Last month we jetted off for a long weekend in Rome! Having previously explored many other beautiful Italian cities (read about them here), I couldn’t wait to visit the capital to see all the sites and immerse myself in the history. Our long weekend in Rome started with us wheeling our suitcases down the narrow, cobbled streets of the Trevi region, where we chose to stay. As with the majority of our holidays, we used Air Bnb to find our beautiful little apartment, around 200m away from the Trevi Fountain.
Naturally the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) was the first site we visited. Being so close we actually ended up visiting it, or at least walking past it, around 5 or 6 times during our trip. It was overwhelming to see how many people from across the world came to have their photo with the fountain. First thing in the morning is the best time to go if you want to avoid the crowds and get your own space to throw a coin over your shoulder. The fountain itself is spectacular. The intricate design and fine details are quite breathtaking with the gleaming blue water flowing out. Be sure to pay the fountain a visit at night when it is lit up.
After exploring a bit of the Trevi region, we decided to take a stroll down the winding cobbled streets and alleyways around Trevi. We stopped off for coffee at one of the many standing espresso bars and continued to wander, taking in the sights. Despite wandering without a map, we happened to stumble upon many of the sights on our first day of exploring.
The Pantheon, with its magnificent domed roof looking up to the sky is a wonderful sight. Free to enter and well worth a visit, the Roman architecture is fascinating with a series of intersecting arches supporting the impressive roof and a range of statues adorning the main floor. You can imagine how magnificent this temple to the gods would have looked in its prime.
We wandered on finding ourselves taking a 360 look around Piazza Navona. Adorned with beautiful statues, fountains, a cathedral, and a barrage of restaurants and gelato shops, Piazza Navona is beautiful; a famous tourist hot-spot and the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat or a drink in the late afternoon.We visited the cathedral Sant’Agnese in Agone, which has a beautiful and intricately painted ceiling – sadly you cannot take photos within the cathedral so you’ll have to take my word for it, or visit the cathedral yourself!
After visiting Piazza Navona, we managed to walk to Campo de’ Fiori, the famous flower market, just before the final vendors began to pack away. With a beautiful array of flowers of all colours, the market square smells divine with scents of roses, mimosas and lillies. Campo de’ Fiori is a perfect place to pick up a bunch of your favourite blooms (at a reasonable price) and take in the sights and sounds of Italian market life. I would love to visit again in the early morning when all of the stands are fully stocked with fresh florals.
In classic Rachel fashion we then continued to cram more sights into our first day with the excitement of trying to see everything and anything we could on our long weekend. We walked on to the Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II – which is shown as the header image to this blog post. This large monument, an impressive 135m tall is located between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill and was built for the first king of Italy.
Walking past the Vittoriano monument, we climbed the impressive flight of stairs to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli, at the top of the Campidoglio. Though smaller, and less grand on the exterior compared to many of the cathedrals in Rome, the inside shows off magnificent artwork with high attention to detail. The paintings on the ceiling and surrounding the alter to heaven are magnificent and I found myself stopped, silent, admiring the works in the holy and reverent atmosphere.
From the top of the stairs that we climbed to reach the cathedral, we looked out across Rome, enjoying watching life in the city pass us by. Many a photograph later, we made our way back down the steps and headed back to Trevi for the evening, where we found a family-run, authentic Italian restaurant to eat at for dinner, enjoying the Roman speciality of spaghetti all’ Arrabbiata with some lovely red wine. On the way home we stopped by the Trevi fountain, gelato in hand, to admire the fountain lit up and shimmering.
We really enjoyed our first day in Rome, finding many monuments and sights easily accessible by foot! Look out for part 2 of our long weekend in Rome where we visited the Colosseum and Trastevere region!