The first time I went to Rome was back in 2014 with my girlfriends where we unexpectedly discover the Trevi fountain under restoration. It was fenced off with no water so I knew I had to come back one day to witness the beauty of it. That moment came in 2019, my husband and I decided we would go to Italy and Croatia for our honeymoon. This was the perfect opportunity to go back to Rome to check out the Trevi fountain and anything else I missed. Here are my top things to check out in Rome:
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world and it once seated 50,000 plus spectators. Some of the games in the Colosseum lasted up to 100 days. The arena had 36 trap doors for special effects, as well as many underground passages and rooms to hold wild animals and gladiators before each game. There was even a sea battle inside the Colosseum, the floor of the arena was flooded in a few feet of water so ships could wage war.
What Have I Learned: You are not allowed to bring any large bags inside. Normal size purses and handbags are ok but travel backpacks or travel luggage are not allowed in.
Cost: 16 Euros Plus 2 Euros booking fee (22 USD) includes one entrance to the Colosseum and one entrance to the Forum – Palatine area (Valid 24 hours from first entrance)
Hour: Mon to Fri: 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
The Palatine is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills and forms one of the oldest parts of the city. This majestic hill towers over the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus. The Roman forum was originally a marshy low-lying wetland, but the Romans drained the area to make it the center of social and political activity. The Roman Forum used to be a busy marketplace where different classes would go to buy and sell things, a venue for important speeches, criminal trials, a place to display body parts of enemies, and gladiatorial battles.
What Have I Learned: One of the best spots to photograph the Colosseum is at the Roman Forum. If you walk past the Temple of Venus and Rome, there’s an open spot above ground with no crowds.
Cost: 16 Euros Plus 2 Euros booking fee (22 USD) includes one entrance to the Colosseum and one entrance to the Forum – Palatine area (Valid 24 hours)
Hour: Mon to Fri: 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
I heard no trip to Rome is complete without visiting the Trevi Fountain. As mentioned earlier, the Trevi fountain was under renovation during my first visit there so I had to make a second trip back to see the most beautiful fountain in Rome and maybe the world. Tre Vie means three-way which makes sense since the fountain was the meeting point of three streets. About 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain every day which gets donated to charity. People follow the tradition of throwing coins over their shoulders. If you throw one coin, it’ll ensure you’ll return to Rome, a second coin if you’re seeking love and the third coin for marriage.
What Have I Learned: I read that if you want to avoid the crowd, go between 6AM to 10AM or 8PM to 11PM. You can also check the live webcam to see how busy it is before heading over. If it is crowded, be careful of thieves that will try to steal money or other possessions.
The Borghese Gallery is in the Villa Borghese, a beautiful mansion, and it has impressive works of art by renowned artists Tiziano, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Botticelli. The museum has one of the best collections of art in the world in terms of sculpture, painting, and architecture.
What Have I Learned: This museum is extremely popular so you should book in advance (online or phone) and only those with a pre-paid admissions ticket will be let in. A maximum of 100 people are admitted at a time for two-hour visit.
Cost: 15 Euros
Hour: Mon to Fri: 9 AM to 7 PM (Closed on Jan 1st and Dec 25th)
The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved monuments of ancient Rome. It became the burial place for Renaissance figures including painter Raphael, composer Arcangelo Corelli, and architect Baldassare Peruzzi. The Pantheon is a major tourist destination but it continues to function as a church and Catholic mass is regularly held there.
What Have I Learned: All churches including the Pantheon have a dress code where men’s and women’s bottoms have to cover their knees and women need to cover their shoulders.
Hour: Sun: 9 AM – 6 PM, Mon – Fri: 8:30 AM – 6 PM, Sat: 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM
More places to check out:
- Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill) – This was designed by Michelangelo and it was the center of the government of ancient Rome. We happened to catch a beautiful sunset here.
- Chiesa del Gesù – This was not on our list but we found this on our way to Piazza Venezia. The first thing I noticed when I walked in is the ceiling, it’s an absolutely gorgeous church.
- Piazza Venezia – Central square of Rome next to the impressive monument of King Vittorio Emmanuele II. If you want a 360 view of the city, you can pay to go to the roof terrace (Terrazza delle Quadrighe) on top of the Vittoriano Museum Complex.
- Piazza del Popolo – This grand square is located inside the northern gate of the city. You can find the Egyptian obelisk dedicated to Ramesses II in the middle of the square and Santa Maria del Popolo, a basilica that features two magnificent canvases by Caravaggio.
- Via Condotti – Luxury brand shopping similar to 5th Avenue in New York City. Remember to file a VAT (tax) refund. There are several VAT refund locations and we were lucky there was one near us so we got there before they closed.
- Spanish Steps – The famous 135 steps that connect both the Spanish Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church. The city banned people from sitting or eating because they said it obstruct the steps for others. You can be fined if they see you doing either.
- Castel Sant’Angelo – The castle has various exhibits ranging from Renaissance paintings and pottery to antique military weapons. The top terrace provide a beautiful view of Rome.
- Piazza della Repubblica – Large roundabout with a majestic Fontana delle Naiadi in the middle. In 1901 the lions were replaced by the statues of four nude Naiads (water nymphs).
- Galleria Doria Pamphili – The Doria Pamphilj Gallery is a stunning palace best-known private gallery home to valuable works by great masters such as Raphael, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Brueghel the Elder, Velazquez and Bernini.
- Fountain of The Four Rivers – This fountain is in the center of Piazza Navona. There are four giant statue that symbolizes four major rivers of the world: Nile represents Africa, the Ganges Asia, the Danube Europe and Rio de la Plata, the Americas.
- National Roman Museum – This museum is located in four different buildings; the Baths of Diocletain, the Palazzo Altemps, the Crypta Balbi and the Palazzo Massimo. This last palace features one of the best archaeological and classical art collections in the world.
If you love architecture, art, or history, Rome is the city you want to travel to. It felt like I travel back in time to Ancient Rome as I wander the streets of Rome. I threw a coin over my shoulder into the Trevi fountain so we’ll see if I return back to Rome a third time.
How many days do you need in Rome? I stayed 3 days in Rome but I would stay 3 to 5 days depending on how many museums you want to check out.
What is your main transportation in Rome? We mainly walked but we did take the bus to Vatican City.
How long did it take to get to Rome? It was 9 hours from New York (JFK) to Rome (FCO) with a short 1-hour layover in Nice (NCE).
Where did you stay? We stayed at a hotel right next to the Roma Termini so it was easy to get to straight from the airport.
Is Rome expensive? $$ It wasn’t expensive for us. We paid 20 Euros (24 USD) for margarita pizza and pasta carbonara.
When did you go to Rome? October 2019
Tip: If you’re in Rome on the first Sunday of the month, check this list of museums to see if you can get in for free. Make sure to book the tickets in advance.