The trip to Rome that we have in this diary was made in June 2010 for 4 days, from Saturday to Tuesday. We made our departure from Madrid on Saturday morning, arriving at noon in the eternal city and taking advantage of the afternoon to start visiting Rome.
After walking quite a bit to get to know everything there is to see in Rome, we returned to Madrid on Tuesday afternoon. They were 4 very intense days in which we got to know everything important to visit in Rome.
And in addition to visiting Rome, we also visited the Vatican City enjoying its museum and its monuments.
The preparation of the trip
The outward journey is made with Ryanair. Since then we decided not to fly with this company again unless there is no remedy. The reasons are several, but they are not the subject of this article. For the return we chose another low-cost company, although much more serious, like Easyjet.
For the transfers to Rome, on the way out we used the Terravision bus, we arrived at Ciampino Airport, while on the way back, leaving from Fiumicino, we used the Leonardo Express, the train that leaves from Termini.
We booked the hotel, as almost always, on hotels.com. It was the Hotel Argentina, a very simple but cozy hotel very close to Termini, where the accommodations are cheaper.
To get around, we got the Roma Pass, which in addition to having unlimited free transportation gives you the chance to enter the first 2 monuments you enter for free, avoiding queues.
Day 1. A walk through the center of Rome
After arriving in Rome, leaving our bags and eating, we begin our visit to the city. The first point visited was the Piazza della Repubblica, where one of the churches that most surprised us is located, the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Its interior is exceptional although its facade says little.
From there we start walking towards Piazza Barberini, where the pretty Fontana del Tritone is located. Next to it is the lesser-known Fontana delle Api. Nearby is one of Rome’s main squares, the Piazza di Spagna with its Fontana della Barcaccia.
We enter from above, where the Church of Trinita de Monti is located, in the square of the same name, and from where the famous stairs that take you to the Piazza di Spagna start.
From there the Via Condotti starts, with its luxury shops, to lead to another very commercial street, Via del Corso. Going up it, we reach Piazza del Popolo, where there is an obelisk and the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
The next destination was Piazza della Rotonda, leaving behind the Ara Pacis, to visit the Pantheon of Agrippa, the best preserved building from Ancient Rome that we can visit in this city.
To end the day, leaving the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva behind, we arrive at another of the main points of interest in Rome, and perhaps the most visited, the Trevi Fountain. It is one of the busiest and most magical places in Rome and as tradition dictates, you have to take a photo while tossing a coin.
Thus ended a day in which we had visited the most important thing to see in the center of Rome.
Day 2. A walk through the historical monuments of Ancient Rome
Today it was time to visit the place where it all began. The center of Ancient Rome. And the main monument of the place is the Colosseum, which we reached by Metro from our hotel. There the queues were huge but we had the Roma Pass and with it we could access without paying and without queuing.
Being inside the Colosseum is impressive and you can imagine how the shows were there 2000 years ago. Outside is the Arch of Constantine and very close to the Roman Forum and the Palatine, the places we would visit later.
Visiting these places without a guide is very difficult as there are only ruins left, some better preserved than others. But we had an MP3 guide that told us everything and we were able to discover what life was like in Rome 2 millennia ago.
After these visits we went to another nearby place, very important in ancient times, the Baths of Caracalla, where they explain how they worked and the importance they had for Roman citizens. The Roman Circus, of which not much remains, is next door, and we saw it from the bus that took us to another magical place in Rome, the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where the Mouth of Truth is.
Continuing towards the center of Rome is the Theater of Marcello and right next to it is the Piazza del Campidoglio, where the City Hall of Rome and the Capitoline Wolf are located. It is the first square in modern Rome that was built.
The Piazza de Venezia and the imposing monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, very controversial, was our last destination of the day. Despite the controversy over this white monument, it cannot be denied that it is impressive.
To end the day, we have dinner in the surroundings of the Fontana di Trevi.
Day 3. Route of churches and basilicas and end of the day in Trastevere
Rome is a city full of churches. There is no other in the world where you can see so many. And today was going to be dedicated to them.
The first place we visited was the Basilica of San Clemente, very close to the Colosseum. In reality it is as if they were three superimposed basilicas built in different centuries. It is very curious to visit them.
Nearby is the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, considered the Cathedral of Rome. Both its façade and its interior are worth a visit. Like the Basilica of Santa María la Mayor, the next destination, of which we are left with its interior although the facade is also very beautiful.
We finish the route of the churches in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli, built to house the chains with which Saint Peter was imprisoned in Jerusalem and which houses one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, the Moses.
But our trip continued and after walking through the area of the Roman Forum and seeing Trajan’s Market from outside, we arrived at the city center to visit more churches. First, the Gesú, a baroque masterpiece whose interior will leave you speechless.
The Church of Santa Agnes, located in Piazza Navona, was the next to visit. This square is simply spectacular, both for the buildings that surround it and for the 3 fountains in the center of it. The most impressive is the one in the center, the Fontana dei Quattro Fumi, the work of Bernini, but the other two are also spectacular.
To end the day, we walked across the Tiber Island to Trastevere, one of the neighborhoods with the most atmosphere. This day there were not many people because there was a football match in Italy but we were still able to enjoy it.
Day 4. Visit to the Vatican
Our last day in Rome is dedicated to visiting the Vatican. Our flight was leaving in the late afternoon so we had the whole day to do it.
We got there by Metro and the first thing was to go to the Vatican Museums, which we accessed by skipping the huge queue thanks to the fact that we had already bought the tickets online. Touring this museum is a delight and even more so if in the end the reward is to visit the Sistine Chapel. This place is impressive although we think it is a bit overcrowded. Imagine seeing her alone.
After leaving the museums, we went to Saint Peter’s Square to admire its columns and the façade of Saint Peter’s Basilica, which we entered after queuing for half an hour. The interior is incredible and full of works of art such as the Pietà by Michelangelo or the Baldachin by Bernini. The visit is completed by visiting the caves where the tombs of the Popes are. Due to lack of time we did not go up to its incredible dome, something that we leave for a later visit.
Our trip to Rome ended visiting the Castel de Sant Angelo and admiring the ensemble that it forms with the bridge that crosses the Tiber River in front of it.