Due to our busy working lives myself and my husband rely on weekends to be able to tick off as many places on our bucket list as possible, when we told people that we had booked Rome for only two full days they said it would be near impossible to see everything we wanted too or we would feel rushed and stressed doing so. However, it was the complete opposite for us! This has by far been the best weekend city break I have ever done and I could not recommend it more. Two days is more than enough although I would go back again and again as I enjoyed it so much!!
Booking the actual trip was a little more stressful- as a nurse I work a lot of weekends and cannot always guarantee I will have a weekend off so although we had Rome in mind as our next trip we were unable to book it until last minute, this meant that despite it being low season the hotels booked up pretty quickly and unfortunately RyanAir bumped their prices massively. Therefore, my biggest tip for booking a weekend in Rome is to book it early!
Luckily despite the stress we managed to book on to flights which got us into Rome Ciampino for early Saturday morning and left Monday morning, giving us two full days there. For this trip we decided not to book transfers to see how easy it actually was to get from the airport to the city centre. We decided to use the Terravision coach which left from the airport and dropped off after a 40 minute trip to the main train station- Grand Termini; this cost us 9 euros each for a return ticket. We then hopped on the metro for 2 stops bringing us out at a 2 minute walk from our hotel, costing us 1 euro 50 each. This way of transferring was really easy and extremely cheap in comparison to private transfers.
We stayed in a deluxe studio with a view of the colosseum at Black Rooms Colosseo, this cost us £162 for 2 nights and was definitely worth the money, although the view of the colosseum part was misleading- technically you could see the colosseum from your room, if you dangled far enough out of your window whilst holding on for dear life… not really worth it. The studio, however, was spacious, well decorated and extremely clean. The biggest downfall of these rooms were the noise levels, the windows were only single glazed therefore, you could hear every single sound from outside and as a light sleeper this wasn’t great. The owners of the studios were very friendly and really helpful, they gave us a map and explained how to get to each place easily and recommended where to go.
As our hotel was only a 5-minute walk to the colosseum we decided to drop our bags off and head straight down. It was incredible to walk down a normal street with the view of the colosseum directly in front of you and it is hands down worth every penny to go to Rome just to see this building, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like we are! We decided not to go into the colosseum until the next day, instead we opted to go into the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which is directly behind the colosseum. You can buy a ticket for 12 euros which gives you access to the Roman Forum, Palantine Hill and the colosseum. These areas are definitely worth a visit as the Roman Forum was the centre of day to day life in Rome for many centuries and so it is steeped in history and even if you’re not into that kind of thing it was still beautiful to wander around! Again this is the same for Palatine Hill as this is the most ancient part of the city.
After spending a long time wandering through these two areas we then walked down the main street and happened to stumble upon the Altare della Patria (Alter of the Fatherland), this building was amazing and like nothing we had ever seen before. I would definitely make it part of your itinerary for Rome as we are really happy that we managed to stumble upon it! After this we continued to wander and grabbed some gelato on our way to Piazza di Trevi. Rome is full of quaint little cafes and so many gelato places, one of the hardest decisions was deciding which one to go in otherwise I would have spent the whole trip eating! Piazza di Trevi was by far the most busy places we have seen, much busier than the colosseum but it is also much more confined and we were expecting this from photos we had seen previously on Instagram. The fountain is worth the pushing of crowds though, especially lit up at night and of course we threw in some coins because when in Rome…
After this we continued our stroll up to the Piazza Di Spagna (Spanish Steps), if we thought the Trevi Fountain was busy then we were wrong! The Spanish steps were absolutely heaving so we decided to have a rest here and amazingly managed to bag ourselves a balcony seat overlooking the Spanish Steps in a cocktail bar/restaurant that overlooked the steps. Here we enjoyed a few cocktails and lots of free snacks then headed back to the hotel, on the way we obviously stopped for Pizza!
Again as our hotel was only 5 minutes away we decided our first stop would be the colosseum, this time to explore inside. As it was the first Sunday of the month all archaeological sites were free therefore, the queues were much bigger to get in (something to bear in mind if going around this time of the month), however, as we had our ticket from the day before we were able to skip a lot of the queue as even though it is free to get in you still need to get a ticket to get through the electronic barriers!! Again this is a once in a lifetime thing and we are so happy we were able to wander through and enjoy it despite the large crowds. After this we stopped for the best hot chocolate ever just across the road- the best place to people watch while enjoying the view of the colosseum.
After this quick stop it was onto the next place! We hopped onto the metro, again only 1 euro 50 each and so easy to use and went to the Vatican City. We are not particularly religious so we weren’t bothered about going inside St Peter’s Basilica however, we knew we would regret if we didn’t have a little mosey around St Peter’s Square. After a little mooch around where we saw them setting up the nativity scene we wandered down to Castel Sant’Angelo, again we weren’t too bothered about going inside so we just wandered in the sunshine around the gardens listening to the Italian buskers and down the River to Piazza Navona. Here we stopped for lunch in one of the many outdoor restaurants. We liked that here you could have your pick of any restaurant with amazing views and not once were you bothered by the restaurant workers trying to persuade you to come in.
We carried on down the river and came to Trastevere, this is part of the city over the river that is full of restaurants and bars and numerous street entertainers. This part of Rome was by far the most stereotypical and most beautiful Italian places I have ever seen, the atmosphere here is something else, almost ‘buzzing’. Here we decided on a restaurant and had far too many cocktails and far far far too many free snacks, drinks and desserts! Thus ending our trip on a wobbly high!
Rome was exactly what we wanted a city break to be, chilled out, laid back, full of things to do, full of restaurants/bars/cafes for when you don’t want to do things and so pretty. Even though we felt like we visited so many places in this city, we never once felt tired, rushed or stressed. Every place was a beautiful stroll away from the next place. Rome is my 5th city break outside of the UK and I will find it extremely hard to top and it will be the first place I recommend to anyone. This city needs to be at the top of everyone’s bucket list!