When you have limited time in a city with as much to see as Rome, you have to be savvy with your time. There is so much to see and do, but this travel guide will tell you the best places to visit, eat and explore to make the most out of your time in the iconic city. So, hop on the plane with your neck pillow and eye mask as you’ll need a good sleep before this busy weekend!
Day 1 in Rome
Start your day off right with an upmarket breakfast at Aqualunae Bistrot, just a short walk from the Vatican. This delicious restaurant will offer you fresh coffee, a vast choice of authentic breakfast options and a place to get a feel for what it’s like to be in Rome. You will be fully fuelled for the busy morning ahead of you.
After you have finished breakfast, head to the Vatican at around 10am. If you want a guided tour, it would be recommended to book it through a reliable agency in advance as you can get ripped off if you get a tour on the day. Or, if you are happy to do the exploring yourself, then going round the Vatican on your own will be just as memorable. When in Rome, the Vatican is a must see, as you will be amazed at the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michaelangelo’s ceiling, the unbelievable views from St Peter’s Basilica and if you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to hear the Pope himself speak. This guide recommends around 3 to 4 hours to cue and explore the Vatican and everything it has to offer.
After a busy morning at the Vatican, it’s time to refuel at Arlu, where you can indulge in some of the best wine and pasta that Rome has to offer. Everything is fresh at Arlu, and this hidden gem will offer you an authentic experience of a relaxed lunch in Italy, with locals spending around 3 hours on an average lunch! That will be an experience in itself.
When heading back towards the centre, stop off at the Pantheon to see the former Roman temple in all its ancient wonder. It is known as one of the best preserved Ancient Roman monuments and it’s amazing how it survived barbarian raids when all of the rest of the ancient monuments were shattered. This breathtaking building isn’t one to miss.
For an unforgettable evening, visit La Terrazza in central Rome, a stunning location offering exceptional Michelin star food. The decadent tasting menu will set you back €130, so this is certainly one to save for, but if you are visiting Rome for a special occasion like a wedding anniversary or big birthday, there is no better way to celebrate. For something slightly more affordable yet equally as delicious, head to the cosy and casual Piccolo Buco for a perfect pizza.
After you’ve finished, just a short walk away is the Trevi fountain. Throw a coin in for good luck and take in the beauty of the spectacular lighting and craftsmanship. Although the crowds are fewer than in the day, it is still busy, so hold onto your bags and don’t get lost in the crowd! It’s the perfect way to finish off your evening. Don’t forget to have a taste of the world famous ice cream while you’re there.
Day 2 in Rome
After last night’s big meal, instead of stopping for a big breakfast, pick up a pastry on your way to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. You can buy tickets in advance to these attractions which is recommended to avoid the cues. You can experience Ancient Rome through these amazing locations, with the Colosseum built to house over 50,000 spectators, the Palatine Hill ruins surrounded by beautiful pine trees and discover the Roman Empire’s symbol of power by exploring the Roman Forum. All within very close proximity, leave a good few hours to make the most of this unforgettable experience.
For lunch just a short walk away, head to Il Boccocino who’s entire ethos is surrounding three main pillars: locally produced food, season based and excellent raw materials, giving you a delicious lunch at a very decent price.
After lunch, take a half an hour stroll over to the Spanish steps, which connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper Piazza Trinità dei Monti. The views from the top of the stairs are incredible as you can see for miles and miles. When you get to the top, the Villa Borghese estate is just a short walk away, and is a beautiful place to spend your afternoon exploring and to catch a bit of shade. For the animal lovers out there, the Bioparco di Roma is the perfect place to see over 1,000 animals, and is open everyday apart from Christmas day so is the perfect activity for any time of year. You will find this within the grounds of the Villa Borghese.
For an authentic final meal in Rome, go to Ristorante Osteria Barberini. With a range of antipasti, spaghetti, focaccia bread, meat and fish, there is something for everyone. The prices are very reasonable, and you will experience the buzz of central Rome in the evenings. For an unforgettable ending to the perfect trip, enjoy a cocktail or two at the Ambrosia Rooftop Restaurant and Bar.