Fed up of work and need a few days to recharge? The city break is the perfect reason to jet off for a few days. More and more people are taking multiple city breaks throughout the year, and I can see why! Personally, I prefer to visit a European city for a few days and soak up the culture before returning to normality.
We were fortunate enough to visit Rome for three days in March 2017. I had visited northern Italy a few years ago and was eagerly awaiting an excuse to return. With good wine and even better pizza, it was the ideal destination for our next break.
Being extremely organised, I had booked the flights well in advance and got a good deal with AerLingus. AerLingus fly direct from Dublin to Fiumicino, while Ryanair fly direct to Ciampino airport. Both airports are approximately 40 minutes from the city centre. Buses, trains and taxis connect both airports to the city centre.
Flying with AerLingus, we had a very early morning flight to Rome. However, this meant we had most of the day to explore the city once we arrived. I booked the Marcella Royal Hotel through hotels.com, where it had excellent reviews and was well priced. Hotel rooms in Rome tend to be quiet small, however, it was fine given that we were only staying for 3 nights. Our hotel room was not ready when we checked in (maybe a downfall to flying early!), but we went to the rooftop restaurant of the hotel for a spot of lunch.
Refreshed and feeling more Italian already, after some carbonara and pizza, we starting exploring the city. I always like to go on an open top bus tour when I land in a new city, I think it is the perfect way to get a feel for the city and to find your bearings. That being said, it is impossible to get your bearings in Rome. Every street looks exactly the same, getting lost is inevitable!
First stop, the Trevi Fountain. Our hotel was very centrally located and it took us 10 minutes to walk to the Trevi Fountain. For a large tourist attraction, it was very poorly signposted or maybe I was just distracted by the countless leather shops. I was honestly blown away by the Trevi Fountain, the sheer scale of the monument is fascinating. I had expected large and beautifully ornate buildings in Rome, however, everything exceeded my expectations.
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Vatican. The Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica came highly recommended from family and friends. We decided to take a tour of the Vatican, you can individually gain entrance, however, I felt we would get more out of a guided tour. Lasting approximately 3 hours, the tour did not disappoint. Our guide had a wealth of knowledge, some of which, at least, was departed on to us by the end of the tour. I booked the tour through viator.com, they offer a range of tours of the Vatican. Unfortunately, we could not get into St Peter’s Basilica as it was closed last minute, we’ll just have to visit Rome again.
Up bright and early once again to explore the Roman city. Today was spent in the Colosseum and surrounding areas. The underground system in Rome is very accessible and only E1.20 per journey. We used the underground to get to the Colosseum as it was quite a bit from our hotel. Again being organised, I had booked skip the line tickets for the Colosseum online. They were a bit more expensive than the regular tickets, but well worth the money when we saw the queues.
Similar to the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum is breathtaking, much more impressive than I had imagined, given that it was constructed without modern technology hundreds of years ago. We spent over an hour in the Colosseum, everything was very well noted, meaning we could easily get the history of the Colosseum without going on a guided tour.
Palatine Hill is beside the Colosseum, unfortunately our tickets did not cover entry to the Palatine Hill. It is on the list for our next visit though!
Our final afternoon was spent shopping, no city break would be complete without some retail therapy. All the high street stores are in Rome as well as quaint leather and silk stores. The cobble shop streets are all lead to the Spanish Steps. This is where we ended our tour of Rome, drinking coffee overlooking the 17th century steps.
Until next time, ciao.