Rome, one of the cities which has plenty of places to see that are abundant in history, culture, romance, food, and wine. It has so much to offer everyone, be it a tourist or a traveler or an inhabitant. Rome has undoubtedly been one of my favorite travel destination among the rest. I visited Rome in the fall of the year 2015 and it turned out to be the perfect season to visit Rome, not too hot and a bit of shower turned my four days stay in this historic place a very memorable one.
With so much to see and so little time, it is difficult to cover all the iconic places. But here’s what I put together to make the best of my Roman experience – an ultimate travel itinerary I followed to see Rome in three days.
«« Day 0 in Rome »»
I landed at the Ciampino Airport on a hot sunny afternoon after a short 90 minutes’ flight from Karlsruhe, Germany. The best way to reach the city center of Rome is by taking a shuttle bus from the airport. From Roma Termini I took a cab ride to the B&B which was going to be my sanctuary for the next three days. And which by the way, had the most amazing view from the room’s balcony.
The day had almost ended and I had to salvage what’s left of the daylight to look around and visit a few places. The best I could do is to take a stroll around the city, get familiarised with the place, the people & culture, gorge on some scrumptious Italian food/wine at the local trattorias, so i could begin the touristy journey from the next day.
Here’s the best of Rome in three days:
«« Day 1 in Rome »»
St. Peter’s Basilica
Begin your day early at the Vatican City if you want to beat the crowd and the heat during noon. Despite starting early, there was long waiting lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. Once you are done with observing the artful interiors of the Basilica and Saint Peter’s tomb, climb the cupola to the top (551 steps) to get a spectacular panoramic view of the Roma cityscape. In addition to this, keep in mind to dress modestly, there is a dress code to be maintained to enter the Basilica.
St. Peter’s Square
So after the tiring workout of climbing up and down the dome and waiting in ticket lines, spend some time and relax in the front of the church. St.Peter’s square comprises of 4 rows of walkways, 284 columns and 88 pillars with 140 statues of saints. It is mostly used for special occasions and can fit up to 300,000 people.
Walk down the Via della Conciliazione, a long street that leads to Castel Sant’Angelo, which was formerly commissioned to be a mausoleum, later used as a fortress and a castle by the popes, which is now converted into a museum. The museum exhibits collection of paintings, sculpture reconstructions, firearms and military souvenirs from the renaissance period.
From Castel Sant’Angelo, walk across the bridge over River Tiber to reach Piazza Navona. The square comes alive at night with some brilliant street performances, bustling cafes, and sightseers who have come to see the Bernini fountains. Take a walk around the block and end your perfect day at any of the Alfresco dining pizzerias and top it up with a gelato.
«« Day 2 in Rome »»
The museums of Vatican are just a ten minutes’ walk from St. Peter’s Square. The museum has the world’s awe-inspiring art collections from different eras and various regions. It would be an understatement if I were to say a single visit to the museum would suffice. There’s just too much to see and comprehend. The main highlights of the museum would be The Raphael Rooms, Galleries of tapestries & maps, The Cortila Della Pigna and Museo Pio-Clementino.
Remember to buy entry tickets to both, the museums and Sistine Chapel in advance to avoid waiting lines. Ideally, it would take around 60-90 minutes to get from the entrance to the Sistine Chapel. But varies from tourist-to-tourist on how much time you would want to spend looking at the paintings and artifacts at the museums.
Sistine Chapel is something everybody wants to see, on a busy day you could easily find more than two thousand people under the remarkable ceilings of frescoes. The chapel is home to many world-famous works of art, especially Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and the Last Judgement paint works; the chapel is also prominent for paintings by other Renaissance artists.
One of the most iconic and historical landmarks of Rome is the Colosseum. The magnificent Colosseum’s exterior view is an exhilarating sight. The largest amphitheater of the Roman empire was built to host games, animal fights, and gladiator combats. One can spend an hour or two exploring the rustic interiors of the Colosseum before heading towards the ancient Rome.
Roman Forum & Palantine Hill
If you are a fan of Shakespeare’s work – Julius Ceaser, you will definitely love the visit to the Roman forum. Remember Mark Antony’s oration at Ceaser’s funeral, it occurred here. The Roman forum was the main square of the ancient Roman empire which is now turned into hauntingly beautiful ruins with fragments of the streets, garden areas, and ancient villas. Climb up the Palantine hill to get a great view of the streets where once Julius Ceaser walked on. The Palantine hill is where Rome was founded and one of the oldest spots in the city.
Grab a cup of freshly brewed Italian-style espresso and walk over to the Spanish steps where you can sit on the steps, take a break from walking around the town and observe the surroundings. The flower-filled 135 step staircase is located adjacent to the house of the famous English romantic poet John Keats. The house is now turned into a Keats–Shelley Memorial House.
«« Day 3 in Rome »»
The Pantheon was known as the temple of all Roman gods which became a church in the 7th century, it contains tombs and a visit-worthy dome to see. It is also surrounded by the best bistros and food & drinks spots to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Walk down the winding streets from Pantheon and you’ll end up at the Trevi fountain. I was unlucky to land up there when the fountain restoration was in progress. Nonetheless, the view of the fountain without the water running was worth the visit. The tradition says if you toss a coin into the Trevi and wish to return to Rome, your wish would be fulfilled. So do not forget to do that!
Take a stroll around the city
Finally soak in the last few hours in Rome wandering around the picturesque streets. Make sure you have some time to get lost in the enchanting environs, walk around on the cobblestone streets, breathe in the pulsating energy around the piazzas and do some shopping – buy homemade pasta, Italian herbs, Italian espressos, and souvenirs.
This itinerary obviously doesn’t encompass everything there is to see in Rome. Infact I had to skip the Catacombs, Jewish Ghetto and few other places due to time restraints. If you want to dig more into the neighborhood of Rome, you should definitely visit Trastevere and Monti. And if you want to visit every place in Rome, you’ll definitely need more than just 3 days. But if you are tight on time, follow this itinerary, it covers the best parts of Rome.
And, that’s all folks!
We hope this post has inspired you to visit Rome. Please share your own tips for this magical city in the comments below.