A Weekend's Guide To Rome - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Weekend's Guide To Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Rome is dubbed the Eternal City, and one stroll down the ancient cobbled streets of this atmospheric and mesmerising city will tell you why this city is one of the most popular European holiday destinations. If any city will forever draw people in, it’s Rome. This sprawling, cosmopolitan city has an undeniably rich history. Here you can find some of the world’s most beautiful architecture, as well as the world’s most revered art; the culture is magnetic, and the food absolutely delicious.

They say that when in Rome you should do as the Romans do, but you’re going to have even more possibilities to choose from. It is a place that could entertain you for weeks on end, so a weekend here should be carefully planned. You’ll find of few of Rome’s choicest picks in this guide, as well as some general advice about where to stay and eat, and how to get around.

Getting around Rome

Roman public transport could prove a little challenging if you’ve never had to navigate it before. The city has two metro lines that will take you to most of the major attractions, but it’s a good idea to do as much as you can on foot – this way you’ll miss out on less. A good way of getting around Rome is to hop onto one of the open top buses that tour the city. Jump on and off at most major attractions, and familiarise yourself with the city while you do so.

A good way of saving time and a bit of cash is to get hold of a Roma Pass. This gives you access to all city metros and buses, but note that the city buses (not the open top ones) can be overcrowded, late, and confusing. With the Roma Pass you’ll also get free entry into some of the best museums around, and a queue jump entitlement to boot.

Things to do in Rome

This is the hard part. Where to start? The following sites are definite must-visits, and there are some unmissable activities coming up too:

Visit the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica

Beautiful skyline of Rome, Italy

You can’t come to Rome and not visit the Vatican. Most will agree, so it will of course be busy, but don’t let that put you off. Vatican City is home to the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, home of the Pope and the site of some of the country’s most captivating architecture.

This is where you will find St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world with an interior so fascinating you’ll never forget it. Built in the Italian Renaissance style, you can view some of the world’s most famous artworks, and many popes have been buried here. In the Vatican’s museums you can see masterpieces like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes and the stunning golden ceilings leading up to the Chapel.

Try to visit the Vatican on a Thursday or Friday if possible, as it isn’t open to visitors on a Sunday. This makes Saturdays and Mondays the most hectic time. You’ll probably get more out of the experience on a quieter day. It also helps to pay for an advance ticket that allows you to skip the queue.

See the Colosseum
Inside view of Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum (a.k.a Coliseum or Flavian Amphitheatre) is an oval-shaped amphitheatre in the heart of Rome. It is made from travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete and is utterly amazing for its scale and size alone. The Colosseum was once the site of events and theatrical shows, some of which included animals like tigers and bears.

If you want to leave no stone unturned, invest in one of the four-hour tours around the Colosseum. Get photographs with gladiators outside the world’s best-preserved amphitheatre (expect to pay a hefty fee for that, mind) and find out about the fascinating but spine-chilling history it holds.

Relax by the Trevi Fountain

Piazza Ramona, Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain is situated in the Trevi district, and was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi before being completed by Giuseppe Pannini in ancient Roman times It is a massive 85 feet tall and nearly 65 feet wide; water pumps from multiple sources and the front of the fountain contains a large pool. Apparently the fountain pumps out around 2,824,800 cubic feet of recycled water each day.

The fountain doesn’t contain drinkable water, so do as the Romans do and use a nearby drinking water fountain if you’re thirsty… or grab a bottle of Italian wine and relax on the steps. There is no law against this in Italy, so make the most of it! Throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish, and you fountain visit will be complete.

Other must-do Rome activities for your list

Romano Forum - Rome, Italy

There are many things you won’t want to miss out on, so do your best to put some of these on your list:

  • See the Pantheon
  • Lounge in the Piazza Popolo, Piazza de Spagna and Piazza Venezia
  • Tour the Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Take an evening stroll on the banks of the River Tiber
  • Check out the Ponte Milvio Antique market on the Tevere River
  • Photograph the Roman street art and graffiti

It’s also great to just wander around and see what unfolds, if you can spare some time for that. Rome won’t let you down, that’s for sure.

Where to eat in Rome

Rome Colosseum Outside view

For great baked bites, try out the Panificio Bonci bakery close to the Vatican. Founded by an internationally renowned baker in 2012, this bakery is proud to offer you classic loaves, cookies, pastries and cakes to sample to your heart’s content. You can also get meals from roast chicken to pizza. You won’t be disappointed!

For a classy experience, you should head to Antico Arco on Janiculum Hill. Antico Arco is famous for its fine, contemporary cuisine using seasonal ingredients. If the markets allow for it, you’ll be able to fill up on such delights as ‘cacio e pepe’ with fried squash blossoms, or perhaps a delicious hazelnut-crusted lamb fillet. This place is never closed, so the chances are you’ll get a table… but book in advance if you can!

Where to stay in Rome

Bridge Vittorio Emanuele II at Sunset, Rome, Italy

You’ll have plenty of options for places to stay in Rome, but be warned: this is not a cheap city! Plenty of people opt to share Airbnb apartments with friends, which should save you a bit. Hostels are also a better option if you’re on a budget, but even those are more expensive than plenty of other European cities. It’s a good idea to pick a place near to a Metro stop for those days when your legs have been put through their paces.

One particularly nice place to stay is the Retrome Urban Retreat. It’s well decorated in a vintage style, with handpicked furniture throughout the singles, doubles and apartment suites. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the hotel is well situated for those who plan to a lot of exploring, as it’s near to the Colosseum.

For hostels, try the Generator Hostels for a comfortable experience while immersed in cool and funky design. They can be found close to the Colosseum and Roma Termini station, and the 75 rooms are laid out over seven floors with a bar and chill out lounge. Here you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per night.

So, the choice is yours. Your Rome weekend could consist of walking the streets and drinking in the sights, or you could spend it lounging outside cafes, watching the world go by and drinking classy Italian wines. Whatever you choose to do with your precious time in this amazing city, the only thing you’ll regret it is having to leave.

Author Bio: Sam Ross runs the blog thehammockhombre.com - a travel blog focused around the digital nomad lifestyle. Over the past 3 years, he's travelled to every continent, so writes on a broad range of countries, cities and destinations.

Photo Courtesy: All photographs have been borrowed from wikimedia commons under the Creative Commons license. Each photograph has been linked to their host page on wikimedia commons.

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