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Taking Pleasure Seriously

When in Rome… The Full Guide to Italy’s Capital

Rome, the capital of Italy, is one of the most amazing cities in the world. The history, art, and architecture all around, the charming alleyways and colorful homes that look as if they were taken out of an old, romantic film, and the finest gelato of course, make it one of the most liked, and accordingly, most toured, cities.

Daniel and I chose Rome as our first destination on our trip to Italy, and even though we have both already been to Rome, separately, in the past, we enjoyed being in the most romantic of cities and re-experiencing its charm.  Our mornings in the city were packed with fine Italian coffee beside fresh pastries while our days were spent roaming the beautiful streets and visiting the famous spots in town, eating lots of pizza, pasta and gelato all day long, window shopping our way through the couture brands, and becoming accustomed to Aperitivo culture at the end of the day. What else is there to say aside from “What a pleasure”.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

There is a crazy amount of things to see and do in Rome. Luckily, I am here to provide you with all the info you’ll need about getting around, sleeping arrangements, and other things to check out when in traveling Rome, including shopping recommendations and what to eat in the capital.

Enjoy 

 

 

GET AROUND

 

Getting to town  We landed in the city’s main airport, Fiumicino – Leonardo de Vinci, after an early morning flight. After an especially long waiting line at passport control, we finally exited to where our taxi driver, booked in advance by our Airbnb host, was waiting to take us our apartment {Which I will soon tell you all about}.

There are two ways to get to the city from the airport –

1) By train – the Leonardo Express – which costs 14 Euros, and reaches Roma Termini station in 30 minutes. From there you can find a metro, bus, or taxi to reach your final destination.
2) By direct taxi – There is a fixed price for taking a taxi from the airport to what is considered the city center, it costs about 48 Euros. Check pages 3 & 4 in this document to find out if the address you’re staying at is included, or to find alternative rates and fees. Watch out for drivers who try to trick tourists into paying a higher price.

The driver we booked in advanced charged us 50 Euros because it was a premium service, but we were happy to pay for it and not waste time at the airport.

 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

Public transport in the city  Most of our wandering in Rome was done by foot {which wasn’t so bad considering the amount of carbs we had eaten 😅}. We used public transportation only to get to places that were a little bit out of reach. In general, to get from place to place, I always recommend using the Google Maps app to find the most convenient route.

The metro in Rome is small, and has only three lines that reach all of the city’s main attractions {Colosseum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and Villa Borghese}. From what I’ve read, during rush hour and weekends the metro is extremely crowded, up to the point that it’s hard to enter it, so we gave up taking the metro and opted for the trams and buses. In the city, a ticket to the bus, metro, and tram costs 1.50 Euros and lasts for 75 minutes. A daily pass {good for metro, bus, and suburban} costs 7.00 Euros for 24 hours. The ticket can be purchased at metro stations, tourist information stations, and newspaper stands.

Very important – before traveling on public transportation it is important to validate the ticket in the appropriate machine to avoid a fine.

 

STAY

 

If you read this blog regularly you probably already know that on these kinds of urban trips, during which we try to get it all in from morning to night, I usually prefer to pass up the hotel option and go for a an Airbnb apartment {or at least split it up between both options, if it’s a long stay in the city}. So, since our trip to Italy was quite long {almost three weeks}, most of the time, we rented Airbnb apartments while we were staying in major cities. Then, when we wanted a little boost, we indulged in special hotels, particularly at the end of our trip, to keep us wanting more.

Our apartment in Rome was chosen after a great deal of research and filtering, and this time, our top criterion to find our place of choice was location. Usually we tend to choose a place based on its look and interior, and are willing to compromise on location, but since the public transportation in Rome isn’t the most convenient, and we really wanted to maximize our time in the city, this time, we decided to rent the most central apartment we could find.

By the way, although the apartment was relatively small and not as well designed as the apartments we usually stay in, the apartment itself was really cute! Equipped with a little kitchenette, a large balcony, a newly renovated bathroom, and an elevator. It’s best advantage was of course its central location. Located right next to Piazza Navona and Campo dei Fiori, and walking distance from all the famous attractions in the city – the Pantheon, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. The Colosseum was the only one a little bit further away, but there is a bus to there  with a stop right near our apartment, so getting around was pretty simple and easy.

I highly recommend this apartment – you can’t beat its location! 🙂

First time booking an Airbnb apartment? You’re welcome to use my link to receive a $42 coupon code for your next trip.

 

Images source – The apartment Airbnb page

EXPLORE

 

As I put together our trip itinerary, I put a lot of effort into conveniently dividing our time among the famous attractions, according to their location, so that we don’t waste any spare time getting from place to place. Of our entire trip, we spent four days in Rome, and since it was our first destination and  we were pretty tired after a particularly early morning flight, we decided to devote the day to hanging around lazily the neighborhood and enjoy the delicious Italian delicacies surrounding us. The decision to take it easy on our first day did end up costing us some of the attractions that we wanted to visit, but I’m not the type to do things just to check them off, especially when I know I’ll be back again.

Click here to download the map I designed for 3 days in Rome {which also includes short explanations in the body of the map for each of the attractions}.

And now, to the details…

DAY 1 – 

The first full day of our trip was dedicated to the “Storico Centro” of Rome, the historic Old City. This area is considered the heart of Rome, and in my opinion it is also the most beautiful part of ​​the city. The ancient colored houses, the cobblestones streets, the wide piazzas, and the beautiful fountains, all make it look as if it were taken out of an extremely romantic Italian film. The area is relatively flat, and comfortable for walking, so It is nice, and quite easy, to spend the day walking from site to site. Of course, it is best to freshen up with a cone of gelato, or a cup of coffee and a pastry at the bar, between each attraction. Or alternate with a pizza or pasta dish at the local restaurants.

Campo de' Fiori  The area around Campo dei Fiori is very famous thanks to the big food market which is open during the day. The cafes and restaurants in the square are known to be packed from lunchtime until the late hours of the night. In the heart of the area is Piazza de Campo dei Fiori, the flower square, our favorite spot for an. Although the square has a painful history, during the 16th century it served as a platform for executions and a gold plate with Hebrew inscription attesting to the burning of Talmudic books in 1553 was discovered in the center of the square, today it is considered one of the most famous and well-liked spots for all hours of the day and night.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

Piazza Navona   The most beautiful and most lively square is Piazza Navona. With three impressive fountains, bustling cafés, and hundreds of people who fill it from early morning to late at night.

 

The Pantheon  The pantheon is a huge and greatly impressive monument, which simply cannot be missed. The building, which has been intact for 2,000 years, was initially a Roman temple, and like many temples was later on converted into a Catholic church. It is considered one of the most important and influential buildings in the world's architectural history, with the most spectacular part of the building being its large open dome called the Okulus, which is considered a particularly remarkable architectural achievement. The magnificent design, perfect proportions and harmony of the building reflect the extraordinary architecture that characterized the Roman Empire.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

The Trevi Fountain  The great Baroque marble fountain, with the figure of the sea god Neptune in its center, is the most famous fountain in the city and is undoubtedly my favorite place in all of Rome. Although there are many impressive monuments in Rome, and in Italy in general, in my eyes there is something especially magical about this fountain. And, to be honest, if it wasn’t packed with tourist, as early as late morning, I would happily spend a full day by the fountain, and soak up its beauty. The famous tradition of the place is to stand with your back to the fountain and throw two coins into it, believing that each coin will fulfill one's secret wishes: one, to return to Rome of course, and the other, each one's personal wish. That's why the fountain is also called the Fountain of Wishes.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

The Spanish Steps  were built in the 18th century and are considered one of the city's most famous symbols. It is recommended to climb up the 135 steps to reach the  most stunning view of Rome.

 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

DAY 2 –

The second day of our trip was dedicated to the Vatican, the world’s smallest state located in the very heart of Rome, and a magnet for tourists from all over the world. The Vatican is home of the Pope, and it is known for St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, a stunning museum complex with ancient works of art on display {among them the famous Sistine Chapel}. 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

It is not worth visiting the Vatican on Wednesday {the day of the Pope's Mass, and then the Basilica is closed until at least 12:00}, Saturday and Sunday {Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday, but the Basilica itself is open}. Also, I recommend that you check with Google to make sure that your visit doesn’t happen to be on a Christian holiday, during which the Vatican is crowded even more than usual. {It is usually very crowded anyway, so best to check}.

So when is it worth a visit? Any other day of the week. It is recommended to get there at the very beginning and start the tour of the area at a spot where it is most important for you to see in a relaxed way, because the Vatican is one of the most visited and crowded places in Rome.

One of the best tips I can offer you about visiting the Vatican is book tickets in advance! We got ‘skip-the-line' tickets to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, and skipped the entrance line. Using ‘Skip the Line’ tickets is so easy, after booking, you receive a PDF file to your email, which you then show via smartphone at the entrance to the museum complex. If you’d rather take the chance and not order a ticket in advance, to avoid having to stand in line you should be there by 8am or earlier. {But honestly, save yourself the headache and just use use ‘Skip the Line’ tickets. Super convenient!}.

It is important to remember that the Vatican is a sacred place and you’re expected to dress accordingly – to enter the churches you should be wearing something that covers your shoulders and knees, or at least have a shawl that you could wrap yourself up in.

St. Peter’s Square and Basilica  Set up in the entrance to Vatican city is St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the most iconic and beautiful buildings in the Rome, and the symbol of the Vatican. It is also the largest church in the world, what makes it an even more important catholic destination. Daniel and I arrived early in the morning {around 8:30} to St. Peter's Square, which was almost completely empty and amazing in its beauty. After a relatively short security check we entered the site of the Basilica, where, instead of entering the church directly {free of charge} we decided to buy tickets to climb up to the church’s dome. I won’t tire you with words, but let me just say that it was not at all a simple experience, and included climbing over 550 (!!) stairs in extremely small, stuffy spaces. Although we could see Rome, and the church ,from above, and get a close look of Michelangelo's amazing mosaic work that adorn the dome, the bottom line is that we would totally pass it up. As beautiful as it may be to be up there, it wasn’t worth the over-crowded feeling, the heat, and claustrophobia we experienced while making our way up.  If you still insist on climbing, I highly recommend that you get there as soon as it opens {when we came down, the line to enter the dome looked pretty serious} and purchase a ticket that includes using the elevator, which will rid you of the first staircase, including 230 stairs.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

The Vatican Museums  are museums for Christian art located inside Vatican City, where some of the most important masterpieces in the world are displayed. As someone who studied art in high school, who really appreciates Renaissance art, I thought the visit to the museums would be the highlight of my trip, but unfortunately I was dashed. While we bought ‘Skip-the-line’ tickets to the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, we quickly skipped the long line, but because we ordered tickets for 11:30am, the museums themselves were already packed with tourists. When I say packed I mean that walking from the entrance to the museum until after the Sistine Chapel felt like a long and crowded line in itself. So basically, even though the most amazing works of art are on view at the museum, I’d be lying if I said that I enjoyed the whole experience. I’m not saying you should give up visiting the museums altogether, let alone visit the Sistine Chapel, but learn from my mistake and book your tickets for 8:30 am when the museums just open and are much less crowded.

 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

Vatican Gardens  I was most impressed by the Vatican Gardens from the view at the top of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The huge, magnificent gardens, with fountains, caves, and sculptures, are spread out over 20 acres and take up about half of the total area of the Vatican City. We gave up a visit to the gardens this time, but if it’s something you know you’d like to do keep in mind the only way to visit the gardens is by a two-hour guided tour with a guide or an audio tour, and the tickets go fast, so you should order them at least a week in advance. Here you can order a ‘skip the line’ combined ticket for the Vatican Museums and Gardens.

Tiber River  After relaxing in the apartment / hotel {I assure you, you will need it after the Vatican 😅}, and before going out for an Aperitivo, I recommend that you take a walk along the Tiber river, and simply enjoy the beautiful scenery.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

Trastevere is known as the coolest neighbourhood in the city, and rightly so. It is full of small alleys, old buildings, decked with graffiti and lots of bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. The thing I loved most about this area is that it is much less touristy than the other places we visited in the city, and the atmosphere is much more relaxed. On Sundays there is a pretty good flea market, so if you’re a fan of vintage markets, don’t miss it!

 

 

DAY 3 –

 

We had planned to spend our third day almost entirely to the ruins of Rome’s magnificent pass, from the time of the Roman empire. This period had an incredible effect on the history of the western world, for architecture, art, and political structures as we know them, are all based on Roman principles. For our ancient Rome day we decided to purchase an all-inclusive ‘Skip the Line” ticket to the Colosseum and the Forum, thanks to which we were able to skip the long line at the entrance to the Colosseum by 9:30am. Our original plan was to visit all three attractions {the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill}, but the weather had other plans and as soon as we left the Colosseum, its started to become rainy, and less nice out, so we decided to let it go, but there’s always next time 🙂

 

The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most famous symbols, specifically of the Old City.  The Colosseum is a huge amphitheater built in the first century AD, which was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. The Colosseum was used for famous Gladiator battles in which gladiators fought against each other or against animals. Even though the Colosseum is famous tourist attraction in Rome, because it is an open-air facility we didn’t feel the crowd and enjoyed walking around the floors and listening to the audio guide, which revealed us the history of the place.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

The Arch of Constantine  at the entrance to the Colosseum cannot be missed. The Arc was founded in 315 AD in memory of the victory of Constantine in the Battle of the Milwaukee Bridge in 312 CE.

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

The Forum  right near the colosseum used to be known as “downtown” Rome, centered around where the temples, markets and government buildings of the Roman Empire once stood.

Palatine Hill  is one of the seven hills on which Rome was built. During the reign of the Roman Empire, it was the hill where the aristocrats lived and built the most beautiful buildings. Today Platine Hill is considered one of the city's most beautiful attractions, providing a spectacular view of Rome, the Colosseum, the gardens and the ancient and magnificent ruins of the Roman Empire.   

Vittorio Emanuele II  Near the famous Piazza Venezia in Rome, is the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, a huge white marble building decorated with classic columns and impressive statues. The monument is named after the first king to unite Italy. At the top of the monument stands a huge statue of King Vittorio Emanuele on horseback, and the lower part is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in memory of the Italian soldiers who fell in world wars. I really recommend that you climb up the stairs, enter the monument building, and then take the elevator to the top of the monument, in order to enjoy a beautiful view of all of Rome.           

  

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

 

Additional attractions that we didn’t get around to seeing this time

✴  Borghese gardens

✴  Piazza del Popolo

San Lorenzo

EAT

 

Da Baffetto  We ate our first pizza at “Da Baffetto” which is considered to be on the most famous places in Rome. The pizza is extra thin, with a large number of toppings, and the atmosphere is local, and authentic. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait longer than a minute to get a table, but they did add another couple to our table during our lunch, and when we left there was a long line to get in. I personally prefer my pizza a bit thicker, but this was definitely a special pizzeria with delicious pizza that you should try at least once during your time in Rome.

 

Da Gino al Parlamento  Gino’s trattoria is a good old locals’ joint that serves home style dishes for reasonable prices. I ordered a pappardelle ragu and Daniel ordered meatballs and both dishes were delicious.

Roscioli  One of the best {and most expensive} restaurants we ate at on this  trip was Roscioli. Located right next to Campo dei Fiori, the restaurant is a famous Roman institution. Roscioli is a combination of a restaurant, a deli, and a wine bar, and serves various dishes based on the best materials in Italian cuisine. We ordered Burrata as an appetizer {fresh and extremely soft, definitely the best I’ve tasted!} and dried tomatoes with a side of fresh bread {made by the bakery next door under the same name – and also worth a visit!}. For mains, we had spaghetti carbonara and ravioli with a spinach ricotta filling. At the end of the meal we were treated {on the house} to a small cookie platter {homemade, by the same bakery}, with melted, fine chocolate. All of the dishes were an absolute pleasure and the atmosphere was amazing. If you plan on going for dinner, you should call in advance to make a reservation.

 

 

Antica Hostaria Romanesca   A sweet little Ostaria in Campo dei Fiori. Fun to visit at the end of the day, and enjoy a light aperitivo while sitting at a table facing the square. We ordered an Aperol spritz and a beer and two excellent bruschettas, and enjoyed the live music played on the street.

 

Dar Conte  Another Ostaria in Campo dei Fiori, only a few steps away from the one mentioned above. Dar Conte offers an extra special aperitivo menu including delicious Italian foods to go with your cocktail, at the price of the cocktail!

Zucchero e Farina  This bakery which was located minutes from our Airbnb apartment, is one of the best bakeries we were at during the entire trip. If you’re in the neighborhood in the morning, don’t miss their honey croissant, and during lunchtime they sell mouthwatering pizza by the gram.

Alice  Alice is a chain which sells pizza by the gram, with branches all over Italy. Although there are many places in Rome that sell pizza by weight, Alice’s pizza is a safe bet. With a variety of interesting toppings, excellent crispy dough, and fresh pies any time of day, we had every reason to go back there time after time to enjoy delicious pizzas at a very reasonable price.

Two Sizes  A sweet little shop located near Piazza navona with the most amazing desserts, and the best of them all is their famous tiramisu. The tiramisu comes in two sizes {hence the name of the place} and in various flavors {classic, pistachio, chocolate, and more}, and the prices are really inexpensive {2 Euros for the small, and 3.50 for the large}. We went for the classic version and every bite was a true delight 🙂

 

La Gelateria Frigidarium This is where we had our very first ice cream of our trip and enjoyed every lick. We tasted zabaione and pistachio ice cream with whipped cream on a cone – what a dream! Not too sweet, the consistency was perfect, and the cone was fresh and delicious! Not to be missed!

 

Giolitti  Founded in 1900, Giolitti is one of Rome’s most famous cafes and ice cream parlors. Rightfully so. With their large selection of fresh pastries, excellent coffee, and, of course, a huge selection of the best quality gelato flavors, the only downside is the service isn’t too great. We got there relatively early {around 10am} and didn’t have to wait in line. Keep in mind this is a super famous place so you usually have to wait in line to get a taste.

 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}
 

SHOP

 

Via dei Condotti  Right near the Spanish Steps is Via del Condotti, a shopping strip with shops including all the major fashion houses Gucci, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, and the list goes on. Even if  spending all of your savings on fashion isn’t what you planned for this trip, don’t miss the opportunity for a little window shopping because the shop windows are an art in themselves.

Via del Corso  A short walking distance from the couture, is Via del Corso – where you will find all the trending European fashion brands like Zara, H&M, and many others

Via Del Pellegrino  a sweet little street we happened to pass by on our way to Campo del Fiori, set with beautiful shops and boutiques.

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Know more about what to do in Rome? Leave me a comment below!  ♡

 

 

PIN FOR LATER 🙂

 

A Guide For Planning A Trip To Rome - Things to do in romantic Rome {3 day itinerary, including food & restaurants tips, shopping and sightseeing}

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