Clearly a must-see destination when visiting Italy, and there’s good reason it’s so popular. Rome is beautiful, and occasionally wading through a sea of tourists is worth it in-order to see the truly incredible sites. During our time in Rome, we met travelers who were planning to spend weeks exploring the city . While a fantastic plan, these are travelers who seem to visit maybe one tourist-site per day, taking their sweet time along the way. I fell in love with Rome, but 2-3 days of exploring was enough to get a good taste. Rome was only a jumping off point for our travels, as we planned to spend the majority of our trip in more remote locations.
When visiting Rome for a quick trip, some of the best places to head are the streets surrounding Piazza Navona and Plaza della Rotonda. This is the heart of the old city. Far from the modern shops and restaurants that pave the way to the Spanish steps.
Staying in the old city means strolling down cobblestone streets with countless street-side wine and dining options. Immerse yourself in the culture and history of some of the most memorable sites in the city while sipping coffee or vino.
Our hotel, Albergo Abruzzi, was perfectly placed just outside the Pantheon, with an amazing view from our top floor window.
To me, the Pantheon was more than just one of the many beautiful Roman sites. There’s something awe-inspiring about walking into this massive, 2,000 year old structure that just moves me. The strong, tall columns and stone walls surround you upon entering, with the incredible dome, oculus in the center, allowing the sun to beam in, marking the hours of the day and seasons of the year. The powerful building almost forces reflection on what it must have been like to stand there 2,000 years ago. You can’t help but wonder about the architecture and planning process, the labor required to build such a massive structure with such detail, and how long it must have taken to complete such a project. The Pantheon has evolved over the centuries due to religious and political shifts, but the same stone walls (and glorious dome) built over 2,000 years ago still stands today and is simply magnificent.
Trevi Fountain was just steps away from our hotel – this marked the second ‘take my breath away’ moment in Rome. It’s just gorgeous. The urge to jump into this magnificent fountain was strong in me. According to a nearby policeman, who thought my question was quite humorous, you won’t get arrested for jumping in the fountain, you will only receive 140 euro fine. Quite worth it if you ask me.
Other highlights from our trip include the walk through the ancient ruins to the Colosseum, visiting Vatican City, sunset dining in Plaza Navona, and eating more cheese and pasta than what seems humanly possible. And let’s not forget the taste of a perfect, rose-shaped, sauteed Italian artichoke (Carciofi alla Romana). Mangia!
When is Rome bustling with tourists? At all times. The Pantheon and Trevi Fountain are the most accessible sites, and can be less crowded early in the morning, but be prepared to wait in long lines for everything else. Expect to wait for hours to see St. Peter’s Basilica (unless you are ballsy enough to cut the line 😉 and even longer for the Sistine Chapel. I typically avoid tourist traps like the plague, preferring to stay among locals and research off-the-beaten path experiences. BUT… I quickly learned that all roads lead to Rome for a reason, everything is here and you just have to see it all! Rome’s ancient, romantic ways create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that will put you under a spell. I crave Rome, and I plan to return often.