Have you ever been to Rome?
I can definitely recommend it as one of my favorite destinations for a city trip. Personally, I just love Rome!
Whether you like shopping, museums, churches, obelisks (18!), great cheap food, great expensive food, amazing roof top terraces, simple lodging, extravaganza lodging; Rome has got it all for you.
Every time we have a retreat in Italy, at In Sabina, I take the opportunity to stay at least a couple of days before and after to discover even more of this vibrant city.
As many people start asking me questions on what to do when in Rome, I thought it’s about time to share my tips with the world. What started out as an easy thing to do, ‘just’ listing some of the highlights, turned out to be quite difficult actually, as the list of possibilities is just endless. And how do I know what you like?
But, I do have something special for you: My Fast Track!
Eh, your what? The Fast Track is a route that I advice for participants that catch a late flight out of Rome, after the retreat, to follow. It will show you the main highlights, and it’s easy to do in a couple of hours. So if you have more than a day, even better! Be the ultimate tourist for one day by going for my Fast Track and then, just throw the guide book away, relax and simply enjoy Rome.
How to be the Ultimate Tourist: Print this Fast Track and do Rome in a Day!
The best starting point for this tour is Piazza Navona, be impressed and have cappuccino’s around the corner at Eustachio’s. If you want to go wild, get that same coffee at Hotel Raphael, just behind the Piazza and enjoy their incredible rooftop terrace, it will cost you a small fortune but life is all about choices, right?
From here the Pantheon is an easy walk. Take your time at the Pantheon, this building pretty much looks the same as it did 2000 years ago. Hello? 2000 years old! It becomes more impressive every time I see it.
Heading towards Piazza Venetia is easy when you take the Via del Corso. Lock your wallet and avoid Via dei Condotti if you love shopping and want to avoid total bankruptcy. It’s got all the fancy brands like Escada, Prada, Vuitton, … Personally I couldn’t care less these days (used to be very different, I admit) but it’s the fastest way to get to Piazza Venetia. This big type writer thing is ok for the views but skip going inside, just around the corner though is the Colosseum and the Forum!
I’ll probably get into trouble by saying this, and don’t get me wrong, it’s very very impressive, but I wouldn’t advice to go into the Colosseum. You can see what it is from the outside, right…?
The Forum is worthwhile but definitely not on the Fast Track day as it needs a good guide or a lot of imagination to really see what this used to be.
Nice places for lunch can be found in the Via Urbana or just stroll around a bit in this area, lots of streets have funky little, well hidden restaurants and shops.
To save time, you can take the metro towards Barbarini as the Fontana di Trevi is your next stop. Overcrowded and mad at times but worthwhile every time, even if it’s just to look at the crowd, mainly stretching in impressive asanas to take funny pictures of themselves.
You can walk towards the Spanish steps and again, amuse yourself with people-watching. Not sure what else is here to see but when you’re so close, why not I would say. Just have your fifth gelato of the day and smile, you’re in Rome!
If you walk the other half of the Via del Corso, or preferably one of the streets parallel to it, you head towards Piazza del Popolo, two identical churches and a massive symmetrical square. It’s probably time for a little rest now and a perfect place for a nice Italian savasana is the Villa Borghese park.
As savasana usually ends a yoga class, it also ends our Fast Track Day.
Relax and no worries, by now, you have seen the highlights and you can start your own exploration or fly back home, knowing you’ll be back one day.
As I like to have my hotel in the Trastevere area, I didn’t mention it before but it’s a wonderful area with great authentic food all around. I’m still continuing my market research to find the best cacio e pepe– a typical Roman pasta dish with lots of pecorino romano and black pepper- around here.
Rome at your own pace
Rome without seeing the Vatican is perfectly possible but maybe just slightly odd. (Says someone who was in India for three months, and didn’t see the Taj…). Anyway, just so you know, the average lines for the Vatican are about 3 hours. It is very impressive so if you would like to see it, best to go in really early or take a guided tour to skip the lines.
Personally, I also enjoy a stroll around the old Jewish ghetto; ordering hummus, falafels, artichokes and again, just relax and observe the atmosphere. On my last visit, I even went to see the synagogue, interesting!
Some other ideas that just pop up:
Buying Roma c’è, a small booklet is a good idea, it lists all activities of the week, including operas, expositions, etc.
I probably can’t hide the fact that I’m Dutch when posting this tip….: just google “Roma bicicletta”.
A food tour is still on my own list, a 4 hour walk and at least 8 different dishes for 60€ or so.
And the last one: Did you know the beach is only an hour away from Rome with public transport ?! Ostia Antica is easily reached by train. Public transport is (usually) well organized, you can use bus, train and metro with day passes and just hop on and off. Make sure to validate your ticket.
BUT: The ultimate tip for a visit to Rome is… forget your fancy shoes! Bring really comfy shoes that won’t hurt your feet. Public transport is ok but you will probably walk and walk and walk some more, as there’s so much more to see on foot!
Enjoy and buon viaggio!
Do you have any nice tips to add? Please share them here in the comments.
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Looking forward visiting Rome! Finally!