Rome is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and not only because of the famous monuments and ancient buildings it houses, but also for the amazing food, beautiful streets and surroundings. Like everyone, I dreamed that one day I would walk the roman paved streets and eat all the gelato I can find, while photographing every basilica and fountain I see. Finally the opportunity came and it was better than I expected. We stayed 3 full days, in which we covered (almost) every famous place in Rome. Of course, you need at least one week if you want to see everything, but 3 days will do. I did a little research beforehand and purchased the tickets online for the most popular sites (Vatican, Colosseum) and I really recommend that if you want to skip the huge lines. Also, we visited in March and it was actually the perfect time for visiting because the weather was nice and it wasn’t that crowded.
In this blogpost I did a 3 day itinerary, so you can have an idea of how to plan your trip:
Day 1: The Vatican museums
They display works from the immense collection of the Catholic church, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. I really recommend going there if you love classical art, sculptures and paintings. I was really amazed by the beauty and wealth which Vatican contains. We did a guided tour, but if you have time you can wander around alone so you can enjoy every single artwork. It is an incredibly huge museum, so don’t expect to see everything. My faves were The new wing, The Gallery of Maps and the Sistine Chapel (decorated by Michelangelo).
When we finished the tour, we arrived at St. Peter’s Basilica (save this for last). There you have the option to climb 300+ stairs in the dome and see all the city from above. We did this but to be honest, it wasn’t really worth it, as you can see the city from other places for less or free. The Vatican museums took us almost a full day to see, so save enough time to enjoy it’s beauty. Around Vatican you can also see Castel Sant’Angelo, used by the popes as a fortress and castle, which is now a museum.
The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum, and it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD under his successor Titus. Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. We started visiting the Colosseum early in the morning, with few tourists around, but with every hour it got busier and busier. It’s really worth the visit though, because you will never see something similar in the world.
After we saw the Colosseum, we headed for The Roman Forum, which is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient buildings. Located between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is full of architectural fragments of the monuments that commemorated the city’s great men. We started with climbing the Palaine Hill, from where you can have a beautiful view of what was the center of day-to-day life in Rome. After that we wandered around the Forum for a while (there is a lot to see).
After this long walk through history, we continued to Piazza Venezia, at the foot of the Capitoline Hill and next to Trajan’s Forum. In the center of the piazza there is the Altare della Patria, a huge and beautiful monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy. Even if we were pretty tired, we climbed the stairs inside it and took the elevator to the top of the building. We had a surprise- the best view we had over Rome, as you can see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St. Peters Basilica and the other beautiful buildings around.
Day 3: Spanish steps,Pantheon and Trevi Fountain
Besides the obvious reasons, Rome is also famous because of many films that where shot in this beautiful city. For example, Roman Holiday made the Hand of Truth and Spanish Steps famous, and La dolce vita made Trevi fountain the most popular fountain in Rome. Because of the popularity, you will often see thousands of tourists around this places, so I recommend going there early in the morning or late in the night. We started with the Spanish steps, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. From there, you can see a beautiful view of the city.
Next stop was Trevi fountain, packed with tourists, but amazing despite all that. I really loved everything about this fountain, from the sculptures, to the crystal water and the fact that is hidden between buildings. After we tossed our coins for good luck, we wondered through the narrow streets, discovering this beautiful area with lots of hidden gems. We finally arrived to the Pantheon, a former Roman temple, one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. The square in front of the Pantheon- Piazza della Rotonda, was full of people singing along with some street performer, eating on the terrasses and enjoying the italian life. Around the square you can find lots of restaurants, so you only have to pick your fave one to enjoy a great pasta dish.
I really hope you enjoyed this blog post and the pictures. Stay tuned for another blog post about Rome after dark!