With the Italian capital taking pride of place as April’s Destination of the Month, Superbreaker Ashley has kindly agreed to share her recommended Top 10 Things To Do In Rome! Read on to discover handy tips for exploring Rome on a budget…
Most people that I have spoken to have told me that Rome is not a cheap option for a short break. However, my experience of Rome came at the end of four weeks ‘InterRailing’ around Europe, so I’d like to think that if I got the most out of my visit to Rome (on a student traveller budget), then I can inspire you to do the same.
I stayed a few streets away from the Roma Termini train station in a small hostel….east of the main sights and attractions Rome has to offer. It wasn’t the most central location but still a pleasant walk into the centre. I arrived in Rome at the end of September and the heat was intense, I soon learnt that even the Romans escape their city during the summer months as it is too hot for them. Whilst I wasn’t too fazed by the heat, I would recommend travelling in October or April when it is a cooler.
I stayed for three days which was an ideal amount of time to see many of the sights, but beware, there is always more to do and see in Rome. The main problem you will face once arriving is fitting everything in – a short break in Rome is guaranteed to be exhausting!
Below I have short-listed my top 10 things to do in Rome and then my wish list for when I return, because once you’ve discover Rome, you will understand why you simply have to go back. Enjoy!
1. Vatican City at dawn
A tip from some fellow travellers and some priceless advice; we made the effort to catch the metro to Vatican city for 6am. Everywhere was deserted and the moonlight still shone over St Peter’s square, it was absolutely magical. This early start was also handy for getting into the ever popular Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel.
2. Gelato by Trevvi Fountain
By far the biggest and best ice cream I have ever tried. My personal recommendation would be uno cono solo nocciola per favore – a single cone of hazelnut ice cream please – yum 🙂
3. Lunch…and dinner in Trastevere
Yes, both lunch and dinner, because you must experience Trastevere both in the day and night. This cobbled area of Rome is full of character; quiet and peaceful during the day, but atmospheric at night with its lively bars and restaurants.
4. Drinks in front of the Pantheon
You will definitely feel like you are at the heart of Rome sitting in front of the grand Pantheon with wine, cocktails and the infamous Italian spirit, lemoncello.
5. Venture through the artwork in Piazza Novona
This quirky piazza is home to many street artists and lined with colourful buildings and atmospheric restaurants. Try to get a seat in one and you’ll enjoy people watching for hours.
6. Dinner at a typical Roman restaurant
They’re not all expensive! Explore the side streets and you will find the real Roman restaurants that aren’t targeted at tourists. They even hand you a bottle of lemoncello at the end of your meal.
7. Sit in the Sistine Chapel
It’s worth getting up early for or be prepared to queue. Make sure you are dressed appropriately which means no bare shoulders and legs are to be covered above the knee. I could have sat and stared at the masterpieces for hours! – this one is not to be missed.
8. Climb the dome at St Peter’s Basilica
Battle your fear of heights and tight spaces and climb the spiralling stair case of St Peter’s, the stunning 360 degree views of Rome will simply take your breath away.
9. Discover the Roman Forum
Not an easy encounter in the September midday heat but fantastic nonetheless. You will feel right at the heart of ancient Rome in the midst of these amazingly preserved ruins.
10. Walk around the Colosseum like Maximus Aurelius
Grab a handful of the dusty ground just like Russell Crowe in Gladiator. I advise you take the audio tour; you have to pay but it’s very informative about the life and history of the Colosseum.
Top 5 for next time…
1. Visit the catacombs
2. Stay in a luxury Roman hotel
3. Watch a Six Nations match at the Stadio Flaminio
4. Go on a food and wine tour of Rome
5. Go to mass at St Peter’s
As a final note…
If you are thinking of booking a short break to Rome, why not take a look at some of our fantastic offers? Book any 2 night Rome break and get a FREE Sightseeing Bus Tour included! Book by 30th April 2014 to take advantage of amazing offer.
What do you make of Ashley’s Top 10 Things To Do In Rome? Have you got any of your own tips or recommendations for planning the perfect European break in Rome? Get in touch using the comments box below.