My parents flew into Barcelona to pay us a little visit! I was so excited to show them around Europe so we jumped on a plane and headed to Rome! We are a pretty religious bunch so Rome is something my parents have been dying to see and it was one of my favorite stops on my last Europe adventure years ago. We had three days to see it all so I thought I would share the best way (in my opinion) to do it!
First things first. Download the City Mapper app. It’s like google maps but better! All you have to do is input your destination and the app will give you a list of options for public transit, taxi’s, or walking. My favorite feature is the little compass it provides while walking. It points you in the direction you need to go before you start walking. Very helpful! I’ve had countless moments of looking like an idiot while trying to get the blue dot to move on google maps. We purchased a metro pass for the 3 days we would be touring. We used the bus and rail train a lot to get around! If you plan to use public transport I highly suggest it! More information here regarding rules and where to buy!
We booked this airbnb and I can’t say enough good things about it. Super clean, recently renovated, and fully equipped! The host even drove us to and from the airport! He really went above and beyond! The neighborhood is located in a student/artist area and about 25 mins by metro into the main city!
DAY ONE get up early and grab a true European breakfast of pastries and head towards the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain has recently been restored/cleaned (in 2015) so it looks AMAZING! It is my favorite site in Rome and the restoration is something to marvel at. Toss a coin in the fountain and then head to Piazza Spagna to climb the Spanish Steps. Stop for some gelato at the base of the stair and then I would suggest seeing the Pantheon in that area too! (We had a tour to catch of the Vatican so we saved the Pantheon for another day!) Grab the public transport to your next stop…..
The Vatican! We purchased a tour from What A Life Tours and I highly suggest a tour guide. They offer a few different tours but we selected the small group tour in the afternoon. The tour included a skip the line pass (the line to get in is SO long), admission into the Vatican, Vatican Museums, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica. We thought we would be in a group of 8-12 but it was just us! We basically had a private tour and our tour guide was so knowledgeable! We would’ve missed so much information regarding the history, art, and religion had we not hired a tour guide. If you get a tour in Rome, make it for the Vatican. I cannot speak more highly of the value of it! #worthit
In my time touring European cities, I have never seen anything so ornate, marvelous, or beautiful. The sheer amount of money and power dedicated to the structures is unreal. To see St Peter’s Basilica after studying the bible and learning of Peter is a really cool experience! We are not Catholic, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) and study the Bible along side The Book of Mormon. Making the connections from what I’ve read growing up to real life was a little mind boggling!
Exit the Vatican and then walk toward the Castel Sant’Angelo to take it in at night. Grab a classic Italian dinner across the river and catch the Castle light up!
DAY TWO get up early and take the metro to the Colosseum which opens at 9 am. Get there early to get your tickets or get them online and print before hand. There are two ticket counters. One inside the entrance of the colosseum (cash only) and the other just to the right at the base of Palatine Hill (card accepted). Don’t get stuck in a long line when you have two options! There is an audio guide you can buy as well as placards all over the site with helpful information. The ticket covers the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. Plan to spend the better part of your morning/afternoon because it is a lot to see!
Once you exit the Colosseum you can explore Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. Palatine Hill is the center most of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the ancient parts of the city. It holds the ruins of the largest imperial palaces from the time of the Augustus. Wear good walking shoes because it is large and a lot to see!
Grab some carbs near by the exit of the Forum and then walk over to Piazza Venezia. The huge, white marble building holds the Tomb of the Undying Soldier and some of the Italians call it the “Wedding Cake” because its kind of out of place next to the old ruins. Grab a bus to Piazza Navona and enjoy dinner in the square! #jamesgangtravel tip: Trevi Fountain at night is spectacular so you could also head there to eat and enjoy!
DAY THREE take it a little easy and sleep in! Make your way to some of the more “out of the city” sites. Starting at the Catacombs of St Callixtus ,which Carson and my dad loved, you get a small taste of the country side too! The Catacombs take about 30 mins to tour and the ticket includes a guide! Spend a few minutes on the grounds for pictures and then check the handy City Mapper app to head to your next stop. The Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls is another site further out of the city. They call it that because the basilica is located outside the main city wall. It’s a bit a trek but St Paul is one of Carson and my Dad’s hero’s so we had to go! And I’m so glad we did. It wasn’t crowded at all, gorgeous, and contains the tomb of St Paul. Spend as much time or as little as you’d like and enjoy an evening off in Rome!
What is your favorite part of Rome?! Have you been yet?! WE LOVE the Eternal City and hope to go back someday soon! They say if you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain your bound to return right?!