Ah, Rome! I like you very, very much. Why? Because of the broad, airy streets with tall, stately houses; because everywhere you turn there’s a statue, a church, a gigantic monument or an ancient structure like the Colosseum or the Pantheon right in the middle of the city. I can’t think of a more esthetically pleasing city. I came here on a Wednesday evening and checked in to my very first Airbnb, which was located quite close to the Termini and the Colosseum. Having been to Rome before I had fond but hazy memories of the city, so I decided to take a quick wander around before turning in.
I had a lot of things planned for my 2 days in Rome, so the next morning started early with a trip out to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilika.
I loved the church when finally inside (got caught in a very long queue for the security check). You kind of have to see it to believe how big it actually is. One of the things that struck me was the size of those letters that go all around the building – they must be meters tall! And that when you look from one end to the other people are just tiny little figures. It is vast, and gorgeous as well, and I was so happy to see it again.
After the church I wanted to visit the Vatican museums, more precisely, the Sistine Chapel. I hadn’t bought a ticket beforehand but that was easily solved – simply walk from the exit of St. Peter to the official gift shop and buy a priority ticket there. Then you may skip the 1,5 hour queue at the museums, and have a lovelier vacation altogether because of that.
Of course the first thing I did was go straight to the Sistine Chapel. Now I thought that it would be something very simple where you would just head straight into the chapel and then out again. Not so. You will be taken through an incredibly long line of other hallways and rooms before that, most of them both beautiful and interesting. There was a hallway with old maps, one with gobelins, tons of rooms with beautiful decorations – but I drew the line at the penultimate stop, a seemingly endless collection of contemporary art that absolutely no one was interested in. Everyone was there to see the Sistine Chapel, and man were there a lot of people! I actually think it took me close to two hours from the start of the walk until I was through and could move on to the rest of the museums.
The Sistine Chapel was absolutely wonderful, and I was happy to have endured the long walk there(!). No pictures were allowed and I was one of the few who actually obeyed that rule. It is a holy place even though it doesn’t feel like it at all – there was a man put there just to shout ‘SHH’ and ‘NO PHOTOS NO VIDEO! SILENCE!’, which only added to the chaos.
When I was done with the Chapel I went for a quick poke around the Pinacoteca before escaping out into the sunshine. I spent the rest of the day walking – first towards Castel Sant’Angelo and the bridge, and from there to Campo di Fiori.
From Campo di Fiori towards Pantheon. I went inside mostly out of curiosity – it is a peculiar looking building from the inside most of all, and I feel it is one of those wonderful anomalies that there are so many of in Rome it’s actually hardly an anomaly – something so old, so completely unmarked by passing time, in the middle of a bustling city like Rome. I simply love the fact that it’s even there.
Read more about my travels in Italy here.
With only 2 days in Rome it is a good idea to start early! The next day I had pre booked a ticket for Galleria Borghese, which turned out to be a very good idea – once I got there I saw a sign saying everything was sold out 6 days ahead.
This is the silliest looking lion I’ve ever seen..!
They only allow people in at two hour intervals, and only so many – this makes for a wonderfully different experience inside as there simply isn’t as many people everywhere as you’ve gotten used to at all the other museums. I loved it. The museum wasn’t too big for my taste, and the collections were housed in absolutely stunning locations – beautiful, airy rooms with painted pictures on all the ceilings. I was absolutely fascinated with the collection of Bernini sculptures and Caravaggio paintings – I know nothing more than the next person about art, but even I could see that those were some stunning pieces of craftsmanship.
As I said, you are allotted two hours which stressed me a bit in the beginning, but after about an hour I had seen the bottom floor twice and the upper floor once, giving myself oodles of time to look and enjoy and appreciate, so I felt comfortable enough about going out to the cafe for a cappuccino. I have become quite hooked on the Italian breakfast of a sweet croissant and a sit-down cappuccino, especially since it’s so delightfully cheap! Coffee downed, I went out into the park connected to the gallery.
It is a lovely park which I think must be very popular in the summer as there was plenty of shade under the many trees. I made my way, slowly paced of course, towards Pincio Hill which I had read should be a nice view point over the city.
From Pincio Hill I wandered down through the city towards first the Spanish Steps and then the Trevi Fountain.
As I still had a lot of day left at the end of my plans I decided to spend the rest of the day at Colosseum and the surrounding archeological areas. Since it was an impromptu decision I had for once not pre-booked a ticket – luckily if you go anywhere else but the main entrance to the Colosseum the queue is much shorter.
I spent a couple of hours wandering the area – obviously spending a lot of time around the Forum, but also at the much larger area behind the Forum, trying to find a good viewpoint. (What is it with me and view points..)
A few helpful notes
In Rome I slept two different places, as I was first there for two days and then returned for a little more after I’d been further down south. First place was at Sarah’s Home Airbnb, which I was kinda sad that I couldn’t get the second time around. It is super conveniently located, Sarah is very sweet and I also liked the room a lot.
Second place I went was called Mosaic Hotel. The staff was really nice, always saying hello when I came and went and very helpful. But – it was a little further from downtown than Sarah’s Home, and my bed was so uncomfortable (but beds are usually too hard for me). I would definitely recommend both places.
I went out one day to splurge a bit on the food front and found an Argentinian restaurant just down the street called I Monticiani. Delicious steak, nice service, but the tiramisu was to die for.
And another Italian beer! I liked the Moretti better, but this still wasn’t half bad.
Have you been to Rome? What did you think of the Eternal City? Comment below!