I spent 4 days in Rome. 4 days of walking and eating incessantly in this city like no other. Every corner of this place has an amazing monument, sculpture or church to be admired. There are 2000 year old monuments, art by Michelangelo and Raphael and ice cream that will blow your mind. There are also long ticket lines everywhere, crazy traffic, expensive meals and crowds wherever you go.
I took the city in with full force and walked for miles to see as much as I could. There are a few things you must do when in Rome and a few things you should avoid. Here’s my list:
Visit the Colosseum but avoid the long lines
The Colosseum is absolutely gorgeous. What’s not so gorgeous however is the long queue to get in. My advice? Get the tickets online beforehand like I did. Having pre-bought tickets means you will skip the lines and be inside much quicker. Trust me, it will save you so much time.
Visit the Roman Forum and Imperial Forum but be prepared to be knackered afterwards (especially if you’ve just walked for more than hour in the Colosseum)
Right next to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Imperial Fora are must-sees. The Roman Forum was a public square during the Roman Republic (first meeting in this forum was around 500 BC) and the Imperial Forums consists of a series of monumental public squares constructed between 46 BC and 113 AD. The first of Rome’s Imperial forum was built by Julius Caesar.
Although much of it have been destroyed, walking around the Roman Forum makes you feel like you are in Ancient Rome. My main tip here is have a map of the forum so you know what you’re looking at and have some water, especially if it’s a hot day. We walked around the forums for a couple of hours and felt like we could have stayed more if we weren’t so tired so go prepared.
Another must-see. The Trevi Fountain must be one of Rome’s most famous sights after the Colosseum and therefore it is constantly crowded. I went there twice, once during the day and once in the evening and both times taking a picture with the fountain behind almost involved a battle with other tourists. It’s still worth it and you have to go! So take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and go!
I knew the Pantheon was supposed to be amazing but I didn’t know it would become one of my favourite monuments in Rome. Firstly, it’s located in a cute little square and secondly it is one of the best preserved Ancient Roman monuments. It was first built as a temple to all gods and has a giant dome with a whole on top (the eye of the Pantheon or oculus). Entering to the Pantheon is free so you can go anytime and have a wonder around. After the Pantheon have a cold drink at one of the cute cafes at this square – I simply loved it there.
The Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica are gorgeous but the queues to get in are extremely long (I’m talking hours of queuing). There are ways however to skip these queues and you can do that by buying the tickets beforehand for 21€ (I hear the Vatican Museum’s website has a pretty good reservation system) – this will give you the right to go right to the front of the queue. We decided to get the tickets once we were there – bad idea. We ended up paying for a guided tour which also included skipping the line but it was too expensive and not really worth it as it will be just as impressive if you go by yourself.
Main tip: buy the ticket beforehand and take a guide book.
Although the Altare della Patria is quite a recent monument (1925) it is a beautiful one to see. In the same square you can have a look at the balcony where Mussolini used to deliver his speeches for his supporters. This balcony was closed for years due to it’s bad connotations and has nothing architecturally amazing about it expect for the obvious historical importance – it gave me goosebumps.
The centre of Rome (like most famous touristic capitals) is expensive. It’s easy to eat great in Rome but you have to be careful where to go. On my first day I was extremely disappointed with a restaurant where the food was overpriced and to be honest just not good. The good thing is I ate a lot of home cooked Italian food (my boyfriend has family there) and I got my hands around this awesome App you HAVE to use if you’re going there: Eat Rome. My tip? Use this app if you want to eat like a local and indulge in some delicious food.
Also, eat a gelato whenever you can – they are so good!
Around every corner there might be another magnificent monument that’s not on your guide – keep an eye out at all times for beautiful things!
Lots of love,