Johnny and I took our first trip abroad together to the beautiful country of Italy. Our first stop was the historically rich city of Rome. While we left obsessed with the charm of Florence, the landmarks in Rome shouldn’t be missed. Check out this post for how we spent 3 days in Rome!
Three Days in Rome
*My apologies for the lack of pictures for this post. I was fresh on the snapchat story train and was busy taking 10 second videos of everything instead of real pictures and such, these images shall RIP in snapchat heaven.
- Drink with a View of the Pantheon
We rolled into Rome too late to do any touring, but early enough to have a drink—and who can really go straight to bed after arriving in a new country?! We headed right to Piazza della Rotonda to check out the Pantheon. This square was full of life, venders selling knickknacks (some of which will come flying through the air and possibly hit you on the head), tourists on nighttime strolls, and restaurants patios full of lights and conversation. Oh, and don’t forget the Pantheon lit up in the center of it all. We camped out at one of the surrounding restaurants, drank wine, and took in how unreal the architecture of Rome really is. There are several restaurants on this square with a view of the Pantheon so you could camp out for wine or a meal anytime of the day, but go in knowing you won’t be getting the world’s best Italian food (or the best deals).
Make sure to find time to go back to the Pantheon when it is open to check out the inside of the temple. The architecture is worth seeing and if you go at the right time you can see light streaming through the center of the dome. We took our friend Rick Steves with us to the Pantheon in app form to get some historical information. We opted for the Rick Steves self guided tours you can download onto your phone many times to save money and found them to be a great substitute for the more expensive tours offered at the various sites around Rome. Highly recommended.
- Live that Gladiator Life at the Colosseum
Everyone goes into the Colosseum with expectations, but this giant exceeded ours. Despite fighting obnoxious crowds to enter the Colosseum, once you get inside you are truly in awe at the enormity and detail of the amphitheater. The stories told by guides will make your stomach turn, unless Game of Thrones has already desensitized you to some serious violence. This is a must go on your historical tour of Rome.
Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma, Italy
- Get Historical at the Roman Forum
After taking in the violent side of Roman history at the Colosseum, head to the nearby Roman Forum. Like the Pantheon, we highly recommend taking our friend Rick Steves in app form to the Roman Form because every step of this area is full of fascinating history. Your forced high school reading of Julius Caesar gets a whole lot more legit when you are staring at the remnants of what was a bustling Roman town and Caesar’s tomb. If you’re like us and can get jiggy with some history, leave yourself a solid 3-4 hours to enjoy this stop.
Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, Roma, Italy
- Eat at Vecchia Locanda
When in Rome, live as the Romans do, EAT as the Romans do. No doubt you will consume a lot of wine, pizza, and pasta while in Rome. It’s one big, fantastic carb load wrapped up in marble and history. Our favorite dinner, by far, was at Vecchia Locanda. This quaint restaurant is down a side street near the Pantheon and you might miss it if you don’t Google directions before leaving your hotel. This tiny spot is adorned with wine and smacks you in the face with its authentic Italian vibe the minute you walk in the door. We shared pasta and a melt in your mouth steak that was unreal. Johnny and I talked about how good the food was for at least the next 4 days, not kidding. Don’t miss this hidden gem.
Vicolo dei Sinibaldi, 2, 00100 Roma, Italy
- Wander Through the Roman Piazzas
Rome is full of squares or piazzas, each with their own unique bit of culture to take in. As we were hitting tourist spots, we did our best to wander through these squares and take in the architecture, markets, and of course, drinks. We got lost a few times, but that’s half the adventure, isn’t it?!
Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps): If you’re looking to do some fancy shopping, burn some cals, and people watch, Piazza di Spagna is your spot. This is a bustling area full of high-end boutiques for A+ window-shopping. You can walk up the steps to the Trinita dei Monti Church and get a bird’s eye view of the piazza from the top. Grab a gelato and sit on the steps to take in the beauty of this piazza.
Trevi Square: Trevi Square is home to the Trevi Fountain. This piazza is in walking distance to The Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona (below) so we suggest a quick see and flee. This spot is literally FULL of tourists so push your way to the front, toss a coin into the fountain for good measure, and get cruisin’ to Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona: After escaping the crowds of Trevi Square, spend some time enjoying Piazza Navona. This piazza used to house chariot races (hell ya!) and is a really fun spot. There are two unbelievable fountains to check out, artists gathered to sell their work, and many cafes to eat and drink. Go to Piazza Navona early in the day to check out the architecture and fountains. Go at night to get wined up and watch the locals on evening strolls.
Campo de’ Fiori: Campo de’ Fiori is hoppin’ day and night. During the day it is home to a huge open-air market, which is always a good time. At night, there are lots of restaurants, wine bars, and pubs to hit up. In sum, you can shop and drink. SOLD.
Saint Peter’s Square: St. Peter’s Square is right in front of St. Peter’s Basilica so we’d be remiss to leave it off the list. We walked through the square, but did not go into St. Peter’s Basilica because it was Easter weekend and the line was a million hours long. If you are in Rome for a short period of time, this stop will take more time so it’s all about prioritizing. We opted for more time in museums/walking through squares/drinking, but as I say, you do you! Johnny still cringes a bit when he tells people that we went to Rome and did not make it inside the Vatican, but we figure we now have a reason to go back to Rome again some day!
Piazza Barberini: Okay, Piazza Barberini is another bustling square where you can see another detailed fountain, the Fontana del Tritone, but it’s on this list for another reason. Nearby, you will find the Capuchian Crypt. This is where things get spooky. This crypt is under the church of Santa Maria della Concezione. The crypt holds 4,000 bones of passed Capuchin monks, which are arranged in detailed designs and scenes. This stop will make you equally uncomfortable and fascinated. It also includes a small museum about Capuchin monks, which is interesting and gives the crypt context. If you’re into weird shit (we are), put this on your list.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma, Italy
- Take a Walk and See Art in Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is the break from urban Rome that we all need. This huge park is full of green trees and beautiful gardens. You can walk or bike through the park and take in locals doing normal people things like jogging, picnicking, or playing fetch with their dogs—Romans are real people too! This park is also home to Galleria Borghese. If you’re going to make a stop at an art gallery, make it this one. You have to make a reservation, which ensures that you’re not in a mass of tourists viewing art. It is full of amazing murals, sculptures, and paintings. I would try to brag about the artists, but I’m no art junkie. All we can tell you is that it’s one of our favorite art galleries (i.e. we didn’t get bored!!!).
Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma, Italy