Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there is so much to see! We only had two days so it was impossible to do see it all but here are some of my highlights and unmissable moments to experience in the Eternal City.
1. Channel your inner Gladiator at The Coliseum
It’s unbelievable that this epic amphitheatre, built in 72AD remains so well preserved. The Coliseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world and is still, thousands of years later the model for our modern stadiums.
Mr Silver marvelled over the fact The Coliseum took the Roman’s only nine years to build using incredibly innovative and creative building techniques to create the concrete ellipse.
As we gazed across the vast interior of the stadium, we could almost imagine the 50,000 strong crowd enjoying gladiatorial battles…
Close to the Coliseum you can walk a little further down to see the Roman Forum, a sprawl of ruins that was originally a centre for both commerce and politics.
2. Throw three coins into the Trevi Fountain…
Sadly when Mr S and I were in Rome the Trevi Fountain was being restored and was covered with scaffolding, so I reached deep into the SilverSpoon archives to retrieve this photo from before the days of selfies.
One of the most famous fountains in the world, it was finished in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini and is the largest Baroque fountain in the city. The legend of the coins in fountain is a very romantic one; you must toss a coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder. One coin means you’ll return to Rome, two means you’ll return and fall in love and three coins, you’ll return, fall in love and marry. Isn’t that sweet?
3. Share a kiss on the Spanish Steps
Climb the 138 steps of the Rome’s most famous staircase that connects the Piazza di Spagna to Trinti dei Monti church at the top. If it’s not too crazy crowded, share a kiss with your loved one at the top of these beautiful Baroque stairs whilst gazing out at one of Rome’s gorgeous 17th Century fountains, Fontana della Barcaccia.
4. Admire incredible architecture at the Pantheon
It’s hard to believe that The Pantheon has been standing since it was rebuilt in 125AD and it is clear to see why it is known for being the most well-preserved building dating from Ancient Rome.
The whole structure is an example of how incredible Roman architecture is, particularly the domed ceiling with its central oculus, a 27 foot hole in the centre.
4. Marvel at the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
Vatican City is actually a separate state to Rome where the Pope is the Monarch, so if you visit the Vatican you’re actually heading into a separate country (awesome for travel bloggers trying to increase their count of countries!).
Take a tour around the Vatican Museums, admire the beautiful ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and say a prayer inside St Peter’s Basilica, one of the world’s largest churches.
This is not the beautiful ceiling of the Sistine chapel painted by Michaelanglo, as you’re not allowed to take pictures there. But there are many other beautiful paintings and sculptures to admire as you make your way around the Vatican museums.
Be warned, queues are long, inside is crowded and dress modestly but The Vatican holds absolutely stunning examples of art and architecture and it is the centre of Christianity.
5. Go Shopping!!
Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, Armani, Fendi…all of course have stores in Rome, head to the Via Condotti at the base of the Spanish Steps for all your luxury designer needs!
6. Have lunch at the Trastevere
If you need a break from the city and the crowds the Trastevere is a much more tranquil neighbourhood to head to for lunch. I loved strolling through the pretty cobbled streets and admiring the hanging foliage and pavement cafes…it is known for being one of the city’s most authentic Roman areas.
Though we didn’t get a chance to sample an evening at the Trastevere, I’ve been told it’s a great place to go for lively nightlife and a rich social scene.
7. Have a drink at The Hotel De Russie
I stayed at this hotel last time I was in Rome and I remember the beautiful al fresco bar and adjacent garden. Of course I dragged Mr S there for lunch…the food wasn’t the best that we had in the Rome but the location is gorgeous and it’s perfectly placed to drop in for a glass of prosecco and to take a break from shopping.
8. Gaze across city at a rooftop bar or restaurant
With all magnificent historical buildings, Rome is a city that you just want to gaze across, taking in the well-preserved ruins, the dome of the Vatican and the lush gardens. Hotel Eden had a gorgeous bar with a view and we also loved the view of the Coliseum at Aroma at the Palazzo Manfredi Hotel.
For a more modern room with a view check out the roof garden of the First Luxury Art Hotel.
9. Pizza in one of the many Piazzas
The piazzas in Rome are an attraction in themselves, if you have time (and we didn’t) I’d settle down at a pizza place in one of the bustling squares for a long lunch and a spot of people watching. Piazza Navona is one of the most famous and beautiful squares in Rome and includes three majestic fountains.
10. Just eat everything!!
Pasta, pizza, ice-cream, bread, cheese…just eat it all…You just can’t get that quality of Italian food in London so make the most of it and sample EVERYTHING of the real deal! Also try a carbonara, saltimbocca and lightly fried artichokes, all of which are traditional Roman dishes.
Beware of tourist trap restaurants and get recommendations from your hotel, locals and bloggers. I scoured Italian blogs before we left for hint and tips; Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome is one of the best blogs I found for recommendations. Another idea is to try a food tour, of which there are many! Sadly I can’t recommend one as once again we didn’t have time to do this but check out Viator for tonnes of ideas.
Silver Nuggets of Wisdom
- There is soooooo much to see, be organised and prioritise what you want to see most.
- Get a personal tour guide; they will make sure you get the highlights of the city and fill you in on the background history. Plus, many of the tour guides will be able to jump the queues and get you in quickly. Even if you don’t get a tour guide, make sure to buy a queue jump for the Vatican, otherwise you could be waiting three hours to get in.
- Don’t go in peak season. Going to Rome in May was not ideal, everywhere was incredibly crowded making some of the attractions difficult to see. It also felt very touristy, following around a big group of people with selfie sticks detracts from the gravity of the beautiful attractions.
- As a British person I’ll complain about weather if it’s too hot or too cold! We were lucky as we had beautiful weather and blue skies. But once again the problem with going May was it was too hot, which made it difficult to walk around for too long.
- Above all Rome is such a beautiful city, somewhere to get a little lost and stumble across beautiful byways, fantastic gelato places and see glamorous people…