This post is part of my Quick Guides: City Series, designed as a mini introduction to the destination in question: activities, accommodation, how long to spend there, transport, local food – and whatever else comes to mind!
It is busy, dirty, loud and full of motorbikes but I love Rome! Every few backstreets you walk down you’ll find yourself in front of a major sight – and it’s so beautiful it’s like being in a postcard scene.
Roman Forum: a giant mass of market-place ruins which is eerie, intricate and beautiful
Colosseum: It’s definitely worth doing a tour here, despite the inevitable queues out the front. Or if you don’t want to do the guided tour, you can simply pick up a headset from the entrance and make your way around at your own pace. It’ll take you through the giant underground maze where the animals were kept, into the Colosseum itself and then gradually to the very top where you can see the full size of it. The various images and audio re-enactments throughout the tour really make the place come alive so it’s easy to imagine just how exciting the atmosphere was back in the day!
Vatican City: Its own separate state, with the beautiful St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica. If you don’t mind queuing again, it’s definitely worth taking the time to go inside for a tour, climb up to the bell tower and marvel at the beautiful Renaissance paintings, sculptures and ceilings.
Piazza Navona: my personal favourite place in Rome, a gorgeous square with several fountains – the main one being the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), with bright coloured flowers hanging from the walls and quaint little restaurants and cafes lining the edge of the square.
Anywhere that is within walking distance of the city centre. The metro system is really good, so if you’re just a 10 minute ride away then that’s fine, but I always like to be walking distance as it’s a good way to get your bearings and it saves money too!
As I just said, the metro is a good system and easy to navigate (even if directions isn’t your strong point, like me). If you do plan on using it a lot, compare prices for an all day ticket, or even a weekend ticket, as these usually work out a lot cheaper than single journey tickets!
You’re in Italy – it’s inevitable that most of the time you’ll be eating pizza and pasta! Whether you pick up a large slice of pizza from a stall for a quick lunch on the move in between tourist sights, or spend a couple of hours sitting, eating and drinking in one of the busy side-street restaurants – make the most of some of the world’s best Italian food!
Currency & prices:
Rome is not the cheapest of places. This is part of the reason I think three days is a good amount of time to spend there as to not blow your budget. I wouldn’t say no to doing any of the touristy things, like St Peter’s basilica etc, as I think while you’re there you have to go as you might not get the chance again! But things you can cut down on or be careful with is where you eat – I remember looking at a menu right near the Colosseum and it was extortionate (you pay for the view), but if you walk just a few streets out of the main hub to a smaller backstreet, you can find just as nice restaurants for about half the price!