With its Mediterranean beauty and sensuous air Rome charmed me pretty much immediately. From the moment I arrived, I fell pretty hard for Rome and its sunny weather, its lively piazzas, and the old ruins and monuments that dotted the city. My infatuation with Rome started out as an unrequited love long ago, as my love for Roman history inspired me to take Latin for two semesters in college. When I arrived in Rome I was finally able to declare my love, and the feeling was mutual. While I only spent two days in Rome, it was a grand two days of romance and beauty. Here are my recommendations on what you can see and do when in Rome in 2 days.
Just walking around the city you will find yourself running into sights to see without even trying. That’s how I ran into the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. While the Trevi Fountain was undergoing restoration work when I visited (so no coin tossing for me) the restoration work has since been completed so you can toss your coins into this iconic fountain and make a wish. While lamenting the fact that I couldn’t see the Trevi Fountain up close, I also accidentally ran into the Spanish Steps. The steps are a perfect place to rest your tired legs and people watch. You can also climb the 135 steps, which were built between 1723-1725 to link the Spanish embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church, to get some good views. Word of warning: beware of the guys offering supposedly “free” roses. The guys will offer to take your picture and then ask you for money. Seriously, Rome has some hustlers so beware.
In another stroke of accidental luck I ran into the Pantheon without even trying. I also spotted some gladiators roaming around which also made me think I went back in time (FYI: the gladiators will charge you 5-10 euros to take a series of funny pictures. Damn hustling gladiators). The Pantheon was one of those works of grand architecture I drooled over in art history books. Seeing it in person was something else – it was awe-inspiring and breath-taking. The Pantheon was a former Roman temple, and today it’s a church and still every bit as breath taking as it was back when it was built in 118-128 AD. There are a series of café’s around the piazza housing the Pantheon, so grab a bite and some wine and enjoy this beautiful work of art.
If there is one iconic sight Rome is known for this is the one. The Colosseum is a must-see. Since I am notorious for not planning, I did not buy a ticket in advance to stroll around the inside of the Colosseum, and I also didn’t want to stand in the long line to get tickets. Still, I was happy to marvel at the beauty of the Colosseum from the outside and what a sight to behold. The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built and it put on quite a show during its heyday in the Roman Empire. From gladiatorial contests to mock sea battles, the Colosseum was where Romans went to be entertained. Today, it’s still entertaining Romans and tourists alike with its beauty. If you plan ahead, definitely buy a ticket to tour inside the Colosseum, after all beauty isn’t only on the outside.
The Roman Forum is the ancient forum that once housed many important government buildings during Rome’s heyday. Strolling through the Roman Forum is like strolling through the ghost of Rome’s past, as the forum was once the center of ceremonial processions and a venue for public speeches. The Roman Forum is full of beautiful ruins and is the graveyard of Rome’s once glorious past.
After the Colosseum one of my favorite parts of my whirlwind trip to Rome was visiting Vatican City and checking out St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. St. Peter’s is famous for being the center of the Catholic Church and it has quite a history. St. Peter’s Square is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, with its fountain, Egyptian obelisk, and its columned arcade. St. Peter’s Basilica is also one of the most beautiful and regal churches I have ever seen in my life. To be honest, I did find the vibe at St. Peter’s Basilica a little bit creepy, but perhaps that was because I felt like too much of a sinner to be in such a holy place. Nonetheless, I couldn’t deny its sacred and ornate beauty. Word of advice: cover up before you enter the Basilica. They won’t allow entry if you have bare shoulders or a skimpy top with no cover-up. There’s really a guy that checks. After you finish checking out Vatican City, take a stroll to the Old Bridge Geleteria, which is only a 5 minute walk. Before I left for Rome I sought out the advice of my glamorous foodie friend with high standards named Michelle (who has lived in Paris and Rome) and she said the best gelato could be found at Old Bridge Geleteria. Judging by the long line, she proved to be right. While I’m usually averse to lines, the wait paid off as I had one of the most delicious gelato’s I’ve ever had and it was served by a handsome Italian man with the bluest eyes. Swoon.
My Roman holiday was full of sunny days, beautiful sights and romance. It was a summer love that I didn’t want to end. As I went to take a taxi to the airport, I could hear Rome whisper in my ear, “Ciao bella.”