I recently returned from Rome as part of a road trip we took through Northern Italy. We flew into Rome and spent the first two days there exploring ruins and eating all the pasta.
Here’s how to spend a good 48 hours in the Italian capital.
Exploring the Eternal City:
After coffee, we set out to explore and the first stop we reached was the Tervi Fountain, which as expected was crowded with people. I thought it was a cool piece of art and despite the crowd, you could still get up close and admire the craftsmanship. If you want to get a good photo void of all the tourists then I would say go early in the morning. Close to the fountain, you will come across the Pantheon, an almost 2000-year-old temple that now contains a catholic church. It is free to go in and have a look around and when you’re there make sure to look up.
We strolled around some of the less touristy areas of the city, just to take it easy and see a different side of Rome. Notable areas we liked where Monti, a cool area where many come in the evenings to dine in the chic restaurants. Ponte was another area where they had streets lined with cute yellow buildings draped with greenery. Ponte leads out the river where you will find Ponte Sant’Angelo a stunning bridge which is a great photo stop. The bridge leads straight to the castle of Sant’Angelo.
From here it is a short walk into the Vatican state, where you will find St.Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museums. We took a stroll up to the church and walked around but we had planned to spend the following day at the Vatican so didn’t spend much time there. If you don’t fancy spending all day in ques for the Vatican then check out my post on the Vatican here.
For the Colosseum, we didn’t bother with the tour instead opted to visit at dusk just to stroll around it. The best place to get pictures is definitely the street just a few steps up from the front of the Colosseum called Via Nicola Saivi. There is a little bridge a few meters up from the wall which is another good spot to snap a picture from.
Around the Colosseum there are plenty of Roman ruins for you to explore from Circa Massimo, the remains of the stadium used for chariot races, Palatine Hill, which is the ruins of ancient imperial palaces and dotted around are other various ruins from temples to government buildings. Just a short stroll from the Colosseum is Altare della Patria which is this huge marble building built in honour of Italy’s first king and the soldiers of WWI.
One destination Claus had on his list was what he referred to as ‘the bone church’, the actual name of this spot is Santa Maria della Concezione Dei Cappuccini, which is a church/museum. For those of you who like the more sinister tourist spots or love anything creepy then this is a must-visit. The church was built and maintained by Capuchin friars, which is now turned into a small museum about this particular Friary. However, it is what is under the church that is the main attraction. Descend the stairs to find tiny chapels dimly lit. These chapels are build using approximately 3,700 bodies. Once you enter you can begin to see why this place was nicknamed the bone church. Each chapel was decorated using bones from the dead Capuchin friars along with complete bodies laid to rest in the open. They even made chandeliers from bones! I didn’t take any photos down there because it would have felt a bit too weird. I will admit it is cool to see, but it is very weird. Entry cost €8.
On the second day we went on a tour around the Vatican and afterwards we wandered around the area around the state. I did a little shopping on the main shopping street Via del Corso. We spend the day wandering around and stumbling across plazas, fountains and cute cobbled streets. We also stopped off at the famous Spanish steps, to which nobody is allowed to sit on anymore which makes it easier to get to the top! Rome has no shortage of beautiful plazas, streets, buildings and fountains to see, hell the city is partially a museum in itself so I would highly recommend having time just to wander around. You never know what you might stumble upon.
Where to Eat
Now to my favourite part, the food!
I got this recommendation on Instagram and we went for dinner here on the first night. It appears to be a popular place among the Romans and tourists alike so I would highly recommend booking (you can do it online here). We didn’t have a reservation but got there just as they opened at 7 and got a table. A lot of people after us got turned away so it was pure luck. This place was amazing, the food was delicious and I would highly recommend the tiramisu for dessert.
For dinner, on the second night, we went to Sciuè Sciuè and it was just *chefs kiss. The interiors of the restaurant was my kind of vibe. The restaurant is situated in the area I mentioned above, Monti, which makes for a lovely stroll after dinner. For dinner we both got pasta, I got the restaurants take on carbonara and it was included king prawns and was delicious, I’d highly recommend. Claus also tried their tuna steak which was of course amazing. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are visiting Rome. (But also book ahead)
We didn’t end up going here, but a friend of ours recommended it, they liked it so much they went twice. It is a seafood-based restaurant near the Vatican, which makes it a perfect stop after exploring the Vatican.
For Pizza, this place is a good bet, right in the middle of town.
For lunch on the go, bakery, traditional sandwiches and pizza slices.
Coffee & Drinks
Faro Speciality Coffee
The first thing I need before starting the day is a good cup of coffee. Italians love their espresso and there are plenty of cafes where you can drink an espresso standing up at the bar, the traditional way. But I’m not about that life, I love nothing more than chilling at a good cafe and savouring my coffee. So, if you are like me you should make Faro your coffee stop, for a good cup of speciality coffee.
Not the cheapest place for drinks, but defiantly a popular cocktail bar. We were recommended this spot and we went in for a much-needed spritz. The place has a relaxed vibe and a really cool cocktail menu, they take the classic spritz and put their own twists on the drink. I can confirm that it was the best spritz I ever had.