Rome and La Dolce Vita
Rome and la Dolce Vita
Italy has always been one of my favourite countries, and I’ve already had the opportunity to visit it in the past several times. In one of those trips I spent a day and a half in Rome. I loved the city, but I felt it was not enough time to explore it and I promised to be back again. In October 2018 I finally did it, and I visited Rome for 3 days with one of my best friends for a long weekend getaway. We were lucky with the weather, as it was sunny and warm almost feeling like Summer.
It is easy to understand why Rome is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, combining stunning sites from the Ancient Roman Empire, beautiful Renaissance and Baroque architecture and this southern Italian mood of a relaxing way of life aka “la dolce vita”.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you my list of 10 Top Places to visit in Rome, and I’ll give you some tips to explore it in 3 days, making the most of your time there and not missing the most important highlights of the city. Be ready to face crowds of visitors, as Rome was probably the most crowded city I’ve ever visited. But it won’t stop you to have the time of your life there.
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatino Hill
Colosseum is probably the most famous symbol of Rome and it is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It symbolises the splendour of the Roman Empire and for someone like me that loves ancient History it was definitely one of my ultimate trip goals.
It was built in AD 72 and it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It was mostly used for gladiator’s contests and public spectacles, like dramas based on Classical mythology. If you enter this site and close your eyes, you will probably feel that you are traveling back in time.
There are a few things you should know about visiting the Colosseum. First of all, it will be crowded (like every other place in Rome) so I highly recommend you to book your tickets online in advance. That’s what I did and I had direct access to the site. I booked a combined ticket for Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatino Hill and that was the wiser decision as it only costed 19€ and it saved me a lot of precious time.
Allocate at least one morning or one afternoon to visit the three historical sites. I started with Colosseum and I visited afterwards Roman Forum and Palatino Hill. I spent there around 4 hours and I could have spent more because there are so many things to explore.
If you want to take beautiful pictures of the Colosseum main facade, just take the steps of the wall located at the left side of the site and you will have the most beautiful views of it – be ready to wait for your time to take a picture as this spot is not a hidden secret anymore.
After going to the Colosseum it is totally worth to head to Roman Forum and Palatino Hill. You can visit both together and I’ll share a tip to avoid the queues.
Take the Palatino Hill entrance, as there are usually way less people there. Palatino is the centre of the Seven Hills of Rome located in one of the most ancient parts of the city. Walk around Palatino Hill and at some point you will have beautiful views of the Roman Forum.
Then you can go down and explore the ruins of what used to be the heart of Ancient Rome and the centre of day-to-day life. You can find ruins of different statues, monuments, architectural fragments and archaeological excavations.
It is one of the most beautiful baroque squares at the heart of Rome. It has three amazing fountains and it is surrounded by lots of restaurants and terraces, which makes of it a vibrant place to visit during the day or at night. Around the square, there are small streets with plenty of restaurants, bars and typical shops.
This temple located at Piazza della Rotonda was dedicated to all gods of Ancient Roman and it is now a church. It is also one of the best-preserved buildings from that period, mostly because it has been in use throughout the centuries.
Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna is one the most known squares in Rome and it owns its name to the Spanish Embassy for the Vatican located there for more than 300 years. The square is connected with Trinita dei Monti (a church at the top if a hill) by the famous Spanish Steps. This is one of the most crowded locations in Rome so taking a nice picture there alone is an impossible task.
Fontana di Trevi
This fountain is the largest one in the city, and it is probably the most beautiful fountain in the world. It is 26 meters tall and 49 meters wide and it served as a display of an ancient roman aqueduct. The current architecture decoration was finished in the 18th century in a Baroque style.
Nowadays Fontana di Trevi is one of the most iconic sites in Rome visited daily by thousands of visitors. Go there during the day and go back at night. It will be crowded but no visit to Rome is completed without admiring this beautiful fountain.
Throw a coin and make a wish. The legend says that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to this magical city. And maybe you don’t know, but the coins that are thrown are gathered and given to a local charity.
In the confluence of Piazza Venezia and Capitolino Hill you will find the National Monument to Vittorio Emanuel II, first king of unified Italy and considered the father of the country. This majestic building is located in the city center and it´s the perfect spot to start exploring the city. Visitors can take an elevator to the rooftop where they can enjoy beautiful views of Rome.
This cylindrical building has been used as a mausoleum (it was initially commissioned by Roman Emperor Hadrian), a castle, a fortress and today it is a museum. You can visit it or, even if you don’t have enough time, just walk around and see the amazing perspective of the castle from the bridge over Tiber river.
When in Rome, go to the Vatican. Did you know that Vatican city is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome? It has a population of 1000 people and it is the smallest state in the world in terms of area and population. The Vatican is the heart of the Holly See and the Catholic Church and it is definitely one of the highlights of any trip to Rome.
First of all go to the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world and the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture. It is located in the breathtaking St. Peter’s Square. According to the Catholic tradition, this basilica was built in the burial site of Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and one of Jesus’s Apostles. Even if the entrance is free I recommend you to buy in advance a skip the line ticket. Mine costed 19€ but it was worth it as it saved me hours in the queue.
Another mandatory visit is the Vatican Museum where you can admire the stunning Sistine Chappel, amongst so many art exhibitions. The museum has 54 galleries and more than 70.000 works from the art collections gathered by the popes throughout the centuries. The highlight of the visit is of course the Sistine Chapel with its frescos and ceiling decorated by Michelangelo. There are no words to describe how beautiful it is.
Another tip to visit Vatican Museum is (again) to buy skip the line tickets in advance. It’s approximately 10€ more expensive than the regular entrance but – believe me – you won’t want to wait hours in another queue.
At the other side of Tiber river with a more bohemian and relaxed vibe, this neighbourhood is a good option to walk around, have a meal, a drink or a coffee, seat at one of the many terraces and just have a great time there.
Walking Around the City Centre
Rome is a stunning city and while you are walking in the streets, you will find an historical building or an art site in every corner. It is also a milestone for shoppers and fashion lovers, so make sure you have enough time to explore the many shops in the city center.
Via del Corso is one of Rome’s longest streets with lots of international brands, in Via dei Condotti you can find premium Italian and international brands. Via Vittorio Veneto is well known for Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita film and it has an Italian classic charm with its exquisite boutiques and hotels.