Rome is by far one of the most beautiful places I have visited, I instantly fell in love with the cobbled streets, cosy ristorantes and breath-taking sights. The city is a historical treasure with plenty on offer. I would definitely recommend 3-4 days, as there is so much to see and do! I also happen to be an avid Dan Brown fan, so being present in some of the landmarks that I had read about so many times was an absolute delight! Here’s what we got up to in four days, followed by some tips we picked up along the way.
We arrived at about 12:30pm into Ciampino Airport and jumped into a taxi outside. Within moments of our forty-five-minute journey, we were greeted by gorgeous views, accompanied by some insightful knowledge from our native Roman taxi driver. We arrived at our hotel, situated two streets away from St Peters Square. We stayed at Starhotels Michelangelo, which I would also recommend. You can find a link here. We swiftly checked in, unpacked, and went for a quick nap (we had been up since 3am, and none of us cope well with being tired). About 4pm we got freshened up and headed out to explore. We opted to head across the river and upwards to Piazza Popolo, one of Rome’s many beautiful squares, to sample some of Italy’s renowned cuisine and of course, WINE. We decided on an early night to get a good rest and get up and conquer the following morning.
Day two we headed over to St Peter’s Square and into the Basilica. The que was startlingly long even in January, so being there bright and early is a must, especially if you have more than one place on your itinerary for that day. Another thing I would recommend is to pre-book a tour, as we ended up forking out 41 Euros each for a tour of the Basilica and the Dome, which is quite steep if you’re travelling on a budget. The tour of the Basilica was indeed amazing, as there are hundreds of years’ worth of artwork and history to see. You can pay 8 Euros to climb the Dome without a guide, and is definitely worth is as the panoramic views of Rome and the surrounding Vatican City are mesmerising.
Next, we ventured in towards central Rome and the Trevi Fountain. As per tradition, we tossed a coin and made a wish, in good faith that we would one day return. The only downside to this particular spot were the pesky guys who approached us several times trying to trick us into posing for a polaroid photo which they were selling at ridiculous prices. Obviously, as it’s quite a crowded spot as well, so be sure to watch out for pickpockets. We moved on and happened to stumble across another beautiful square, which we later learnt to be Piazza di Navona, which had plenty of pretty little outdoor wine and cocktail bars. We stopped by one for a drink, and ended up spending a couple of hours here watching the world go by as it was so gorgeous!
Day three, we arose at 11am, (reluctantly, and with slight headaches thanks to the previous evening). We walked over to St Peter’s to catch the Pope’s blessing, which was wonderful to see! The next stop was the Colosseum, which we walked to using nothing but a map. The walk was absolutely divine as we ventured into the ancient part of the city. We opted to stop off first at Palatine Hill, where we purchased a 12 Euro ticket that also included the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Palatine hill prior to our trip, and took it for granted that it was going to be a short climb with some gardens at the top. How wrong I was – what a treat! We ended up spending the full afternoon meandering around this vast space of ruins and views, pondering what it would have been like to be a Roman back in the day. There is a museum at the top of the hill which gives insight into the history of the ancient grounds and about its inhabitants over thousands of years. It also leads on to the Roman Forum, which is an equally exquisite stretch of ancient columns and ruins. As it happened, we spent so long in this magical place that we missed the last entry in to the Colosseum. I would say doing it in this order is more beneficial, exploring the Palatine Hill and the Forum gives a better insight and context of ancient Roman history.
On our last day, we made the trip again to the colosseum. Unfortunately, I thought it was far more impressive from the outside than it was on the inside, but definitely still worth visiting as we had already paid for entry. The surrounding metropolitan area is simply stunning, with gorgeous little cafes and bars lining the pretty streets. We headed back to the hotel around 2pm, to catch a taxi to the airport.
On theway backwe visited the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, both equally as impressive, and can be conquered in a short space of time. By the time we got back to the hotel we were both knackered, but buzzing from the previous four days of adventuring! So there you have it, four perfect days in the Eternal City!
Here are some pointers that we picked up on throughout our time:
- However tempting it is to jump on a tour bus or catch a taxi from one point to another, we opted to walk, as it allowed us to stumble across some of the cities hidden gems and truly take in the scenery along the way.
- On that note, definitely take comfortable clothes, including SHOES (especially in the hot summer months). I packed my suitcase full to the brim with pretty outfits and high heels to try and fit in with the flawless Italian style scene, only to find that I wore leggings and trainers 90% of the trip. (Stilettos, cobbled streets and vino are a deadly combination).
- Pack a travel mug, there are several places to fill up your water bottles, instead of paying well over the odds for water in and around the popular attractions.
- Get up early, to try and beat the crowds and long ques, especially in the peak months.
- Price and book tours in advance, so you know when someone is trying to rip you off (which unfortunately happens).
- On that note don’t be afraid to be firm, and say NO, as some people tend to be quite persuasive.
- Definitely take your time and try not to rush, despite there being so much to see. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!