Though I have been to Rome before it was on a completely different occasion this time. Back then I didn’t have the time to appreciate the Eternal City fully, and have realized that time is never enough and that’s why it’s important to make the most of it on every trip.
This was my first Valentine's Day for me and my girlfriend together and we spent a lot of time thinking where to go and what to do. We read an article which was along the lines of “Top 10 romantic cities in the world” and Rome was the second choice in the article. Without further hesitation we decided that if we follow my cousin's guide Making the most out of a weekend in rome and The best way to visit Rome on a budget we could have a great time.
We booked our tickets with Wizzair, as the airline offered the best prices from Sofia Airport to Fiumicino, Rome. Two return tickets for only 50 euro! Fiumicino airport is far away from the city, but there are many different ways to get there, buses, trains and even taxies (not recommended, the price is about 60 euro). We choose the bus option since the hotel we booked was in the city center and the bus goes to Termini station. The station was only 800 meters away from our hotel and the price for a return ticket 8 euro per person, which is reasonable and the ride takes only about 30-35 minutes.
When arrived at the station, quickly checked in our hotel and since our programme was full of landmarks and things to do, we decided to grab a bite to eat and get some rest since there were 4 long days ahead of us. And what else to eat in Italy except pizza?
The Italian cuisine is one of my favourite. Italians have mastered the art of dessert making and based on some recommendations we decided to have some ice cream - no regrets there! #thetastegelato
After breakfast we started the first day of our Rome tour. Unfortunately, we are not morning people and our day started at about 11, as we needed some time to get ready and we only woke up around 9. Our first place to visit was Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria, located only 500 meters from our hotel.
After that we continued to Termi di Diocleziano and basilica S.Maria dei Angeli e dei Martiri both located just a hundred meters away on foot.
There was a lovely fountain in front, located on Repbulica square and of course we had a real long photo session there.
After a quick break we continued our tour to Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore which was 400 meters from our current location.
To enter the basilica we had to pass some scanners for safety purposes. After we had a look at the basilica, we walked a further 400 meters to see another basilica, di San Pietro Vincoli.
The next stop was the Colosseum, which is located slightly further and we had a 20 minute walk to get to there. In terms of distance, I think it was about 1.5 kilometers, but walking on those lovely streets of Rome is such a pleasant experience. Time passes quickly, without us noticing and we were there in what seemed like a glimpse of a moment.
This is one of the most visited tourists attractions and there was a huge queue, so we decided to skip going inside and continue to the next landmark on our list which took about a 700 meters walk and there it was the Altare della Patria or the statue of Victore Emanuele, the first king of united Italy.
In front of the Altare della Patria is piazza Venezia, the view from the top of the altare is amazing.
After we enjoyed it for quite some time we headed to our next stop, the Pantheon. When we got there we were, so hungry that decided to have something to eat first and choose one of the restaurants in front. It was not hard to enjoy a great meal with some prosecco whilst appreciating the Pantheon from the outside. We then headed inside as to appreciate the Pantheon’s full glamour.
Our next stop was piazza Navona and The fountain of Four Rivers.
There are many artists on that square and you can get a drawing for a small fee. We choose to have a caricature done by and old man who said that it can be done in just 3 minutes per person! I have to tell you he wasn’t lying and also the result was spectacular as you can see below!
Unfortunately, we forgot this piece of art in our hotel, and they weren't able to find it in the room. Impossible to believe, but also impossible to argue. At least we have a picture of it!
After that extraordinary experience we headed to our next stop, another one of the most visited tourists destination in Rome, fontana di Trevi. That place was absolutely crowdeded and taking photos there is a hard job. However, we managed to do some.
That was the end of day 1, all that was left was a romantic dinner, it was Valentine's Day! On the way back to our hotel we chose a restaurant and had a fantastic dinner accompanied by some prosecco of course, Italian style.
It was dedicated to the Vatican City. We got up and had some breakfast and headed there. It was about 3 kilometers away from our hotel which, we walked for about 30-35 minutes. The reason we didn’t use any transport was to feel the real spirit of the Italian capital. Also, there are many other fountains and small squares and places to see along the way. All within the spirit of a true explorer!
When we arrived at the Vatican City we started our tour at Musei Vaticani. You can enter the museum for a price of 16 euro. Many hours were spent there enjoying different types of art and history pieces. Also there is a garden inside the museum, which was a nice place to have a break and enjoy the sunny weather.
The end of the day was near and we had so much more to do. After the museum, we went back to Saint Peters basilica. It was a little bit too late to enter the basilica, but there was time to enjoy the church, which was free to enter (the basilica was paid). We had a good look at the church and there was only one thing left on my list to check. That was the view from the Dome. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the entrance and it was closed. Hence, we decided to leave it for the the next day if there was enough time to do so.
Day 3 started with a walk in a park called Villa Borghese. The day was lovely, the sun shining and the temperatures were about 16 degrees. The park is quite big and it took us a long time to explore it all.
Inside, you can find Villa Borghese gallery and the secret gardens, Villa Medici and Temple of Asclepius which was my favourite. Located inside a lake in the park, you can rent a boat for the price of 3 euro per person and have a closer look of the temple and also enjoy a lovely boat ride.
Several hours later, we headed to the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna which are located at the same place and were not more than a kilometer away from us. The steps are another one of the overcrowded landmarks in Rome and you can’t really enjoy them, but still the place is a must see.
Our list was at it’s end and all that was left was the Roman Forum. We headed there from the Spanish steps and walked through a street with a lot of luxury brand shops like Gucci, Mont Blanc, Valentino etc. We had our eye on a lot of things and hopefully one day will be able to afford them.
When we got to the Forum it was a little bit late and as always there was a big queue, so we decided not to go in, but enjoy it from outside. We found a place on the right side of Altare della Patria, after climbing a few dozen steps. Looked like not many tourists knew this place and we had the chance to enjoy the Forum in peace and our own pace.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped by a restaurant that was recommended to us by our friends. It’s called Sugo d’oro and it’s located close to the Spanish Steps. We had eaten in a lot of places over the last couple of days, but this one was indeed the best one. The lasagna was outstanding and the service was more than great. That’s a place that I will definitely visit again when I come back to Rome.
The end of our trip had come and it was time for us to come back to reality. We got up, had some breakfast, packed our bags and checked out before heading to Termini bus station. We had a plane to catch, so our schedule was pretty tight. We got on the first bus and headed to the airport. Fortunately we were on time and were able to board the plane succesfully.
Several hours later when we got back to Bulgaria, the weather was awful, cloudy and cold. Fortunately, we had our minds on ouur plans for the next trip, which kept us going. And that would be Ljubljana, Slovenia, during the Easter holidays.
Stay tuned as we share our other stories until then and never miss one by subscribing to our newsletter!