We started out our short European tour in Rome. Rome is a highly touristy city, and there aren’t many places you can go to avoid crowds. It doesn’t mesh as well with our travel style, since we gravitate toward more relaxing environments, but our motto is try everything at least once. With only 48 hours in Rome, we decided to make the most of our trip and see all the major landmarks. Photography and food, as always, was top priority. With a group of 6, we hired a private tour guide who drove us around. It was convenient since he was able to drive us right up to each landmark.
Because we went at the end of August, along with the massive crowds and the blistering heat, it was not the most favorable conditions to be in. I would recommend another time of year. Regardless, we were able to get a glimpse of the rich history of the city.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and the best preserved ancient Roman building.
An iconic symbol of ancient Rome and one of the most recognized landmarks in the world.
Photo Tip: Bring a wide angle lens.
3. Spanish Steps (Piazza Di Spagna)
Pro Tip: May is the best time of year to visit the Spanish Steps when they are decorated with azaleas.
4. Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
The Trevi Fountain is one of the oldest water sources in Rome, and one of the most famous fountains. Visitors like to toss coins into the fountain. The first coin is to guarantee your return to Rome, the second coin finds you love, and the third brings you marriage.
5. Coffee at Sant’ Eustachio or Caffé Tazza D’Oro
Between these two spots, they are arguably the best coffee in Rome.
6. Vatican City Museums and the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican is the smallest country in the world and is the home of the pope and spiritual center of the Catholic Church.
The photogenic spiral staircase exit at the Vatican Museum:
7. Piazza Navona
It’s the most popular public square in Rome and a great spot to hang out and people watch. You can also see the famous paintings “the Calling of St Matthew”, “St Matthew and the Angel, and “The Martyrdom of St Matthew” inside the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi.
8. Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria)
Vittorio Emanuele II was the first king of unified Italy. This is also the location of the Unknown Soldier Tomb. If you head to the top of the building, you get beautiful views.
9. Roman Forum (Foro Romano)
Has many of the famous temples and monuments and is a glimpse into the glory days of Ancient Rome.
10. St Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
This is within Vatican City and is a free attraction. Although you can pay to climb the steps or take an elevator to the summit for a panoramic view of the city.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN ROME ITALY
These are on my list for our next visit to Rome.
- Ancient Appian Way and the Catacombs – free attraction
- Basilica di San Clemente
- Baths of Caracalla
- Baths of Diocletian National Museum (Terme di Diocleziano)
- Campo de’ Fiori – free attraction. Great nightlife and historic market during the day with amazing Italian food products.
- Capitoline Museums (Museo Capitolini)
- Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum
- Explora Museum
- Galleria Borgheses – one of the top art galleries in Rome. It’s half-villa/half-museum with beautiful gardens.
- Gionicolo Hill (Passeggiata del Gianicolo) – free attractio that gives you a great view of Rome and famous landmarks like St Peter’s Basilica.
- Knights of Malta Keyhole – great view of St Peters Basilica
- The Orange Garden (Parco Savello) – great views of Rome
- Palatine Hill – park with ruins
- Porta Portese – Sunday morning market in Trastevere. Free to see.
- Santa Maria della Vittoria – free
- Testaccio Market – community market in Testaccio.
Day 1 in Rome
11:00AM The Colosseum
12:30PM Il Pomodorino for lunch
2:00PM Trevi Fountain: Toss a coin in & have a gelato break
3:00PM The Pantheon:
4:00PM Piazza Di Spagna (Spanish Steps)
5:00PM Piazza Navona
6:00PM Dinner at La Tavernaccia Da Bruno (Via Giovanni da Castelbolognese 63, 00153 Trastavere, Roma, Italia) This was by far our best meal in Rome. Our tour guide was reluctant to take us because it wasn’t very fancy, but I was dying to try it after reading where to eat in rome by the city’s cabbies. So happy we went. If it was on yelp, I would give it 6 stars. :)
Ordered the Rigatone alla Carbonara (eggs, guanciale (bacon from pig’s cheek), black pepper and pecorino cheese), Pasta all’arrabbiata (my standard spicy pasta I order everywhere) and Pizza Capricciosa.
7:30PM Break at the hotel
9:00PM Night time photos at the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II
9:15PM Night time photos at the Colosseum: Could not find a great angle for the Colosseum. Anyone know where you’re supposed to take the photo for the majority of the postcard shots?
After a whirlwind of sightseeing on day one in Rome, there was only really one big landmark left that we wanted to see: Vatican City. The rest of the afternoon, we took it easy… just the way we like it.
Day 2 in Rome
8:00 AM Vatican City: waiting in line (1.5 hours)
9:30 AM Entering Vatican City/Sistine Chapel:
It was a surprise to us how massive the Vatican Museum was. Our main goal was to get to the Sistine Chapel and it was quite a walk.
The Sistine Chapel was dark and crowded. They didn’t allow photos but everyone and their moms were sneakily pointing their camera at the ceiling and taking them anyways. I was not about to be left out.
11:00 AM St. Peter’s Basilica
11:40 AM View of the City
12:30 PM Castel Gandolfo: the Pope’s summer home
1:00 PM Lunch at Ristorante Bucci: (Via De Zecchini 31, Castel Gandolfo, Italy)
Enjoyed some wine from the region and the views of Lago di Albano (Lake Albano)
Ordered the mozzarella di buffalo as an appetizer and paccheri ai fiori di zucca for main entree, and it did not disappoint!
- 3:00 PM Coffee break at Sant’ Eustachio or Caffé Tazza D’Oro
- 4:00 PM Grocery Store Stop for Culatello di Parma: recommendation from food lover’s top 10 list.
- 5:00 PM Breather at the Hotel
- 7:00 PM Dinner & Drinks at Pizza
Good times. On my to-do list the next time I’m in Rome: Campo de’ Fiori, Testaccio Market, eat more food!