13 min read
After our Travel Expert Roxana shared with you how to make the most of your 48 hours in Nice, our Head of Operations Sam takes a short BRB break in Rome, one of the most amazing cities in Europe, and shares his top tips on how to make the most of your time in the city of seven hills.
Nicknamed the 'eternal city' by the ancient Romans, and known as the city of 'seven hills', Rome remains an unstoppable force when it comes to attracting tourists due to its incredible history and architecture.
It is said that ´Rome wasn´t built in a day´ and upon arrival you´ll see why.
With 3000 years of history there is so much to experience, including fantastic architecture, bustling piazzas, and of course lots of tasty dishes to taste. But it’s not all about ancient times, Rome also has a few special elements to explore.
After taking a 2h30 direct flight from London, I land at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome and am immediately greeted by the bluest of skies and the warmest of suns! It automatically makes me feel like I'm on holiday and my entore body and mind start relaxing. It's going to be a good weekend!
I take the short 30 minute train journey from the airport to Termini train station and as soon as I arrive in the city, I realise that Italians know how to live. It's 12 noon and the restaurant terraces are already packed!
If you are a foodie like me, Rome is as close to heaven as you can get! And if you want to return home with the ability to recreate some of the most popular italian dishes, why not squeeze in a cooking master class?
Classes across Rome, include making pasta from scratch, traditional pizza and the Italian classic dessert, Tiramisu. Not only are these cooking classes a great way to learn how to cook amzing food, but you'll also get to try your own creations...Yummy! Classes are available at various times throughout the day and range from €50 - €100, depending on your group size.
If you want to learn how to make traditional fresh pasta and tiramisu, I'd recommend checking out the guys at 'Eat & Walk Italy'.
Photo Credit: @eatandwalk_italy
After a two and a half hour flight from London Heathrow, I arrive in Rome mid-morning on Friday and take a taxi to get to my hotel as quickly as I can.
Palazzo Navona Hotel is situated in the heart of the city near Piazza Navona, walking distance to most main attractions. As you enter the hotel, the design will make you feel as if you are in a modern palace where you will feel like royalty during your stay.
After a full day of walking and admiring around this wonderful city, I recommend visiting the rooftop bar at the Palazzo Navona Hotel where you will be able to relax and enjoy the view.
And with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5, I know it's going to be a great stay!
When travelling, I tend to avoid the usual tourist spots as I'm always in search for the most local and authentic experiences. That being said, Rome is unlike any other city in the world and it would be crazy not to start your trip with the Vatican City.
Photo Credit: @sarastepsbeyond
It may be the smallest country in the World but the exquisite buildings and décor are breath-taking, they spared no expense. This religious superpower is not to be missed, even for those who aren’t religious!
An entrance ticket (€22) for the Vatican Museums includes access to the Sistine Chapel. They must be pre-booked in advance as you must select an entrance time. I suggest booking a 9am or 9.30am start because it gets busier and busier as the day progresses.
Photo Credit: @ke.levra
You´ll have unlimited time in the Vatican Museums so you can take your time, but you´ll only have 15 minutes in the Sistine Chapel to admire its 2 masterpieces, Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes (1508-1512) and his Giudizio Universale (Last Judgment; 1535–1541).
Photo Credit: @romeguides
Tip: For the best view of the ceiling cross to the chapel’s main entrance in the east wall (opposite the visitor entrance).
After spending the entire morning walking around Vatican City, you've earned the right to treat yourself to delicious italian food. Be sure to leave Vatican City as menu prices skyrocket to target tourists.
A short walk (5-10 min) out of the Vatican on Via Sant Anna, which leads to Borgo Pio, you´ll find a street full of cafes and restaurants to suit your food cravings.
I´d suggest one of the best sandwiches in Rome at Mordi Sandwichouse.
Photo Credit: @mordisandwichouse
The meatball sandwich is particularly tasty! After your meaty sandwich walk a few steps further down the road for gelato at Arena del Gelato.
Tip: Download an offline map of Rome and Vatican City from Google Maps before leaving home, so that it is easier to navigate the city.
After lunch, wander down back to St Peter´s Square, the splendid key-holed piazza, where the Pope often makes an appearance. The pope gives an address at noon on Sundays and Wednesday mornings. To avoid crowds don´t visit on these days.
Photo Credit: @alangomez10
St Peter´s Square will require a couple of hours of your time as there are lots to see, including a visit to St Peter´s Basilica.
Photo Credit: @mylifetimetraveller
In the main piazza take a minute to enjoy the Obelisk in the centre. It is an Egyptian artefact used as a sundial. Can you work out the time? You can also admire the Bernini Colonnade and the 140 statues of various saints carved into them. Plus, don´t miss the 5.55 metre statues of Peter and Paul who are looking at the Basilica, either side of the Obelisk.
Finally, St Peter´s Basilica is home to Michelangelo’s sculptural masterpiece Pietà and of course the famous blue sky with stars dome. While it´s free to enter, you can avoid wait times and skip the queue by pre-booking a ticket. With an Express Ticket (€19.50) you´ll also get an English audio tour, to guide you.
Alternatively, for an extra special and guided experience, wake up early for an 8am tour for an ´Entire Vatican City Guided Tour with St Peter's Basilica Dome Climb´, worth €95. In addition to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, you will also get to climb the 551 steps of the dome for an early morning view of Rome´s rooftops from the highest point in Vatican City.
Note: Both men and women must cover wear appropriate clothing that covers their knees and shoulders.
Finish your afternoon at Piazza San Pietro to take a monumental photo, as you can be in two countries at once. There is a white line depicting the border of Vatican City and Italy, straddle it for an epic pic.
Have you seen the 5-time Oscar-winning movie “Gladiator” from 2000, starring Russell Crowe? (try to before you visit Rome for a glimpse at Rome’s past if you haven´t seen it.) If you loved it or simply want to do something unique then sign yourself up for gladiator school.
Here you´ll learn how to become a gladiator (from €89). It’s absolutely fantastic regardless of age and gender. During your 2-hour training session (7pm-9pm) you´ll learn the official gladiator fighting techniques from a member of the Historic Group of Rome while wearing and using traditional clothing and weapons. Mind-blowing! I'd recommend checking out the team at 'Gruppo Storico Romano'.
You´ll need a big dinner after an evening of battle, so visit Mimi and Coco, as they specialise in local cuisine. Be sure to book a table! You can start with a cold meat platter and move on to a tasty pasta dish. They also have an epic selection of Italian wine.
Photo Credit: @xmimiecocoroma
After dinner, why not head to one of these two nearby bars:
After a good night sleep, start day 2 with an informative 1-hour guided tour (€20) around the fantastic Pantheon. You´ll be in awe of the world’s largest unsupported dome, built-in 126AD and you´ll discover the wonders of the famous tombs there. It´s been described as: “the most beautiful relic of ancient Rome, a temple so well preserved that it appears as the Romans must have seen it in their times.” - French writer Stendahl.
Photo Credit: @aghen_2
If you want a bit of good luck, be sure to check out the famous Trevi Fountain, a short 7min walk from the Pantheon. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi this fountain stands 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, undeniably the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Be sure to have a coin with you to make a wish.
Photo Credit: @eleanorclark_
From the Trevi Fountain, walk 20 minutes to the Colosseum area. Just a stone’s throw away from the Colosseum fill up on an affordable and traditional Neapolitan pizza at Pizza Forum.
Photo Credit: @pizzaforum
With 23 delicious pizzas to choose from, there is something for everyone. I had the large Forum Pizza (€14), which was a Pizza Margherita with 4 sides filled with mozzarella, friearelli, cooked ham and sausage. Absolutely delicious! The pasta also looked good.
Feeling energized visit, the most magnificent structure built during the era of the Roman empire, the Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Arrive in time for your selected fast-track time slot, with your pre-booked ticket in hand.
Photo Credit: @ofer_blog
For €14.50, your e-ticket will provide access to the arena floor, Roman Forum and Palatine, all with an English audio guide.
After the Colosseum, head to the nearby historic ruins of Palantine Hill, which was the political and religious centre of ancient Rome. Unmissable monuments during your 2-3 hour exploration include the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Saturn and the House of the Vestals.
End your 48-hour Roman adventure with a touch of magic and style with a beautiful moonlit night-time tour. While there are lots of tours to choose from, I suggest the Night Segway Tour of Rome. The reason why I'd recommend a Segway Tour is that by now, you have been walking for 48 hours and believe it or not, Rome is incredibly hilly!
Photo Credit: @patiw87
For €58, you get a lesson in using a Segway, (great for future Segway tours on your travels) and a guided tour of the streets of Rome by starlit. During the 3.5 hours (starting at 7.30pm) you get a new perspective of the colosseum, as well as famous temples, ruins and columns.
Highlights include: • Piazza Venezia • The monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, known as "Rome's wedding cake". • Piazza Navona, home to 3 wonderful baroque fountains! • Popular neighbourhood Trastevere, jam-packed with ice cream shops, pizzerias and bars.
If the weather has taken a turn for the worse take a minibus tour instead, (€30) so as not to miss the illuminated landmarks because of rain. Each stop allows you time to absorb the grandeur and wonder of Rome´s best.
This tour departs at 7pm, 8pm and 8.30pm, which will you choose? The meeting point is at Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs in Piazza dell Repubblica.
Stops and viewpoints including, but not limited to: • 3rd century Roman Baths of Diocletian • Circo Maximo, the ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium • Imperial Palaces and magical fountains: The Fountain of Four Rivers, the Moor Fountain and the Fountain of Neptune • The Piazza del Campidoglio (the first modern square to be designed in the city) • Travestere
Whichever tour you choose, you finish in the buzzing neighbourhood of Travestere, the perfect place for dinner and drinks before heading back to your hotel.
Photo Credit: @leti_gram
Check out: • Antilia Pub to drink like a local. • Big Mama, the home of blues, for dinner and live music. • End with cocktails (€8 each) at Colors Club for a funky and lively atmosphere.
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Rome, Nice, Milan, Brussels, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Rome and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Sam (Head of Operations at BeRightBack)
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