Rome in a day? Yes … it is totally possible … OK maybe a day and a 1/2. Rome is actually a very walkable city and unless you are into stopping at every church, museum or historical site, you can certainly see the major attractions, enjoy a few nice meals, do a bit of shopping and even relax for drinks … all in that short time, without being stressed! After arriving at the Rome/Fiumicino Airport, we simply hopped on one of the many trains that take you directly to the center of the city.
Our #Airbnb host was waiting for us in Piazza Di Renzi in Trastevere, one of Rome’s oldest quarters and now the local Roman hot spot for pubs, restaurants, artists and famous people spotting … really cool place to stay for exploring the city on foot.
Trastevere once belonged to the Etruscans 753 – 509 BC, until it was conquered by the Romans across the river. The Romans didn’t have any interest in building anything except bridges to connect Trastevere to the rest of Rome for strategic reasons. Trastevere was mainly inhabited by fisherman, the Jewish community and Syrian immigrants up until the Middle Ages.
A maze of very narrow cobblestoned streets, hidden piazzas, tiny bars, trattorias and shops gives Trastevere a really cool vibe that is different from the Roman grandeur you’ll find across the river. There’s a lot of action in Trastevere at night so if you are looking for silence, this might not be the best choice. If you are looking to get a “real” Romano experience, off the beaten track, then it’s perfect! It also has one of Rome’s oldest churches, Santa Maria di Trastevere. *view from apartment
Below – pasta alla carbonara – Piazza Santa Maria di Trastevere – morning after
Once you get your bearings … get out your google maps with walking instructions that you’ve printed before leaving home. Rome in a Day Itinerary – over the bridge to Campo di Fiori for breakfast (Italians don’t eat breakfast – order cappuccino or espresso with a pastry) one of Rome’s oldest markets which was once also used for public executions. Try one of the fresh fruit cups … delicious!
Next – Piazza Navona – a significant example of Baroque architecture that was used over the centuries for public games by the Romans and later as a market and space for open air theatre.
The Trevi Fountain was our next stop but it was under restoration … next time 🙁 Next – The Spanish Steps where everybody and their brother seems to be! The 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, made the Spanish Steps famous to North Americans.
Window shopping on Via Condotti where all the Italian designer shops are situated and all the Italian posers like to strut their stuff!
A pit stop at one of Romes oldest wine bars Antica Enoteca on Via della Croce 76
Affordable and original shopping on Via del Corso
Piazza Venezia – the former embassy of the Republic of Venice to Rome with its imposing statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s first king. Mussolini subjected Romans to his long speeches from the first floor balcony of Palazzo Venezia.
Via dei Fori Imperiali – this imperial walkway was built by Mussolini to connect Piazza Venezia to ancient Rome. The road is a pedestrian walkway and ends at the Coloseum. Ancient ruins demonstrate the glory of the Roman Empire! Sparks your imagination and seems almost dreamlike …
Coloseum – it’s the largest amphitheatre ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering in the world. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD. It is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators gathered to be entertained by gruesome gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
Now back to home base for a rest, shower and then off again … next stop …. wood oven PIZZA and wine at Pizzeria Nerone … you haven’t tried pizza until you’ve eaten it in Italy … the best!
You are probably exhausted by now … but you just can’t help stopping by the piazza for some Italian night life before heading back to your apartment … that’s just the way it is in Trastevere, until the wee hours of the morning. The Romans are out and they are loud, extremely animated and lot’s of fun!
Day 2 – Bongiorno! Today it’s the walk to Piazza San Pietro – St. Peters Square and Vatican City. Momentous, grandiose, a work of art … and the symbol of Catholicism and the Papacy! Yes, we had no idea we would actually get to see Pope Francis or hear him speak, we just lucked out … blessed!
Wow! All that in less than 2 days! Ready for some R&R on the train to Tuscany …. a presto! (see you soon for Part 2) ps. gotta love these quaint little nooks and crannies like the one below …