I have to say I wasn’t keen on Rome the first time I went there. I felt it was dirty and rather unattractive compared to Venice or Florence. But last summer I went back and I have to say it really grew on me! After exploring the Doge’s Palace in Venice and admiring the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, I took the train to Rome to see if it was really how I remembered it.
This time I was able to appreciate Rome for what it really is- a bustling open air museum filled with architectural heirlooms. It helps that I was staying in a fantastic hostel called “The Yellow”, which has a bar downstairs and is great for socialising. On my first day it was pouring with rain but I bought an umbrella and walked to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. As it got a little darker I walked up to the Villa Borghese gardens and saw this beautiful view of Rome:
The following day was a jam-packed day, as I had to see The Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum all in one day. I would advise you reserve an entire day just for the Vatican City really.
While you can buy tickets for the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel from one of the touts, I highly recommend you save yourself the hassle and buy them online before you go. It costs €16 and you simply print the ticket out and take it with you, enabling you to skip the queues.
The Vatican attracts crowds of tourists, meaning it can be pretty stressful trying to fight your way through the corridors. You get stuck behind huge tour groups and have to walk at a snail’s pace, which isn’t great for someone like me who is usually pretty speedy when walking through museums!
There are of course lots of incredible murals and statues along the way, and the icing on the cake is the Sistine Chapel at the end. The sign says no photography, but of course everyone was still taking photos!
St Peter’s Basilica
The highlight for me was visiting St Peter’s Basilica and climbing to the top of the Dome. You can walk up the entire flight of over 300 stairs, or pay to take an elevator to the roof then climb the rest. It’s an exhausting climb, so I took the elevator! There were still a lot of steps after that and it gets very narrow, but it was worth it for the view of the Vatican City from the top! Feel the burn!
Of course Rome is like one giant open air museum and the colosseum is one of the most famous landmarks. It’s so strange to see ancient ruins just plonked in the middle of the city! The colosseum is an impressive sight, although I think it is more exciting from the outside than the inside. Just like the Vatican you can buy a ticket online before you go enabling you to skip the long lines.
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was once the center of daily Roman life and you can walk through the ancient ruins, which are just near the Colosseum.
Getting Around Rome
I explored Rome on foot mainly, but I also took the underground/metro system a few times. There are 2 lines; Line A red line and Line B blue line, and the metro stops are marked with an M.
Pizzeria ai Marmi, on Viale Trastevere 53!