I would never ever tell you that you can see Rome in one day. It is truly an amazing city with so much history and many fabulous sights that one day does not do it justice.
I do however have a walking tour to get a starter’s view of Rome. This walking tour starts and ends at Roma Termini (the main train station) so it is very handy if you are coming into Rome for the day.
What you will need:
- Good walking shoes
- Camera/Phone – for photos
- Hat (especially in the summer)
- Water bottle (you can fill up for free with potable water at the many water stations)
- Sun block (especially in the summer)
- Map of Rome
- Time – depending how long you spend at each sight, this can take you 7-10 hours
Here we go!
Starting at Roma Termini walk to:
- San Pietro in Vincoli [The church containing the chains that held St. Peter; also home to Michelangelo’s famous “horned Moses”.]
- Colosseum [1,000+ years and still standing. It has been a sports stadium, a church and I am still awestruck when I walk around the corner and see it. ELIN’S TIP: pre-book your Colosseum tickets to avoid the very long lines – Rome Colosseum Tickets.
- Forum [The original marketplace and yes, this is where they killed Caesar. Pay homage to the Vestal Virgins and the original Senate.]
- Campidoglio [Or, Capitoline Hill, is one of the original seven hills of Rome. There were seven important temples built here and traces of them remain today. The highlight? The Piazza del Campidoglio which was designed by Michelangelo and can be reached from the foot of the hill by climbing the Cordonata stairs.]
- Santa Maria in Aracoeli [At the site of the Temple of Jupiter, the church goes back to the 6th century. 124 steps will take you to the Church on top of the Capitoline Hill. ELIN’S TIP: Conspiracy Theorists – tell me if you see the painting that looks like Jesus is marrying Mary Magdalene.]
- Vittorio Emanuele Monument [The Italians have a love hate relationship with this monument and have nicknamed it “the typewriter” and “the wedding cake”. It is also known as The Altare della Patria (the Altar to the Nation), as it also has the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier which sits at the foot of the giant bronze statue of King Vittorio Emanuele. Regardless of the name, climb the steps, all 80 meters of them, and get a great view of the city.]
- Piazza Venezia [The hub of Rome, which borders, Vittorio Emanuele Monument, Trajan’s Market and leads to the Colosseum. Look for the balcony where Mussolini used to make speeches from in the Palazzo Venezia.]
- Piazza Navona [Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (fountain of four rivers); an Egyptian obelisk; Fontana del Moro and the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone by Borromini. ELIN’S TIP: walk around and enjoy but do NOT order coffee or lunch in one of the cafes nearby unless you want to pay a heavy tourist premium for the seat.]
- Pantheon [Originally built by Marcus Agrippa in 27-25 BC (Prefect of Emperor Augustus) the present building has been around since 126 AD. The Dome on the top has a 9 meter hole, the Oculus, which provides all the light. There is Raphael’s crypt as well as the crypts of King Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.]
- Trevi Fountain [Made famous by so many movies (including “Three Coins in a Fountain” and “La Dolce Vita”. Throw a coin and come back. ELIN’S TRADITION is to take 3 coins. Throw one over your left shoulder and think “I want to come back to Italy”; throw one over your right shoulder and think “I want to come back to Rome”; the third one? Give it a kiss, toss it over your head and make a wish. ELIN’S TIP: do NOT try to swim/wade in the fountain. I don’t care how many times you saw La Dolce Vita, it is not happening! ELIN’S REFRESHMENT TIP: when facing the Trevi, go to the little gelato place to your left for a refreshing “limone granite” (le-moan-ey gran-e-tee)
- Via del Corso [One of the original streets of Rome which is remarkably straight.]
- Via Condotti [Home to all the fancy high-end shopping you could ask for.]
- Spanish Steps [You can walk up the 135 steps that were originally built in 1717, at the top is the Trinità dei Monti. At the bottom of the steps, take a look at the Bernini’s Fontana della Barcaccia, built in 1627 to commemorate the Tiber’s flooding in 1598 when the Piazza di Spagna was under a meter of water!]
- Return to Roma Termini
While this is a lot to do for one day, PLEASE come back another day to see the Vatican, St. Peter Basillica, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza del Popolo, the Boca del Verita and the Borghese Gardens.