Travel Guide: Rome, Italy
a city so beautiful that even a beach bum will fall in love.
I don’t think that I will ever trade in my flip flops and bikinis for the city life, but when it comes to Rome, I plan on returning as much as possible. From its deep history and magnificent churches to its perfectly tiled floors and decadent desserts... I am in love.
Its been 5 months since my last trip to Rome. I have been fortunate enough to visit 3 times so far, and each time holds a different place in my heart. Wandering the streets of Rome will leave you with a different appreciation for city life. There is more to do there than you will ever have time for.
But, that is the beauty of Rome, the promise of return, because you can never get enough.
We always rent an apartment near Campo de’ Fiori. But, you have to be careful not to get sucked right into the comforts of home after the long trip; wash your face, grab your camera, and follow the cobble stones into the square. Take a deep breath and smile, because yes, you are really here. During the day, Campo de’ Fiori is a bustling market where you can purchase anything from fresh cheese to a pair of boxers featuring the statue of David’s marbles… Follow your feet across the campo to Piazza Navona; smell the mouth-watering aroma in the air from the restaurants, listen to the live music, and feel humbled by the beauty of Sant’ Agnese in Agone. Spend the rest of the afternoon roaming the streets to the Pantheon and a gelato shop…or two. As the sun starts to slip behind the buildings and you make your way back to Campo de’ Fiori you might think that you are lost. As quickly as it came, the market has disappeared, and the square is now bustling with people on their way to dinner. Sit, enjoy a glass of wine, and feast on, no exaggeration, the best pizza you will ever eat in your entire life. Take it all in, tomorrow is another day.
I have found that the best way to see as much of Rome as possible, without wearing yourself out, is to dedicate your mornings to the tourist destinations and then let the cobble stones be your guide in the afternoons.
TIP: Purchase a Rome Pass. Its basically Rome’s version of Disney’s Fast Pass. You can purchase the pass online or at one of the Tobacco shops around town. The 72 hour pass will get you free entry into the first 2 museums and/or archeological sites, unlimited public transportation, direct access to the Coliseum and Castel Sant’Angelo and discounts all over the city. It literally pays for itself if you use it right.
Maximize your pass and spend your first day exploring the Forum and the Coliseum, the ticket gets you into both locations so you are still able to use the pass for a third site.
The next morning, use your pass to explore Castel Sant’Angelo. Stop at the rooftop bistro and enjoy an overpriced espresso while you take in the view of the Vatican. But don’t be fooled because, if you can believe it, the view does get better. Continue all the way to the top and you can take in nearly 360 degree views of the entire city. On your way back from the castle you will pass Vatican City. If you are interested in touring the Vatican I recommend booking a tour online before your trip. If you don’t you will either stand in line for hours with a chance of never entering, or you will get completely ripped off by booking a tour with one of the vendors out front. There are more than 900 churches in Rome (yes, I Googled it) and they are all breathtaking.
If you don’t want to visit the Vatican or you plan on doing a tour another day, follow the River Tiber north after you leave Castel Sant’Angelo to Piazza del Popolo where you can pass through one of the gates of Rome; and then make your way south to Piazza di Spagna, to people watch from the Spanish Steps.
Finally, spend a morning exploring the Circo Massimo and after head down to the Terme di Caracalla. Or, get lost in the gardens of the Villa Borghese. Eat your way through Trastevere. Throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi. Wander through the Domus Aurea. These are the highlights, and only a few of them.
The quick and dirty guide to Rome.
But, don’t try to do too much. There is a side of Rome that people miss because they are too busy trying to see it all.
They walk past the grey door on the corner that will lead you into one of the most beautiful churches, filled with artwork that likely paved the way for the art that you overpay to see in the museums. Or the cobble stone street that will lead into the small family restaurant that hand makes the pasta right at your table. Or the cafe with the cannoli that will literally change your life.
Follow the cobble stones and let Rome be your guide.