Oh Italy, with your incredible food, exquisite architecture and undeniable charm, you are undoubtedly one of my favourite countries in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy a few times now but in February of last year, to celebrate a big birthday of my mum’s, we travelled to Rome for the first time and it’s safe to say it left an amazing impression on us.
Rome is a bustling yet charming city. We spent two nights there which gave us three days to see all that the city has to offer – and it definitely didn’t take long for it to steal a place in our hearts. Keep reading to hear how we spent 72 hours in Rome!
Currency: Euro – cards are widely accepted, although I would recommend carrying a small amount of cash on you for smaller purchases.
Language: Italian. Learn some basic phrases out of courtesy, but the majority of people will speak good English.
Getting there: To make the most of a long weekend, take the 6.45am flight out of London Gatwick on a Friday, which will land in Rome just after 10am. Return on the 8.55pm flight on Sunday to give you 3 full days of exploring.
Getting around: The roads in Rome are notoriously hectic, but you’ll be grateful not to have a car when you realise how much more you’ll see getting around on foot. Public transport in Rome is also very good – I would recommend taking the train into central Rome from the airport; they also have an easy to follow Metro system.
Where to Stay: We stayed at the 4 star River Palace Hotel, which is conveniently located just a stone’s throw from the enchanting Piazza del Popolo and made the perfect place for us to rest our heads between three busy days of exploring. Oh, and be sure to take advantage of their five (yes, five!) hour long happy hour!
Once you’ve arrived in Rome and dropped off your bags, set off on foot to discover all that the city has to offer. We spent our first day strolling through the charming side streets and stumbling upon some of Rome’s most famous sights.
Sit people-watching on the Spanish Steps, throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, immerse yourself in the history of the Pantheon and enjoy the fountains of the Piazza Navona (with some gelato in hand, of course). All of these sights are within walking distance of one another and you’ll find plenty of little shops and café’s to duck in and out of on your way.
After an afternoon of exploring, meander back along the Tiber River and find the perfect spot for dinner. Italian food and drink is my absolute favourite and, by the time this 3 day trip was over, I pretty much had to be rolled onto the plane after consuming so much pasta, pizza, wine and gelato. And personally, I say embrace the carbs because nowhere else in the world will you find food quite so good!
Of course, no visit to Rome would be complete without a trip to The Vatican City. I would recommend allowing the best part of a day to explore The Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica, which is what we did on our second day in Rome.
You will most likely have to queue during your visit and be prepared for crowds of people, but you will be grateful for the slow moving lines because there is quite literally SO much to see. Learn about the incredible artwork and sculptures, witness Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel and experience the grandeur of St Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican was definitely an unexpected highlight for me and I can’t wait to go back one day.
Oh, and for the best view of Rome, I would definitely recommend climbing the 551 steps of the St Peter’s Basilica Dome. With unparalleled sights of both the inside of the dome and a magical view of the city, it is not to be missed.
Once we’d absorbed all of the art, history and architecture we could manage for one day, we wandered back to Piazza del Popolo and spent a lazy hour or so enjoying a cannoli in the square as the sun went down.
On our final day in Rome we paid a visit to the famous Colosseum. We were met with a cloudy and drizzly day (which had turned into a definite downpour by lunchtime!) but this didn’t spoil our visit one bit – just be prepared to pack a waterproof coat if you’re travelling to Rome in February!
The Colosseum is an incredible sight to see from the outside. Many people visit without going inside, however we booked a tour around the inside which I would really highly recommend. It was so interesting learning about the history of the Colosseum (I also unashamedly had a Lizzie McGuire moment when I first stepped inside!).
Whilst we were in the area, we also visited the Roman Forum, which is located directly opposite the Colosseum. Again, I would recommend booking on to a tour of the Forum because there are so many interesting snippets of information which we wouldn’t have known had we not been told by a local.
We boarded the plane home feeling exhausted, full to the brim with pasta and overloaded with culture but with a new place in our hearts for this beautiful city. Rome is romantic, charming and perfect for history fanatics, art lovers and foodies alike.
Although I could have happily spent weeks exploring this enchanting city, 3 days was definitely long enough to see lots of what Rome has to offer. I hope this post inspires many of you to do the same!