9 Things to see and do in Rome

When to go

I’m sure there are busier times than others, but for us we were able to be there the first week in October for two days in Rome.  The temps were in the low to mid 70’s for the high and we didn’t experience any rain.  The evenings did get a little chillier, so be sure to have a light jacket with you when you head out for dinner.  Dressing in layers while traveling is always a good idea!

Where to stay

I can’t say enough good things about our Air BnB which was located in the historical heart of downtown Rome.  When we walked outside and looked to the right we were literally steps away from the Castel Sant’Angelo.  We were only a 1o minute walk from the Vatican, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona.  Sadly I didn’t take any pics of the actual room, but I am linking it here.  Our host, Alessandro, was so accommodating and everything was incredibly clean!  It was the perfect space for our short stay in Rome! I highly recommend if you are looking for a place in Rome.

Air BnB near the bridge to Castel Sant'Angelo

Denim Jacket // Bodysuit // Olive Green Joggers // Sneakers

What to see and do

With two days in Rome, I feel we were able to make the most of it and see the top things on our list.  I do wish we would’ve had just one more day to take a more leisurely time roaming the city…I suppose this just means we will have to come back and visit again one day!

Tour the Vatican

You must buy tickets BEFORE your trip!  I repeat, buy tickets BEFORE your trip.  We used a company called City Wonders for our tour of the Vatican and The Colosseum and they were great!  The tours were organized and the guides were very knowledgeable.  The Vatican is HUGE, and even on the tour that we did, we didn’t get to see all of it.  But I honestly can’t imagine touring it without a guide. I’m sure it’s possible, but the crowds in early October were BIG (not as big as they are in July apparently) but I’m talking shoulder to shoulder people through most of the galleries.  By having a guide, they can navigate things a little better and keep you organized by pointing out the main attractions throughout Vatican City. The tour itself was approximately 3 hours, we started promptly at 9 and ended shortly after noon.

The Gallery of Maps at the Vatican in Rome

This was my fave part of the Vatican…so beautiful!

Climb to the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Upon the completion of your tour within Saint Peter’s Basilica, you will have the option to climb to the top of the cloister.  The cost is $8 to walk (500+ steps) or $10 to take the elevator (which will only get you part of the way to the top).  We chose to walk and I’m so glad we did!  What an experience!  There are definitely several very narrow spots the closer you get to the top, but the view alone at the end is worth it!  Be sure to have a bottle of water handy when you start your trek though, I promise even the fittest of people will get thirsty.

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles poses next to the bell tower at St. Peter's Basilica

A picture from the top of St. Peter's Basilica - Emmy Lou Styles Life and Style Blog

Tour the Colosseum

We were able to tour the Colosseum as a package deal with The Vatican through City Wonders.  This was awesome because we were able to see the Vatican in the morning, grab a quick bite to eat and cab it over to the Colosseum for a tour in the afternoon.  The tour lasted 3 hours. It takes you through the inside of the Colosseum, plus parts of the Roman Forum too.  Be sure to snap your IG worthy photos outside the entrance at the top of the ramp that goes down.  There is also a bridge near the Colosseum where you can take some great photos too, however beware of people selling trinkets on the bridge.  This was the only spot in all of Rome where I felt a little unsafe at one point.  We had a pretty aggressive vendor follow us off the bridge harassing us to take one of his bracelets.

A picture of the Colosseum from the bridge outside

The bridge outside of the Colosseum is a great spot to take pictures

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles poses in front of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Throw a coin in Trevi Fountain

Prepare for massive crowds when visiting Trevi Fountain!  Be patient and make your way towards the lower left side (when facing the fountain) to take your pics.  Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will most certainly return to Rome in the future. I threw ALL of my coins in there!

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles sitting in front of Trevi Fountain in Rome Italy

Similar Scarf // Black Tee // Jeans

Climb the Spanish Steps

Again, another tourist haven for massive crowds but still worth seeing!  There is an open square at the bottom of the steps where there were people playing music and beautiful flower stands… it truly felt like what I pictured Rome to be like!

Beautiful flower stands near the Spanish Steps in Rome

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles poses in front of the Spanish Steps in Rome

Roam around Plaza Navona at night

We saw Navona during the day and at night, but I have to say at night was my fave!  It’s lit up and people are enjoying dinner right inside the plaza (amazing by the way).  Again there is tons of music being played and you will feel like you are straight out of a movie.  Ciao bella!

A photo of the Piazza Navona at night.

Buy a REAL leather bag

Oh man, if I only I could transmit the smells of the leather through these pics!  Rome has tons of options for buying a nice leather piece, but in my opinion, there is only one shop that matters.  I stumbled upon Laboratorio Pelletteria via Yelp and the hundreds of reviews were accurate.  Aldo the owner has been in biz since 1970.  He handcrafts every single piece you see in the shop, and he will even hand stamp your initials on to whatever piece you buy.  His sweet personality is as awesome as the pieces he creates.  The pride in his work shows, and I feel so lucky to have purchased a bag from him that I will have for years to come! There are tons of options for things to buy for yourself, as well as nice little gifts for your loved ones back home (i.e. these little leather initial keychains were only $5).

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles purchases leather bag from Laboratorio Pelletteria in Rome, Italy

 

Aldo from Laboratorio Pelletteria hard at work in his leather shop

 

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles shares her leather crossbody bag purchased in Rome.

I basically haven’t taken this crossbody bag off my body since buying it from Aldo’s shop!

Spanx Leggings // Sweater

Explore the Pantheon

This was one thing on the list that we ALMOST didn’t make it to, but luckily we stumbled upon it before leaving town that morning.  It opens bright and early (9am) and it’s free to roam around the inside!

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles visits the Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles visits the Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Eat all the things!

I could probably do an entire post on just the food that you come across in Rome.  Cacio de Pepe was my go to and I absolutely loved pistachio gelato!

 

Emily from Emmy Lou Styles eating gelato in Rome, Italy

so. much. gelato.

Be sure to check out my post on the top things to do in Barcelona too!

MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL

It’s no lie that I love a pop of leopard print in my wardrobe.  I mean let’s face it, leopard print is a neutral!  It kind of implies a sense of power too when you’re wearing it, and it can easily pull an entire outfit together.  I have rounded up my top 20 leopard print picks for fall!  Enjoy!

Madewell | Forever 21 | Nordstrom | MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL featured by Missouri fashion blog Emmy Lou Styles

Bershka | Madewell | Forever 21 | Nordstrom | MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL featured by Missouri fashion blog Emmy Lou Styles

Dress

Dress fits true to size!

TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS:

TOPS and SWEATERS

Leopard print doesn’t have to look the same either.  There are so many different colors and textures of it.  I’m OBSESSED with this little velvet rose colored button up below (2nd image).  Scroll through to see my other top and sweater picks!

 

DRESSES and SKIRTS

Besides the leopard print dress I’m wearing in these pics, I found a few other gems for you too!

Madewell | Forever 21 | Nordstrom | MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL featured by Missouri fashion blog Emmy Lou Styles

SHOES

One of my favorite pieces I grabbed last season was this pair of leopard booties and I’m so excited to be wearing them again this year!  I love mixing leopard with other patterns.  Scroll on to see some other leopard shoe options for the season!

Leopard print block heeled boot with dark denim and a plaid blazer | Madewell | Forever 21 | Nordstrom | MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL featured by Missouri fashion blog Emmy Lou Styles

Boots (similar) // Jeans // Blazer // Bag (similar)

Leopard print block heeled booties with a plaid blazer and jeans | Madewell | Forever 21 | Nordstrom | MY TOP 20 LEOPARD PRINT PICKS FOR FALL featured by Missouri fashion blog Emmy Lou Styles

Shop my fave leopard print shoes below!

Be sure to check out my post on how to style a leopard coat here!

Also, thank you to fellow blogger Miss Mary Powers for taking these pics for me!  Be sure to check out her blog too!

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN BARCELONA

In the words of Ed Sheeran, “let’s pretend we are dancing in the street in Barcelona“!  I totally get why he wrote a song about this amazing city now that I’ve had the chance to visit!  There are SO many things to do in Barcelona, but I have rounded up my top ten.  We spent a total of three nights here, and we were able to easily check off each of these things.  Enjoy!

Postcards from Barcelona

Shoes // Dress

When to go

Whenever you get the chance!  For us, that happened to be the last weekend of September.  The weather was beautiful.  Temps were in the mid 70’s and we never experienced rain.  Do keep in mind that most apartments and homes in Barcelona don’t have air conditioning so during the day it can get a little warm.  The evenings seemed to cool off a bit, and I was happy to have a light leather jacket with me for venturing out.

Where to stay

Airbnb all the way!  Sadly I wouldn’t recommend our actual Air BnB that we stayed in due to some issues with the host responsiveness upon arrival.  However, all of our other experiences with Airbnb on this trip were great! Our stay in Barcelona ultimately turned out fine, but it took a few tries with our host in making it right.  The actual location we stayed was right off La Rambla.  It was definitely a noisy part of town in the evenings, but we liked being within walking distance of several things we wanted to see and do.

Buses to and from the airport are easy to locate and cost about 6 Euros to get you to Placa Catalunya.  The ride will take about 30 minutes.  The city overall is very walkable at all times of the day.  We arrived after 10PM on a Friday night and there were still plenty of people everywhere and restaurants and bars were still open and busy.

Top 10 things to do

Have a beer at Olgod Craft Beer Bar

Talk about random, chance happenings, Olgod Craft Beer Bar was that for us. We were in a cab sitting in a TON of traffic on a Sunday afternoon after having toured the Sagrada Familia heading back to our place when we saw Olgod out the window.  We kept watching the meter on the cab tick upward when we decided to just get out and start walking the rest of the way home.  We popped into the bar for one beer, and ended up staying for 5 hours!  We met 4 other Americans visiting Barcelona and had the best time drinking and chatting with them!  By far, one of the most memorable parts of our trip! So when things aren’t going your way while traveling, embrace it because you never know who or what you might experience that will stick with you forever.

Olgod gastropub has over 30 beers on tap - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

 

Visit the Beach and dip your toe in the Mediterranean

A Saturday at the end of September in Barcelona, the beaches were still jam packed with visitors!  There are plenty of public areas to layout if that is your preference, along with several beach bars where you can sit and people watch while sipping some rose!  The beach right along the water is mostly rocky, but higher up you will find softer sand.  One thing to keep in mind, you will see locals along the beach selling cheap little souvenirs and services – including massages.  I had a woman come up to me while we were sitting along the beach and just start rubbing my feet haha!  I politely told her no thanks several times but she kept doing it!  She finally did stop, but beware, they can be a little pushy at times.

Visit the public beach in Barcelona and have a beer

 

Visit the public beach and sit at a beachfront bar - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

Hat // T-Shirt // Sandals

Visit Mercat de la Boqueria

This open air market was right down the street from where we stayed!  There are aisles upon aisles of fresh squeezed juices and all sorts of other fresh food to nibble on!  Not to mention the colors everywhere are so fun to see!

Visit the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona to find fresh juices, fruit, desserts and more.

Explore La Boqueria Food Market in Barcelona

Visit La Boqueria Food Market in Barcelona and try a dragonfruit smoothie.

{Dragonfruit Smoothie = DELISH}

Buy yourself a pair of espadrilles

Spain is known for these cute little shoes with the jute wrapped bottoms.  You will literally see them EVERYWHERE — in store windows and on the feet of local women (and men too)!  I purchased my pair from La Manual Alpargatera.  They have been in business since the Civil War era!  The staff was super helpful in bringing out several styles and sizes for me to try and I’m so happy with the pair that I picked!  I know I will wear them for many years to come!

Visit La Manual Alpargatera to buy a pair of espadrilles - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

Climb to the top of Turo de les tres creus

This is the highest part of Park Guell.  When you reach the top, you can see some pretty spectacular views of most of Barcelona!  If you’re afraid of heights, beware!  But I promise the views are worth it!

Climb to the top of Turó de les tres creus in Park Guell - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

View from the top of Turó de les tres creus in Park Guell - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

Have a picnic in Park Guell

Remember how I talked about embracing when things don’t go your way while traveling?  Here’s another example for you.  As we roamed around the free parts of Park Guell, I became hangry.  Google maps had already failed us once on finding something near the park to eat, but then it redeemed itself by bringing us to Guelly Sandwich Shop!  The shop is located right outside of the park on a hill top (right as you come up the steps from the Guell train stop).  This little family run shop was the cutest, and their sandwiches were delish (along with the churros dipped in chocolate)!  We grabbed ours to go and walked back into the free part of the park and found a spot to enjoy!

Visit Guelly Sandwich Shop and have a picnic in Park Guell - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

Dine at Brunch and Cake

If you have a love for the beautiful and creative content that you see on the gram, then a meal at Brunch and Cake is an absolute MUST while in Barcelona!  I found out about this place while searching hashtags before our trip and I’m so glad I put this on our list to visit!  The food was SOOO good, and the presentation was out of this world!  Be sure to arrive as early as possible (especially on a weekend) because there will most definitely be a line.  We waited for about 20 min for a table, but once we were seated the service was quick.

Have breakfast at the beautiful Brunch and Cake Restaurant in Barcelona

Sunnies // Skirt // Purse

Order matcha pancakes from Brunch and Cake in Barcelona

Get the matcha pancakes!

Order a latte from Brunch and Cake when visiting Barcelona

Get lost in the Gothic Quarter

The charming Gothic Quarter is full of narrow streets filled with bars, restaurants, and shops.  As we strolled through on a Saturday afternoon, the streets were busy with people enjoying a beautiful day!  I loved stumbling upon a musician playing on a street corner and taking it in for a moment!

barcelona gothic quarter

Stroll the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and take in the sights and sounds - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is a must see.

Visit the Arc de Triomf

This was a fun spot on a Saturday.  The Arc de Triomf was the main access gate to the 1888 World’s Fair in Barcelona.  While we were there on a busy Saturday afternoon we encountered locals and tourists alike!

The Arc de Triomf in Barcelona is a lovely spot for taking pictures.

Visit the Arc de Triomf - 10 Things to do in Barcelona

Tour Sagrada Familia

If you’re not familiar with Sagrada Familia, it is a large unfinished Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona.  The church design was done by Antoni Gaudi starting in 1892!  Yes, you read that right, 1892!  The expected completion date is 2026.  If you plan to tour the church like we did (which I highly recommend), be sure to purchase your tickets in advance of your trip!  It is an absolutely breathtaking structure! When you exit Sagrada Familia, be sure to browse the paintings outside from local artists.  There are tons of different sizes and they make for a great souvenir to take home.  We purchased one to hang on our gallery wall.

A selfie in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Tour the Sagrada Famila when visiting Barcelona

The inside of the Nativity Facade looking down

The stained glass colors inside of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Breathtaking colors inside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Barcelona was a beauty!  We had so much fun and made memories that will last forever!  Be sure to check out my capsule packing wardrobe post here!  And stay tuned for a recap of our visit to Rome and Sorrento too!

22 PIECES TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO EUROPE

We leave for a trip of a lifetime in exactly 2 weeks, but I started outfit planning like a year ago haha, kinda kidding, kinda not!  Knowing what to pack for Europe is a bit overwhelming, especially because I am notorious for being an over-packer.  In an attempt to have room in my suitcase for fun souvenirs, I am vowing to stick to somewhat of a capsule wardrobe.  This actually might be the most prepared I have ever been when packing for a vacation.  By writing this blog post it has really allowed me to dig in on how I can mix and match pieces from my closet!

packing tips for europe

  1. Comfy, but cute sneakers
  2. Sandals
  3. Mules
  4. Block Heel
  5. Crossbody Purse
  6. Sunnies
  7. Hat
  8. Bandana
  9. Swimsuit (depending on temps)
  10. Blue Jeans
  11. Black Denim
  12. Cutoffs (depending on temps)
  13. Denim Skirt
  14. Black Dress
  15. Another Solid Colored Dress
  16. Leather Jacket
  17. Windbreaker
  18. Chambray Shirt
  19. White Tee
  20. Black Tee
  21. Striped Shirt
  22. Lace Cami

CHOOSE A NEUTRAL COLOR PALETTE

By sticking to a neutral color palette, you will be able to better mix and match pieces to make different outfits from your wardrobe.  Pieces that are white, chambray, olive green or black will allow you to easily mix and match!

how to pack a capsule wardrobe for a european vacationACCESSORIZE

Pack accessories such as a bandana, sunnies, and a cute hat to help bring some fun to the simple pieces you packed.

A COMFY, BUT CUTE SNEAKER

When traveling to Europe, it’s inevitable that you will be walking A LOT.  You want to choose one that will look great with jeans, but can also be worn with dresses and skirts.

how to pack for a trip to europe

how to pack for europe

what to pack for europe

CONSIDER A RULE OF 3

When choosing what to pack for Europe, think of a rule of 3.  What are three different ways you could wear the item while on your trip.  You may want to be casual during the day when walking around doing touristy things, but then at night you may want to be dressier for a nice dinner.

packing for europe

Have you gone on a vacay to Europe?  If so, I’d love to hear from you plus your number 1 item to pack!  Comment below!

Traveling to Disneyworld soon?  Be sure to read my post on how to dress cute while visiting Disney!