Hello! It has been about a week since I came back from my Italy trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast and I am already in desperate need for more sunshine! My friend Andrea from back home came to visit and we decided to start her Europe journey by doing a short trip to Italy. I must admit that I wasn’t too excited for Rome with the “been there, done that” mindset althought my last trip was in 2010, but this time around…I learned to really enjoy the Italian culture and I am looking forward to my next trip for exploring this country of pasta, wine, natural beauties, and beautiful architecture! This blog will be my little guide to how you can do Rome in 2 days if you prioritise where you go and expect long days of exploring and walking! Our airbnb was located a bit North West of Campo de’ Fiori which was really a prime factor for travelling to the Vatican City and the other major landmarks on the east back of the Tiber River easily. We were also located on a small street close to Corso Vitto Emmanuel II which made travelling easy since we soon learned this is one of the major busy roads in Rome.
1. Day ONE: Vatican City, Trastevere, and walk to Trevi Fountain
There are many intineraries online that recommend separating the Vatican City for one full day and the Colosseum and surroundings landmarks for the second day. Our original plan was to follow this but we ended up doing majority of our exploring on the first day! Tip #1: Buy tickets for the Vatican Museum and St.Peter’s Basilica AND the Colosseum in advance online! We had planned to buy the tickets when we arrived in the evening, but tickets for the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica were already sold out for the week, so I definitely recommend doing this before arriving in Rome. Our Airbnb host had warned us it is nearly impossible to buy tickets at the entrance, but after a lot of contemplation we decided to go with one of those advertising companies by the entrance that allows us to go as a group with others into the sites while being able to skip the line. We had arrived around 9am and were shocked to see hundreds of people infront of us for St.Peter’s Basilica, only to learn that there was a special event called the Pope’s Audience so the Basilica was not open until 12:30pm. We decided to opt out on that and pay for skip the line entrance for the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. I believe I ended up paying around 28 Euros with my student account but hey, I was just happy to be able to get in! This is the option that I would recommend for others to go for if you make the mistake of not buying tickets in advance too. We spent around 2 hours roaming around the Vatican Museum which is beautiful and with so much history! There are so many paintings (my personal favourite are the ceiling paintings which make the entire ceiling look like a painting!), and historical works…you really can spend a day here. However, we knew we were limited on time, so we made sure our stay was short.
We then walked around the outskirts of the Vatican City before making it all the way to Trastevere for a late lunch. Andrea had said this area was known for having many restaurants and boy was she right! Not only are there so many little restaurants and cafes in this area, but they are also located in small streets decorated with flowers and cobblestone roads. It was almost like we were in a fairytale! Afterwards we crossed the Tiber River and walked through the Jewish Quarter before hitting up the Fiumi Fountain, Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. It was an exhausting day of walking but really everything is in walking distance! We ended up at the Altare della Patria which I had embarrassingly mistaken for the Spanish Steps but soon realised that the Spanish Steps were located much further North. Thankfully we didn’t return to the Altare della Patria until the next day for proper pictures or else I would have made the mistaken of stating that I had in fact visited the Spanish Steps! That evening, we ended up eating at this place called La Prosciutteria famous for their meat and cheese board. Thankfully my friend is really interested in looking up good restaurants to eat at and her choice did not disappoint. It was only 15 Euros per person for what we ordered and all the ingredients were fresh and of quality! We also ordered an aubergine salad which was very tasty! Afterwards, we made our way back to our Airbnb for a good nights rest before our start at the Colliseum the next morning.
2. DAY TWO: Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palentine Hill
On our second day, we were lucky to have successfully bought Colosseum tickets online which included entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palentine Museum. Our scheduled entrance time was at 11:30am but we managed to get to the Colosseum quite early and they allowed us in at 11am. I enjoyed the vibe of the Colosseum the most compared to the other landmarks because it was less chaotic and people seemed to be behaving more orderly. There is also something so calming knowing that I was walking on this grand architecture and it really blows my mind to think they built this so long ago! We also managed to take pictures without having people in the background too! We spent just about an hour wandering on the two accessible levels of the Colosseum. We noticed that their is a third level but it was only available for private tours. However, we realised that at any spot or level in the Colosseum from the inside, all our pictures turned out really similar. Afterwards, we went outside to take pictures of the exterior of the Colosseum. After that, we made our way to Palentine Hill which is where you can enter the Roman Forum and the Palentine Museum. Unfortunately, the museum was under construction at this time so we just spent our time wandering around ancient ruins and admiring the view from the Palentine Hill viewpoint. The Roman Forum itself really reminded me of my trip to the ancient architectural site of Delos Island in Greece last summer! There is also absolutely no shade so we definitely got a tan on this day.
After this, we made our way to Pasta Chef which boasted very good fastfood pasta and oh it was amazing! My friend even said her pesto pasta was the best she had ever had! I was surprised to find that the pasta is really cooked to an al dente. I ordered a carbonara and the man who I assume was the manager was so lovely! He asked me if I have ever had carbonara in Italy before and I responded no. He then said it will be super salty and asked if I could handle it…and of course I said yes! It was very delicious and incredibly filling. With a happy stomache, we stopped by the Altare de Patria for some pictures after sorting out train tickets for our next day to the Amalfi Coast. That is an entire hectic story of its own that I will share in my next entry on my trip to the Amalfi Coast. And of course I cannot forget our trip to Supplizio for a mini meal which specializes in deep friend rice balls. They were around 3 Euros for one. I ordered a vegetarian one and a carbonara one. Do not underestimate the size of these rice balls because they are extremely filling. However, I would recommend going for the classic or vegetarian option which are the most popular! We then made a quick stop to Frigidarium for gelato and I had a scoop of banana and their vanilla and nutella one. I can’t stress how amazing food in Rome is and it really can be afforable if you do your research on finding good restaurants. We also noticed how most of the best rated restaurants are actually considered their fastfood restaurants too! Don’t go to the touristy or big restaurants but instead go for the hidden, family owned gems. The ones we found really did not disappoint!
Ciao for now!