I spent the whole summer of 2016 in Italy and it was amazing. I was working most of the time as an au pair but I had the opportunity to visit many different, beautiful towns and cities, one of them being Rome. I had always dreamt of visiting Rome so before leaving the stunning, pizza-enthusiast country I booked my train and packed my bag and tried to control my excitement for the adventure that awaited me. I travelled to Rome on my own and only spent one night in the capital but beforehand I had planned the most important sights to see, in my opinion, which were:
- The Colosseum
- The Forum
- The Trevi Fountain
- The Pantheon
- Piazza Novana
- Vatican City / St Peter’s Basilica
- The Spanish Steps
- Piazza del Popolo
It may seem like a lot to do in just 2 days but it is manageable. When I arrived at Roma Termini Station I immediately bought my metro ticket, I paid €7 for a 24hr ticket which was all I needed as I had arrived on the Saturday around mid-day and left the next day at around the same time. I was surprised at how small the metro lines are, I was expecting it to be much bigger like in London or Paris but everything is quite close to each other so not much time was wasted on the metro. I checked into a BnB in Piazza Alessandria, which, at €30 for the night it was in a good location and suitable for my one night stay. I set out for my first day of exploring. 4 stops on the metro and 10 minutes later I was at the Colosseum and the Forum, as they are opposite each other. I bought my ticket for both attractions at the main entrance for the Forum as there is less of a queue and the full price is €12 which also includes the Palatine.
The Forum impressed me the most! The next stop was the Piazza del Popolo, which was the furthest of the attractions that I visited that day but still worth it as the scenery from the top gives a lovely skyline of Rome from different viewpoints.
After that I made my way to the Spanish Steps, which was unfortunately closed that day due to an event happening in the evening but there is a lovely fountain, the Fontana della Barcaccia, sculpted by Pietro Bernini, a famous Italian sculptor whose work appears at different locations around the city, such as in the Piazza Navona and St Peter’s Basilica. From there I decided to walk to the Trevi Fountain to visit the streets, which were absorbing with art and history. When I arrived at the Trevi Fountain, I was amazed with the detail and magnificence.
As I wanted to keep to my plan I made my way to the Pantheon which is literally down the next street and 10 minutes down the road is the Piazza Navona. This particular part of Rome is just charming and so active with street performers, artists and a lively atmosphere.
Piazza Novana was my favourite square.
I had to return to the Trevi Fountain as a little gelato cafe had caught my eye so I ate my ice cream surrounded by the beautiful sculpture and it was pure bliss. I returned to the BnB at around 11pm, after eating a delicious pizza at Pepy’s Bar, located in the Piazza Barberini. The next day, I had an early start and set off at 9am for more exploration and on the planning that day was the Vatican City. I finally made it in, after an airport-kind security check, and the architecture was astounding, I had not even entered the Basilica yet. After a couple of selfies I made the queue to enter the Basilica, which moved very quickly and once in, I was astonished. I had definitely saved the best till last. Just a tip; they do not allow anyone into the Basilica who has their shoulders and legs exposed, so cover up well for the visit.
I spent probably over an hour just admiring the design and elements of every bit of detail. It is an extraordinary sight to see and if you are ever in Rome, it is not to be missed. Just before noon I noticed a lot of people were gathering outside for a blessing from the Pope, so I stayed for the blessing and it was great to be part of the friendly crowd with such an enthusiastic atmosphere.
By Kelsey Hardy