The fourth stop on our honeymoon in Italy was the impressive capital, Rome. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history, so I was really looking forward to 4 days exploring the city. We got a morning train from Chiusi to Rome, so arrived around lunchtime. We’d booked a hotel, Frattina 57, just a few minutes from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, so we were in a great location for exploring the city on foot.
The hotel was different to the others we had stayed in, as it wasn’t really a traditional hotel. It was made up of a few apartments on the top floor of an old building, with no restaurant or communal areas. I found there to be quite a few of this ‘apartment’ style when looking at hotels in Rome, which I suppose is a good way of making the most out of the older buildings and smaller spaces. Plus being so central, I doubt we would have ever made use of a hotel bar or restaurant. They also deliver an Italian breakfast of coffee and croissants to your room every morning!
We spent our first afternoon exploring on foot with no real plan, filling up on homemade lasagne and gelato while getting our bearings for the city. We also made our way to one of the most photographed spots in the city, the Trevi Fountain. I couldn’t believe how busy it was, but we made our way through the crowds to marvel at the fountain, throw in our coins and take our selfies. I have to admit, it is the most impressive fountain I have ever seen and is very beautiful.
For dinner that evening, I had done a bit of tripadvisor research and found a really small place that we both wanted to try. We’d had so many huge meals of pasta and pizza, we fancied something a little lighter, so when I found this place I knew it would be perfect. Pane e Salame is a sort of deli, with a few tables inside.
They do so many different types of ham and cheese, and renowned for their sharing boards. We ordered a large board and a bottle of prosecco to wash it down with of course. It came with so many different types of meat, cheese and vegetables, it was just our kind of dinner! We loved it that much we actually went back a couple of nights later. It’s only a few minutes from the Trevi Fountain and I would 100% recommend if you are in Rome to check this out.
I also had another place I wanted to check out which was near the Spanish Steps. It’s called Pompi and is famous for it’s takeaway tiramisu, so we made our way there after filling up in Pane e Salame. I LOVE tiramisu so this place was like heaven. They had so many different types, but I opted for the classic. It came in a little box with a fork and was a huge portion, although not enough for me to want to share it… They also do amazing gelato so the husband had one of those and we went and sat by the Spanish Steps to people watch and enjoy our dessert!
We had an early start the next morning as we had booked a tour of the colosseum for when it opened at 8.30am. This was one of the things I had been looking forward to the most, I’ve always wanted to visit since learning about the Ancient Romans when I was aged about 10! We didn’t realise until a few days before that you can’t visit the underground and the upper levels unless you are on a tour. The colosseum do their own tours, but these sell out months in advance so we had no chance of getting a ticket. The only way for us to see these areas was to book onto one of the many tours offered by other companies. These were all upwards of 100 euros each though!
We found one with Tickitaly, which was cheaper than all the others as you could have a group of up to 24 people (this is the max allowed in the underground of the colosseum at any one time). At only 50 euros each though we opted for this one, which also included a tour of the Roman Forum so I thought it was pretty good value. It definitely turned out to be the best choice as when we turned up there were only 3 other people booked onto our tour!
I would highly recommend a tour if you are thinking about it. We were given so much information I think it made the whole experience so much better as there were a lot of details I think we wouldn’t have noticed or known why they were there. The colosseum was just as impressive as I had imagined it to be, and I couldn’t believe how intact some parts of the Roman Forum were. With a guide explaining how it would have been, it was really easy to imagine yourself there, which is something I love about ancient Roman history!
After our tour we went up Palatine Hill, which is also included in the ticket, to take a look at more of the Roman ruins, then stopped for a pizza and a gelato of course. We decided to make this our ‘ancient history day’, so after lunch headed to the Pantheon, a Roman temple that is over 2000 years old, and still standing, complete with roof and everything.
Our third day in Rome we went to the other side of the city to go into Vatican City. We made the mistake of going at 11.30 on a Wednesday morning, right after the pope’s address in St Peter’s Square so it was super busy! To be able to go inside the Sistene Chapel you have to have tickets for Vatican museums. You have to follow their tour and go all around the museums before you can go into the Sistene Chapel and as I’ve mentioned previously we’re not really into museums, so tried our best to whizz round this! It was mega busy and quite claustrophobic so I’ll be honest I didn’t really enjoy it that much.
After the museum we decided not to stand in another queue and huge crowd for St. Peters Basilica so we went and found some lunch, then spent then afternoon doing a little bit of shopping.
Our fourth and final day in Rome we had actually done and seen most things we wanted to, so had quite a relaxed day, wandering around the Campo Di Fiori market and we walked up Aventine Hill for the most amazing views across the city. On our way back down we went past some amazing rose gardens, with roses shaped into a heart with a view over the city, so we stopped to take lots of pictures.
After a very busy and hectic 4 days in Rome, we were definitely looking forward to our 3 days on the coast and with the promise of sunshine we were excited about our next stop!