I can’t believe it’s nearly been 2 months since I went to Rome and I am only just writing this blog! Where is the year going??
So for Tom’s 21st, I took him to Rome for some sightseeing and good food! When planning the trip there were the obvious things to do like the Colosseum and Vatican City; however there was so much we didn’t know about! So I googled different blogs with tips on what to do in Rome, and I thought I’d do the same to help anyone who finds themselves in my situation.
The best tip I found was to split the city into 3 days, so that’s exactly what we did.. Using the travel days to just enjoy! We found Rome to be priced similar to England, the meals average around 30 – 40 euros for 2 people. For 4-5 days you could probably take around 300 euros, if you pre book your Colosseum tour and Vatican tour!
We landed in Rome in the afternoon and dropped our bags at the hotel. We stayed at the K Boutique Hotel which had a rooftop bar. We were only a 5 minute walk from the Colosseum and had the metro right outside (although we never used it). From the roof we spotted a building that intrigued us, so we made our way in that direction. The Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II was incredible and an absolute must see. Both our jaws dropped when we saw it, the size of it was overwhelming and was definitely my favourite place in Rome! If you go inside you can make your way to out to where there’s a glass lift. This takes you to the very top and gives you incredible views of the City!
- Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatino
This was obviously first on our list! I would definitely advise booking your tour before you head out to Rome, there’s so many people on the streets selling them and I never quite trust what they’re selling. We booked ours through Trip Advisor and it also included the Roman Forum and Palatino. You meet in front of the Colosseum and your guide hands out headphones and a radio for you to wear during the tour. We chose an English speaking tour and the guide was brilliant, she had so much knowledge about the history of where we were visiting. By having a guide it meant we were able to find out so much more about what we were seeing!!
It would be worth noting that as amazing as the history is for these places, due to the age of them, there isn’t all that much to actually see. As you can imagine most of it is now ruins, without the guide you would have no clue what you were looking at. I found it difficult to really picture what it could have once looked like, but it was still amazing to visit and a must do when in Rome!
- Baths of Caracalla
This was recommended to me by my Godmother as somewhere to check out. Due to it being so close to the Colosseum, we wondered there after lunch. It’s not huge to walk round, but there are some lovely grounds and there was an art exhibit taking place when we visited. There not much to look at, but we purchased an audio guide when entering and it helped understand what each room was. It was only after we’d made our way round, we noticed people with VR Headsets. So we went back to hire one and it completely changed the experience of walking around the baths! It shows you what they would have once looked like and it was amazing! Something so simple would be perfect for the Colosseum and Forum.
- Castle St’Angelo
This was another recommendation to us, I was completely sold when we were told to walk across the Bridge of Angels. It’s an incredible fortress with some beautiful views and is a short distance from the Vatican City. You have to pay to go in, it was 14 euros but totally worth it, you make you way round and up to the roof for some stunning views of the Vatican.
- Vatican Museum & St Peter’s Basilica
Obviously another must do when you go to Rome, and we booked jump the queue tickets which was well worth it. We originally thought we’d booked a guided tour, but we hadn’t so we ended up purchasing the audio guides. The museum was packed so it’s tough to see everything properly and it kind of ruined the experience for us slightly. But as you walk through and get to the Sistine Chapel it becomes worth it. Make sure you have something to cover your shoulders out of respect, I took a kimono to just wrap around me as it is a Religious place. In all honesty Tom and I were not wowed by the museum, but I’m still glad we did it. St Peter’s Basilica was just incredible. We went later in the day close to closing so we didn’t have to stand it long queues. When we walked inside both our mouths dropped, works cannot explain the sheer beauty of the sculptures and detailing on everything. I would 100% recommend going to the top of the Basilica, you pay 10 euros and can go to the very peak of the Basilica. The views of Rome are second to none, it’s just the most amazing experience. However if you suffer with claustrophobia or vertigo, I would avoid as the climb is very narrow and tight. I even started to feel panicky at times.
- Trevi Fountain
To be honest we visited the Trevi Fountain every single day! You have to visit both during the day and late at night, it’s a completely different experience. But it pretty much is what it says, have some spare euros to throw in when you make your wish!
We ended up stumbling upon this on our way to the Vatican, but we actually queued to go in this time. What’s fab is that it’s free entry! Although it is a Religious building, so it’s up to you if you choose to cover up. It is not a necessity though.
- Spanish Steps
Another one that is what it says, but a must do for the typical tourists. You can go into the church at the top you choose. The area around the steps is perfect for the designer lovers, they had all the designer shops you can think of so is perfect for a shopping spree!
We found ourselves visiting some of the same places more than once because we just fell in love with the buildings and architecture. The amazing thing about Rome is that you will be walking down a very simple side road, and suddenly stumble upon this beautiful Basilica that looks so out of place but is equally so incredible! They’re all free to go in to as well! If you’re walking down a side road, make sure to look up and that’s when you’ll notice them.
Another tip is to stay away from the main restaurants. Although they may be nice and have stunning views of the Colosseum, they’re not authentic Italian restaurants. My favourite meal by far was down a dingy side road, the restaurant is called Wanted. Not very Italian I know, but the food was incredible!!! I definitely recommend the lasagne there, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! If it hadn’t been for Tom convincing me to go in, I would have avoided it completely. My other favourite meal was due to the atmosphere, visit Il Chanti and wait for a table outside on the Courtyard. We had such an Italian experience there, surrounded by groups of friends eating meat platters, drinking wine and laughing all night. The food was delicious and reasonably priced to!
Finally, and most importantly. You absolutely must visit Venchi, they have chocolate sauce on tap and do everything from Ice Cream to Crepes!! It’s just a few minutes walk from the Trevi Fountain and the queues were out the door, even at 11:30pm!!
This ended up being a little longer than I had planned, but there is just so much to share! If you are planning a trip to Rome soon, hopefully this helps you even a little with your planning! Let me know how you get on and feel free to share any tips you might have too!