Rome is one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world. With a wealth of history and culture, and a host of Michelin starred restaurants too, it’s the ideal destination for a long weekend.
1. Visit St Peter’s Basilica and the Dome
St Peter’s Basilica is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Rome, with it’s magnificent and awe-inspiring architecture and interior frescos, and Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, Pieta. Visit on a Sunday morning to see mass in the Basilica, or if you’re there any other day make sure you get there by 9am so you don’t have to queue for so long. There’s always something going on in the Basilica, you may even see a wedding! Also make the extra effort to go up the Dome for the best views across Rome.
2. The Colosseum
The Colosseum is a magnificent piece of history that can not be missed, both day and night. Make sure you book in advance so you can skip the humongous queue. Worth the visit, and there’s also an interesting exhibition on the upper floor.
3. Dine at La Pergola
La Pergola is one of the finest restaurants in Rome, with 3 Michelin stars it is a magical experience for the ultimate foodie. The staff are excellent and the food otherworldly. Ask for a table close to the window when making a reservation.
4. Visit Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant Angelo at almost 1000 years old is an increasingly popular tourist activity, however it really is a must-see, especially for opera fans as it’s the location used in the third act of Tosca when the heroine leaps to her death. There’s also a fantastic view of Rome from the top! The Castle was originally commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 123AD to serve as a mausoleum to himself and his family. Later on the building was used by the Popes of Vatican City as a fortress and castle, and there’s even a secret passageway that runs between the castle and the Vatican!
5. Eat ice-cream at Giolitti
Giolitti is know for being the oldest gelato cafe in Rome, having opened in 1890. There are now two Giolatti cafes in Rome, but make sure you go to the centrally located one. You’ll be presented with hundreds of flavours and the scoops are absolutely massive!
6. Visit the Pantheon
Commissioned before Jesus Christ was even born, and then rebuilt in 126AD by Hadrian, The Pantheon is a true wonder. Despite being almost two thousand years old, it’s a beautiful and impressive masterpiece, and has been in continuous use since it was built so is definitely not one to be missed. Famous renaissance painter Raphael is buried here, and many members of the public visit just to see his tomb.
7. Walk around Paletine Hill
Paletine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of Rome, and according to Roman mythology it was the location of the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf who kept them alive. When the brothers were older they killed their great-uncle, and decided to build a city on the banks of the River Tiber, however they had a rather violent argument and Romulus killed Remus, and so Rome got it’s name.
8. Visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel can not be missed. Make sure you book your tickets in advance so you don’t have to queue (the queue can often be a 4+ hour wait), and be warned that there are no photographs allowed in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum is a haven for art lovers; Dali, Matisse, Da Vinci, and Raphael all hang in the gilded corridors, including Raphael’s Transfiguration, and the unfinished St Jerome in the Wilderness by Leonardo Da Vinci.
9. Take photos at Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain
One of the most famous squares in Rome, Piazza Navona is vast and beautiful. Well worth a visit just to stop and take photos. The Trevi Fountain is close by so go to both while you’re in the same area.
10. Visit Santa Maria Del Popolo
A famous Augustinian church, the Basilica of Santa Maria Del Popolo was used in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. The 500-year-old church is well-known for housing famous works by artists which include Raphael and Bernini.