The Roman Holiday

Tripoto
Photo of The Roman Holiday by Priya Saxena
Day 1

They say Rome wasn't built in a day and trust me, you need more than just one day to see all of it. But if you're really short on time and want to see the best of Rome, read ahead for a two-day itinerary.

I landed in Rome quite late in the day and therefore decided to keep my accommodation close to a central location accessible by public transport. My pick was New Generation Hostel Santa Maria Maggiore, at a ten-minute walk from Roma Termini, the main railway station of Rome. I used the Leonardo Express, a non-stop service that connects the Roma Termini station and Roma Fiumicino airport to reach my hostel. This is the fastest way to reach Termini.

Next morning, I began my day quite early as I could not wait to explore the place. The first essential stop was a coffee shop as it was a bit chilly. Do try asking for a coffee in Italian, it’s fun. “Posso avere un cappuccino per favore?” Find more phrases here. The other important stop was a supermarket to buy mineral water. Supermarkets will offer you the cheapest prices for water.

For me, the best way to soak in the place is to just roam around, get lost in the lanes, find out what people around you are doing, how the public transport works.

Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roma Termini, Rome, Italiaii, Italy by Priya Saxena

I quickly learned about the metro system which made my travel so easy. Rome metro is quite easy to navigate through. Just keep the copy of the map and some change for the ticket vending machines handy. The machines do not accept cards. A one-way journey will cost you 1.50 Euros.

Photo of The Roman Holiday by Priya Saxena

I started my main tour from Spagna, which is just two stops away on the metro train from Termini. There are several walking tours that begin at Spagna that you can opt for. Else, you can use a city map to navigate yourself from one attraction to another. Quick tip: carry comfortable walking shoes; you would have to walk a lot.

The first thing to see once you exit the metro station at Spagna is the Spanish steps, named after the Spanish Embassy nearby. The steps connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (that was under French patronage) with the Holy See - the seat of the Catholic Church in Rome. See more facts about the Spanish steps here. There are around 135 steps to climb, and if you are not in a mood to climb them all, don’t worry there’s a lift right next to the metro station.

Photo of Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Fontana della Barcaccia, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Fontana della Barcaccia, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

At the end of the Spanish steps, you can find the 'Fontana della Barcaccia' or Fountain of the Ugly Boat. Legend says that it was built on papal orders and was inspired by a flood which brought a fishing boat to the square.

There’s only so much history that you can take in at one go.

No trip to Rome is complete without seeing the Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi. Try your luck by throwing a wish coin in the water. Throw one coin to come back, two to find true love and three for the wedding bells!

Photo of Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

In between the places, try to find Venchi for great gelato and their chocolate wall. You may find Venchi shop on Via del Corso, a street also famous for shopping.

Photo of Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato, Roma Via della Croce, Piazza di Spagna, Via della Croce, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato, Roma Via della Croce, Piazza di Spagna, Via della Croce, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Venchi Cioccolato e Gelato, Roma Via della Croce, Piazza di Spagna, Via della Croce, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

Next on my list was the Pantheon, its giant dome and the sundial showing the best of architecture.

Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

Fascinating fact: The dome was the largest in the world for 1300 years and until today it remains the largest unsupported dome in the world! The diameter of the dome is 43.30 meters and is in perfect proportion with the Pantheon by the fact that the distance from the floor to the top of the dome is exactly equal to its diameter. Fascinating, huh!

I spent the rest of my day exploring the area between the Pantheon and the Colosseum. There are a couple of interesting places to see like the Piazza Venezia, the Roman Forum, among others. A quite Italian dinner was a perfect end to the day.

Photo of The Roman Holiday by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Roman Holiday by Priya Saxena
Photo of Piazza Venezia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Piazza Venezia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Piazza Venezia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Piazza Venezia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roman Forum, Via della Salara Vecchia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roman Forum, Via della Salara Vecchia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roman Forum, Via della Salara Vecchia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Roman Forum, Via della Salara Vecchia, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Day 2

I chose an early morning, self-guided, Skip the Line tour as mornings see relatively less crowd (the crowd is never lean here) and self-guided as I wanted to explore the place at my pace. Do not forget the Skip the Line part as these tours will save plenty of time. You may take audio guides inside the museums.

Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

Having finished mesmerizing Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms, I made way to St. Peter’s Basilica. Beware of the tour guides. There are no Skip the Line tours. There is no entry fee for the Basilica except when you go climb up to the top. You have to make your way in via the long queues. The entrance to the dome is in the center and to the right hand is the way to the top. Some people exit the dome, take a left and then leave. Re-entry, once you exit, is not allowed. So be careful about that. Ask the security for the way. Again, don’t forget to check for the off days. Some days have restricted entry.

Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena
Photo of St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City by Priya Saxena

Content that I saw everything that I wanted to see in the Vatican, I made a lunch stop near the Vatican at Ris Café. Lunch menu: Pizza with Peroni. When you are traveling alone, don’t worry about eating alone. Chances are that you may find other solo travelers. Just ask them to join you for lunch.

Photo of Ris Cafè Pub & Restaurant, Piazza del Risorgimento, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

I took a long lunch and gelato break with another solo traveler before making my way to the last but not the least fascinating attraction of my trip, the Colosseum. Since I was not sure what time I would be reaching there, I chose an open ticket using which I could enter the Colosseum any time of the day after 2 PM. Also, the queues are long, but not Vatican City tour long, so you can save your money by avoiding the tour guides who might entice you about the Skip the Line tours.

Photo of Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena
Photo of Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy by Priya Saxena

By the end of the tour, I was quite exhausted but if you could walk a bit more, do see the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which are just next to the Colosseum.

I ended my Roman holiday in Trastevere, a beautiful neighborhood in Rome, famous for its nightlife and narrow cobbled streets lined with ancient houses. The nearest metro station is Piramide on line B. There are plenty of pubs around to choose from. Find a pub that fancies you and chill in the Roman style.

Ciao, till I write again.

Day 1
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