Time spent in Rome is always precious, so if it happens to be a very short visit, although not ideal, there’s no reason to panic. Take a breath and get ready to put on your walking shoes, a lot can be accomplished with the right planning!
First off, here’s some things you can plan ahead for a successful whirlwind tour: Pick a hotel wisely, the more centralized with good connectivity to transportation and in a safe neighborhood the better. Secondly, being prepared to wake up early and go to bed late is key. Finally sunscreen, an umbrella, walking shoes and being ready to walk a lot will help get you on your way.
The night of your arrival:
After a long flight and being really tired, going out might be the last thing to consider, but it has its rewards. A first night excursion can give an unforgettable impression of the romantic after hours scene of the city. A magical little restaurant that is quintessentially Roman is Sora Lella. It is set on a little island in the middle of the Tiber River with very few tables (it can be a good idea to reserve ahead of time) and its authentic character makes it a hidden gem. Try and muster up the energy for an after dinner stroll. The quaint and cobblestoned neighborhood of Trastevere sits just minutes away with its unmistakably bohemian nightlife: wine bars, antique shops, candlelit restaurants and bookstores give it a trendy vibe. The nearby Jewish ghetto is a beautiful attraction too, filled with historic architecture and world class kosher Italian restaurants.
One of the city’s best known attractions is also one of the earliest to open up: St. Peter’s Basilica. The morning commute can take a turn towards the delicious as a fast coffee and cornetto are consumed standing up at Sant Eustachio one of the city’s most famous cafés. There will be almost no line for the Basilica at this hour and inside you can see all of the splendid architecture and artifacts in the golden morning sunlight, arguably the best lighting in the Basilica anytime of day.
From here it is a fifteen minute walk to from some of the world’s most famous treasures of art, the Vatican Museums. It would be a good idea to plan on being inside the museum by 9am. A “skip the line”, ticket from the museum website and a plan to see all you can in three hours is a solid option. One could spend days in here, but time is of the essence. Seriously set a watch if it helps and try to time meandering with the opening of the Sistine chapel so that you are one of the first ones in.
Guess what? It may be time to eat again! Just a fifteen minute walk from the Vatican Museums sits Tratorria Polese, a great option for lunch. This no frills eatery has some of the most savory and authentic food in the city. We recommend the Bucattini Amatriciana, a pasta dish most famous from this region of Italy. Along the way to the restaurant Castel Sant’Angelo boldly sits along the Tiber and it is worth stopping to admire and photograph.
There is a pattern emerging now: eat walk, eat walk, so after lunch, a great place to walk to is Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most scenic squares of fountains and culture. Nearby a refreshing gelato can be had at Giolitti’s as you make your way towards Piazza Spagna. We recommend approaching it by walking up Via Condotti, Rome’s high end fashion street, to see the newest of new in Italian design. At Piazza Spagna enjoy a well earned walking break under the church of Trinita Del Monte, with hundreds of other tourists sitting on the stairs its possible to enjoy a favorite Roman pastime: gossiping while people watching.
It is getting late, but one cannot leave Rome without tossing a coin that will assure your return. Fontana de Trevi is an unmissable wonder and a great photo op. The Coliseum is not far away at this point and a ten minute walk there from the fountain crosses the Via Fori Imperiali which on either side has the classic ruins of Rome’s Golden Age downtown, the Forum.
Undoubtedly all this walking has stirred your appetite once again and nearby Ristorante Abruzzi, would be our call. It has the best Carbonara of Rome and it is located in the Piazza Santi Apostoli and if the church is still open across from the restaurant at that time do stop in and see it. Once dinner is complete there remains no way to leave Rome without seeing just one more attraction, the Millenia old Pantheon. The inside is closed at this point but the outside facade is nothing short of impressive and magical to end a long day admiring a collection of human achievements, from the timeless architecture to the fresh ingredients in the skillfully made pastas.
Where to Stay:
Splurge option: Hotel DeRussie $$$$ https://hotelderussie.skchase.com
Well located and good value: Domus Australia $$ http://www.domusaustralia.org
Well located and good value: Picolo Trevi Suites $$ http://www.piccolotrevi.com/en/home-en/
Where to Eat:
Sora Lella www.trattoriasoralella.it
Trattoria Polese www.trattoriapolese.com
Ristorante Abruzzi www.zomato.com/roma/ristorante-abruzzi-fontana-di-trevi-roma/menu
What to See:
Vatican Museums www.museivaticani.va
St. Peter’s Basilica www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/monumenti/basilica-di-s-pietro.html
Do you want our help planning your trip to Rome please contact one of our personal travel advisors: firstname.lastname@example.org