How to spend 4 days in Rome
My only personal connection with Italy is my name which is same as the fashion capital Milan. Rome has always been a place that I wanted to visit earlier. In one city, you have you have centuries of history and delicious food and emotional people. Rome is a big city so it takes much more than 4 days to see most of it. However, I’ll tell about my experience here.
When we left Helsinki by plane it started snowing, so I was extra excited about the weather in Rome. Warm afternoon sun met us in Fiumicino Airport (finally there is use for the sunglasses). After purchasing 72 hour Roma pass (non-limit public transport and 2 free entrances to museums) we took a bus (5,9 e) to Roma Termini station and later metro to Ponte Lungo where our apartment was located. We lived in Appio Latino, which is a bit shabby area, but in there are plenty of good value restaurants and shops. Apartment rent came out cheap, approximately 22 euros/night /person. Of course, there were some minuses too, nights were chilly and cooking on the gas stove was tricky to use. We saved a good chunk of money by cooking Italian dishes at home, fresh ingredients were available at the local supermarket. However, on the arrival day, we had tasty pizza slices from Magna Pizza, which cost up to 2,5 euros/piece.
Me and my brother suck at posing (picture taken in yard of our Airbnb apartment)
21m-high Arch of Constantine decorated with figures & battle scenes. Erected by Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312.
The second day began well, it was a hot sunny day, we left outerwear at home and went to see ancient Roman ruins Palatino including Colosseum. Having Roma pass allowed us to skip a long queue to Palatino area. This area made a real impression on us and it was among highlights of the trip. It was hard to believe how intelligent our ancestors were having a skill of creating these beautiful buildings. See it for yourself from the pictures =)
After Palatino, we had lunch at home and later went to see Piazza Venezia and Trevi fountain. I had extra coin to throw in the fountain, so consequentially according to beliefs, it means that someday I’ll return to Rome. One thing I noticed, surroundings of every tourist attraction are full of Pakistani and Indian sellers offering selfie sticks, roses or slime.
The third day started with a cup of coffee in “Sant’Eustachio il Caffè” café. An interesting fact is that price of coffee is higher if you drink it at café instead of take away and it applies to most of the cafes. Pantheon was the closest tourist attraction so we headed out there. Surprisingly there wasn’t any entrance fee. Recommend you visit it, since barely anywhere you will see such a big ancient building with open ceiling.
Pantheon – Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).
After Pantheon, we took a long walk to Castel Sant’Angelo, old castle building where assets of the emperor were stored. Before entering the castle we crossed the bridge which looked similar to Charles Bridge in Prague. It takes some time to climb up the castle but it’s worth it since you will get to see the stunning view to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Hunger hit us so we decided to have a bite somewhere. I did some research beforehand on budget restaurants, we headed out to Pastificio Guerra (close to Spanish stairs). For lunch, this place offers two choices of pasta and cup of wine/water for only 4 euros. Food is served in plastic containers but it’s good and fills your hunger.
Spanish stairs – Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti
Delicious pasta box from Pastaficio Guerra
Spanish stairs were very crowded with tourist groups, street sellers and couples having a romantic moment. Since the weather was great we decided to visit Villa Borghese park. Afterward went to take a rest at home.
Later in the evening decided to visit Colosseum from inside. At the entrance, there was a full security check but overall we got in quickly. Historically this place is one of the bloodiest on earth. Thousands of people and animals suffered on this arena for the sake of entertainment, cruel, isn’t it? However, Colosseum in evening sun is mysteriously peaceful and calming place. We also got to see Colosseum-themed modern art exhibition.
After Colosseum we decided to do some later evening shopping, heading out to sneaker store Suede store and on the way we checked out random vintage store. Shopping trip was unsuccessful since right shoe size (EU 47,5) for my brother couldn’t be found. Vintage store (Pifebo Vintage Shop) had few interesting pieces, but there wasn’t a true need for those so we didn’t buy anything.
On Thursday we prepared calamari pasta for the lunch and around 12 o clock left to see Vatican from inside. One of best decisions was purchasing tickets for Vatican beforehand since the queue for the tickets was around 600 meters. Rome pass and Vatican museum tickets purchased beforehand saved us a lot of time and helped us to enjoy the trip fully. It felt good to skip the whole line and enter. We didn’t take a guided tour, but since there were so many tour guides in every room, receiving some info was always possible. Rooms of Vatican looked fabulous with all the wall paintings and gold around. However most interesting part of Vatican was Sistine Chapel and San Peters Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Swiss soldiers serve as the de facto military of Vatican City
Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City
After Vatican, we took a walk to Trastavere region of Rome, which has old narrow streets and it had a bohemian vibe. This is a formerly working-class district which allows you to get away from hefty crowds of tourist mass. On Sundays there are huge flea markets at Porta Portese where you can find interesting stuff – don’t forget to bargain.
Our flight back to Helsinki was around 7 o clock so we had wake up early and it was raining outside. Our Airbnb host booked a taxi for us so heavy rain didn’t bother us much and we paid 50 euros for this convenience. Leaving Rome was hard because I still felt that we didn’t see enough. To my opinion there is too much of Italy in one Rome, it is big and charming but I still believe that seeing multiple smaller town with fewer tourists would give purer Italian experience. Anyway, since I threw a coin in Trevi fountain destiny will lead me some day back to this city. 😉