Before we left we made reservations, from a friend’s suggestion, at the Eurostar International Palace on the Via Nazionale. Once we’d arrived on a morning flight to Rome we realized what an inspired hotel choice this was. The hotel was dead center of the city and within walking distance of everywhere. Also, the breakfast was so fantastic that it filled both our stomachs and also we got a full eyeful of lovely treats. In the winter the price of a room for two is €99, I absolutely recommend writing the hotel and asking for this price if you’re thinking of staying there.
The first day we left our backpacks in the room and planned to walk around by ourselves. After walking down about 200 meters from the hotel we came to the parliament building. If you continue walking down a little bit farther you get to the famous Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi).
Since it was around noon time at this point, we decided to have a pizza at a pizzeria right on the corner of the square. The prices were reasonable and the food was fantastic. Near the restaurant we had a gelato, which was amazing and only €2 that I’d recommend to everyone!
We followed the arrows outlined on the sidewalk and reached the Pantheon… This “Temple of the Gods” was a pagan temple that now is used as a Christian church. It has all eras of Roman history within its walls, and it’s one of the best preserved monuments of all these periods. It has a perfectly circular dome with a diameter of 43 meters, with a width and height that is equal to one another. Inside are the tombs of the famous painter Raphael and some of the famous popes.
After the Pantheon we walked towards Piazza Navona. This is one of the busiest squares in the city. You can see both the Fountain of 4 Rivers and Sant’Angese in Agone Church. The fountain depicts four rivers from 4 continents: the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata. On either side of the square are two other fountains and around the sides are many stylish cafes and restaurants.
Our next stop was Castel Sant’Angelo. If you’re traveling in the summer I recommend you carry a bottle of water with you. From the top of Castel Sant’Angelo you can see the Vatican in full view.
As you know, the Vatican is completely autonomous and is the world’s smallest country, as well as the center of the Catholic Church. The Pope’s words are the law. All along the walk to the Vatican there are no shortage of gelato sellers, it’s impossible to walk around the city without constantly eating their delicious gelato ice cream! 🙂
Once we were in the Vatican we walked around St. Peter’s. The interior of the great basilica is truly amazing. It has sculptures of popes past, as well as their tombs in its underground. The dome that was built by Michelangelo is also something you can’t miss. Inside the Vatican Museum are some wonderful paintings and sculptures that you should make the effort to see.
From here we continued walking, this time to the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. To get there, you can follow the signs fairly easily. All of the most famous brands in the world are found in this square, as well as the famous steps themselves. The steps were built to join the 16th century Trinita dei Monti Church, and the effect produced is fantastic. Especially in the summer months the steps are packed with people sitting down, chatting, watching others, selling wares, and other activities all around the square.
Eventually we decided that this was enough for one day so we returned to the hotel and had a wonderful dinner upon the recommendation of the hotel staff.
Probably even if you don’t get anyone’s advice and choose a restaurant at random, the food will still be impeccable. All the restaurants in Rome are great.
For our second day we woke up early and decided to go straight to the Coliseum. The entrance is always packed and there can be a line that never ends, so I recommend that you get there early.
While walking towards the Coliseum we ran into the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. Italians hate this massive white structure. Inside there’s a museum…
And from there we went straight to the Coliseum.
There were some young tour guides who recommended we take their tour in order to get past the line. We said ok and took a tour with about 10 other people.
And this was how our 1.5 day tour of the city ended.
Right in front of the Coliseum are bicycles similar to the “tuktuk”s you see in Bangkok. We decided that a year later we’d bring our children and would ride the tuktuks all together.
Have a good trip yourselves! 🙂