When in Rome!

Sue Kirkham on 13 March 2014
Rome is one of those places that just takes your breath away! It is truly a feast for the eyes, a must see destination for anyone who enjoys history, culture, good food and more.

There is so much to see and do, a few days cannot do this wonderful city justice, however there is much to enjoy in a short break. Choosing a good centrally located hotel is a good starting point which will reduce unnecessary travelling times whilst there. We stayed in a modest hotel close to the main rail station, which we found to be a perfect base from which to explore.

Rome is an easy city to get around and if like us you are based centrally, many of the popular sights can be reached by foot. If you prefer to orientate yourself first, why not jump onto one of the open top tour buses which take specific routes around the city, allowing you to hop on and hop off at all the main places of interest. There is also an underground system which is very reasonably priced, however a little limited in that there are only two lines, as the engineers have been hindered in further building due to the number of archaeological sites around the city. Popular attractions are of course the Coliseum, Forum and Pantheon. Piazza Navona is one of my favourite squares, where you can enjoy watching the world go by over a coffee or maybe one of the delicious Italian ice-creams!

Anyone who enjoyed Dan Browns “Angels and Demons” will find a visit to Castel Sant'Angelo and its beautiful bridge well worth a visit and from here it is only a short distance to the magnificent St Peters Basilica in the Vatican City. The beauty and sheer size of this church can be almost overwhelming, but definitely not to be missed. For exceptional views of the city, it is possible to pay a small fee and climb to the top of the dome, but it is a tiring climb for anyone not physically fit. If possible allow the best part of a day for a visit to St Peters and the Sistine Chapel, which is next door. The sites are vast and can be very busy. My top tip would be to pre-book tickets to the Sistine Chapel, as we did on our visit. When we arrived near to the entrance to the Chapel we were astonished to see a queue of people stretching endlessly around the streets, all waiting to buy entry tickets. This can waste a lot of time and if the weather is hot it can also be very uncomfortable, so pre-book and beat the queue!

It would not be possible to leave Rome without a visit to the Trevi Fountain. It is said that here if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you are sure to return to Rome one day. It has worked for me, I have returned three times and look forward to my fourth trip to this beautiful city.