When in Rome, you will find yourself constantly in awe of the incredible architecture, dolce vita lifestyle, artistic compositions and vibrant street life. It’s the prime city to visit for a romantic getaway with a loved one and I would highly recommend it as a couple’s city break rather than a family holiday or group holiday destination. There is nothing more romantic than walking around Rome hand-in-hand, getting lost, eating ice cream and drinking Italian coffee at 3am. For daytime adventures, there is an endless amount of sights to visit, some of which you can read about below. Just make sure you go off the beaten track, walk down the windy streets and be prepared to be stumble across breath taking Roman ruins and hidden gems that you otherwise wouldn’t find in the more touristy areas!
Steeped in history, the 50,000 seat gladiatorial arena, formerly known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is a reminder of the ancient Roman Empire, when it was the norm for gladiators to fight wild animals to the death (and each other). If you are interested in touring this magnificent building and learning about the mind-blowing history attached to it, tours are available at prices ranging from €0 – €12.00 per person. Bookings can either be made online or you can arrive on the day and buy them and I would recommend paying for one of the guided tours. Also, The Colosseum is FREE for all on the first Sunday of every month!
One of Rome’s best preserved monuments and Italy’s greatest architectural achievement, the 2,000 year old temple, now church, is an experience to visit. The interior architecture will take your breath away the second you walk through the huge bronze doors such as the 16 Corinthian columns, huge marble-clad tombs and harmonious, concrete dome that is 43.3 metres high. Originally used as a burial chamber, you will also have the opportunity to view the artist Raphael’s burial tomb alongside the Roman kings, Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I. And if it rains, look at the marble floor underneath your feet – there are 22 holes built in that act as a drain for rainwater.
Hint: A visit to Rome is nothing unless you taste classical Italian gelato. Gelataria San Crispino is a mere 100 metres north of the Pantheon where you can indulge yourself in creamy gelato heaven!
When you leave the awe-inspiring Pantheon and mouth-watering gelataria, nip over to the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) and toss a coin into the water, a tradition that ensures you will return to Rome. The fountain tends to get quite crowded during the day so try organising a visit later on in the day when you can really appreciate its majestic beauty. If you want to really enjoy this spectacular monument, buy a tasty slab of original Italian pizza and sit by the fountain – it’s the only way to truly soak up the scene.
St. Peter’s Basilica
After a whopping 120 years of being under construction, St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) is now Italy’s largest and most impressive basilica. Again, the interior of this architectural delight is utterly astounding but hardly surprising considering architects Bramante, Raphael and Antonio da Sangallo and Michelangelo were the driving force behind it. In fact, the basilica is home to Michelangelo’s best works of art such as the dome and the statue of Pietà. Free English-language tours of the basilica are run from the Centro Servizi Pellegrini e Turisti at 9am every Tuesday and Thursday. If you are female, make sure your legs and arms are completely covered. I turned up in a pair of shorts and after queing up for at least an hour I ended up having to leave and buy a scarf to wrap around my legs!
Vatican City Museums and the Sistine Chapel Day Trip
Last but not by any means least, the Vatican City museums and Sistine Chapel deserve a whole day put aside in order to really appreciate their verdant beauty and splendour. Choose from the many tours available and drive to the Vatican City while passing the Piazza del Popolo and the ancient Aurelian Walls. Then, visit the Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of Map and the Sistine Chapel where you can marvel at some of the most famous tapestries, topographical maps and frescoes. Visit on a Sunday and you will even catch a glimpse of the Pope himself!
Other attractions in Rome that we would highly recommend you visit include Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Museums, the Palatino and Ostia Antica. If you have any other suggestions or experiences you would like to share from your city break to Rome, I’d would love to hear them on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! Check out a few photos from my trip below, enjoy!