Rome or as the Italian call it Roma is one of the most historical cities of interest in the world with archaeology and cultural remains that go back thousands of years. Having one of the 7 wonders of the world ranks it highly in the bucket list places you should see before you die. If like us you much prefer having a wild adventure, then the option of seeing Rome in one day is a great way to do it and have a fun challenge. Due to the layout and size of Rome you can do this all easily on foot or by using the metro. You pre purchase a Rome tourist ticket for €7 for one day or even cheaper for multiple days.
There’s two main airports in Rome, Leonardo Da Vincei International Airport and Rome Ciampino Airport. The big and long distance carriers go from Leonardo Da Vinci and the smaller carriers like Ryan Air & Whizz Air arrive into Ciampino Airport. We arrived into Ciampino with pre booked transfer tickets to take us into the centre of the city. There’s a few transport carriers to get you into the city all costing around €6 one way, Terravision is the main one with onboard wifi and aircon plus a few others like SIT Airport Bus or Atral Airport Bus. They’re all very regular so you can just buy a ticket on arrival from the driver or bus stop attendant or pre book which we'd recommend to guarantee your space.
Once in the city we found ourselves at Roma Termini, the main bus and train station for the city that everything and anything goes out of. We found ourselves in an urban sprawl which at first didn’t feel very cultural. Our first instinct was to put all our valuables out of plain sight and ensure everything was zipped up very tightly, from our journey in we saw lots of graffiti and lots of homeless people so for the image of tourism the city doesn’t look to be doing too well.
With everything locked and loaded we then headed on our mission to see and do 9 of Rome’s main attractions in one day finished off by watching the sunset on one of the hills it’s surrounded by. The first stop was the Colosseum, this was only a 20 minute walk and the final stretch was along a lovely park which brought us down to the colosseum entrance.
Upon arriving at the Colosseum, the first thing you’ll notice is the mass amount of so called ‘official staff’ they are all offering queue jump and it soon becomes clear that they aren’t actually directly employed by the Colosseum but run tours in it and sell you that plus the ticket. It can be quite an overwhelming experience so just keep your eyes forward and head for the pre booked ticket queue. To get into this queue you just have to buy a ticket online, easily done from your phone from the Official Colosseum Ticket Site or Google Tickets. You should pay no more than €18 which will include access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Show these tickets to the pre-booked entrance staff and go straight to the front of the queue. You can spend a long time inside the Colosseum due to the amount of exhibits and you can also hire an audio guide with headphones which shares the whole experience and history with you.
Just a small walk down the road is Palatine Hill, In the Palatine you will have time to walk around and see hundreds of ruins and the great buildings that were created for high Roman society. Although the whole scene is impressive, these are some of the points that deserve special attention so take your time when looking around The Palatine Hill is the centre most of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and on the Circus Maximus on the other.
Once you exit Palatine Hill you’ll be ready for a little break and a perfect place to have that is the Circus Maximus. It’s a completely open space that you don’t need any tickets to enter and is where the chariot races used to take place. It was the first and largest stadium in Rome. Today only a few remains are viewable compared to what would have been a grand stadium but just taking in the grand size of the space it took up is a spectacle of itself. On one corner of Circus Maximus is a quick pizza and food café perfect for an energy boost, it’s nothing posh but good if you’re rushing about.
From the last stop you can walk to a great view point of the forum that overlooks it and is perfect for photos. We were highly impressed by the relaxing nature of the little spot we found to take in all the ancient roman remains, you can see grand columns m, it’s a rectangular shaped forum surrounded by the ruins of ancient government buildings. This space was originally a marketplace and referred to as Forum Magnum. With the ticket from the Colosseum you can gain entry into here or just view it from above.
Another 30 minute walk or so through the city is the Pantheon, this walk is quite nice as you can go a few different ways and divert via the Old Jewish Quarter and some beautiful ruins if you have the time (well worth it). If there is one thing you are going to see while in Rome it is the beautiful architecture of the dome ceiling of the Pantheon. At two thousand years old the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The Pantheon was a former Roman temple but is now a church, entry is free and it’s definitely a must see.
A short stones throw away is another wonder of Rome, the Trevi Fountain. You can tell when you’re getting close to it by the roar of the water pouring over the rocks then you see the crowds, being such a popular attraction it can be hard to get a space to take in the beauty and amazement of the fountain but it’s worth fighting through the crowds to get close to it. If like many people you decide to throw some coins in for good luck they all actually go to good causes and help feed the homeless so probably one of the best things you can spend money on when in the city. If you want to make it a real moment then pop round the corner and grab some gelato then find a seat by the fountain.
When in Rome, it would be rude not to get some Gelato. Gelato is Italian style ice cream and usually is a mixture of custard, cream and milk without the eggs. It really is super tasty and comes in so many different flavours and specialities that you’re spoilt for choice when you buy one. We chose to go what is rated as the best Gelato in Rome, Gelato di San Crispino and is only a very short walk from the Trevi Fountain so is perfect for grabbing a large Gelato then heading back to the fountain to take in the sights with the bonus tastes!
We genuinely couldn’t find what these were famous for while in Rome and just thought they were a set of steps with lots of crowds at them. From what we’ve discovered since it’s a monumental stairway of 174 steps and it links the Spanish Embassy to Trinità dei Monti church. From a lot of Wiki searches the most interesting fact we can find is when someone tried to drive their car down the steps and got arrested. If you can tell us what makes these so interesting please let us know.
This was perhaps our favourite hidden find and best gem, from the Spanish Steps you can walk to Terrazza del Pincio then up to Terrazza del Pincio. From this wonderful view you really can take in the whole of Rome and the best bit about it is there’s a beautiful park and gardens behind with hidden gems like a water powered clock, well maintained gardens and a merry go round and the option to hire a golf cart to explore the gardens and park.
Overall Rome is definitely worth a visit for a day or a short weekend, we would of liked to have a bit more time to do a guided or audio tour of the Colosseum as we do feel a lot more could of been learned there. A few tips to keep yourself fresh is to buy some water and chocolate from the mini supermarkets which are quite easy to find or resort to a McDonalds if need be for a refreshment. If you have time and want to heading to a restaurant would be a great way to take in some of the culture of the city and soak in the atmosphere, sadly we didn't have enough time to do that so please tell us any recommendations you have. Please be careful of your belongings when travelling the city, nothing happened to us but we felt an air of being careful was a good idea.