Rome blew me away! I knew there was a a lot of history in is city and it isn't one of the top visited cities in the world for no reason but it was much more than I had expected. To be honest I wasn't that excited to visit Rome. I was coming from Sevilla, which was a cute little city that has a special place in my heart, to a huge city with tourist traps at every corner. I was tired of walking around cities, looking at churches, and being surrounded by non-locals. That's literally all I did during the beginning of my study abroad. All I wanted to do with sit outside by the beach drinking cocktails and relax. I had zero motivation to get up early and start my day around Rome. I thought Rome was going to be another Paris for me - overhyped and disappointing. Oh boy was it wrong.
Everything in Rome is massive. Just picture what you think Rome looks like and multiply that by 10, and I'm not even kidding. You need at least 3 days to do Rome, including sightseeing and eating your weight in pasta and gelato. Below is my 3 day itinerary for tackling Rome, Italy:
Arrive at the Fiumicino Rome Airport then take a 5 euro bus to the city center (Roma Termini). This trip takes about an hour. From the center you need to figure out how to get to your living accommodations, you can either go by foot or bus. By the time I checked in, freshened up, it was around 4pm. Since. I hadn't eaten lunch, I grabbed a 2 euro sandwich from a nearby cafe and I was off to sight see.
- Villa Borghese: this is in a huge park and I got lost around the park trying to find it and Pincio, where my host said you can get a good panoramic view of the city. I was also getting allergies so didn't stay long in the park.
- Spanish Steps: this was really underwhelming and disappointing. I guess it didn't help that it was closed off so you couldn't actually sit on the steps. I would skip this if you're tight on schedule.
- Trevi Fountain: I wasn't as blown away by this as other things in Rome but it was still a sight to see. It's much prettier and more massive in person. Of course, there are a ton of people around trying to take their Lizzie McGuire pictures and wishing for Paolo. Don't forget to test your luck and a wish by tossing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain!
- Pantheon: this building has a cool trick that will never flood the ground even though there is a giant opening at the top of it. You look down and there are many small holes in the ground that will drain out the water. I thought this was pretty neat! I made it just before it closed. They kick everyone out by 6:30pm. But there isn't a whole lot to see since it's just basically a big room with a tall ceiling.
- Piazza Novano: this is a famous plaza right by Pantheon where you'll find a ton of street performers and restaurants. This is where a lot of people come to hangout at night. If I wasn't by myself, I would be down to kick it here with a few beers.
- Gelato: banana & stratatella
- I Pizzicaroli: for 11 euros I got a huge cutlery board with different types of salami, other meats, cheese, bread, etc. It's a perfecto place for at least two people to come a share board and bruchettas. I was by myself so on one board was too much for me. But it was still delicious and would recommend it to others visiting Rome!
All of these places were walking distances from one another so I didn't need two take the bus until the end of the night to go back to back to my Airbnb. I actually had some bus problems because I couldn't figure out how to buy a bus ticket so when I went on one and asked, the bus driver told me to get off. As I was searching for a place to buy tickets I saw my bus come again so this time I just went one and didn't bother asking. And there wasn't anyone to check my ticket!
I dedicated this day to Vatican City and spending time on the other side of the river so I bought by Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel ticket online (one will get you into both because they are connected). Tickets are normally 16 and 4 euro fee for buying online but it's worth it to skip the queue. Also if you are a student under 25, you get a discount so remember to always bring your student ID.
- St. Peter's Square: I'm not sure why this is called a square because it's more of an oval lol but nonetheless this blew my mind. I wasn't expecting the area to be this beautiful and huge when I first got there. There isn't a lot of hype about this area but it is amazing. Plus it's free so that a perk! This is where the Pope will hold his weekly outdoor mass so I would imagine this place being packed on Wednesdays.
- St. Peter's Cathedral: this is also free and connected to the square so you can't miss it. You'll have to go through security like everywhere else in Rome. The inside of the cathedral is beautiful. I think it's better than the Sistine Chapel but someone will kill me for saying that. Lol Just standing in there much me feel something special, somehow more connected with God. There were people who were crying of joy because they were there, it was really touch. The best part is definitely goi g up the dome. This costs money, however, 6 to use go up stairs and 8 or 9, I forget, to take the elevator. To be warned, there are a ton of stairs to get to the very top but I figured it was my way of burning off all the gelato I've eaten while in Italy and also it was cheaper. On the dome you'll get a beautiful aerial view of the entire Vatican City.
- Vatican Museum: I bought tickets online so i was able to cut the line. However, either I lucked out and went during a good time (around 2pm) or because it was early in April so it wasn't crowded yet. I didn't have to wait at all and just went right through. I've heard of people having to wait for hours. There are a ton of tour guides outside trying to sell you tickets to cut the queue. This might actually be worth it if you didn't buy tickets beforehand and/or wast to get a deep historical recap. This museum is huge! It blew my mind. There are a ton of different things to see and different rooms for you to wander into. There are also a lot of outdoor seating area which I took full advantage of since I like being outside. The main art works are sculptures because Romans love that shit. The ceilings of every room is amazing so if you just keep walking with your head up it'll be worth the money you paid to get in. You'll take about 3 to 4 for the entire museum and also to see the Sistine Chapel.
- Sistine Chapel: not sure what I was expecting but it was much different then what I had thought the Sistine chapel would be. Okay I guess I didn't comprehend chapel as just a small chapel room in a church but that's exactly what it was. It was a small room filled with people pushing and shoving up against each other. I wonder how it's like during the busy season if it was like this now. Of course the artwork on the ceiling was amazing but you aren't allowed to take any videos or pictures. I snuck a couple in but they aren't the best. I scored a seat along the wall of the chapel and just admired the paintings for awhile. From the entrance of the museum you'll be able to easily find the Sistine chapel if you just follow the crowd of people walking towards it.
- Terrazza del Gianicolo: I took a bus to the top of the park to get a view of the city. It was nice but there were too many trees to actually see anything. Also there were a ton of couples PDAing so I had to gtfo asap. There's not much to thing besides the huge park so it's a good stroll on my way to Trastevere.
-Trastevere: this is a super cute, hipster like area with small windy streets and a ton of restaurants. These restaurants are filled with both locals and tourists wanting authentic Italian food. You won't really go wrong with any of them but maybe look on tripadvsior for something before so you have an idea of where everything is.
- Grazie e Graziella: this place got great reviews on tripadvisor but my food was very mediocre. I ordered the fried artichoke and amatriciana. Both were waaaaaay too salty and this is coming from someone who likes salty food. I couldn't even finish half of my pasta because it was so salty. The other food they had looked real,u good so maybe I just ordered the wrong thing. However, the ambiance was great and the workers were all really nice.
I had to move out of my Airbnb to a hostel so packing up and walking over to check in took about half a day. I didn't head out until about noon to the Colosseum and a Forum. I bought tickets for this in advanced as well. Just a warning you need to print it out to get through. I read this but decided to ignore it and ended up paying 4 euros to print just 3 pages at a stand nearby. They have discount prices for students as well so I took advantage of that.
- Forum: my discounted ticket didn't let me into the colosseum until after 2:30pm. I got there around 12:30 and didn't think I would spend so much time there but holy crap the Forum is massive. I think I was impressed by this the most of everything I saw in Rome, for the main reason that I didn't know what it was beforehand so I didn't have any expectations before seeing it. Regardless, even if I knew I wouldn't have ever imagined it to be like this. Words can't even describe how big everything was and how much the whole place is. You need to see with your own eyes to really be able to take it all in. The columns, ruins, garden, just everything was unbelievable. There are two sides to the area. One side is with all the ruins and the other is where the garden is. I think I spent about 3 hours just walking around and admiring everything. I was told that if it's a busy day, hit this up first to skip the ticket line and then swing over to the colosseum. Again, I can't stress how amazing this was and something everyone needs to see for themselves.
- Colosseum: this was really cool as well but nothing much here besides looking at the ruins and everywhere you walk to inside will look the same. Again, I think I lucked out with my timing or it wasn't a popular weekend to be in rome but I didn't have to wait in line at all. Everyone said that their wait could be hours to get in but I wait for about 5 minutes. The outsides was beautiful and made for some great selfies. The inside is cool as well and you can just imagine all the crazy games that used to take place. Since there wasn't much here it didn't spend a whole lot of time here, probably around 45 minutes or so.
Since the colosseum and forum are across the river from Trastevere, I took a bus and went back to this area for dinner. I spent way more time sight seeing and skipped out on lunch so I was starving and ready for dinner.
- Alle Frattie Di Trastevere: ordered a mixed plate of bruchetta for only 3 euros, had mushrooms, tomatoes, and prosciutto ham. The main dish was spaghetti with tomatoes, clams, muscles, calamari, and prawns. The food was finger licking good! The prices was reasonable as well! I order an pitied, entree and a full glass of house white wine for 18.50 euros, which is more than I would like to spend on dinner but with everything I got it was a good deal. However the service was mediocre, the main guy spoke really good English ypbut never checked up on me, I had to wave him down.
- Biscottificio Innocenti: a really cute bakery shop in Trastevere that sells a large assortment of cookies, biscuits, and other baked goods. It's tucked away in the corner of a small street and the store front didn't look like a bakery but it was worth the hunt. You can pick and choose any type you want and you just pay by weight. I bought some for dessert and as a snack for my train ride the next day.
- Don't pay for the bus: I used public transportation for all three days i was in Rome and was never checked once. However if you want to take precautions, they sell single day tickets for 7 euros or a 2 day one for 12.
- Roma pass: this is a pretty good deal since you get public transportation ticket plus admissions into two museums for free. The 2 day pass is 28 euros and the 3 day pass is 36. I opted to not buy one because I could get discount tickets by being a student under 25 and also was a risk taker and didn't want to pay for the bus.
- Hostels and hotels are pretty expensive here so look into getting an Airbnb. My night at the Airbnb was cheaper than all the hostels I could find.