A Whistle Stop Tour: Rome
The residence of the former Roman Empire, Italy’s architecturally and historically rich capital city is definitely one for the bucket list. With its mixture of ruins, churches, fountains and with just a short flight time of under 3 hours, Rome is a great place to go for a weekend adventure.
Another great thing about Rome is its transportation-connectivity, as the train station connects to the airport, so it is easy to get to and from the airport! The train station also has places where you and store your luggage – for a fee of course.
Places to see:
Definitely on the list of things to do is a visit to Rome’s most iconic monuments – it is still actually the tallest momentum in the city of Rome. I highly recommend doing a tour of the colosseum, especially one which allows you access to the underground part – the gladiators entrance! This is also good as normally visitors aren’t allowed in this underground part, so it is just your group – thus it is very peaceful, although it wouldn’t have been if you were an actual gladiator! This famous amphitheatre was not only used just for gladiator fights, they would also source lions and other ‘exotic’ animals for fighting (both with other animals and with gladiators) all in the name of entertainment. More in line with our modern-day entertainment, they also housed theatrical plays and re-enactments.
A word of warning, I would advise (if possible) to go on a cooler day, as when I went, it was upwards of 35 degrees!
The Vatican & The Sistine Chapel
Another place to tick off the Rome bucket list is going to visit The Vatican and The Sistine Chapel – both of which are enclosed within Vatican City. The Vatican is absolutely huge, I really did not appreciate the sheer size of it in photographs before going to visit! There is no way that you could see all the rooms in one day! I also think that it would be worth booking a tour guide around it, as we really did not know exactly what we were looking at, even though things were beautiful.
Beware that this is a whole-day trip, however, we managed to do it before our late evening flight. Also, both The Vatican and The Sistine Chapel are extremely busy, this is especially true within the Sistine Chapel where you are packed in like sardines, all staring at the wonderful work of Michelangelo.
The Pantheon is definitely a place to visit, it is a really beautiful church, that was once a temple. Also, it is free to enter! There are a lot of little cafes surrounding the Pantheon, so we had breakfast sitting opposite it before entering. Once inside you are surrounded by large columns and beautiful architecture. Above is a dome shaped roof, with a hole in the middle (the oculus), which aids in lighting the church.
Palatine Hill & The Roman Forum
We got to see the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum as part of our tour of the Colosseum, as it is a short walk away and the ticket allows you access to all the three areas.
The Palatine Hill is one of the famous hills within Rome and is seeped in Roman mythological history. It is thought to be where the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were found by a she-wolf. Before it became the archaeological site that it is today, it was once home to Roman emperors. This is a lovely place to just walk around and take a break – and you can really understand why so many people wanted to live here with the peaceful serenity of nature, compete with views of Rome.
Carrying on with the mythological theme The Roman Forum, which can be seen from the Palatine Hill, is said to be where Romlus is buried. The forum was once was home to political buildings and temples, but now all that remains is mostly ruins and a few standing structures left.
Where To Eat:
Whilst on the pricey side, this Michelin star restaurant, with stunning views of the colosseum, is a must! It is a wonderful experience, set up high on a terrace of the Palazzo Manfredi hotel. I highly recommend booking a table just before sunset, as the views become even more spectacular, as the sun sets right behind the colosseum shining rays through the cracks and arches, creating an extraordinary view. We spent just under 300 euros on a three-course meal (for 2 people), with drinks – they also included a birthday cake with sparklers (since it was my partner’s 30th birthday).
This restaurant is a complete juxtaposition to Aroma, it is a cosy homely Italian restaurant – complete with its own original water fountain! You are best to book a table, however we did not have one booked, but since someone did not show for their booking, they let us wait with a glass of prosecco each, on the house, to see if they did turn up – luckily, they didn’t!! The food here is traditional homemade Italian dishes, and if you ask, they will also make you other things too i.e. garlic bread! The water fountain is actually still in use, and where your table water comes from. This restaurant is very reasonably priced.
All-in-all it is a wonderful city to wander around aimlessly, and you will always find something wonderful just exploring!