Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it can certainly cast its magic spell on you in less than 24 hours! I’ve never been a city break girl, as you may have guessed from my blog name I’m a beach baby at heart, but after less than 24 hours in Rome I have to confess I wasn’t even thinking about finding the closest sea and sand.
If you’re thinking of heading to Rome I couldn’t recommend it highly enough just remember the following tips:
- Eat pasta /pizza /gelato for every meal – international calories don’t count
- It is considered offensive not to order Aperol Spritz’s in each bar you visit
- Pack comfy shoes and explore on foot
- Pre-book your tickets for any attractions, you are guaranteed queues at every turn, and they aren’t neat British ones … they’re hectic
- Look up! The buildings are absolutely breathtaking! You’ll miss all the magic if you’re looking at your phone the whole time so get your eyes to the sky
- Be patient, things may go wrong, but if you stay chill and smile you can overcome any language barriers
** Some of these facts may or may not be 100% true…
With all that being said, let’s get on to the nitty gritty of the trip!
With very limited time to visit we arrived in Rome early afternoon, Google maps loaded and comfy shoes on we were ready to go!
Where to Sleep
We booked into a hostel for the night, knowing I am about to go travelling on my own I wanted to experience a shared dorm so my friends kindly agreed to sign up for a bunk bed too. Using Hostelworld we chose Hotel Colors, perfectly located right by Vatican City. Somehow luck was on our side and the first parking space we found was quite literally right outside the door to the hostel! There were so many great. budget options available on HostelWorld, you just need to decide the area you want to kick off your exploring in.
By the time we parked, checked in and translated the parking ticket T’s & C’s it was 3pm and we were ready to explore. First stop on the whirlwind tour of Rome … Vatican City! Roman Catholic Church HQ, home of the Pope and the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately it was a Sunday, which meant the Sistine Chapel was actually closed and we didn’t get to lay our eyes on Michelangelo’s famous ceiling, but being within the grounds was incredible non the less.
Next on the agenda was the Trevi Fountain. I can’t stress how much I would recommend walking around the city from one place to another. The streets are easy to navigate and traffic can be crazy, so spend your time in the fresh air on your feet! On the way we stumbled across an impressive building with lovely green grass areas at the front, people were laying out peacefully in the sun and we took the chance for a 45mins rest. In reality we were lying in the sun in the middle of a city, but it was so peaceful there it didn’t feel that way. Once we had recharged our batteries we set back off for the Trevi fountain.
From around the corner you can hear the buzz of people and the trickle of the water.
Yes it is impressive, and yes I can see why it is so popular, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of other people crowding around trying to get those photos!
My particular favourite was one girl, on her own, she got herself the spot right slap bang in the middle of the fountain. She was sat there when we arrived, trying to get that ‘I’m looking longingly into this fountain but don’t know the camera is there’ selfie. We took our photos, had gelato from a little shop nearby, and went back for another glance at the fountain. It had been a good 15 minutes, and there she was, still trying to get that shot … I have to admire her dedication to that selfie! It also made me think of the problems I’ll be facing when I start my solo adventure!
For your viewing pleasure, here I am looking like a total dweeb throwing a coin in and making a wish to return!
Traditionally the Spanish Steps were a source of inspiration for painters, poets and artists. This attracted beautiful people hoping to be spotted as models and muses, the beautiful people in turn attracted the rich Romans and travellers. To this day the steps are a busy meeting place in the city. We got there early evening and walked up to the top, on the left is a great rooftop bar, Il Palazzetto.
Our timing was impeccable and as we arrived a table with a front row seat to the views left and we took their place. Aperol Spritz’s all round, olives, nuts and crisps to nibble on and we collectively came to the conclusion we were in love with Rome. As the sun set we made our way back towards the hostel to find somewhere to eat.
A quick dinner of pasta (obviously) and we were already for bed. Alarms set nice and early as we had pre booked tickets to the Colosseum in the morning.
I was so excited about the Colosseum, the Ancient Romans were one of my favourite subjects to study in school. We booked our tickets because the queues are insane! We walked from our hostel, after attempting a bus which didn’t move for 15 minutes in the traffic. As you’re approaching the Colosseum you walk past all the ancient Roman ruins, given more time I would love to go back and explore those and learn what everything was!
Worming our way through the ticket touts, tour guides and tourists we found the line we needed to be in. Be very careful on the terms and conditions of your tickets when you book online. Our tickets were booked for 10:30am but ‘entry time could be flexible within an hour each side’. We understood this as we could choose our entry time. However, it meant the entry time was at the discretion of the ticketing company, and they tried to make us wait until 11:30am … DISASTER!
We had to be in the car driving back to the airport at 12 midday. About to tear our hair out and throw a tantrum they understood our point of view and let us in after a good half hour of negotiations. This sort of killed the mood for us, and we didn’t have time to queue for the audio tour we had paid for. We had a quick look, took some photos but sadly didn’t have time to appreciated the true significance of the place.
Bundling ourselves back in to the car we headed to the airport to get home, vowing to get back to Rome as soon as possible to explore with more time!