I love Rome! The Italian capitol is a bustling city that has so much history around every corner. The people are friendly, the sights are amazing, and the food is oh so good. We only had two days to spend in one of Europe’s most visited cities, but surprisingly we saw everything we wanted to and were then ready to move on to other parts of Italy.
I landed at the FCO airport, which is about 45 minutes outside of Rome. I decided to spend a little more money (14 euros instead of 8 euros) to take the express train which leaves every ½ hour. It is a non-stop train from the airport to the Termini Station and takes about 30 minutes. I was short on time and was ready to get my day started in Rome so the extra 6 euros was worth it to me.
From the Termini Station, I caught a taxi for 7 euros to my hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Golden, which has wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor and was in our budget. The location was perfect and we enjoyed the fresh breakfast every morning. The family who runs this little hotel was so personable and helpful.
It was close to noon before we were able to get out and start exploring. Word of advice- NEVER take a nap after you land. As much as you want to sleep, you will be so much happier if you stay awake and go to sleep at a regular time that night.
We walked from the hotel to Gelateria La Romana, which was recommended to us from our hotel family. It was the best gelato I had my whole time in Italy. It was a great start to our trip and our long walk. From there we walked to some major sights:
Campo de’ Fiori
We took breaks throughout our walk for gelato as often as possible and made it back to our hotel area for dinner. Our hotel family recommended our dinner spot- Osteria Barberini, where I ate a delicious pasta dish covered in shaved Italian truffles.
This was our crazy busy day. We started early and ended late but saw all the “big” sights of Rome. Lines are long and can take hours to get into one sight. I recommend buying tickets ahead of time to any sights that you can so that you can skip those long lines.
Take the easy-to-navigate metro to the Colosseo station, which is right across from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We spent a couple hours at the Forum and then made our way to the Colosseum. We listened to Rick Steves’ audio guide so we knew what we were looking at and enjoyed learning the history of the sights. We were standing in a 2,000-year-old building where gladiators fought till the death; knowing what you are looking at makes it so much more enjoyable.
We then took the metro to the Ottaviano stop and walked to Vatican City, the smallest country in the world and home of the Pope. Here we walked through the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel. We enjoyed the gorgeous artwork and Michelangelo’s painting of Adam and God reaching hands towards each other in the center of the ceiling.
Unfortunately we did not do enough research online and were unable to enter St Peter’s Basillica because they were closing it for Mass. If you are planning a trip to Rome, start your day with Vatican City and then go to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in the afternoon so as not to miss St Peter’s Basillica. You can usually enter the Basillica from the Vatican Museums, which saves another line and time. Luckily, we threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain which means we will return to Rome one day, so we can make it to the Basillica then.
Recommendations to make planning your trip to Italy better:
Use Trip Advisor– This is my favorite site to use when looking for restaurants and hotels. I look at the pictures and read reviews from other travelers.
Rick Steves’ Italy book– His book is so helpful and easy to use. He gives recommendations on hotels and restaurants, city information such as maps, closures, and holidays, and so much more. Just buy the book!
Rick Steves’ App- Download the Rick Steves’ Audio Europe and download every guide for Rome or wherever you are going. At most sights you visit you can buy an audio tour. Well, by downloading this app, you get the audio tours for free and get to know what it is you are looking at. Bring a set of earphones and enjoy.
Pack a waterbottle- The tap water in Rome is safe to drink and tastes great. There are fountains all over the city where you can fill up your bottle, which will keep you hydrated and save you money. Don’t worry- you will see lots of people doing it.