Ticking of the bucket list in Rome, Italy! Including the Colosseum, Vatican City, 150 flavours of Gelato, public transport and ticket prices. We had approximately 24 hours in this city and it was plenty of time to tick off absolutely everything we wanted to! Incredible history, architecture and culture, this city has everything when it comes to a tourist hotspot! The history is literally dripping from every wall, flowing down every street and under every step you take. Be prepared to be blown away by what the human species can create so magnificently and destroy just as much. Let's get exploring....
The Public Transport system is very easy to use, with the train line running along most of the main tourist attractions. Information booths are very friendly and helpful and maps are clear. It is €1.50 for a standard ticket, valid for one Metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses allowing transfers. Or € 7.00 for a 24 Hour Ticket - valid for unlimited metro, bus, and train travel within Rome for 24 hours from validation.
First Stop: Column of the Immaculate Conception.
With Mother Mary standing proudly on top, this column is a stunning centrepiece in Piazza Mignanelli. Every year, On December 8th, a wreath is placed on Mother Mary's arm, a symbol for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Around this column you will find plenty of hagglers trying to sell beautiful red roses. But beware, these are well-seasoned pick pockets. Steer clear and simply ignore their gestures. Keep pockets and bags zipped closed.
Piazza di Spagna
In this square, you'll find 2 attractions to tick off. The Fontana della Barcaccia and The Spanish Steps. A busy square, again beware of pick pockets. On a clear European summer's day you'll get that perfect insta-shoot here. Complete with pigeons, roses and loved up couples chilling in the afternoon sun.
This is the fountains of fountains! A stunning masterpiece in itself, the juicy history and voodoo theories that go along with it, adds the cherry on top! Believe whichever you hear and you may become lucky.... Various myths surround the fountain and throwing money into it. We heard so many, i decided i was luckier holding onto my coins and spending it on a slice of pizza to fuel the rest of my exploration...
A huge tourist attraction, getting a clear photo is a challenge in itself you can add to your bucket list. Lift yourself up onto railings, climb shoulders and politely ask your tall friend for help. Do what you need for the money shot!
Impressive in every way, this iconic building is a must-do! Head inside and be blown away by how much bigger it feels! It Still runs as a normal church. In front of the building you'll find a stunning fountain with interesting figures dancing in the water. In the side streets all around the square you'll find cheap eats and eclectic restaurants!
Altare della Patria
This is the largest monument in Rome. Dedicated to the grand events during Italy's history, it stands proud as a symbol of Italy's unity. It's been built infront of the ancient Roman ruins, making it a stark contrast with it's white marble against the brown rubbled backdrop.
We went on the guided tour through The Vatican. I'd highly recommend doing it this way. There's just so much information and history jam-packed into the tour, you'd never be able to get on your own. As a group, we had our own guide, with a microphone. We received a pair of headphones each, ensuring no matter where we were in the room, we wouldn't miss anything. The artwork in this place is phenomenal. The religious side really wasn't something i absorbed as it's not what interested me. But how so much wealth is in one place, and so magnificently preserved is mind blowing. Our tour was particularly busy as we went the day before Mother Theresa's Canonisation. Security was high and people were buzzing!
St Peter's Basilica
I never realised how big this building was...until i was trying to photograph the ant, that was The Pope, in front of it! We were lucky enough to see and hear the Pope speak on the morning of our guided Vatican City tour. Being the day before Mother Theresa's Canonisation, there was a sea of people! My views on religion and such money being spent on the likes are not something i need to delve into, but it is just truely mind blowing being in amongst it all. The grandeur of the entire place is incredible! Being physically there is something one needs to experience. To one, feel so incredibly insignificant as an individual, but also proud and hopeful of what man can achieve as a united being.
Caste Sant'Angelo & Ponte Sant'Angelo
This Castle and bridge are totally photo ready! The classic 'Castle' look of the Mausoleum and the ornate statues of Angels along the bridge make for an incredible photoshoot highlight! Walking along this bridge I had my 'I'm actually in Rome...' moment.
When in Rome...
Before i went inside the colosseum, i really wasn't all too interested in it. Once i got inside though... my mind boggled! How they were able to build such a complex, well designed structure so long ago AND it's still standing.... is hard to imagine. Looking down into the arena at all the passageways under the old floor, it was thrilling to think what this Arena was originally built for. I left wanting to buy the movie 'Gladiator' on the way back to the hostel! Eager to bring the images to life!
Make sure to purchase the combined ticket for the Colosseum, Palatino and Roman Forum. It doesn't cost much more than just getting the individual ticket for the Coloseum. This way you line up once, pay once and are free to go to the 3 sites as you please.
This is the heart of Rome. The centre of all it's history and the modern day city. Here you'll find the largest single site of ancient ruins, with plenty more dotted all around the city. The amount of pristine ruins here are again... mind boggling! So many still remain standing and allow a glimpse into the ancient lives of the greatest empire. Take your time here and enjoy the details. Audio tours can be hired. We didn't hire them but definitely left wishing we had, so take our tip!
This Gelateria has 150 different flavours of the heavenly treat! After all the exploring and wandering your feet can handle, let your stomach indulge with any flavour of gelato you could think of!
Make sure to get lost! Enjoy the sunshine and stretching of the legs! As easy as the public transport system is, you'll miss out on so much in between the bucket list items if you don't let yourself wander. The authentic italian restaurants and shop fronts, the apartments, the architecture, the people! When trying to find the ticket booth for the Roman Forum, we got very... very lost. And here is the result! We ended up in the backstreets, with quaint city apartments, and balcony gardens greeting our sore traveling eyes.