I had read so much and seen so many photographs of Rome, that I thought that when I was finally in the capital of Italy nothing about the city would surprise me. And after spending three days there, I can say that I have returned even more in love, if possible, than before traveling.
Walking through streets where Julius Caesar walked two thousand years ago, seeing monuments as ancient as the Pantheon or the Colosseum or others as beautiful and majestic as the Trevi Fountain, and being able to visit one of the smallest states in the world on foot is only possible in a corner of the planet: Rome. I invite you to find out what my trip to the Eternal City has been like in 3 days.
When I thought about which area of the city to stay in, I chose to rent an apartment in Rome near the Vatican since it is close to two metro stops (Cipro and Ottaviano), you can walk to the city center (about 25 minutes at a brisk pace) and found the prices to be much cheaper.
This gave me the opportunity to get to know the Vatican in depth, a state that had always caught my attention due to its peculiar geographical and administrative location. Only very high stone walls delimit the border between the streets of Rome and the interior of the famous 'smallest country in the world'. Precisely on my first day in the city I decided to get to know the Vatican in depth.
We start by placing ourselves in the row of the Vatican Museums, where it seems like the world is going to end due to the large number of people there; not only tourists, but guides who offer their 'desperate' services to visitors who are within 20 meters of the entrance to the museums.
What do you get if you choose to enter with a guide? Direct access without waiting inside, but the price per person is much higher than standing in the 'rigorous line' and waiting your turn. If you have an international student card (the typical youth card that we use in Spain does not work) you can enter by paying 8 euros, otherwise you will have to purchase your ticket for 16 euros per person.
The interior of the Vatican Museums is made up of numerous exhibitions, each one with a different theme such as paintings, tapestries, sculptures, numismatics...
A piece of advice: if you want to escape the large crowds, start with the museums on the right, they are always much less crowded than those next to the Sistine Chapel. And it is precisely this last one that is the most coveted room by tourists who visit the Vatican Museums.
Of course, to access it you must cover your shoulders and knees, remain silent and not take photographs (even without a flash). From there there is a door, quite hidden, that directly connects the Chapel with the interior of the basilica of Saint Peter.
San Pedro is the largest church in the world and without a doubt surprises everyone who visits it. Even if you do not access its interior from the Vatican Museums, entry has no cost.
However, going up to the dome costs about 9 euros per person and from the top you can have stunning views of the enormous St. Peter's Square, one of the largest on the planet. To go up to the dome you cannot avoid climbing stairs, so although there is a part that you can avoid taking the elevator, then you have to ascend a spiral staircase to the top of the basilica.
HEART OF THE CAPITAL
The second day of my stay was based on getting to know the main monuments of Rome in depth, which, as happens if you travel to paris, most points of interest are in the center and you can explore them perfectly on foot.
The first stop was very close to the Vatican, on the banks of the Tiber River, where the spectacular Castle of Sant Angelo which I did not enter due to lack of time and a somewhat limited budget (and the entrance cost 9 euros per person). From there we reach the Navona Square, where despite being one of the largest in Rome, it was completely overwhelmed by tourists spread across its three main points: the Fountains of Neptune, Moro and the Three Rivers.
The next stop was at the Campo dei Fiori where in a small space they had set up a large street market where they sold, at quite high prices, pasta, fruit, vegetables, liquors and flowers.
We head to one of the most beautiful monuments that is sometimes not given as much importance as the famous Colosseum: Agrippa's Pantheon. It is one of the oldest heritage sites in Italy and access to the interior is completely free. In addition, there are numerous ice cream parlors nearby to taste this delicious Italian product.
A 5-minute walk from there, I reached the Trevi Fountain where to my surprise it was fenced off due to construction (something common in Rome...). To continue the tour through the city center, I passed through the Colonna Square, I climbed the long staircase Spain Square and I came to Villa Borguese crossing the Popolo Square. An intense day, but where I was able to see the main monuments of Rome.
COLISEUM AND THE HILLS OF ROME
At 12 noon on my third day in Rome I was in the Gianicolo hill, where in addition to having beautiful views of the city, one of the shows takes place: the firing of a cannon.
So like every day, a van arrived with several soldiers and under the statue of Garibaldi they opened a door and took out a cannon; They loaded it and after counting down they 'deafened' the few attendees who were present. After this curious act that has been taking place for more than a hundred years, we walked to the 'neighboring' neighborhood of Trastevere.
Trastevere: Its picturesque and narrow cobbled streets are full of restaurants where it is inevitable not to want to try their pizzas and pastas...
But the last stop of our trip was the Colosseum, so we headed there but not before going to see the famous Mouth of Truth.
Nearby is one of the most impressive monuments in Rome: the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II; Access to its interior is free of charge, there are free toilets and Wi-Fi connection. From there we went directly to the entrance of the Roman Forum to buy the ticket that gave us access to the Forum, the Palatine and the Colosseum. Why buy it at the Forum and not at the Colosseum? Because the lines are about 20 times shorter in the Forum, the price is the same and the only thing that changes is that the first thing you see is the Palatine and the Roman Forum…
The three places are true gems of history and the only drawback is that the mass tourism and the heat made me desperate at times. However, the reward was worth it since being able to explore on foot three corners that are more than two thousand years old is a true marvel. The price? For those under 25 years of age it is 7.50 euros and for the rest it is 12 euros; something much more than considerable considering the cultural value of all of them.