Apologies for not posting sooner but I have been getting over all the walking, wine and pizza from Rome last weekend (and then detoxing and gymming it all off this week)! It was an amazing trip though and I would definitely recommend going if you haven’t been before.
We arrived on Thursday night and after a quick stop off at McDonalds (we were desperate, OK?!) we walked over to our hotel called Hotel Novecento. This hotel was in a fantastic location; it only took about twenty minutes to walk from the main Termini train station, is just round the corner from the Manzoni tube station, about a ten minute walk away from the Coliseum and is in a lovely quiet, leafy area, perfect for coming back to after a busy day around noisy Rome.
The hotel is more like a hotel/B&B but I would definitely recommend it to others; not only is it in a prime location but the staff were also all very friendly, helpful, spoke very good English and one even played the piano for us! (That was a bit surreal, I won’t lie). The rooms are quite small but come with big bathrooms and are very clean and modern – ours even came with a lovely balcony with a view over Rome. The breakfasts weren’t great but there are always apples if all else fails!
Day 1 – Coliseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain
Our first proper day in Rome was gorgeously sunny so we decided to start with outdoor sightseeing.
Our first stop was the Coliseum which was just as impressive as you would imagine; the entry price wasn’t too bad either as if you are between 18-25 you can get discounted tickets which cost us around 6 Euros each. The queue always looks long but tends to move quite quickly; we were only waiting for about twenty minutes before we got in and most of the queue was under cover.
We then walked over to the Pantheon which was also huge and so ornate inside! From there we stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Il Faciolaro which was just down a nearby alleyway full of restaurants offering set menus and lunchtime deals. We shared a meal deal for 9 euros which included a bruschetta, margherita pizza and soft drink but there were plenty of more adventurous options down the alleyway.
We then walked over to Trevi Fountain which was actually much bigger and beautiful than I imagined but also very busy, especially full of street sellers trying to get you to buy all manner of random tat! This dies down the closer you get to the fountain though.
After swinging by the artistic Piazza Navona area and then a quick nap at the hotel, we headed out for dinner by the Spanish Steps which seems to be a pretty good area for restaurants.
Day 2 – Vatican City and Trastevere
We were told to get to Vatican City early on Saturday morning but we didn’t get there early enough it seemed as we had a boring 2 hour queue before we finally got in at 12pm! Luckily the prices were reasonable again – a normal ticket costs 16 Euros but a discounted student ticket is only 8 Euros. The Vatican City was pretty amazing – it feels like you are entering a totally different realm, almost like a green haven away from the noisy roads of Rome. To get to the Sistine Chapel you have to walk through the Vatican Museum which is amazing – I guarantee you won’t have seen so many statues, paintings and murals in your whole life! The only annoying part was that you were forced to follow the whole route and they wouldn’t let you skip parts or take a different direction – not great when you are stuck behind a million tour guide groups. Luckily, the Sistine Chapel was as breathtaking as you might think, so it made it all worth it.
We then walked over to Trastevere which was an area recommended to me by someone at work – it is very cool, trendy and seemed to be quite full of ‘creative types’ and not as many tourists. There are plenty of bars here and things really start to get going from about 5pm/6pm into the early hours of the morning. As we were a little early and quite exhausted from the day, we stopped off at a cool wine bar/cafe called Enotica before walking back to the hotel (there is no tube stop – be warned) and getting ready for another dinner at the Spanish Steps. En route we walked past this amazing, buzzing jazz wine bar very near to Barberini Tube Station which was also called Enotica – it was too full to go in but if you go I would definitely recommend this place!
Day 3 – Hometime
On Sunday we had to pack our things and have a last little sunny wander round Rome. We got lunch from a good panini place near Barberini Tube Station (sorry, I forget the name!) before eating it at the Trevi Fountain and walking it off around a market near Piazza Navona. Then it was time to say Ciao to the city and head back to the bright lights of London…