Many visitors coming to Rome have the idea that the Vatican is a city, with streets, shops, houses, etc. , many of them don’t even know that the Vatican is a State. The big question is : what is the Vatican city State?

The Vatican

  1. The Vatican is a sovereign country
  2. The Vatican is the smallest country in the world
  3. The Vatican is not a city, but  a territory of 109 acres, the equivalent of 1/8 of Central Park in New York,  closed by a wall built in the XVI century
  4. The population of the Vatican is of 453 people, but only 246 are citizens, amongst them the 104 Swiss guards.
  5. The Vatican citizens instead are 618. Of them 372 of   are  dwelling in Italy   or other countries.

Why such a particular State?

Everything started in the year 1870 when the Pope Pius IX lost the power of Rome, that was part of the Pontifical State. The Pontifical State was a territory occupying the central part of Italy where the Pope had the  political and religious power.      On September  of 1870 Rome was occupied by the “bersaglieri”: soldiers of the King Victor Emanuel II, and proclaimed Rome Capital of the Reign of Italy. The Pope Pius IX self-exiled in his palace, the Vatican.

In 1929 Italy was a Reign ruled by the dictator Benito Mussolini who had imposed a dictatorship. After several meetings with the Pope Pius XI he announced to the world that the Vatican territory would be recognized as a sovereign country. This territory included St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s square, the Sistine Chapel, the large Museum created since the 1506 and the Papal palace.

Street food in Rome: what are you missing out

Street food in Rome: what are you missing out

Roman cuisine is authentic, flavorful and special. It is said that Italian food is one of the best in the world: you still haven’t tasted the street food in Rome.

Rome is a culinary stage with plenty of choice, depending on your taste and budget.

From fine dining, to food stalls in touristic spots, anything in Rome tastes delicious and I am here to prove it.

Where once people would meet to drink wine, bringing food from home, today we see the rise of osterias. Those small eateries are the ones that serve the most authentic recipes, homemade with the freshest local ingredients and at a very affordable price.

But then again the food industry keeps on changing: today we rather eat a quick meal, maybe even strolling around the streets in the Italian capital city.

That is why I have put together a list of street food you definitely cannot miss when you are in Rome.

  • Pizza al taglio

This street food is in fact a proper pizza, not circular neither sliced. This pizza is in fact baked in a square tray and then cut in chunks, which are sold singularly. Crunchy and tasty, toppings are various: you will find a simple Margherita, with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, as well as more flavorful potatoes and sausages and many other different kinds.

Easy to carry, easy to eat, easy to love.

  • Panino con la porchetta

This is probably the first choice amongst locals: panino is a sandwich made with daily fresh oven baked bread. There are a big variety of fillings but the best one in Rome couldn’t be other than Porchetta. What is it? Porchetta is the name of a whole pork cooked on a spit fire, whose meat is then cured and sliced like a sort of ham.

Seasoned with a variety of local spices, Porchetta is delicious and makes for a perfect quick lunch in the busy streets of the Eternal city.

  • Trapizzino

This is a very recent invention by chef Stefano Callegari, also exported in Turin and lately in New York. It is a white pizza slice (cheese only, no tomato) cut in the middle and filled with all sorts of condiments. Usually, the choices are typical recipes from the roman cuisine. Coda alla vaccinara, Pollo alla cacciatora and also a vegetarian version with Melanzane alla Parmigiana – which means veal, chicken or vegetable sauces: this is a great solution to taste both street food and authentic italian recipes.

  • Supplì

Supplì is the most traditional street food in Rome and is great anytime of the day: it can be a snack, a lunch or an after dinner.

Imagine a nugget, made of rice and pecorino cheese, filled with gooey mozzarella and tasty meat ragout, breaded and fried. Doesn’t it sound delicious? Well, I can tell it tastes even better than it sounds.

Similar to the sicilian version called Arancini, the first appearance of this street food was in 1847. Not only a street food, but also a creative way to use leftovers from a family meal. Simple but delicious.

Many eateries in Rome serve these kinds of street food, and I am so fond of those recipes to know the best spots. Food stalls, street vendors and city markets: let me guide you through this amazing culinary journey.

How to do that?

Easy: reserve one of my private tours and let’s built the perfect customized itinerary to take you around not only the best landmarks of the city, also the greatest eateries in Rome. We will make sure you have an authentic experience!

3 things you didn’t know about the Vatican Museums in Rome

3 things you didn’t know about the Vatican Museums in Rome

3 things you didn’t know about the Vatican Museums in Rome

A must stop for every tourist in Rome, a state inside the city. What am I talking about? It is the Vatican city, of course.

This small country of its own sits right in the middle of the Roman culture, arts and history, with its boundaries enclosed in the – let’s say it – nicest city of the world.

There are many sites one can visit within the siege of the Catholic church: a magnificent square, the porch and the columnade that are called after St Peter, and then again fountains, gardens, statues and many more landmarks. Plenty to choose from and many different itineraries, so that you can come back many times and discovering always different spots.

One amongst all those beautiful places is one that certainly cannot be missed when in Rome: it is the Vatican Museums, showcasing a massive collection of art pieces, historical mementos and ancient objects from different times in history.

There are a million information that you can read about this place, but also a lot of secrets about the Vatican Museums that nobody will tell you about.

No one but me!

Ready to hear some? Here we go.

  • Michelangelo’s paintings are not only representing saints or angels.

I am not going fool, don’t worry. The Sistine Chapel is the best example of Michelangelo’s talent and a majestic work of art. The artist was able, together with his crew, to paint over a 5000 square meters ceiling and just over 300 human figures. As you just learned, it was not only saints and angels: many of the humans represented were in fact inspired by people living in Michelangelo’s times. Politicians, lawyers and other important citizens but one stands against them all: did you know that Jesus face in the infamous Giudizio Universale belongs in fact to Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, which was said to be the artist’s lover?!

  • There are way more visitors than you would expect

You are getting it right: there are a huge number of tourists visiting the Vatican museums everyday. And the number is increasing year by year.

There are in fact over 27 thousand visitors getting inside the Vatican every single day: just as if a medium-large town will go on a day trip there everyday! Impressive, and crowded of course. You can probably tell once you see the queue at the ticket office. The museums are open every single day (but on Sundays and catholic holidays) since 1771: can you work out how many tickets get sold in a year time?!

  • The Museums had some special closing date, which was neither a Sunday or a catholic holiday.

As just mentioned, the Vatican Museums were opened to the public for the first time in 1771 by Pope Clemens XIV and they have been open every day since. Every day but one: curiously, in 1938, Pope Pius XI decided to close the museums exceptionally on a week day. That was the day when Adolf Hitler, dictator from Germany, came to Rome on a visit. The Pope’s intention was to forbid the dictator’s access to such richness and beauty. And in fact he managed to do so.

So, tell me: did you know any of those special secrets about the Vatican Museums?! I bet you didn’t. But I will tell you more: there are a whole bunch of other curiosity about the Vatican City and other must visit spots in Rome I am happy to share with you.

So now you have 2 choices: keep reading this blog or book a customized tour around Rome.

Which one will you pick?

Vespa tour in Rome: 5 reasons to ride a scooter through the city

Vespa tour in Rome: 5 reasons to ride a scooter through the city

Vespa tour in Rome: 5 reasons to ride a scooter through the city

Experiences like visiting a city as beautiful as Rome are the kind we can never forget about.

Every visitor coming to Rome carries home those truly amazing sightseeings, breathtaking sceneries and the best memories of all times.

But activities like visiting historical architecture and museums for a whole day can sometimes be tiring: so here is something for you to twist it up.

Just follow me on a super fun and joyful Vespa tour in Rome!

Why should you do that?

Here’s my 5 reasons to ride a scooter through the Eternal City.

1.   Learn all the secrets with an architect.
What better way to know all deepest secrets that have affected the growth of Rome through the history than exploring the city with an expert.

My name is Ximena and not only I am a passionate Architect specialized in Urbanism, I also have been a licenced tour guide in Rome for 24 years.

I have been taking all sorts of groups, big or small, from every corner of the world, to visit the most beautiful sceneries in Rome. How? Riding the unmissed italian classic: a Vespa.

So far, I am just about to reach 100k kilometres on the “capital-S” scooter but am planning to drive as many more as I can: why don’t you join me?

2.   Live Rome like locals do.
When travelling to any city it is advisable to start living like a local: that is in fact the best way for a tourist to learn all deepest secrets of a place, avoiding tourist scams and pumped up prices.

What about Rome: can you picture a better way other than exploring the city on a traditional Vespa scooter?

Give me a buzz if you are looking for a special experience and let’s build together the perfect customized itinerary in Rome.

And not only sightseeing: let’s pick the best non touristy spots for a drink or gelato and live the city just as locals do.

3.   Get to the most beautiful spots faster.
The city of Rome develops on a 1200 km² area. You can work it out yourself: there is so much to see and do here that the biggest efforts are put into maximizing time consumption in between the spots you want to visit.

Well, let’s say it out loud: a Vespa can easily be driven through the streets in Rome and will get you from one side to the other in less than half the time (comparing to a tourist bus, for example).

And again, you will be completely free to decide when it is the right time to leave to new ventures.

4.   Visit the whole city in just one day.
Moving faster across different locations in Rome will also help maximize the amount of basilicas, squares, museums or fountains you can see in Rome in just one day.

This isn’t your everyday tour: amongst my best Rome tours, this is by far the most popular.

Wondering why? It’s because this tours lets you explore the whole city in a full day, with totally no hussle and enjoying every single moment of it.

5.   Move freely and safely through traffic.
This Vespa tour is made for everyone: there is no particular needs to join.

There are in fact 2 options for you to pick:

●      Self-driving tour, where you will need to own a driver’s license.

●      Experienced driver tour, where you can sit back and enjoy the views.

Whichever way you’ll go for, keep in mind that all routes will be covered safely and minimizing time loss usually due to the traffic in Rome.

So what? Jump on, ride your Vespa and have fun!