Posted - 1st May 2017
Rome is, by far, our most favourite city that we’ve visited. We had the most amazing weekend, in one of the most romantic cities in the world. We were worried the weather in November would be rainy and cold, but luckily, the weather did not disappoint and we had a nice and sunny weekend away. Visiting Rome that time of the year meant that there were very few tourists around and we didn’t have to pre-book anything, which is great when you’re not very organized…
This is a guide and quick itinerary to a 3-day weekend away in Rome.
Day 1 – Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica | Capuchin Crypt | Spanish Steps | Vatican City | Trastevere
We were staying in a B&B close to the Coliseum in the Rione I Monti area, which was very handy as it was close to the train station and close to the center of Rome. We started our first sunny day by walking to the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore. We had to go through a security check before going in, so I can imagine that there could be a queue build up in the high season, but since there is no entrance fee, there is no need to queue for tickets. Once inside, the Basilica is grand and beautiful with very high decorated and painted domes.
Next, we walked to the Capuchin Crypt. If you’re interested in seeing lots of skulls and remains of 4,000 Capuchin monks, then you will enjoy this place. The entrance fee is €6, but it is totally worth it, if you want to experience the eerie atmosphere.
Once we finished off there, we made our way towards the Spanish steps, via the Trinita dei Monti, that has a great view of the city, with St. Peter’s Basilica dome in the background. Once we’ve snapped enough photos from that viewpoint, we walked down the famous Spanish Steps.
Tip: You are allowed to sit on the steps, and enjoy the sun, however you are not allowed to have any food on the steps.
From there, we decided to walk all the way to Vatican City. It’s a bit of a longer walk, but totally doable if you like walking around. We crossed the River Tiber and passed by Castel Sant’ Angelo. We decided to not go inside, but we did take some photos of it from the outside.
Once we got to Vatican City, we had to queue for security checks in St. Peter’s Square. We didn’t have to wait too long as we were there out of season, but I know the queues can get very long there, so do bear that in mind. We went in to the St. Peter’s Basilica first, which is free access and it is beautiful inside with some of the most beautiful golden decorations we’ve ever seen.
Tip: Make sure you send some post cards from Vatican City mail as it will have a nice stamp, but it will take a while to get to the recipient.
We decided to climb up the St. Peter’s Basilica Dome for a fee of €5 or €7. This is because you have 2 options to go up there, either you walk all the way up the 551 steps (which crazily enough we did) or you can take a lift for part of it and walk up the remaining 320 steps. I would completely recommend doing this, even though the stairs are challenging to climb, the view from the top of the dome on St. Peter’s Square is breathtaking.
Once we’ve made our way all the way back down, we went to the Vatican Museum, on the other side of Vatican City. Visiting the museum costs €15, and this is where you will see the famous spiral staircase and the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. The Vatican museum is very big, so you can spend a long time walking around it (the Sistine Chapel is right at the end of the museum) and it gets very busy, so you might feel a bit claustrophobic walking around it. In high season, I would recommend purchasing the tickets online, as the queues can get very long.
After visiting Vatican City, we decided to stay on this side of the river and spend the evening in Trastevere where we got a bite to eat. Trastevere is quite a trendy and young part of town, with lots of little bars and restaurants. We enjoyed a glass of wine on a terrace, in the square right in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria. The view was beautiful and the square was busy with lots of people, so was a great place to people watch!
After our dinner, we walked all the way back to our hotel after a successful first day in Rome.
Day 2 – Coliseum | Roman Forum | Piazza Venezia | Trevi Fountain | Pantheon | Piazza Navona | Campo De’ Fiori
We started our second day with the closest attraction to us, the Coliseum. We walked through the Parco Del Colle Oppio to get there, and found a little bench that had the best view of the Coliseum. You can visit the Coliseum for €12 (which also includes the entrance to the Roman Forum) and we loved it, although we have heard that some people were disappointed with it. Again, in high season, I would recommend buying the tickets online to skip the queues. The Coliseum is right in front of the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, so it is easy to access from there.
The Roman Forum/Palatine Hill can take a while to get around, as it is quite large. We were so impressed that such an old part of Rome was still so well preserved, right in the middle of town. You can walk around and imagine yourself being an ancient Roman walking around the city.
Once we’ve covered all the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, we walked towards Piazza Venezia, which is right in front of the Monumento Nazionale (Altare della Patria). We didn’t go inside, but you can get some fun photos on the stairs and get a nice view of Piazza Venezia.
From there, we walked to the famous Trevi Fountain. This fountain is always busy with a lot of tourists tossing a coin into the fountain and making wishes, and it’s a definite must see/do, but be ready to fight for a spot by the fountain for that photo.
Tip: We visited the fountain during the day and the evening, and I would recommend doing that, as the atmosphere and the fountain itself is do different during the day, and when it is lit up in the evening.
We then made our way towards the Pantheon. There are loads of little cafes/restaurants there for food, as well as ice cream shops. You must have an ice cream around there – loads of flavours and shops to choose from! We also recommend going to Tazza D’oro for some delicious coffee. To be honest, we were not too impressed with the Pantheon, but we had to go in, especially since it is free entrance.
We then decided to just stroll around that part of town (Rione V Ponti) until the evening, passing by Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, where there is usually a market selling lots of different things. We decided to have dinner in town, so that we could stroll around town after dinner passing by some bars for some drinks and enjoy the Roman nightlife. On the way back to the hotel, we passed by the Coliseum again, to see how it looks like in the night, all lit up.
Day 3 – Largo di Torre Argentina | Sant’Andrea della Valle | Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria
On our last day in Rome, we didn’t have a full day as we had to make our way back home, but we still had some time to see some last things. First thing in the morning, we went to Largo di Torre Argentina and the surroundings, to see some more Ancient Roman ruins.
Next, we decided to go into town to look at some shops and we randomly walked into Sant’Andrea della Valle, this small church that was completely empty and so beautiful.
By the time we walked from there to the shops (I love stopping by Zara), we managed to see a part of town that we haven’t even planned to see, and that is the great thing about Rome, just by walking around, you discover the most quaint and lovely places that you didn’t even expect.
Our last stop before going to the train station was Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria. From the outside, this church looks like nothing special, just a brick wall, and once you walk in, you are amazed by how big this church is and, again, how beautifully decorated it is, with rich colours and statues. All the churches and basilicas are free to enter in Rome, but you can always give a little donation.
And that was our 3-day weekend in Rome. We hope this helps you plan your trip and the tips help during your stay.
Xoxo Ani and Sam