Let me share you the experience we had in Rome and Vatican which makes it one of our favorite destination in Europe. Getting lost around Rome and Vatican for two days will not be enough. There's a lot of things you can do in this ancient city just by walking. Rome and Vatican is a city bursting with historic attractions, sites, landmarks and things to do.
You wouldn't want to waste a second of your time missing out on what’s best to see. We were in Italy for almost one week including Venice, Florence, Pisa/Tuscany, and Rome into that time. Of the four, Rome was definitely the most challenging. I mean, how would you squeeze 2000 years of history into that time?
Our Rome and Vatican adventure started with a city tour thru our Expat Explore Coach. It was a great way to start our tour as it gives us an idea how we can manage our walking tour the next day. On our first day, we visit the Vatican Museum and Garden. I think it is a must when you visit the Vatican especially if you are a Catholic. It includes skip-the-line tickets, guided tour inside the garden and museum, and a licensed English-speaking tour guide. In addition, the tour guide is knowledgeable and is legally allowed to take you on this tour. I suggest you to join these kind of guided tour not only to skip line but also not to miss the important part of the Museum and its history.
I am sorry to disappoint you but it is not allowed to take photos/videos inside the Sistine Chapel. Therefore, you cannot snap your own photo of the Almighty reaching out to touch Adam’s finger. Absolutely photography or video is not permitted inside. It is inside the Sistine Chapel where the Conclave takes place. This is where the decision is made as to who becomes the next Pope.
Click here to see a virtual tour of the Holy Chapel. Leaving the Vatican Museum is an equally confusing process. But you should easily find your way to St Peter's Basilica, the next destination on the tour. A stroll through this amazing structure and a walk inside the basilica is well worth the time and will give you an extra ordinary feeling.
St Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is a Renaissance-era church and one of the world’s largest. Vatican is a Basilica but not a Cathedral, as it does not have its own Bishop. The main Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, as the pope is called, is San Giovanni in Laterano, or Saint John in Lateran. (But the pope is of course head of Vatican state, where he resides.) It's a little confusing isn't it?
If you want to see the Pope, you can attend the Papal audience. These are held (almost) every Wednesday, when Pope Francis is in Rome. It’s quite easy to get Papal audience tickets, so if you will be in Rome on a Wednesday (and assuming he is in town), why not add this to your itinerary? Click here for more information about the free ticket. Alternatively, you can see a usual blessing from his apartment at noon on Sunday. We visited the St. Peter's square twice but too bad we never had a chance to see the Pope. Hopefully, we'll have the chance when we get back. ???
Vatican City might look like just another district of Rome on the map, but when you enter Vatican City you have officially left Italy! 😀
Rome has been good to us when we visit. It was raining when we are on our way to Rome from Florence. But the weather improved during those 2 days of our visit. The sun compliment the winter season which is perfect for our walking tour. We started our 2nd day with a typical Italian/English breakfast at our Hotel - Executive Style Hotel. Right after, we headed to our Colosseum Tour.
Just like our Vatican Museum Tour, there's an ancient Roman history tour guide that will explain everything about the famous Colosseum and the Ancient Rome. Wandering through the remains of what was once the heart of Roman public life, its hard to believe it was used as a quarry during the Renaissance. There are well-preserved temples and monuments, free audio guides, and plenty of information explaining what everything once was.
Furthermore, make sure not to miss the most internationally recognized symbol of Rome, the Colosseum. It has a long and bloody history. The ticket to the guide tour includes three sites which are the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine Hill. I can say it is the best way to visit Rome’s most significant archaeological sites and get the feeling of the typical habits and customs of the ancient Romans.
After our Colosseum and the Ancient Rome tour, we headed to the street of Rome. We were able to visit a few churches. It seems that there is one Church in every corner of Rome .The majority of churches are free to enter, and its well worth wandering into them, as many of them contain masterpieces. Some of the tourist spots we visited are Castel Sant'Angelo, Fontana di Trevi, Altare della Patria and The Pantheon.
While walking, we tried some Gelato. On a winter? Why not! 😀 As a result of roaming around, we got to taste their local roast pork called Porchetta. It's similar to Filipino food called Lechon. Yes, we do like it and we recommend you to try it when you visit Rome aside from the usual Pasta and Pizza. 🙂
Probably, the main point of reference whilst staying in Rome is the street called Via del Corso. As it dissects the centre of the historic centre. We started to roam around Rome thru this street from Colosseum. Off of it’s main street can be found Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain on one side and the Pantheon on the other. It seems like shopping is the main attraction of this street. Running the entire length of the street you will find mainly clothes stores of all types.
In conclusion, Rome – the Eternal City – has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, exceptional food, art masterpieces and ancient remains. Try to vary your experiences as you explore Rome, so that you don't visit too many ancient sites or churches in a row. And intersperse these more serious attractions with a few that are simply tourist icons - the Spanish Steps and that place all tourists must go to toss in their coin, the Trevi Fountain. Rome is so big that it can overwhelm, so even the most devoted tourist should take some time to kick back and enjoy an espresso in a park or sidewalk café.
Seems like there’s so much more of Rome for us yet to uncover, that's why we are planning to go back. Someday! It is the most fascinating city in Italy, which makes it arguably the most fascinating city in the world: you could spend a month there and still only scratch the surface.
With a history that spans more than 2,500 years and a robust collection of irreplaceable historic artifacts, I can stay here for a year exploring the city. Rome is consistently ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in Europe and with sights such as the Colosseum and the Vatican, it is easy to see why.
Got any cool suggestions on how to get lost in Rome from your own previous visits? Then I’d love to read them in the comments below! Please feel free to share my photos as well! 😀