Rome is a city I have always wanted to visit and when the hubby decided a Europe tour I knew Rome had to be on our list. There’s something about Rome which draws you in and my first visit to this beautiful city had me wishing I could stay an entire week.
Rome is one of the most impressive cities I have travelled to with so much to do there is no way that 3 days is enough to take it all in. However not everyone has the time and probably budget to stay more than 3 days besides Italy does has so many other beautiful cities to visit.
With that in mind, I thought to would be apt to share our itinerary for three days in Rome which covers all the main attractions in Rome that you most likely want to visit.
Rome always seems crowded and since it is filled with places to visit, fantastic food and sights I would advise to do a bit of planning before you visit to ensure you that you are not disappointed. Make sure to stay somewhere in Central Rome (Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia and Piazza del Popolo) so that travelling to the attractions are within easy access.
Our first day was meant to be a light day visiting attractions closer to our hotel and we walked to Piazza Navona for our lunch. This is probably one of the most crowded places in all of Rome as the oblong square is quite spectacular with its Baroque architecture. The Bernini’s fountain also known as the Fountain of the Four Rivers which stands in the centre of the square is the major attraction here.The Piazza seems to be the kind of place where all the tourists congregate just to spend some time in each other’s company, take in the street performances, shop at the markets or having a meal at the restaurants around the square.
Once we had our fill of food and the Bernini’s fountain we wandered till we reached the Trevi Fountain. Built in the early 18th century, this popular attraction is the world’s largest Baroque fountain which is beautiful be it day or night (we had to see it at night too!). The age old rumour goes that if you drop a coin into the fountain you will definitely return to Rome. You can imagine how many coins I must have dropped in! On a more serious note, the coins collected every day is sent for charity purposes.
Though we spent a little more than expected time at Trevi Fountain, we knew our next stop was walking distance and took a leisure stroll to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman monument in Rome dating back almost 2000 years. It was built as a temple to the Roman Gods and later converted to a church and holds the graves of painter Raffaelo and Italian kings. The beautiful and huge dome is still considered the world’s largest concrete dome.
PIAZZA DEL POPOLO
The Piazza del Popolo also known as the People’s Square is one of the largest squares in Rome. The square has an 36 m high Egypitan obelisk of Ramses II in the middle and is flanked by identical churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Monte Santo called Twin Churches as well as several fountains. Though there is much to see here, I was quite surprised by the less number of tourists in this area.
Always the planner I knew our first stop on our second day had to be inarguably the popular highlight – the Colosseum. The Colosseum really does not need any introduction as it one of the most famous ancient Roman monument standing attracting hordes of visitors every day. Once the place where gladiators battled each other in front of large crowds as many as 80,000 people, this amphitheatre is still the largest in the world. Though it is had suffered a lot of damage over the last 2000 years it is still very impressive.
Piazza Venezia or Venice Square is a square located in the heart of Rome at the foot of Capitoline Hill where four major roads meet. It is named after Palazzo Venezia building which was commissioned by Petro Barbo who later become Pope Paul II. We were quite awestruck as till that time we did not realize how chaotic the traffic can be till we saw this busy square.
The Spanish Steps is probably one of the most famous steps in the world where one of the most famous fashion shows takes place. This 135 step staircase built in 1735 was made famous by the popular 1953 movie, Roman Holiday starring one of my favourite yesteryear actress Audrey Hepburn. The stairs starts at the bottom at Piazza di Spagna and leads up to the French church, Trinità dei Monti. The Piazza di Spagna also called Spanish square has enough to keep one occupied with designer shops, cafes and hotels. After a long day, this was the ideal place to settle down for a bit enjoying a gelato while taking in the scenic view of the surroundings and watching the world go by.
THE VATICAN CITY
Though I love being the typical tourist, it did get tiring moving from one attraction to the other and so we decided to just visit the Vatican on our 3rd day in Rome.
Being Catholics, the Vatican City holds great value in our hearts and the thought of visiting it brought great joy and anticipation. The Vatican City is a small state in Rome itself and the smallest country in the world ruled by the Pope. It is home to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St.Peters Basilica. The Vatican City is the site of the tomb of Saint Peter.
The Vatican Museum which spans 7 kms is home to some of the most revered and impressive art collections in the World. We spent almost 2 to 3 hours just walking through this museum. The Museum does get really crowded as the day progresses so I would suggest getting here as early as possible to enjoy it without the crowds.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous churches in Rome exquisitely decorated with Michelangelo’s frescoes is one of the most beautiful artworks in the world. The frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel can be divided into three periods, the period before Moses and the Ten Commandments, the period between Moses and Christ, and last the period that followed.
After being awestruck by the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, we walked outside to the St. Peter’s Basilica which is an Italian Renaissance church is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. I had heard that is the largest church in the world covering over 5 acres and we took our time walking through the exquisite work of art inside the church of which Michelangelo’s Pieta was one of the most beautiful piece we had laid our eyes on till date.
There is no doubt that the Vatican City is a must visit in anyone’s list to Rome and I suggest you keep an entire day just for this one place.
One thing we learnt after we reached Rome was that though the museums and restaurants are open throughout the week, Monday is their off day so in a way we did get an entire day to relax enjoy the local cuisine and some shopping too.
Rome is hands down one of my favourite cities in the world and we were drawn to this city for its history, romance, culture and food! It’s a city like no other and I recommend everyone should visit Rome at least once in their lifetime.