The Eternal City -- where old blends with new-- Hello Rome!
In this post, we'll talk about where to stay and what to do in Rome in 3 days. Also added is a day trip to Naples & Pompeii to add options if you have extra time.
It's hard not falling in love with a city like Rome. Filled with history, art, fantastic food, and of course, gelato. "The Eternal City" is ... A Modern Classic.
After a 10 hour flight from NYC, we were ready to kick back and relax at our hotel. But first things first-- if you're there for more than 3 -days, get yourself a Roma Pass.
Transportation - Why getting a Roma Pass is a good idea. The Roma pass costs €36 and is valid for 3-days. It covers public transportation, gives you free entrance to the first two participating sights you decide to visit with priority entrance ( so you get to skip the line), plus you get discounted entry to most other popular sights. It's sold at T1s and many newsstands throughout the city that have a Roma Pass sign outside. Your Roma Pass does not start working until you activate it. To activate your pass, write your name and date on the back. I would highly recommend visiting the Colosseum and the National Museum of Rome first as these two sights are the most expensive and would be covered by your RP, saving you €22-24 and a long-dreaded line to enter the Colosseum. For all other sights, you'll enjoy 30% off entrance fees. Public transportation is reliable and straightforward to figure out using the city map. If you decide to travel like a local, you'll be mostly using the Bus and Train System.
Accommodations - Why Staying in the outskirts might be a good idea.
If you want to be in the heart and center of it all, I would recommend staying Near Ancient Rome, Stretching from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia, this area is central. If you want to remain where the nightlife is at its best, then the Pantheon Neighborhood, with its boutique shops, village feel, and hefty price tags but the most atmospheric of them all. If you'd rather a more relaxed, country feel vibe, where the streets are filled with locals, and you're surrounded by Mom and Pop shops offering local meat, cheese, and wine, then I highly recommend the spot where we stayed at — A Roma Lifestyle Hotel. Located only 20 min away from the main airport, A Roma is a luxury hotel and wellness spa. While this gem of a hotel is 25-30 min ( via public bus ) away from the center, it's worth the trek due to its mineral pool spa, buffet gourmet meals, and its small-town feel that lets you take it all in and chillax. If time is not an obstacle, I highly recommend exploring and staying in the outskirts of Rome.
After breakfast and an Espresso:
Activate your Roma Pass and head over to The National Roman Museum located in East Rome near the Termini Train Station (this is one of Rome's main train stations).
After taking in a bit of history, make your way to Ancient Rome.
Grab some gelato, a light snack, or a glass of wine and explore the Colosseum, followed by :
the Roman Forum,
Capitoline Hill, and find
the Pantheon a 15 min walk away.
After dark, it's time to fall in love with this magical city, so head on to North Rome. Take a stroll and stop for some food and more gelato. Use the main square "Campo de' Fiori " as your starting point, then head over to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps after. Remember to take your time and soak it all in. Beware of scams! This area is super touristy, so you'll find plenty of hustlers trying to make a dollar. I ended up buying four roses, but it's ok for you to say "no, thank you" and move on.
Start your day in Ancient Rome; there's so much to do! If you missed any of yesterday's itinerary, now is an excellent time to visit or re-visit those sights. After, make your way southwest to the small Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, most famous for its legendary "Mouth of Truth" popularized by the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Stick your hand inside the "Mouth of truth," and as the legend goes, if you're a liar, your hand will be gobbled up.
I'm a big Audrey Hepburn fan, so for me, visiting this church was one of the highlights of my time in Rome. You can also find Gregory Peck's apartment (set used in Roman Holiday) close to the Spanish Steps in a small yet picturesque street in Via Margutta 51. Before the film, this apartment was known as an artist retreat, with big names such as Fellini, Picasso, and Puccini stay there. Today the street is lined with boutiques and art studios.
After visiting the church, head north for some food, a stroll, some shopping, gallery browsing, and a garden view; Start your walk at Campo de' Fiori, one of Rome's most colorful spots with a bohemian ambiance, live music, and crows. Then make your way to Piazza Navona, passing through the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain, then walk ten more minutes to the Spanish Steps. For some upscale boutiques and fashion stores, head to a triangular shopping area between the Spanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, and Piazza del Popolo. For an upscale art museum, visit the Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese). Keep in mind that the museum has a mandatory reservation policy, so book your tickets online before going. This Museum is in a Villa Mansion Garden, so take a stroll and let nature sweep you away.
Take a day trip to Vatican City — the world's smallest country. There you'll find St. Peter's Basilica with some of Michelangelo's Original works, including Pieta and the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel. Plan to spend an entire day here as it can get very crowded. Luckily, Vatican City is within Rome and only a 30 min train ride from the center. Despite this, Vatican City is its own independent country and extremely religious so keep the dress code in mind: No shorts, above the knee skirts, and no bare shoulders. Your best chances of spotting the Pope are on Sunday or Wednesday. The Pope usually gives a blessing at noon on Sunday from his apartment on St. Peter's Square. I highly recommend getting a guide to tour around; you get to skip the lines and receive info. from experts on what you're seeing.
Taking a day trip to Naples and Pompeii— If you decide to venture out but don't want to go too far away from Rome, then a guided tour to Naples and Pompeii is a good Option. We booked our tour at an agency we found while walking around Termini station. The city is packed with tour offices and kiosks, so you won't have any trouble finding one. Our first stop on this tour was Naples-- the birthplace of pizza and Sophia Loren. Spend a couple of hours here, grabbing lunch ( try the crispy, ricotta-stuffed sfogliatella) and checking out some museums as Naples is known for having some of Europe's top archaeological ones plus the ruins of Pompeii.
Visiting Pompeii, a city within hours, buried 30 feet under hot volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius 2,000 years ago. After the eruption, what remained of the city was recovered by digging, and 70% of what you see is from its original form, making this an exciting place to visit, as you can get a feel for what middle-class life in Rome was like. Pompeii, once a city with an estimated 20,000 residents, more than 40 bakeries, 30 brothels, and 130 bars/restaurants/ /hotels, vanished within hours! Mt. Vesuvius is still active to this day.
Thanks for Reading!