Rome | Italy : A Quick Guide to Planning Your Adventure

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With rich history, magnificent architecture, delicious gelato and the finest of wines, there really is no place quite like Rome.

With only two nights in the capital city, I barely scratched the surface, but there’s one thing I learned quickly whether you are a history buff, foodie, architecture enthusiast, wine connoisseur, club-goer or art admirer, there is something for everyone in this ancient city.

Don’t miss it

Although the historic center is easily walkable, take a “hop on, hop off” bus tour on your first day in Rome. While these kinds of tours get a reputation for being “touristy,” it helps you get your bearings of this huge capital city. The bus stops at most of the major must-see sights, like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatino, Spanish Steps and Pantheon. Most of the buses have pre-recorded audio guides to provide detailed information on each site. For those who forget to brush up on Roman history before their trip [like me], the information is really helpful. I left with a better appreciation for the sites and the city.

If buses aren’t your thing, you can accomplish the same thing with a guided walking tour. Just remember, if it’s advertised as free online, it’s actually a tips-based tour. Remember to bring cash to tip at the end!

Pretty cool

If you’ve visited Paris, you know the feeling of catching your first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. It’s a giddy “look, there it is!” feeling in your stomach, and you pick up your pace to arrive sooner. It’s the same experience with the Colosseum. The nearly 2,000-year-old amphitheater really is all it’s cracked up to be. The architecture is stately and the history is rich [even if I do find the original purpose of the Colosseum to be quite disturbing].

Must try food/drink

Pizza. Pasta. Wine. Gelato. Espresso. Repeat Often.

The types of pasta are endless, but the Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Roman dish. It’s simple and tasty — topped with a little cracked pepper and cheese.

Here’s a hint

  • Although it’s an independent country, be sure to visit the Vatican City during your time in Rome. The Sistine Chapel will leave you speechless [figuratively and quite literally – the security guards enforce a strict “no talking” policy].
  • If you have limited time in Rome, I recommend purchasing “skip-the-line” tickets to any popular spot. While it’s a bit more expensive, it drastically cuts down the time you wait in line.

Wish I had more time for

More gelato! More wine! More pizza! More relaxing! Take your time in this city – enjoy that cup of coffee on a cafe’s patio, grab a cup of gelato and stroll through a park, pop into that boutique that catches your eye. Don’t rush yourself to all the major sites; take time to enjoy the little things all around you.

I’ve also always wanted to join a night walking tour. So many of the sites are so beautiful in the evenings [such as the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain].

Accommodation

Two nights in the elegant Grand Hotel Palace was simply perfection. The rooms in this five-star boutique hotel are colorfully decorated, spacious and fully equipped with all you could ever want in an overnight stay. After two months of sleeping in hostel bunk beds, I appreciated the comfort and size of the king-sized bed. Not to mention large showers, floor-to-ceiling windows, a flat-screen TV and wait for it … air conditioning. I was in heaven.

To make the experience even more exceptional, the staff is friendly and the service is off-the-charts. The on-site restaurant’s terrace is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, too! Located in the center of historic Rome, you will be just a short walk from many major sights and a quick taxi ride to the main train station.

Fun fact: The US Embassy, located just across the street, has the largest wine cellar of any embassy. When in Rome, right?

Next stop

Helloooo, Tuscany! A 90-minute train ride to Florence, Italy. Pick a window seat – you’re in for an amazing ride.

Additional resources for planning your adventure

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Planning a trip to Rome, Italy? Start here.

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[ Mid-afternoon snack, gelato! – Rome, Italy ]
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[My first glimpse of the Colosseum – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The Colosseum – Rome, Italy ]
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[ I am so fortunate my parents visited me in Rome. Mom loved the Colosseum just as much as me! – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The perfect spot to relax and enjoy the view of the Colosseum. And away from the crowds! – Rome, Italy ]
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[ As one would expect, the Colosseum was packed with tourists like ourselves. Rightfully so: The architecture is stunning! – Rome, Italy ]
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[ Make a wish and toss a penny into the Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy ]
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[ Stumbled upon the light show at the Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy ]
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[ Beautiful but spooky fountain just in front of the iconic Pantheon. The Pantheon is a former temple that is nearly 2,000 years old – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The Pantheon currently operates as a church, although it was originally built to be a Roman temple nearly 2,000 years ago – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The Pantheon – Rome, Italy ]
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[ Piazza della Rotonda – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica softly glows inside the walls of Vatican City ]
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[ The Colosseum – Rome, Italy ]
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[ The Colosseum – Rome, Italy ]
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[ There are free water fountains all over Rome. Save money by refilling a reusable water bottle. – Rome, Italy ]
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[ And we’re off to Tuscany! My parents loved the scenic train ride from Rome to Florence ]
Do you have other suggestions for Rome? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ready to plan your adventure? Here are a few resources to help you get started.

Next Up: Follow the adventure to Florence, Italy.

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A Travel Guide to Rome Italy

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mel & Suan says:

    Oh we love Rome too! But we only managed to spend 5 full days there. Ok, we need to deduct one for the Vatican which as you rightly pointed out is not part of Italy. Who would mind going back to Rome? We threw the coins into the Trevi!

    Liked by 1 person

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