The Eternal City. A city touted as one of the most beautiful in Europe and quite possibly in the world. Last week, I was blessed to fulfil a desire to visit Rome and marvel at the historical and cultural gems the city is renowned for. It truly is worth visiting, be it for the art collection, or for the simple things like sitting on the Spanish Steps to people watch. I think it’s quite nice to let other people know of your experiences and list tips that could prove useful for anyone who might want to visit the city in the future. So here is a quick breakdown to spending 48 hours in Rome:
I was based near Termini, the main railway station of Rome, as it’s super easy to get to everywhere in the city centre. I had breakfast and wandered around for a stroll around 8am to see what the area around the hotel I was staying at was like. Nearby I found Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri or The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs, a beautiful church just five minutes away from the hotel. This was the last architectural work led by Michelangelo dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the Christian slaves who died building it. It was an ethereal start to my stay in Rome. This church is situated in Piazza della Repubblica and I was simply in awe of the glorious interior and was in a state of serenity.
Behind the church was a courtyard where I discovered a five metre high bronze statue of Galileo Galilei Divine Man (designed by 1957 Nobel laureate Tsung-Dao Lee). It was a pretty little courtyard that I absolutely fell in love.
After leaving, I went to get a closer look at the Fountain of the Naiads which are opposite the church and showcased more exceptional work. The naiads represented are the Nymph of the Lakes (recognisable by the swan she holds), the Nymph of the Rivers (stretched out on a monster of the rivers), the Nymph of the Oceans (riding a horse symbolising of the sea), and the Nymph of the Underground Waters (leaning over a mysterious dragon).
I then went back to my hotel for a half an hour rest and then jumped onto Metro Line A to Battistini where I got off at Ottaviano following a 15 minute journey for Vatican City. Oh it is a stunning city! Sure it’s a hotspot for tourists, but I just loved the buzzing atmosphere. I cannot emphasise to you how important it is to book tickets online for the Vatican Museum. The queue at 12pm was crazy! Imagine having to stand in line in 30 degrees! I fail to process why people just don’t research when the internet is right at their fingertips! You can bypass that queue, show your voucher and you’re in! So books tickets at http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do?action=booking&codiceLivelloVisita=9&step=1 and present the booking voucher once you’re through security which takes about 10 minutes. The museum is immense. There is a lot to see and little time with tourists taking up the rooms and craning their necks to absorb the exquisite art collections. It was just awe inspiring. Everything I saw was astounding and I could only just gasp and click away. It’s intricate, intricate work and full of vibrant colours. I loved Raphael’s rooms and just wish I could have had the space to sit down and admire the Sistine Chapel which turned out to be disappointing because it was dark, there was no space to admire the work by Michelangelo and the security guards wanted to get the tourists moving. I do think that the collections I saw before the final stop of the Sistine Chapel had a bigger effect on me because I had time to appreciate it. I took a lot of photos but I have selected those that stood out for me.
After an exhausting tour of the museum, I headed out to Ristorante Da Paolo, a few minutes away from the main entrance for lunch which I really liked. I then headed to St Peter’s Basilica in the hope I could get into it, alas the queue was massive and I was really, REALLY tired so thought it best to stay away. But it was nice to have a walk around and see the church’s exterior and where the Pope addresses everyone on a Wednesday.
I jumped onto the Metro Line A to Termini, back to the hotel to sleep off what had been a tiring but inspiring visit. After giving my legs some rest, I headed out for dinner with the family to a restaurant called La Famiglia close to my hotel, which served good Italian food.
I woke up with excitement as this day was dedicated to visiting The Colosseum. I jumped onto Metro Line B and got off at the station Coloseo. It was another boiling day but that was not going to stop me from seeing one of the seven modern wonders of the world 😀 I hadn’t booked tickets for this and was a bit worried but luckily I had done research and found out that I could get tickets from the Roman Forum/Palatine Hills ticket office just a five minute walk past the main entrance to the Colosseum. It took me 20 minutes to buy a reduced price ticket, having shown my passport as proof of being an EU citizen. Great little advantage there! My siblings and I decided to explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills with ice cold water bottles in one hand, and a camera in another. I really enjoyed exploring the ruins and taking in the views over the hills. There are some pretty little spots scattered here and there that me go ‘wow’ which sums up my reaction towards Rome. After the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills, I went to the Colosseum which is just mind-blowing.
I really enjoyed making little discoveries in the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills more so than taking in the architecture of the Colosseum. I knew I was exhausted after so much exploring so headed back to the hotel in the afternoon. I ventured out again later on in the day to jump onto the tube, Metro Line A to the Barberini station. The Trevi Fountain had been closed off for a year’s long rennovation which was a disappointment. Nevertheless, tourists were still there, throwing coins in and I just had to myself because I intend to return to the city with someone to see the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column, Piazza Navona, Borghese Gallery and Trastevere. I also did some people watching sitting on the Spanish Steps and munched on some food in cooler temperatures as an afternoon shower had broke.
I headed to the hotel once again for a final evening where I dined at a nearby restaurant before settling into a bar with the locals for some World Cup action – Italy v England. It was truly the icing on the cake for what had been an unforgettable getaway to a wonderful city. I am definitely going back and I hope my blog post has persuaded you to visit this city too 🙂
- Purchase metro tickets from newspaper stands, it’s really easy to help you get around. Make sure that if you buy a ticket, you insert the ticket into a machine to validate it. It’s a bit like tapping your Oyster card in London. Once you exit the station, there’s no need to use the ticket. Only use it when you need to enter a station to begin a journey
- Beware of pickpockets, they are a nightmare! Do not jump onto a crowded tube or bus. Beware of young Gypsy girls carrying babies. Keep a moneybelt on you and guard your bags with your life. My dad experienced a girl sliding her hand down his pocket but he had nothing on him
- Keep water bottles with you in summer
- Wear sensible walking shoes