It is a great experience to spend a long weekend in Rome, where you can really find it all: impressive churches, ancient ruins, powerful monuments, but also an excellent cuisine and attractive fashion shops.
Paul and I had four days available and wanted to get a complete picture of the city, but of course, we had to make a choice. Sightseeing in Rome is tiring and sometimes stressful due to the large number of tourists combined with heavy and noisy traffic. We used a hop-on hop-off bus, which enabled us to visit most attractions in the historical centre.
Roaming through the narrow streets and piazzas we felt the unique magical charm of the Eternal City. It was easy to find some of the most famous tourist sights in the world: the Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Piazza di Spagna, which are within walking distance of each other.
Street artists were entertaining the public and wherever we looked, we came across some picturesque details like a flower-filled balcony, remnants of an ancient palace and a sculpture of the Madonna on the corner of a Baroque building.
Piazza Navona was an ideal place to take a rest and have a drink, looking at the people passing by. Although we paid 14 euro for a glass of wine and a bottle of water, it was really worth it! But we could hardly reach the Trevi fountain that was completely covered by tourists, mostly from Asia. Fortunately, there were also many quiet corners and bars in the historical center, and we had the best tiramisu ever on a shady terrace behind the Pantheon.
Although we had to wait for more than an hour in the queue, we succeeded in reaching the ticket office for the Roman Forum, Palatinum and Colosseum. It was great to imagine how this social and economic core of ancient Rome looked like 2000 years ago and how the gladiators fought to the death in the arena of the huge Colosseum.
By chance, we had the opportunity to see the military parade that was organized on the Day of the Republic and attracted many local inhabitants. A strange event: in spite of their colorful uniforms, the troops did not march in a steady rhythmical manner and the impression was absolutely chaotic.
A walking tour through the lush Villa Borghese gardens turned out to be very relaxing. This park is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city from where you have a magnificent view of the surroundings. Typical for Rome are the terracotta colors of the buildings and the trees that resemble giant green umbrellas.
The recommendation to visit Trastevere, the old Roman district on the other side of the Tevere, was very useful. Street musicians played on the cosy square in front of the beautiful St. Maria di Trastevere church and many small restaurants were waiting for guests. We enjoyed the Roman domestic food and the nice atmosphere.
Although a trip to Rome is not complete if it doesn’t involve the Vatican, we were not willing to join the queue that was a few hundred meters long. But I am sure: we will come back!