This week’s itinerary is about Rome. I visited Rome for the first time in 2011 for a day as part of a cruise in the West Mediterranean (Read my travel diary from that trip: 1 Week in West Mediterranean). Clearly, that was not enough to explore the whole of Rome. So, in 2016 we decided that we should give Rome another chance and arranged to spend a few more days in this “open-air museum” city!
Right from the beginning of our trip planning, we knew that we wanted to get inside the Colosseum, visit one of the Catacombs, go on a day trip and wouldn’t bother waiting in line to get inside the Basilica di San Pietro (since we did that the first time). So, we thought a hotel close to the train station (Roma Termini) would be a good idea. All in all, we stayed in Hotel Aphrodite.
Find out more about moving around in Rome here.
Length: 5 days
Time of the year: Summer – July
Suitable for: Families with teenagers
Difficulty: 1 | 1,5 | 2 | 2.5 | 3
Highlights: Ponte Stain’ Angelo, Piazza Navona, Colosseo, Faro Romano, Il Vittoriano, Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza del Quirinale, Convento dei Capuccini, Piazza della Repubblica, Pompei, Naples, Rainbow MagicLand, Piazza di Spagna, Catacombe di San Callisto, Piazza dei Cavelieri di Malta, Piazza del Popolo
What to book in advance?
- Plane tickets and accommodation
- Tickets to Rainbow MagicLand
- Train tickets to Naples, Pompei and Volmontone (for Rainbow MagicLand)
Day 1 – Intro day
16:00 Ponte and Castel Sant’ Angelo
Use the morning to arrive in Rome and settle into your accommodation before getting for a walk along the river Tiber. Walk along the infamous bridge Ponte Sant’ Angelo and if you have time visit the Castel Sant’ Angelo.
How to get there?
Take one of the buses 30, 70, 81, 87, 492 or 628 and get off at Zanardelli.
Find out more about Ponte and the Castel Sant’Angelo here.
19:00 Piazza Navona
Spend your first evening in Rome next to street artists and fountains. Choose one of the many restaurants in the area to have your first dinner in the city.
How to get there (from Castel Sant’ Angelo)?
Walk along the river Tiber and in 15 minutes you will arrive at Piazza Navona.
Find out more about Piazza Navona here.
Day 2 – Exploration day
Get there as early as possible. The site opens at 8:30 am and lines start forming quickly. Once inside, allow some time to explore the different sections of the Colesseum and learning its bloody history. If you finish early, then why not visit the Foro Romano next door?
How to get there?
You can access the Colosseum using the metro, the bus and the tram. The closest metro station is Colosseo (line B). Bus 75, 81, 175, 204 and 673 pass by the area and trams 3 and 8 stop at Piazza del Colosseo.
11:30 Altare della Patria (Il Vittoriano)
This monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is located in Piazza Venezia and offers fantastic views over the city from its roof terrace. Insite you can find the Museum of Risorgimento that explains the unification of Italy.
How to get there (from the Colosseo)?
Il Vittoriano is a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum by following Via dei Fori Imperiali up to Piazza Venezia.
Find out more about Il Vittoriano here.
Another must-visit of Rome located in Piazza Rotonda is the Pantheon of Agrippa, commonly referred to as the Roman Pantheon, a temple constructed in the early AD days. The dome of Pantheon features an oculus which provides its main source of light.
How to get there (from Il Vittoriano)?
Walk in the streets of Rome by following Via d’Aracoeli and Via del Gesù. The complete route should last less than 15 minutes.
Find out more about Pantheon here.
13:30 Fontana di Trevi
Visit the largest Fountain in Rome and another place in the capital that attracts huge crowds. Don’t forget to bring some coins to throw into the fountain to reassure your return to the city or even marry an Italian! 😉 Look for somewhere to have lunch in the area.
How to get there (from Panteon)?
Fontana di Trevi is less than 10 minutes walk from Pantheon along Via del Seminario, Piazza S. Ignazio and Via di Pietra.
Find out more about Fontana di Trevi here.
15:00 Piazza del Quirinale
Continue your walk around Rome by visiting Piazza del Quirinale with the obelisk in the middle. Make sure to arrive on time, as every day at 3 pm there is a change of guards in front of the Palazzo del Quirinale. The palace can be visited at certain days of the week and is open until 4 pm, so if you have time why not explore it?
How to get there (from Fontana di Trevi)?
The piazza is a short walk from Fontana di Trevi along Via di S. Vincenzo and Via della Dataria.
Find out more about the Piazza and Palazzo del Quirinale here.
16:00 Convento dei Capuccini
Visit this museum and crypt of Capuccini monks and by amazed by the large quantity of bones and human skulls found here. Apart from the museum and crypt you can also visit the adjacent church.
How to get there (from Piazza del Qurinale)?
Walk along Via del Quirinale, turn left onto Via delle Quattro Fontane, cross Piazza Barberini and get into Via Vittorio Veneto, where the Convento dei Capuccini is located.
Find out more about Convento dei Capuccini here.
18:30 Piazza della Repubblica
Last stop of the day is Piazza della Repubblica. The homonymous piazza in Florence may be more well known, but this one here is worth a stop, to check out its semi-circular buildings and the Fontana delle Naiadi in the middle.
How to get there (from the Convento dei Capuccini)?
The piazza is a 10-minute walk from there. Head back to Piazza Barberini and then continue on to Via Barberini. Turn right and the piazza is at the other end of Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.
Day 3 – Day trip day
Visit the ancient city of Pompeii, located near Naples in the city named Pompei. The archaeological site features a huge area of ruins of an ancient city destroyed by a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in almost 2000 years ago.
How to get there?
Take the train from Roma Termini to Napoles Central and then walk to the nearby station, Napoles Garibaldi. From there take the regional train to Pompei Scavi. The route can take more than 2 hours so make sure to depart early from Rome.
Find out more about Pompeii here.
Spend your afternoon in Naples and allow some time to visit the historic centre of Naples, its castle, as well as its lovely beaches. When we visited we opted for two hop-on hop-off bus tours (1 hour each) to see the whole of the city in just one afternoon.
How to get there (from Pompeii)?
Take the train from Pompei Scavi back to Napoles Garibaldi.
Find out more about Naples here.
Day 4 – Amuseument day
10:00 Rainbow MagicLand
Take the day off and be entertained at Rainbow MagicaLand, a theme park an hour away from Rome. There are over thirty attractions and shows separated into six thematic areas suitable for all the family.
How to get there?
Take the train from Roma Termini to Volmontone and from there take the shuttle bus to Rainbow Magicland.
Alternative: Not fun of theme parks? Then check out Volmontone Outlet right opposite the park. Or if you want, combine both of them: spend the morning in the park and the afternoon in the outlet.
Buy your Rainbow MagicLand Tickets from 365Tickets.
19:00 Piazza di Spagna
Go for an evening walk at one of the most famous squares in Rome, featuring the Spanish Steps and the Fontana della Barcaccia. Remember not to eat, drink or sit on the steps, as you may be fined. As irrational as it sounds, these rules exist to preserve the monument.
How to get there?
Take metro line A and get off at Spagna. Alternatively, take bus 119 and get off at Trinita’ Dei Monti.
Find out more about Piazza di Spagna here.
Day 5 – Last day
10:30 Catacombe di San Callisto
One of the busiest catacombs in Rome, feature 20km of underground tunnels that house tombs of many notable and ordinary people of the second and fourth centuries AD.
How to get there?
Take bus 118 and get off at Appia Antica/Scuola Agraria.
Alternative 1: In the same area is located the archaeological site of Appia Antica.
Alternative 2: Another place to spend the morning is Villa Borghese.
13:30 Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta
This place may sound a bit odd compared to the other places in the list for today, but there is actually something very interesting. On the gate of the Knights of Malta building on Aventine Hill, there is a small keyhole from where you can see the dome of the Basilica di San Pietro! 😮
How to get there from (Catacombe di San Callisto)?
Take bus 118 from Catacombe di San Callisto stop on Via Antica towards Fori Imperiali/Campidoglio and get off at Aventino/Circo Massimo. From there the keyhole is a 15-minute walk up the hill along Via Circo Massimo, Via di Valle Murcia and Via di Santa Sabina.
Find out more about Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta here.
14:00 Piazza del Popolo and Via del Corso
Ticking off another square before wrapping up this trip in Rome. The square used to be the starting point of the popular roads going up north. Find somewhere to have large before continuing on to Via del Corso for some last-minute shopping.
How to get there from (Piazza Dei Cavalieri Di Malta)?
There are different routes that can take you to Piazza del Popolo. The only which has the least amount to walk involves bus 160 from Cerchi/Bocca Della Verita’ towards Villa Borghese/Washington and get off at Villa Borghese/Washington (14 stops). To get to the Cerchi/Bocca Della Verita’ bus stop you need to walk for 10 minutes along via Via di Santa Sabina and Via dell’Ara Massima di Ercole. From the Villa Borghese/Washington stop, Piazza del Popolo is only two minutes away.
Find out more about Piazza del Popolo and Via del Corso here.
P.S. That year I actually went to more than one trips, which was a rare thing to happen back in my early uni days. (Three years later, I can tell you that things are a bit different.) So, stay tuned for another itinerary in a new country soon!