1 Day Itinerary: the best of RomeMarch 27, 2014 9:15 am
Are you counting down the days until your anticipated arrival? Are you devouring information about the Eternal City like your life depends on it? Well, we’ve made it simple: we’ve come up with the perfect 1 day itinerary so if you dedicate just 24 hours to sightseeing and experiencing Rome by this quick-fire bucket list then you can rest assured that you will leave satisfied.
Make sure you’ve had a hearty breakfast and got some good walking shoes on before you head to the cobbled streets…
Head straight to Rome’s oldest and longest standing landmark, the Colisseum, and start your day on a high. This near 2000 year old building has seen its fair share of history and is one of the best places to learn about the importance of the Roman culture. From gladiator fights to miniature naval races (yes, who knew!) this building has been through it all – even destructive earthquakes that are partly to blame for its half crumbled state.
Alongside the Colisseum is the impressive expanse of the Roman Forum where you can walk along the ancient cobbled streets and up the Palatine Hill to survey what used to be the hub of all Roman activity. As an old marketplace, the Roman Forum is one of the most transforming areas in Rome and you can really send yourself back in time as you walk along the marble pillars and ancient ruins.
Past the Vittorio Emmanuele monument (or the wedding cake as the Romans call it) and further into town you’ll get to another one of Rome’s most iconic buildings, the Pantheon. This building is free to enter and it will take your breath away as you marvel at the unique concept and religious history behind it. Built as a temple to the ancient Roman gods in 126AD it is one of the best preserved buildings in Rome and has been in constant use since the 7th century – and to this day it’s a place of worship and even marriage!
It’s large opening, or oculus, is exactly 43m from the floor, and 43m in diameter – a mathematical feat and with no cover or window, it remains open all day, every day. Ever wondered what happens when it rains? There’s a small drainage system implanted into the mosaic flooring below. Definitely a sight to behold, and well worth a visit even if it rains to see it with your own eyes!
Next up are the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain so wind your way through the cobbled streets of bustling central Rome and just follow the crowds towards this resplendent urban oasis. Built in 1732 this Baroque masterpiece is one of Rome’s most picture-perfect landmarks with its turquoise water and contrasting marble façade. Designed by Bernini, Nicola Salvi and Pietro Bracci it is Rome’s largest baroque fountain – and without a doubt the most impressive. Legend has it if you throw a coin into the fountain you are guaranteed a return to the city. Did you know that as a prank, someone once added red food colouring into the water and turned the fountain blood red? Needless to say it didn’t go down very well with the state officials…
A stone’s throw from the Trevi Fountain are the Spanish Steps – which boast the widest staircase in Europe and some say is one of Rome’s most romantic spots. Take a small picnic or find a café and get a take away panino and proper Italian coffee and go and sit on the steps to recharge and take in your surroundings. At the top of the steps is a viewing point where you can overlook the terracotta roofs of Rome and survey the stunning historic scene.
Walk off lunch and stroll through the verdant Villa Borghese park, one of the most relaxing places in Rome. This heart shaped park is a quiet refuge from the vivacious Roman life, perfect if you want a bit of R&R. Within the landscaped lawns, sprawling greens and classic buildings is one of Rome’s best galleries, Borghese Gallery. A must-see if you’re an art buff and love a bit of Renaissance culture – and even if you’re not, there’s really nice restaurant where you can stop for a refreshing glass of wine should you need a pick-me-up.
Continuing in the realm of art appreciation, take it up a notch and head to St Peter’s Basilica, a masterpiece in itself, and it’s the perfect way to end your afternoon. The colonnade-lined square and the impressive marble façade doesn’t even measure up to what is beyond the huge bronze Holy Doors. Step inside this huge cathedral and be mesmerised by the sheer scale of gilt religious decoration, such as Bernini’s Renaissance architecture and the 30m high bronze pavilion, the Baldacchino.
If you’re after a view to remember, you must go up into the Dome where you will get breathtaking views all across the city and into the Vatican.
After that exhausting day, what better way than to reward yourself with good local cuisine and Italian wine. Walk along the Lungo Tevere to Trastevere one of Rome’s most trendy districts and chose from a selection of pizzerias to gelaterias. Take a seat in one of the tables in the piazza where you can watch the world go by and reflect upon the Rome you’ve just discovered!
With the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card you can visit St Peter’s Basilica with a free audio guide and get VIP fast track entry to skip the long queues – a huge advantage in the summer! The Colisseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill are also included in the Roma Pass package and you can visit them as two out of your five free entitled entries. Want to find out more about how you can make your trip to Rome that extra bit easier? Click here.