Everyone has that one place in the world they would love to visit in their lifetime. As a traveler people ask me frequently about which one is my top destination. As much as I would enjoy going EVERYWHERE, the only place that really tops it for me is Italy.
The list of places I want to see and experience in Italy can truly go on endlessly, but these are the ones that have really caught my interest in recent years:
- La Spezia
My obsession with Italy started 8 years ago after I saw the movie Eat Pray Love. I spend several months focusing on the history, the language, and the food. I was hooked with the idea of visiting each one of my favorite cities there, renting a car or a Vespa, taking a train or just exploring the beautiful streets while listening to Marianelli’s , Attraversiamo masterpiece.
Add that curiosity to the stunning beauty of a place like Trastevere, Cinque Terre, Venice at Dusk, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, San Gimignano in Tuscany, and so much more. There’s no way I could go wrong with a trip there. Who knows maybe this can become my honeymoon.
In this first Destination Post, I’ll be sharing every week, details of each one of the 8 places I want to explore in Italy. Enjoy with me this amazing adventure.So, let’s begin this Dream trip to Italy with:
Exploring Rome (3 days)
Total days for this dream trip is 14 days. My plan for Rome is 3 days exploring the top must-see places you can’t miss. I created a kind of walking tour, unifying the most important attractions by area, per day.
The Colosseum & Roman Forum
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheater in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheater ever built. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus.
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome.
The Colosseum and the Forum share the same ticket – today the ticket cost 50-55USD. You need 3 to 4 hours for both places.
The Circus Maximus an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire.
The site is now a public park. You don’t need to stay for long, but its a nice stopping point between the Roman Forum and your lunch.
Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano
After lunch, let’s visit The Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran, is the cathedral church of Rome, Italy. It is the oldest and highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas.
There are 4 basilicas in Rome, and this is a must-see. Requires less than 1 hour to see it completly.
Finishing day 1, let’s go for walk in this neighborhood. Travestere can be seen day or night. Its surrounded by restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
Nowadays, it maintains its character thanks to its narrow cobbled streets lined by ancient houses. At night, natives and tourists alike flock to its many pubs and restaurants, but much of the original character of Trastevere remains.
Dinner starts later in Rome than in other places – don’t expect to be seated before 19.30, and even then, you’ll be among the first there!
I recommend to get up early second day and spend the morning in the Vatican City. The line often wraps around blocks and blocks . If you go early the crowds are fewer. Depending on what you want to see, you can spend from 3 to 5 hours here.
The Vatican is a sovereign state. It is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. However, formally it is not sovereign, with sovereignty being held by the Holy See.In the Vatican City you can’t miss exploring St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures.
Have these tips on your mind before going:
- No cameras allowed inside the Sistine Chapel – make mental notes and enjoy the experience.
- Dress appropriately! You will be turned away unless you are conservatively dressed. In the summertime, a scarf serves this purpose quite nicely.
- Everyone must go through security before entering the Vatican. The line moves fairly quickly, but the sun will be beating down on you, wear sunblock.
After visiting all your points of interest in The Vatican City, lets walk through Borgo Pio. Is a popular street that will lead you out of the Vatican neighborhood. Is full of restaurants, so is a good place for lunch before continuing with the tour.
Museo Nazionale di castel Sant’ Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castle was once the tallest building in Rome.
Requires at least 2 Hours.
There is a secret passageway leading out of the Vatican to an underground area inside in order to save the Pope, should there ever be any danger!
Piazza Navona, is a square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (“games”), and hence it was known as “Circus Agonalis” (“competition arena”). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to navona.
Piazza Navona is charming, stunning, peaceful and chaotic all at once. By day, local painters set up shop and are eager to show off their works. The Fountain of the 4 Rivers is a must see! You will need at least 2 hours.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy. Sixteen columns support the arcade above which stands the inscription in honour of Agrippa. The immense columns, which were transported from Egypt, are estimated to weigh 60 tons each.
What is the Pantheon? Originally, it is believed to have been a pagan temple dedicated to all Roman gods. The name pantheon has Greek roots and means all (pan) gods (theos).
However, some scholars disagree with this hypothesis. They claiming that its name is not necessarily proof of its activity. But of its size due to the sense of awe that the Pantheon still inspires on those who admire it from up close.
Let’s finish day 3 wishing to come back soon throwing a penny in the Trevi Fountain…Begin the day visiting the Spanish Steps.
The Spanish Steps, are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
The monumental stairway of 135 steps (the slightly elevated drainage system is often mistaken for the first step)
The Quirinal Palace (known in Italian as the Palazzo del Quirinale or simply Quirinale) is a historic building in Rome, Italy, one of the three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic, together with Villa Rosebery in Naples and Tenuta di Castelporziano in Rome.
It has housed thirty Popes, four Kings of Italy and twelve presidents of the Italian Republic. The palace extends for an area of 110,500 square metres and is the ninth-largest palace in the world in terms of area. By way of comparison, the White House in the United States of America is one-twentieth of its size.
The Quattro Fontane (the Four Fountains) is an ensemble of four Late Renaissance fountains located at the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale in Rome.
The figure of one fountain is said to represent the River Tiber, in front of an oak-tree; a she-wolf, the symbol of Rome, was a later addition. A second fountain represents the River Aniene, a tributary of the Tiber, called Anio in ancient Rome, which provided most Roman aqueducts with water. Pope Sixtus proposed to build a canal to bring the water of the Aniene to Rome. The other two fountains feature female figures believed to represent the Goddess Diana; the symbol of Chastity; and the Goddess Juno, the symbol of Strength, but it is possible that they may also represent rivers.
The Trevi Fountain is in the Trevi district, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, and The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
Throwing a coin: Make a wish with a coin is a tradition. They meant to be thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder.
Let’s say this day ends around 6pm, time for dinner, check out, and take a train to Naples. Last train (Trenitalia) leaves from Roma Termini at 22:15 and arrives at Napoli Central at 23:10, just 1 hour and 10 minutes. Ticket cost between 25 and 45 euros, depending on what time you leave. Check here:
Hope you like this first part of this post, let me know what else you will love to know about Rome!