Guest post by Graeme Smith
During my travels around Italy last year, Rome was definitely one of the places I was looking forward to the most. Steeped with history, culture and great food what was there not to enjoy?!
I had 3 days in the Italian capital to squeeze in as much as possible, so started off by doing a half day bicycle tour of the city. I really enjoy doing these tours when I travel somewhere new as you see a wider perspective of the city than what an open top bus can see. Also the fact that it was brilliant weather helped too! After the bike tour I got my bearings of Rome and I knew which attractions I wanted to see again in more detail during my remaining time in the next 2 days.
I started my second day heading towards the Coliseum, which is just a spectacular piece of Roman architecture that has such a buzz in and around the stadia! It reminded me much of the modern sports stadiums today and I could only imagine what the atmosphere would’ve been like in the gladiator battles many centuries ago. As well as this, the Roman Forum nearby was worth a visit too.
I then made the walk to see Trevi Fountain and tossed a euro coin with my right hand and over my left shoulder, with my back to the fountain. People say that this means I’ll return to Rome again. From here I visited the Pantheon, The Spanish Steps and Monument to Victor Emmanuel II which led me to the end of a very productive yet incredible day.
Throughout my visit, I ate out for meals as Italian has to be one of my favourite foods. For the whole of my adventure I was indulging in pizza, pastas, risottos and gelato – it was incredible. I like to wander off the beaten track and in doing so I found some fantastic restaurants at very affordable prices. My favourite area for this was a little suburb of Trastevere. Here I found a local vibe that had lots of local food markets, restaurants and bars. Definitely worth a visit!
My final day took me to the smallest country in the world, Vatican City, which is based in the north west of the city of Rome. At first impressions, St Peters Square was huge and had such an aura about the place. I’d be the first to admit I am not a religious person, but I was taken aback by the surroundings within Vatican City. This was all the more evident when I visited St Peters Basilica, Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel which were all just incredible in both structure and ambiance. Towards the end of my day, I also visited Castel Sant Angelo that was used a safe house for the Popes in times of danger.
So at the end of my visit to Rome, it’s fair to say that it fulfilled all expectations and more! And I hope the superstition of the coin toss in the Trevi Fountain comes true and that I do visit Rome again one day.
Rome Top Tip:
From my experience from this trip, I’d advise to buy your attraction tickets before you arrive to avoid the long queues I experienced, especially in the Coliseum and Vatican museums.
If you’re planning on visiting Rome this year, let us know what sights are at the top of your list in the comment box below!