Rome. It’s easily our favourite city from our trip so far. Rome has a world wide reputation as being a place rich in history, rich in food culture and also as being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Our experience in Rome was incredible with places such as the Colosseum being amazing, the food being delicious and the prices being quite reasonable for a modern European country.
The Colosseum is perhaps the most famous thing to see in Rome. When you first see the structure, it is hard to believe that it was built 2000 years ago by people who had no computers, no cranes, no trucks — it was hand built. It costs 12€ to enter the Colosseum and there are tour guides out the front trying to sell you tours. Their main selling point is that they can get you into the Colosseum quickly because they skip the line. They claim that the line takes 1h30m, but in reality, we only waiting 10 minutes despite it being an extremely busy day. So what was our impression of the Colosseum once inside? It’s OK. It’s not the most spectacular thing we’ve ever seen, but it is cool. The one thing that this ticket does give you, though, is the possibility to go inside Forum Romano and Palatini Hill.
Forum Romano is the old ruins of ancient Rome of which the Colosseum was part. Seeing the Colosseum without visiting Forum Romano is not advised because the Forum Romano gives context to the Colosseum. This old town now consists of ruined homes, massive entrance gates, an ancient church, old roads and monuments. This sprawling cultural park takes longer to walk around than the Colosseum and is more interesting! So yes you should go to the Colosseum, but also make sure you spend time in Forum Romano too.
Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
We accidentally stumbled upon this church on our stroll around Rome. It was redesigned by Michelangelo in the 1500s and is one of the most spectacular churches we have ever seen. It is enormous inside with ornate paintings, grand ceilings and a certain feeling that you can only get by going there. An interesting feature in the church is a sundial created at the request of a pope hundreds of years ago. At 12 noon every day the sun shines through a window, strikes a copper strip on the floor of the church and then reflects up on to a wall to signify that it is midday. For us, this is a must-see site and it is free to enter. Just make sure you wear respectful clothing — no bare shoulders and no short shorts.
There’s not a lot to say about the Pantheon except that you have to go there. Again, it is free to enter and is a religious building of enormous proportions. When you enter the door and feel the scale of the building, it does give you goosebumps. Again, it has a massive dome which lets in some incredible light, a range of tombs of famous people including Raphael and sensational architecture.
We can’t lie. We were disappointed with Trevi Fountain. Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous attractions in Rome and as a result lots of tourists want to go and see it. That means that all throughout the day, the fountain is crammed with thousands of people. And we do mean crammed. It is so busy that it is difficult to even see the fountain unless you push your way to the front. And you want a photo of yourself in front of the fountain? Well let’s just say that it is very difficult to get a photo of you just yourself and the fountain as there are too many other people also trying to do the same thing. The crowd actually makes the fountain less special than it would be if it were less crowded. Regardless, it’s just something you have to see when you visit Rome and it is free. Make sure you toss a coin over your left shoulder and make a wish!
We were able to visit all of these places and more during one day in Rome and we walked to them all. We only caught a train from our hostel to Republicca metro station and began walking then ended the day at another metro station for the journey home. That’s the thing about Rome — it is so much smaller than places such as Paris and that means you can walk to most attractions in which case buying the full day metro pass for 6€ isn’t really worth it. You’re better off just buying 2 singles for 1.50€ each.
Rome is a fantastic city full of great tourist activities. This, combined with a great price and good food means it adds up to be one of the best cities in Europe to visit.