A weekend in Rome, Italy – Sunshine, food & history galore

It will be a challenge to condense our long weekend in Rome, our first time visiting Italy, in one post. It was quite a change from the prior weekend spent in central Switzerland during our #monthoftravel. We enjoyed this city absolutely crammed with millennia of history in very sunny weather (finally). No matter how many pictures you see, nothing prepares you for the scale of Rome. And the food – bellissimo!

Trevi fountain

The dazzling Trevi fountain

Altare Della Patria

Altare Della Patria – a war memorial & a spectacular viewpoint

Sant Andrea Della Valle

The perfection of the Sant Andrea Della Valle dome

Top tip: We missed out on seeing the Sistine Chapel as we had not booked anything ahead of time. You can’t just show up to the Vatican as there are gargantuan lines to get in. Book online here through the official website.

Contents

The sights

Colosseum

Another attraction famous for its gargantuan lines (online booking) but that can be circumvented by reaching at 8:10 AM, a little before the 8:30 AM opening and just line up. We were awed by the Colosseum, imagined all the historical events that took place here and even felt a bit sad for the things we do as the human race. You can go to the 3rd ‘floor’ only as part of certain group tours so we took a leisurely stroll through the other two.

Colosseum exterior

The iconic view

The Colosseum took us just over an hour to see but the ticket also includes the Roman Forum which took us considerably longer to see. This was the centre of Rome a few centuries ago and we urge you to set aside at least 2 hours to enjoy the gardens, buildings & views it has to offer.

Roman forum aerial

Roman forum from the top

Roman forum walk

Beautiful statuettes line a walkway

Tip: If you reach comfortably before 8:30 AM, no need to line up at the ticket counter opposite the Colosseum, just line up at the “without reservations” line. There is a booking office inside the complex (that take cards as well).

Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

Another couple of very picturesque spots that get filled with atleast 1000+ people during peak hours. The Trevi Fountain in particular is dazzlingly brilliant but to get a good picture, we had to jostle with a number of people 🙂 We also flipped a coin to make a wish! #tourist Spanish Steps was beautiful but crowded. If you enjoy people watching, then these 2 spots are just brilliant but if you’re like us, then 15 minutes are more than enough!

Spanish steps

The Spanish steps, at 10 AM!

Pantheon

Visiting the Pantheon was a bucket-list check off for us! The name means “temple of every God” and the interiors fit that description not because it is the grandest but because of the way it is lit by the Oculus, a big hole in the centre of the ceiling at the top of the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The lighting is unbelievable! Plus it’s free and has a short-ish, fast moving line. It is THE must-visit in Rome.

Pantheon oculus

The light source of the Pantheon – the Oculus

The myriad cathedrals

We stepped into so many cathedrals and left awed at how grand and peaceful they were. Every cathedral we visited had their own USP that we describe below.

San Giovanni Cathedral (TripAdvisor): The grandest of all the cathedrals we visited, the 12 giant marble statues are the most admirable.

Basilica San Giovanni

Sant Andrea Della Valle (TripAdvisor): This non-descript looking cathedral has a beautiful interior and a stunning (but not our most favourite) dome pictured near the top.

Altare Della Patria

Disappointed on not seeing much of Vatican City, we swapped out our plans to instead visit the Jewish Quarter and the Piazza Venezia. Are we glad we did, the war memorial of Altare Della Patria (made of white marble, of course) probably has the best view of Rome. Plus there is a superb chapel at the very top (Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli).

View from Altare Della Patria

One of the beautiful Roman views from Altare Della Patria

Chandelier chapel

Try to count the number of chandeliers

Vatican City

As mentioned before, we did not get a chance to go inside any of the Vatican buildings. However, it was still totally worth visiting as it is quite beautiful, especially the Basilica of Saint Peter and the intricate pillars.

Basilica of Saint Peter, Vatican

The Basilica of Saint Peter from the outside

Snippets of Food

Okay so ate we so much of the spectacular food on offer, we’ll have to write a different post for the restaurants we went to, the food we ate and the things we shopped to bring back. For now, we have a couple of pictures of some of the pasta we ate as well as the stone fire oven in use at the very working man’s pizzeria we visited (called Formula 1). One of our Italian friends had told us that food in Rome is not as good as other places in Italy and we had such a good time eating in Rome, we can’t imagine what better Italian food tastes like!!

Tip: If you’re not ending a meal with an espresso, then end it with an amaro 🙂

Carbonara in Rome

Carbonara – Simple yet delicious, just perfect

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