it comes together quickly and is a really low effort recipe. You sauté your garlic and onions, brown your meat (if you’re using meat), dump everything in your dutch oven and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. This time I let it simmer for over an hour and added a tsp of smoked paprika. It was delicious and I was so happy to have my leftovers for dinner.
09:30 PM: Threw in some laundry because I’m a night owl and I knew I’d definitely still be up in an hour and a half when it finished.
11:00 PM: Hung up the laundry to dry. We have a US government issued dryer, but it’s the most inefficient piece of equipment to ever exist. It takes hours to dry anything that’s not socks, underwear, or small hand towels. When I say hours, I mean at least three hours because we ALWAYS have to run it more than once. We use it in the winter when it’s really cold because our items don’t dry as quickly inside, but from Spring to Fall we hang dry everything. The upside is that we save electricity and lessen our carbon footprint. The downsides are that our clothes are never as soft as they were when dried in a dryer we have to be strategic about when we do laundry because there’s only so much room to hang dry clothes and what happens when all your pants are now too wet to wear? I know fewer people than I can count on one hand who hang dry all their clothes in the states, but in Italy it’s the majority who don’t own a dryer.
I had fun writing and sharing this “day in the life” post. I hope you enjoyed reading it, gained some insight into our daily life in Italy, and thanks for tagging along for a day in my life as an American living in Italy.