Rome… The city of LOVE. Also a city of beauty, of delicious food, of wine, of beautiful people, and incredibly well preserved pieces of history. Where gladiators once fought and emperors ruled the lands. It’s incredible to sit here and put yourself back in time, to imagine what these streets once were like a millennia ago
The first time I went to Rome I was 13. At that time all I really cared about was 1-shopping 2-food 3-(let’s be honest) boys… Now 15 years later Rome has become one of my favorite cities in the world (and not just because the men smell like roses and look like gladiators…) The history, the sights, the culture, the people, the cobblestone streets, the food, everything about this city leaves one wanting more. Some cities you visit and see all that you can in 1-2 days, maybe spend a week and then move on and explore somewhere else. Not with Rome. Over the years I’ve spent weeks upon weeks here and still have so much left to explore. Sometimes in Rome I would walk up to 20 miles/day and still feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and experience in this enchanting city.
My first stop in Rome regardless of the time I arrive is always The Colosseo (Colosseum). One of the most iconic sights to see in Rome. It is the largest amphitheater ever built nearly 2000 years ago, once home to the gladiators, and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. There are many tours that you can book in advance for skipping the line and entrance inside but I have always had the best luck with just going and wandering around the outside and joining one of the English speaking tours (around 15 Euros) that have spaces available. It’s definitely worth it to hear the history of this incredible place but once you’ve done that my favorite thing to do is just to go and admire the beauty of this ancient landmark that has held up so well against the test of time.
After wandering around the Colosseum be sure not to miss the Roman Forum. You can take a guided tour here, walk around yourself, or just wander around the outside of the grounds of the ruins and admire it from afar. There is an area in the far back on the outside that I like to go sit in, by the Palatino. This is an ideal place to watch the sunset and take in the beauty of the ruins all at once.
There are so many other iconic places that are must see in Rome: the Trevi Fountain, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, Gardens, Terraces, Cathedrals, Catacombs, Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican, the list goes on and on. The best thing to do is grab a map from your local accommodation and map out the best plan of action based upon where you are staying! There are Uber’s, taxis, buses, trains, bikes, so many methods of transportation but if you are able to walk I definitely suggest that! Rome has so many hidden treasures that are easiest found by foot. You could be walking down a modern street and next thing you know you are surrounded by ruins that are thousands of years old. This is the beauty of Rome! And when it comes to water: make sure you are staying hydrated, especially in the Summer! Make sure to keep your empty water bottles with you because the fountain water is actually drinkable (and quite tasty if you are water taste sensitive). If you see a fountain (nasoni) definitely save yourself some Euros and fill up there!
Sample Itinerary for short stay in Rome…
Day’s out in Rome:
AM: **Be sure to grab a map from your hotel/hostel/host on your way out, and a business card in case you need to give it to a taxi driver to get you home**
-Start with St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s free to enter but you can pay to skip the line and to climb to the Cupola (dome). The Dome offers stunning views over all of Rome, best time to go is at sunrise before the crowds!
-Head to the Vatican, usually takes ~3 hours or more to wander around the museums and Sistine Chapel.
-Grab a coffee! Make your way to the Colosseum. Take a tour
-Tour around the Roman Forum
-Stop for lunch (PASTA! and wine…) watch for restaurants that have lunch specials or a lunch buffet (~10 Euros) so you can sample all of the local delicacies. Rome is known for it’s artichokes, if it’s the right season then definitely try to find a spot that’s got them on the menu!
-The Pantheon (free to enter)
-Terrazza del Pincio to watch sunset
-Castel Sant’Angelo (beautifully lit up at night) <–also visit during the day
**After the sun sets I recommend going back to the Pantheon and admiring the beauty of this area at night, the city really comes to life at night here! Grab a gelato and sit upon the steps of the fountain in front of the church and take in the magic of another incredible historical landmark!**
Best places to watch the sunset:
-Terrazza del Pincio (my favorite)
-Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II (bridge)
-St. Peter’s Basilica: Via della Conciliazione
Unique/IG worthy places in Rome:
-Crypts & catacombs
-Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica (The Dome)
-Terrazza del Pincio
-Keyhole to St. Peter’s at the top of Aventine Hill
-Aroma Restaurant by the Colosseum (top floor Palazzo Manfredi hotel)
Along with all of the incredible sights, be sure to make time to just enjoy the city! Have some pasta at a tiny restaurant on a side street, no matter where you are in the city it’s sure to always be buzzing with energy! Drink wine, wander, eat cheese, immerse yourself into the beautiful Italian way of life! La dolce vita: The sweet life… Which one could say is the absolute essence of Rome!