Weekends in Rome, Things to do?
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From its Roman ruins and Renaissance art to its rich culture and amazing food, Rome features in the bucket list of almost anyone who has ever wished to travel and see the world. It is home to a perfect mix of romance and glitz, antique and modern to sweep you off your feet. Three days won’t do justice to the plethora of attractions that Rome is blessed with, but that’s the time we recently spent exploring this magnificent city in Europe. 

Here’s a travel guide with all the highlights that you can (read ‘must’) cover on your three-day visit to Rome to make the most of your trip. 

DAY 1

A trip to Rome is incomplete without visiting the biggies. You can start your day by visiting the most iconic sites that the Eternal City has to offer that are located in the same area and accessible with a single ticket – The Colosseum and The Roman Forum.

The Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum is the most well-preserved and the largest amphitheatre from the Roman Empire built to hold up to 80,000 spectators. After having survived wars, riots, fires, and earthquakes, it still lures travellers from all corners of the world 2,000 years later.

Roman Forum is right next to the Colosseum and houses ruins of palaces, temples, government buildings and gives you a peek into the sheer grandiose of the centre to the Roman Empire.

Nestled in the heart of Rome, visit Piazza Venezia for its notable buildings, monuments and palaces that introduce you to the brilliant Roman architecture. It is also the place where Mussolini delivered his speeches to the supporters in the 1920s to 1940s. End your day with the famous Spanish Steps at the Spanish Square which featured in the 1953 movie ‘Roman Holiday’ starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

Rome
Spanish Steps, Rome

DAY 2

Start your second day by heading to Piazza Navona, one of the most breathtaking squares in Rome. Situated on the site of an ancient Roman stadium, you can find street artists, performers, hawkers and a lively crowd here. The entertainment space is always bustling with energy that you are sure to take back with you.

Piazza Navona, Rome

Next, check out The Pantheon, which is just at a 5-minute walking distance. Originally a Roman temple to all Gods, The Pantheon is over 2,000 years old and is home to the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world.

Is it a trip to Rome if you didn’t toss a coin in the famous Trevi Fountain? We suggest you visit it twice, once in the day and the other at night to admire its sheer beauty at both times. During the day it’ll be more crowded, whereas, at night the lights give the fountain a magical beauty. 

Trevi Fountain

DAY 3

Reserve your last day to explore the Vatican City and its main attractions that are sure to take your breath away. Some of Rome’s biggest attractions, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Vatican Museums are located in the city.

We suggest spending at least 2 to 3 hours exploring the Vatican Museums that feature one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Nearly 15 kilometres long, you can find almost 20,000 pieces of art by eminent artists. Follow it up by visiting the official residence of the Pope, the Sistine Chapel, one of the main highlights of Vatican City. 

Vatican Museum

Head over to St. Peter’s Basilica, the biggest church in the world located on Vatican Hill. Covering more than 22,300 square meters, this creation of Michelangelo is built for a capacity of more than 60,000 people. Stroll over to Castel Sant’Angelo, which is very close to St. Peter’s Basilica. Discover the mausoleum which has served as a prison, fortress, and castle in its yesteryears before finally turning into a museum. Soak in the spectacular views from the upper terrace. 

Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome

WHERE TO STAY:

With 22 different districts, choosing where to stay in Rome can be a herculean task. We did some groundwork and here’s what we found:

Jewish Quarter

If you are looking for an authentic Roman experience away from the chaos of crowded places, the Jewish Quarter is your best bet. Centrally located, it lets you enjoy a charming old town vibe combined with amazing gastronomic experiences.

Trastevere

One of Rome’s most lively neighbourhood which is slightly bohemian and even offbeat, Trastevere is a favourite of many tourists. It gives you multiple affordable options to choose from.

Centro Storico

If you are a first-time visitor, Centro Storico is apt for you, being the historic centre and close to most attractions in Rome. Though, it can be a little expensive, you wouldn’t mind once you realize how convenient it is.

Tridente and Via Veneto

One of the poshest and hip areas of Rome, Tridente is still a part of the historical centre. You can find many 4 and 5-star boutique hotels here close to the Spanish Steps. Plus, plenty of shopping options too. Win-win!

Termini and Esquilino Central Station

If you are on a shoe-string budget, finding accommodation near Rome’s Termini station can considerably cut down your travel costs. You will have convenient access to public transport systems. There are multiple low-budget hotels in the area for budget travellers. Plus, ethnic shops, hawkers, and a Chinese style market in the area make the stay worthwhile.  

WHERE TO EAT:

You can find cute pizza to-go shops in almost every nook and corner of Rome. Here are some of our favourite places that had us going back for ‘one more indulgence.’

  • If you are in the mood for some affordable Italian pasta, check out O’Pazzariello located across the bridge from Castel Sant’Angelo. 
  • Fan of Gelato? (Who isn’t?) Do check out Ciuccula by the Pantheon which became our go-to gelato shop for the three days we were here. You’ll be spoilt for choice when you see the number of flavours they have. Heavenly!
  • When you find yourself craving for a pizza, head to Alice Pizza by Vatican City, or you can even check out Pizza in Trevi by the Trevi Fountain for some of the best pizzas in the city.
  • Piazza Sforza Cesarini and Osteria La Quercia were our top choices for authentic Italian feasts. We left with our tummies and souls satisfied.  
  • Target Restaurant was great for dinner. Nice atmosphere, delicious food, highly recommend.
  • Open Baladin is a pub restaurant with a selection of 40 craft beers on tap and great food. This place is an absolute must-go for beer fans.

WHERE TO SHOP:

From vintage and high-end designer stores to shopping for antiques, shop till you drop, at Via Veneto and Via del Corso. 

One of the most elegant and touristy streets in Rome, Via Veneto is packed with great shopping options. If you get tired with all the walking, there are excellent hotels, bars, and restaurants to refuel yourself. 

Via del Corso is another favourite of the locals, it also hosts plenty of boutique and international brand stores. 

ESSENTIAL TIPS:

  • Summers in Rome can get blistering hot and walking long distances exploring the city becomes unbearable. The best time to visit would be in early spring and autumn.
  • The ideal way to get around in Rome is on your own two feet. However, if you don’t feel like it, the local bus system is cheap and convenient. You can even get all-day passes or one-way bus tickets at convenience shops or most newspaper kiosks.
  • For the best experience at Colosseum, consider booking ‘Skip the Line’ ticket in advance online. Avoid going there the first Sunday of the month as the entry to the Colosseum is free on that day and it can get pretty overcrowded.
  • It is no longer permitted to sit on the Spanish Steps as it has been classified as a monument. Make sure you stick to standing or else there is every chance you would be fined. 
  • Be careful and enquire about the places where no cameras are allowed inside as you could be severely fined for clicking pictures where it is not allowed.
  • When you are visiting the Vatican City, remember to dress modestly. Short skirts, low cut, or sleeveless clothing are not allowed. Even for men, entry is denied to anyone who is dressed inappropriately. 
  • If you wish to see the Pope in Rome, you can check the Prefecture of the Papal Household website for more information about the tickets. 

Do share your experiences with us in the comments section below. 

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