Rome is one of the oldest, continuously occupied cities in Europe. With two and a half thousand years worth of history crammed in to 496.3 square miles, time is precious when deciding on what hot spots to visit.
So if you’re just passing through on a great Italian road trip and running short of time, do not despair! Despite Rome’s size, it is actually surprisingly achievable to see all the main attractions in just one day.
This guide will help you conquer all the places you simply cannot afford to miss on your mini break to Italy’s capital.
The Colosseum and The Arch of Constantine (3 hours)
The Colosseum is probably the most famous landmark in the whole of Italy. And it is justifiably so. The glorious Amphitheatre stands noble and teases at the history that lie within its walls.
For a mere €15.50 per person, you are free to wander the depths of Ancient Rome and peek back at life during the Roman Empire. There are plenty of historical facts dotted around to give you insight and provoke your imagination to the tragedy and excitement that would have filled the Colosseum in 72 AD.
Tales of bloody gladiator battles and the slaughtering of animals may not be the first thing you want to hear about in the morning, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The gorgeous architecture and natural corrosion is just as jaw dropping as the events that took place there. And let’s face it; standing in an ancient, architectural masterpiece that was built almost 2000 years ago is enough to give anyone goosebumps.
Whilst in the area, pop across the road to The Arch of Constantine. It is the last existing triumphal arch in Rome and well worth a visit. The ancient monument was built, a little after The Colosseum, in 315 AD.
The Roman Forum (1 hour)
Just like Athens, Rome is, if we’re being honest, a city of ancient ruins. And no where is this more obvious than the Roman Forum, a rectangular sprawl of ruins that used to be Ancient Rome’s city centre. Originally an Etruscan burial ground, the site flourished over time to house temples, basilicas and important government buildings, eventually coming to be known as the most celebrated meeting place in history.
Altare della Patria (2 hours)
Take a stroll through Parco Del Colle Oppio and fill your boots with more wondrous sights of ancient ruins and monuments. Allow yourself at least an hour to fill your camera before exiting and heading west towards Altare della Patria; also known as Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele.
The monument was erected in the early 1900’s as a tribute to Victor Emanuele II, the first King of a united Italy. The monument has caused a lot of controversy amongst Italians, being described as too brash and pompous.
It’s bright white marble walls and goddess statues on the roof can be seen for miles. And despite the criticism, it is outrageously impressive. It would be a shame – and frankly, quite difficult – to miss when you’re in the area.
Trevi Fountain (1 hour)
The Trevi Fountain is without doubt the busiest tourist attraction that Rome has to offer. Surrounded by narrow streets, tourists cram into the small square resulting in a bit of a battle if you want to reach the front. But don’t let the busy crowds put you off.
It stands 26.3m high and almost 50m wide so you don’t really need to be at the front of the fountain to fully appreciate the artistic stone carvings. Viewing Trevi Fountain can be compared to a theatrical performance. The clash of turquoise water on stone is powerfully mesmerising.
Found in the centre of the fountain – standing proud and tall – is Neptune, God of the sea. He is accompanied by two Tritons and their magnificent sea horses.
Once you feel satisfied in absorbing what Trevi Fountain has to offer, join that battle and make your way to the front. Legend has it that whoever throws a coin into the water is certain to return to Rome in the future. So if you really are tight for time and don’t feel like a day is long enough in this spectacular city, go ahead and chuck all your spare change in. It can’t hurt your chances, right?
Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel (5 hours)
Want to be able to say you’ve visited the smallest country in the world? Because that is technically what Vatican City is. The Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home to the Pope.
It has its own postal service, radio station, television station, daily newspaper and even its own passports for Vatican citizens.
It also has its own design on coins. Although, if you’re lucky enough to find one of them in your pocket, don’t chuck it in Trevi Fountain. They’re rather sought after by collectors. Your next trip to Rome might be sooner than you think if you acquire one of those bad boys!
Vatican City is also home to the Sistine Chapel and the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. A word of advice, buy your tickets online to avoid a lengthy queue if you want to go inside to view the legendary artwork.