Rome is one of the cities that’s on top of every traveler’s bucket list not only for its historical attractions. Rome is one of the few destinations that shows how well the ancient world can co-exist within a modern city.
Got three days to explore the Eternal City? Follow this guide to enjoy must-visit and must-sees in Rome.
Getting to Rome:
This is really easy. The main airport is Leonardo da Vinci and tickets are just under 85 USD for a round trip from London to 720 USD from New York and in high 600’s USD if you travel from Hong Kong (it depends of the season and how long in advance you want to purchase your tickets – the earlier, the cheaper). Check current prices on Tripadvisor before start packing your bags! The airport is well-connected to central Rome (and Italy) by 30 minute express train to Termini Station.
Where to stay in Rome:
Day 1: Hello Rome!
Hotel Santa Maria (Vicolo del Piede 2, 00153 Rome, Italy)
Villa Spalletti Trivelli (Via Piacenza 4, 00184 Rome, Italy)
Artemide Hotel (Via Nazionale 22, 00184 Rome, Italy)
Barocco Hotel (Piazza Barberini 9 | Entrance: Via della Purificazione, 4, 00187 Rome, Italy)
The Inn At The Roman Forum – Small Luxury Hotel (Via degli Ibernesi 30, 00184 Rome, Italy)
The Fifteen Keys Hotel (Via Urbana, 6/7, 00184 Rome, Italy)
Start your Roman holiday at Piazza di Santa Maria. Get acquainted and feel Rome’s spacious squares, foundations, and church – typical Roman scene. From the piazza, head of to the Pantheon, one the world’s most celebrated architectural wonders, and grab a gelato (or two.. why not even three) in-between.
From the Pantheon, go to Via del Corso, the main street of the Old Town of Rome. From historical homes, cozy shops, and of course, quaint restaurants and cafes for lunch.
Post lunch head off to the picturesque Villa Borghese (Piazzale Flaminio, 00155 Rome, Italy; tel:+39 06 22582330) and explore the gardens. In the evening, head to Piazza Venezia where you can sip your favorite drinks, observe the locals, or just take a stroll before you retire for the night.
Day 2: Vatican City
Start early and go another must-visit while in Rome – Vatican City. The world’s smallest state and the seat of Roman Catholicism, marvel the massive space, high columns, fountains, statues, and obelisk at St. Peter’s Square.
Getting to the Vatican:
By the Rome Metro take Linea A (red line) and exit at Ottaviano-S. Pietro. Walk south on Via Ottaviano toward St. Peter’s Square, about 5 minutes. If you are heading for the Vatican Museum turn right when you come to the Vatican Walls and follow the road, otherwise follow the crowds into St Peter’s Square.
There are many Rome city buses that pass or terminate next to the Vatican – the number 40 and 64 bus shuttle very frequently between Termini and the Vatican via the City Centre including the Piazza Venezia for the Roman Forum/Colosseum.
the number 40 bus (Limited stop express) – Termini – Piazza Venezia – Argentina – Piazza Pia (for St Peter’s/Vatican)
the number 64 bus – Termini – Piazza Venezia – Argentina – Vatican
the number 62 bus – Repubblica – Spanish Steps – Piazza Venezia – Argentina – Vatican
the number 81 bus – Vatican Museums – Piazza Imperatore (Spanish Steps) – Piazza Colonna (Trevi Fountain) – Piazza Venezia – Circo Massimo – Colosseum
the number 19 tram – Piazza Risorgimento (Vatican) – Villa Borghese
There are a myriad of Rome hop on, hop off tourist bus operators, all of which stop in front of St Peter’s Square and visit all of the major sights in Rome. All the operators use very similar double deck open top buses. Each passenger will get a disposable audio device for commentary along the way.
St Peter’s also has a train station, St Pietro. Commuter style trains loop around Rome to Termini Station, but the station is of most practical use to those travelling from Civitavecchia, the cruise port for Rome. However, it is a 10 minute walk to St Peter’s Square from the station.
If you happen to be in the Vatican on a Wednesday, you might be interested to have a public audience with the Pope. Buy your tickets and come early (If you want to see the pope, you can either see a usual blessing from his apartment at noon on Sunday, just show up, but in the summer he gives it from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 25 miles from Rome, or you can go to the more formal Wednesday appearance. The pope arrives in the “Popemobile” at 10:30AM to bless crowds from a balcony or platform, except in winter, when he speaks in the Aula Paola VI Auditorium next to the square. You can easily watch from a distance, or get a free ticket, which you must get on the Tuesday before). You can find more info about getting to and from the Vatican at https://www.rometoolkit.com/whattodo/vatican.htm
You can also book for a tour around Vatican Museum – this way you can escape the long queue and have good insights from the guide. The tour covers Classical and Renaissance art.
From the museum climb the Cupola di San Pietro – the main dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica. A stunning view greets you like key-shaped St. Peter’s Square; you can also see the Vatican Gardens, and much of Rome’s city views.
End your Vatican tour at Sistine Chapel. You don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate the Sistine – it houses the world’s most exquisite collection of artworks from the world’s greatest artists like Michelangelo, so don’t miss it!
Day 3: The cherry on top of the cake – the Colosseum and the Trevi
Spend your last day in Rome at Piazza Navona and see the Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore and Sant’Agnese of Agone (Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30/A, 00186 Roma, Italy). You can also visit Museo di Roma (Piazza di S. Pantaleo, 10, Roma, Italy; tel:+39 06 0608).
Continue to Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. You can shop at local shops in the area specifically for souvenirs.
As the sun sets, head to the Colosseum – Rome’s icon and one of the new wonders of the world and finally to the Trevi Fountain. Don’t forget to throw some coins to “assure” your next visit!
For a country famous for its culinary expertise, looking for a place to dine will never be a problem in Rome.
As one of the world’s top destination for so many decades, expect to see many tourists especially during peak-season. Rome can be congested compared to other European cities, but it is hard not to credit its beautiful landscape and architectural masterpieces.
In case you do not want your Italy vacation to end – head to Sardinia and explore what it has to offer! Fly from Rome to Alghero for 45-50 USD (we are talking round trip fare!!!).
Have you been to Rome? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: The Colosseum in Rome (WDG Photo / Bigstockphoto)