Rome! A city filled with thousands of years of history unmatched by anything else. You need to take your time with a city with this much to offer. Time to explore, read about and emerge yourself into. We tried our best to see everything and yet there are plenty left for next time we visit the Eternal City. This is how we spent three days in Rome.
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Prepare what to see in Rome.
In order to get the most out of your stay in Rome, we recommend you check out the opening hours for the days of your stay. Equally important of course is to stay at a place close enough for you to experience the city on foot.
We spent four nights and three3 days in Rome. To begin with, we arrived at our hotel very late on Friday evening and took a flight out of Rome on the following Tuesday morning. Before landing in Rome, we had visited Pisa and Florence. You can read more about our small Italian adventure here.
Interested in where to stay in Rome – jump here
Our three days in Rome:
Day 1: Our first day in historical Rome!
First, our plan was to visit:
– St. Peter’s Church
– The Vatican and The Sistine Chapel
– Explore as much as we could of the city
We stayed nearby the Vatican so we headed for Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Church first. Both very magnificent constructions.
To experience the grandeur of St. Peter’s Church in all its awe was very memorable.
In the first place, we had decided to also see The Sistine Chapel, but after witnessing the crowd at the church and square we decided to save the money and go out to explore the city instead.
Tip to St. Peters: Do remember to cover your shoulders and knees before entering the church.
Also, note that the Vatican is closed on Sundays.
Explore the city of Rome
On our walk towards the Roman sites, we eventually made it past the noticeable square of Piazza Navona. Historically it was a sports arena, with many different events – some a bit odd.
You can go below the street level and observe the ruins in a nearby museum. Rich in stories and displays which in all regards were very interesting, but we found the value for money a little lacking.
The square itself is buzzing with life. You will find small cafes and restaurants encompassing the rectangular square. The Fountain of the Four Rivers with the Egyptian obelisk in the middle of the square certainly draws the attention of people.
Pantheon and Colosseum
Walking on through the streets of Rome, we also visited the best preserved antique building in Rome. The mighty temple Pantheon. Located at Piazza della Rotonda it was the place of worship to all the gods of ancient Rome and is famous for its ocular opening through the roof.
Heading towards the Colosseum, we stumbled into the overwhelming Altare Della Patria at Piazza Venezia. A huge monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II who died in 1878, first king over a unified Italy since the 6th century. There is also a memorial for the unknown soldier.
Passing Piazza Venezia down at Via dei Fori Imperiali, we could see the historic Colosseum in the distance. With a fierce history, we were very much looking forward to getting inside to explore more. However, we had to wait a couple of days. Yes, we’ll get back to that in the Day 3 section…
Sooner or later, hunger and thirst will catch up to you when you walk the streets of Rome. We can warmly recommend the small cafe Bistrot 2014 only a stone throw from the Colosseum. Very reasonable prices, local cuisine, and friendly service.
Day 2: Romantic Rome
Our plan was to see:
– Piazza del Popolo
– The Spanish Steps
– Trevi Fountain
Obviously, we still had plenty of things to see and explore in Rome. As soon as we were ready, we started walking along the Tiber River up towards Piazza del Popolo. Know as the square for the people, it has been used for public executions, the so-called Jewish races, and punishment of petty criminals.
At the square, you will find the very pretty twin churches of Santa Maria. Luckily, the square is a pedestrian zone today avoiding the choke of traffic and car parking.
Next, from Piazza del Popolo we headed for The Spanish Steps. Arriving around 10-ish in the morning the place was already packed with people. For this reason, you have to be really early if you want to experience this site without too many people.
Consequently, the same goes for the Trevi Fountain which was our next stop. Almost 1,000 people visit the fountain EVERY HOUR, so there is a herd of people to get through.
The beautiful fountain is the biggest baroque fountain in the city and it is one of the most famous in the world. Impressing with its grandeur – with or without people – and tucked away at the little square, it is something not to be missed. Remember to bring a coin to the fountain and throw it over your shoulder for good luck.
The streets of Rome
While walking in the streets of Rome, you will get acquainted with the atmosphere of street artists, small markets and cozy little cafes where people are enjoying a glass in the sun. We love to take a break from all the sightseeing and settle down at a cafe just to observe the life and pulse of the city.
Once more, we stumbled across Piazza della Rotonda with its mighty ancient Pantheon temple. We settled down on the steps adjacent to the fountain along with dozens of others. With a view to the Pantheon, we enjoyed the remains of our sandwich lunch.
Heading back towards our hotel, we passed the supreme court building and Piazza Cavour behind it. A peaceful oasis of green where locals come to relax, play with their dogs and kids are playing on the grass.
Day 3: Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill
Our plan was to see:
– Colosseum (inside)
– Walk in Forum Romanum
– See the Palatine Hill
Finally, we reached our third day where we would get to see and feel history surround us.
Our story about our tickets: We almost couldn’t make it inside the Colosseum. Three days before hitting Rome, we were searching the internet for entrance tickets. They were all fully booked. Until we found GetYourGuide. Our first and second day in Rome was full, but they had a few time slots available on our last day.
Our tip to you: Book your tickets in advance, preferably 2-3 weeks or perhaps even a month in advance during the peak season.
Without delay, we were at the Colosseum at 10 am and at 10:05 we were inside. Skipping the long line, we could walk straight inside. Amazing!
We cannot recommend these tickets enough.
Standing inside and looking down over the area was a total wow experience. This place has been the site of thousands of furious and barbaric gladiator battles, re-enacted hunts and skirmishes.
In the name of entertainment or as part of inaugural games, people have been killed by wild animals, tortured and executed. The Colosseum was even said to have re-enacted a sea battle, flooding the entire arena floor. Our imagination was certainly aroused in the middle of this place.
We spent approx. 1½-2 hours in there. Guess history overwhelmed us a bit.
Find the tickets we booked and some other exciting excursions here:
With our ticket, we also gained access to the Forum Romanum and the Palatine Hill located only a few minutes next to the Colosseum.
The Palatine Hill and the Forum Romanum are both situated in the same area. If you head to the top of the Palatine Hill, you will find many of the palace ruins. Beneath the hill, you will find the Roman Forum.
Forum Romanum which is the Latin name for the Roman Forum is definitely worth a visit. You enter what appears to be a myriad of ruins but you can quickly imagine how this place was the center of city life in ancient times. Throughout a millennium it was the center of the legal, political, religious, commercial and social life in the Roman world.
You can also find Caesar’s mausoleum in the Roman Forum.
Where to stay in Rome?
There are plenty of really good locations in Rome and you can find excellent hotels. On this map, you can see where to stay to remain within walking distance to most of the great and spectacular sites in Rome.
We stayed at the Hotel Sant’ Angelo, just beyond the triangle above. Besides having trouble with the toilet and we nearly burnt off our room with the kettle, it was an adequate hotel for our needs. Nothing fancy.
Pricing was reasonable, the bed was good and the breakfast was nice. It’s close proximity to Sant’ Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica was an added bonus.
Find your accommodation in Rome here:
Rome by night
Rome is without a doubt a beautiful city in daylight but after sunset, millions of lights turn on across the city. The sites themselves can be experienced in a completely new way altogether.
Do remember to head out into the city after dinner and experience the city in a different light. And if you miss something on your trip this time around, don’t forget the city of Rome is Eternal after all.
We truly hope this guide will help you to have a wonderful time in Rome. If you have any question, comments or just think this article was useful, please write us a comment below – we would love to hear from you.
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