48 Hours in Rome
Forty-eight hours isn’t much, but there is never enough time in Rome.
Rome is one of those indescribable cities. It’s beautiful and picturesque, bustling and lively, rich in history and romantic. Forty-eight hours in Rome is not enough, but then again a year in Rome wouldn’t be enough either. If two days is all you got, make sure you hit these places along the way…
Monument of Victor Emmanuel II: One of Rome’s more bizarre looking sites, it is a monument to the first kind of unified Itlay. Less than 100 years old, it is controversial and not widely liked, due to it’s imposing size and color, as well as the destruction its construction caused. Stop by on your way to the Coliseum area.
Coliseum-Roman Forum-Palatine Hill: Though each is a very different site, the three are located nearby and tickets are purchased together. Give this area half of one day before moving on. The age of these structures is mind boggling, and the ancient Romans never fail to impress. Centuries ahead of their time, the Roman Forum shows us they had flushing toilets, and the Coliseum tells us they had architectural talents beyond what we can imagine.
Trevi Fountain: No trip to Rome is complete without a stop at this famous spot. Whether you throw one coin in or three, take in the incredible fountain before moving on. Crowds get large and in the summer heat, can get aggressive. Watch for pickpockets, as there are a lot of people moving quickly, so it’s easy to get caught up in the busi-ness.
Pantheon: One of the oldest sites to see and only a few blocks away from the Trevi Fountain and Pizza Navona, it’s easy to knock out a few sites in only a small amount of time. The Pantheon is different from some other sites in Rome, namely because it calls back to Ancient Rome and it’s history of mythology. Wrapping one’s head around the age of this almost 2000 year old building makes the visit one you cannot miss.
Piazza Navona: A piazza like many piazzas in Italy, this one is famous for Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Bernini’s masterpiece. Though typically very crowded, it lies only a few blocks west of the Pantheon and is wonderful as the sun sets. Music and street performers make this one of the liveliest places to be.
Spanish Steps: Though in a different area than the rest of the formerly mentioned sites, the Spanish Steps are well worth the visit. Surrounded by high end shopping (for prices you wouldn’t dream of in the U.S.), the area can get crowded and expensive, so don’t stay for dinner.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to spend a day in Vatican City, because be warned: it takes the better part of a whole day, even if you buy your ticket in advance. The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and whole area is beautiful, and a holy site for people all over the world, but this makes for large crowds. If you are not prepared to dedicate a whole day, it’s probably not worth it. Other beautiful, historic (and free) Basilicas and churches include…
Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore: Located near the main train station, this Basilica is breathtaking. Built in the fifth century, the interior is equally awe-inspiring. Fresco’s, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art coat the inside, and you will leave feeling like you art history class was put to good use.
Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola: The namesake of high schools and universities across the U.S. (and the world), this church has grown from university chapel to what it is today. The fresco’s, by Andrea Pozzo, rival that of more well known churches and are well worth visiting.
Note: When you arrive, check online to see if anything is under construction. You don’t want to spend half a day planning around and traveling to something that you can barely see.
Take some time to walk around the Monti neighborhood and eat. It’s lively in the evenings and into the night, so grab dinner here one night before heading to bed or indulging in some wine Italy is famous for.
The Trastevere area is more out of the way of all the popular sites, but that is exactly why it is worth spending some time here. Take an afternoon and walk through the streets. Get lost in the smells and sounds of real life, away from the bustle of the city center.
Rome is known for it’s food for a reason, and Italy’s pasta is famous for a reason. It is unimaginable how different pasta dishes can taste when the ingredients include love, a little family tradition, and fresh, local delicacies. Try any artichoke dish when in season, and fresh seafood. Other must haves are of course gelato and pizza, but for an afternoon pick me up, try a cappuccino freddo. Most Italians don’t drink hot coffee of any kind after noon, but iced cappuccinos are gaining in popularity and as close to iced coffee any of us are going to get abroad.
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