24 hours in such a gloriously rich city is, of course, not enough time. However, using my knowledge of this great city from my experience of living here, here is an itinerary I recommend for conquering this wonderous maze of beauty, in no more than 24 hours!
Rome is a truly remarkable and extraordinary city to call home. Living in the romantic, narrow streets, alongside the breathtaking heritage sites that you have grown up fantasizing about, is definitely a dream come true. Day to day life, in Rome, is full of surprises, adventures and unforgettable experiences. It also means that you are constantly volunteering yourself as a tour guide to visiting friends. This is where living here really comes to fruition.
- Piazza Risorgimento
- Basilica San Pietro
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- “Triumphs and Laments”
- Gelato at ‘Frigidarium’
- Largo di Torre Argentina
- Piazza Navona
- ‘Caffe e Cornetto’
- Piazza Venezia and Vittoriano
Evening ( see part 2)
- Fontana di Trevi
- Piazza di Spagna
- Via del Corso
- Piazza del Popolo
- Villa Borghese
- Forum Romano
- Colosseo and Arco di Costantino
- Festa: Gay Village
In order to tackle this challenge, I advise you get your hands on a map of the city that also includes an essential map of the metro routes. In true Italian style, the day doesn’t begin until the first ‘Caffe e Cornetto’ (coffee and pastry). There are various means of getting around the city and, as long as there isn’t a ‘sciopero’ (strike), you will never wait for more than 10 minutes. From Cipro, we take the 913 bus and get off at Piazza Risorgimento, where the journey continues on foot.
Basilica San Pietro
A short walk from Piazza Risorgimento and you reach Piazza di San Pietro where you can appreciate the sublimity of Basilica di San Pietro.
Next, head down the straight Via (street) towards the river and you’ll soon be struck by this fantastic Castle.
Notice a stone wall running from San Pietro to the Castel? This is a secret passage the Pope used to escape from the Vatican to the Castle!
“Triumphs and Laments”
After walking across the Ponte Sant’Angelo (a bridge) you can take a detour to view a unique piece of street art that will leave you speechless! Reaching the end of the bridge, take a right and follow the river. The pathways are lined with trees making for a shaded and comfortable walk. Keep an eye on the river and the wall that runs along the opposite side and soon you’ll come across this remarkable artwork.
William Kentridge created this large scale piece of art; which depicts particular moments in Rome’s history. It is a 550-meter (~1,804 feet) work that stretches from one bridge to another and was produced by using a technique known as ‘Reverse Graffiti’, whereby large stencils were placed onto the wall and then power-washed around them. The resulting images are fashioned from dirt and have accumulated pollution, so will disappear as the surrounding stone slowly becomes soiled again. A truly hidden work of art that not many tourists will know about and with a predicted life of just 2 years, I strongly recommend taking this route.
Gelato at ‘Frigidarium’
So far, you have been overwhelmed by three monumental sites and now you’ll probably need to take a moment to cool down your brain. Gelato is, of course, the answer to all of your problems!
My personal favorite gelateria is call ‘Frigidarium’ and I advise you try the Frigidarium gelato, unique to only this factory. Be warned, however, that you will need plenty of serviettes to remain dignified as you indulge!
The journey continues, on foot, down the quaint streets until you enter the enormous Piazza Navona; which is full of marvelous architecture, fountains, statues and always full of life and entertainment offered by magicians and circus acts. No time to hang around, however!
After navigating through the narrow streets, you turn the corner and are hit by the enormity of the Pantheon. It seems out of place, set within these small cobbled streets barely able to accommodate the intense traffic of tourists.
Personally, it is the one ancient site of Rome that leaves me with an unexplainable feeling. You enter (for free) and look up at the perfectly spherical dome that hangs over you. The sunlight floods in through an open hole at the centre of the dome. It doesn’t seem real.
‘Caffe e Cornetto’
Once again, your brain and eyes need a rest so it’s time to have a ‘pick me up’ coffee and cornetto to recollect your thoughts. There is a lovely little caffe to the right of the Pantheon that offers a range of cornetti and a delicious cappuccino ginseng for around 4euro.
Largo di Torre Argentina
Head down the Via di Torre Argentina, on your way to Piazza Venezia, to refill your water bottle at a ‘fontanella’ (water fountain) situated next to the ancient site where Caesar was killed! CURIOSITY: you’ll notice a gang of rather large cats that live a solitary life within the ruins!
Piazza Venezia and Vittoriano
Walk along Via del Plebiscito and you’ll soon reach Piazza Venezia and see the incredible Vittoriano monument, gleaming in the sunlight.
24 hours in Rome continues in part two, where the sun sets and we put on our dancing shoes for a truly unmissible night as we join the local Roman party-goers at one of Rome’s most amazing venues!
All Image Credits – Kirby Moore