I recently returned back from a short three day visit to Rome, where I had not been for over five years.
Since I have done all of the tourist attractions a few times already, my goal this visit was to enjoy the city by getting lost in little alleys, lingering too long at wonderful cafes, and soaking in all of the magnificent art that is virtually everywhere.
Whether you have been to Rome many times or plan to go for the first, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:
Pick a central hotel: On my first trip to Rome, I stayed in a luxury hotel property that was very
beautiful, but it was very far away from everything. Although the hotel offered a free shuttle bus that would take guests into the heart of the city center, it was inconvenient and took away time from seeing the sights. Now, I stay right in the middle of all the action at my favorite spot named the Hotel Mozart. It is tucked away in the small alley Via dei Greci off of the main road of Via del Corso. It is cozy, clean, and reasonably priced at approximately $260 USD per night.
Factor in Café time: One of the best parts of visiting Rome is the people watching. The Italians have
great style and are not afraid to show it. I always pencil in at least three hours for sitting at a great café near the Pantheon or Piazza del Popolo and catching a great view.
Church hop: Besides the obvious required visit to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, a very
lovely way to spend a few hours is to casually stroll the streets and stop one of the 900 other churches around the city. You will likely stumble upon the most beautiful and ornate art that will take your breath away, or if you are lucky, catch an organ playing Schubert’s Ave Maria that takes the experience to a whole other level. On this trip, I had the great pleasure of visiting the 16th century church of San Luigi dei Francesi where three famous Caravaggio paintings reside, including The Calling of Saint Mathew. It was absolutely exquisite and a true highlight of my visit.
Take your time to eat: Overall, I would have to say that I have never had a bad meal in Rome. The
pizza has been quite good no matter where I went, as was the coffee and not to mention the gelato. However, sometimes quick paced visitors can huff and puff at the slower service. The Italians do not rush through their meals, so expect that your dining experience will take approximately two to three hours from start to finish. This is part of the charm of traveling, and learning how to savor your food at a slower pace is a lesson we should all learn and take back home with us.
As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!
*Image of Tiber and St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome, Italy via Shutterstock