When we were planning our Italy trip, I didn’t really want to spend too much time in Rome. We decided to spend 2 days here nevertheless because we would be landing and taking off from Rome. We explored Rome towards the end of our Italy trip, right after Alberobello. I just wanted to scratch the surface – the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and some good food. I really am not a fan of museums and long queues at sites.
Where to stay in Rome
If you want to stay in a true Italian home, stay at Stella’s house at Via Montebello. It is exactly what the name says – It’s the home of Stella, an Italian nona.
The feel is truly authentic with her great moka pot coffees, scolding and talking like she were your own grandma and her cute home and kitchen.
How to move around Rome
We relied on the Roma ATAC bus system to move around Rome.
Here’s a good guide to help you – http://www.venere.com/blog/rome-bus-system/. I also used the Roma bus route planner to get an idea of the buses to take – http://viaggiacon.atac.roma.it/index.html?language=eng. You can also download the Rome bus and train route maps here – http://www.atac.roma.it/page.asp?p=18
We stood in a really long queue to get inside the world’s largest amphitheater – the Colosseum. It was stupendous.
We got lost in thoughts of gladiators atop the now ruined arena and wild animals making their way from the hypogeum underground. The long queue was certainly worth it!
Largo Di Torre Argentina – Assassination spot of Caesar
What we see now is just a part of the Theatre of Pompey where Caesar was assassinated. The rest of it is buried under the present city of Rome. It is clearly explained here – https://lmmslatin.wikispaces.com/The+Theater+of+Pompey
The feeling was over whelming. I could imagine the 23 stabs.
There are a few security personnale standing at the border of Italy and Vatican City. There’s no immigration – you just walk into the country 🙂
Why is Vatican City a separate country?
The Papal States (present day regions of Lazio, Marche etc.) were ruled by the Pope until the Italian peninsula was unified. Rome was chosen as the capital of the new country but the government couldn’t capture it because the pope was protected by a French garrison. Soon, the French empire collapsed & Rome was captured. To avoid a religious civil war, the government decided to give a land near the Tiber to the pope. This subjected the pope to a law that could be changed by the Italian government at any time. The pope wanted complete independence. This continued for almost 60 years after which the Lateran Treaty (under Mussolini) created the independent country of Vatican City.
St. Peter’s Basilica
We had to stand in a long queue to get inside the Basilica.
Once inside, there was another long queue to climb up the Basilica to get great views of the St. Peter’s square and Rome. You can take a lift for the 1st half and then climb around 500 steps to reach the top.
Some great eats at Rome
Other than some great pasta and gelato, the below are the yummiest eats we had in Rome. I don’t have words to express how delicious they were.
Stella’s house per night for a double room – 50 €
2 day bus pass for Roma ATAC – 12.5 €
Entry ticket to Colosseum – 12 € (same ticket can be used to enter the Roman Forum)
St. Peter’s Basilica dome entry with lift – 8 €
Here’s a general guide to visiting Italy on a budget (flights, visa etc.) + the other places I visited in Italy – Visiting Italy on a budget