Rome is the capital of history, religion, fashion, and delicious food. We will tell you how the city can have it all and how to organise your trip, see the city over the weekend and have lots of fun in the process.
Airport transfer: the cheapest one is from the Fiumicino airport to the railway station Termini (which is a 15-minute walk to the Colosseum) on the Terravision bus. A ticket costs 4€ and it’s an hour-long drive. It’s best to purchase tickets online in advance to skip the line.
Tourists: there is not a city in the whole world that has more tourists than Rome… Good impressions of the city and the sights do not last long if you end up having to stand in line everywhere. You must be prepared for that, be patient, and plan your day in such a way as to go to the shops and restaurants during the day and walk around at night. Evenings in Rome are incredibly special and there are far less people out in the streets. If you’re planning a summer trip come prepared for the heat— take a water bottle, a hat and sunglasses, take a break in the gelaterias or sip on a cold coffee in the coffee shops. There is a rose and orange garden in Rome (the Roseto communale and the Giardino degli Aranci) where you can take a rest and shelter from the scorching sun under the shade of the trees whilst drinking freshly squeezed orange juice.
Major attractions: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, the Roman Forum, Navona Square, Spagna square, Via del Corso.
Transport: a ticket on the underground costs 1.5€ but you can explore the main attractions on foot.
Coffee: a cup of coffee at the bar is two times cheaper than at the tables. Besides, a service fee (2-3€) is added to the food bill in many restaurants.
Drinking water has to be purchased in all of the cafes and restaurants.
Spend 2 days in Rome and fall in love
Day 1: History and food
Colosseum and coffee with a view
The city of Rome has one of the richest histories in the world. Of course, there are many touristic attractions, all of which cannot be visited in a few days without stressing out. Indeed, the Colosseum, an ancient amphitheatre and one of the most famous constructions of the Ancient World, is as interesting from the interior as it is only from the exterior, especially if you are not particularly keen on history and are not willing to stand in line in the sun for an hour and a half. The ruins beyond the facade were the spot for gladiatorial combat, animal fights, performances, and executions. Admission tickets cost 12€ and are valid for the Roman Forum as well. Alternatively, you can download an audioguide (this one, for example) and listen to it while sitting in a coffee shop (this one, for example) with a view of the Colosseum, enjoying an Italian espresso.
Trevi fountain, carpenters’ shops and roman districts
When walking through Rome from one place to the next and using Google Maps you can accidentally discover all sorts of interesting things. For example, on the way from the Colosseum to the stunning Trevi fountain made in baroque style, besides the many other historical monuments, you will happen to walk past the Roman Forum and at least five incredible basilicas. The senate used to sit in the Forum, it was the central square of the Roman state. The Trevi Fountain, by the way, also had an important function: water flowed into the city from it via an aqueduct. Venturing further, don’t be afraid to step away from the touristic paths. For example, if you were to walk down the Via Dei Pastini you would end up in Papa Carlo’s stall, a chain of magical shops that sell wooden toys called Bartolucci. Here you can find Pinocchio, cat clocks, and souvenir magnets. If you follow the shop’s account on Instagram you’ll be sure to get a pleasant surprise.
Apart from lasagne, pasta, pizza, panini, and ice cream, every region in Italy is known for many other interesting dishes. In Rome, for instance, there is Suppli (rice balls with mozzarella, mushroom and vegetable fillings), Filetti di baccala (fried cod), and anchovies. Even though most people think that you can’t go wrong with Italian cuisine, we’re convinced that restaurants and gelaterias have to be carefully chosen. We would recommend either observing where the locals eat (if possible, ask them for advice) or read the reviews on Tripadvisor. We liked the lasagne in the Il Mozzicone, not far from the Vatican, and the tiramisu in a special confectionary called Pompi Tiramisu (Via della Croce, 82) near the Spagna square. Take a dessert to go and sit on the steps of the nearby basilica. For a delicious cappuccino and local pastries pop into the Tassoni Bar, but don’t expect magnificent furnishings, it’s simply a typical Italian cafe.
day 2: Religion and fashion
Vatican City is the smallest state in the world and the residence of the Roman Catholic Church leaders. The name of this theocratic state originates from the Vatican hill on which it is situated. Practically the entire population of the Vatican are ministers of the Catholic Church. The majority of the ministers are Italians, except for the special Swiss Guard.
The Vatican can be visited until 17:30. Free papal audiences are held on Wednesdays. In order to get in to the audience, a request has to be sent to the Papal Prefecture in English or in Italian. Afterwards you will receive an invitation with an exact date and time. In order to avoid the lengthy invitation procedure, you can book an excursion with admission to the audience here. Admission to St. Peter's Basilica, which is in the Vatican, is free but you will have to stand in a massive queue, pass through metal detectors and adhere to the dress code (shoulders, knees and stomach have to be covered). For 6-8€ you can go up to the cupola (whether on foot or by lift). You also have to stand in line for the ticket.
The Pantheon is a magnificent antique temple of all the Gods. The inscription in Latin above the entrance reads “Marcus Agrippa, the son of Lucius, three times consul, built this”. The Pantheon is considered to be a unique architectural edifice. One of its peculiarities is the absence of windows and the large hole in the cupola, which allows light to penetrate. When inside, you are filled with a sense of greatness and magic. Admission is free and the temple is located on a square with a fountain where you can rest and refresh yourself if it’s hot outside.
Italy is the country of fashion. If you look around while walking around Rome, then you are sure to notice the large number of stylish Italians. In this country, unlike in Spain where practically no one cares about appearances, looks are the focus of attention. And Italians love it! There is an immense amount of fashion boutiques in Rome. You can find them around the Piazza di Spagna (make sure to explore the square with the fountain and the famous Spanish Steps), the streets of Via del Babuino, and in the districts around Piazza del Popolo: Via Borgognna, Via Frattini and Via Condotti.
If high couture doesn’t interest you, look for some authentic costumes in the streets of Via del Pellegrino, Campo de' Fiori and Via del Governo Vecchio. There are not only many showrooms of young Italian designers with one-of-a-kind clothing items, but also a few vintage shops and tiny cafes. Surprisingly, there are barely any tourists in the area! In any case, you’ll experience Rome for what it really is! We recommend the handmade leather bags of Montegiordano 27, Bottegaro shoes and bags, the fashion showroom of different brands, shoes and accessories in the Officine Red Store, the home textiles shop Fabindia Rome, as well as the Rosamunda clothes and shoes.
What to bring home from Rome
Shoes and bags
Food (cheese, pasta ingredients, pesto sauce, olive oil, all of which can be found in this shop, for example)
Alcohol (Italian wine, Limoncello)
Coffee and accessories (can be found here, for example)
Postcard from the Vatican (which can be sent right from the main square next to St. Peter’s Basilica)