How to explore Rome… In 4 days!

Mouth of Truth a.k.a Bocca della Verità

What is Rome like, you ask. Well, it is like a huuuge museum under the sky. A huuuge majestic museum, where everything is super interesting. But I think, that here I am being Mrs. Obvious.

In addition to this, Rome is probably the most comfortable (if we can use this word in such a context) city in Europe. Or at least the most comfortable from the big cities, that I have been to. Why? Let me tell you!

Firstly, all significant sights are concentrated in one place. It means, that every attraction can be easily reached by foot. And it also means, that you can easily set a scheme, according to which you can explore this city 1.

Secondly, when in Rome, you are not charged for each a bit more popular park or architectural sight. In fact, as I remember, among the most, most famous tourist attractions, paid entrances are for, I think, 4 objects (Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Castel Sant’Angelo, The Colosseum). Having in mind, what magnificent buildings, parks, cathedrals and churches we visited, it really is surprising.

We left Rome with a feeling, that our time in this city was not only fantastic, but also very productive 2. So, I decided, that I want to share our plan of movement and insights about Rome with you, Dear Reader. 

Day 1. Around the City.

Tiber Island – Capitoline Hill – Palatine Hill – Monument of Victor Emmanuel II – Piazza Venezia – The Colosseum – Santa Maria Maggiore Church – Piazza Repubblica – Villa Borghese Piazza del Popolo – Spanish Steps – Campo de’ Fiori.

Piazza del Popolo from Pincian Hill

In the morning of our Day 1, we went out for an easy walk, just to get to know the city a little bit. But… At the end of the day my Health App showed 25.5 km. We had no intention to walk so much, but, due to the excitement, on our first day in Rome, we have spun quite a big circle around the city. 

I think, we all at least once or twice in our lifetime heard about the Palatine and Capitoline hills, Spanish Steps or The Colosseum (is there a person, who haven’t cried watching The Gladiator?? ).  Each and every sight in Rome is spectacular and worth seeing.

However, due to how many things there are to see and that some of them feels familiar even before visiting this city, I want to highlight some of the less known landmarks. For example, have you heard about Villa Borghese or Campo de’ Fiori?

Villa Borghese and its Gardens

On the tourist map, that we got at hotel reception, only a corner of Villa Borghese Gardens was shown. Accidentally, on the bigger map we saw that this park is kind a huge green spot, and we, as a little bit of nature lovers, decided to reach it. It was decision of the day. 

After half a day between the majestic architectural sights, peaceful park was what we needed. However, it’s not only gardens to admire there. There are also architectural heritage: Galleria, Villa House, spectacular little Temple of Asclepius, and a Zoo.

Temple of Asclepius is the most beautiful building in the Gardens of Villa Borghese. At least for me.

In addition to this, Villa Borghese is located on the Pincian Hill, which is known not only for the Villa. Do you know Piazza del Popolo? One of the most beautiful squares in Rome? Pincio offers a spectacular view to this square and beautiful stairs, through which you can reach it.

Campo de’ Fiori

We visited Campo de’ Fiori, or Fields (square) of Flowers, accidentally, just by going to the direction of our hotel. But it was such a lovely and cozy square, that we came here back more than once.

It turned out, that during daytime Campo de’ Fiori holds one of the best markets in the city, while after sunset it has vibrant nightlife. And, as the name of it suggests, square is inseparable from flowers: flower kiosks in the corner of the square are open all day.

For me Campo de’ Fiori left the strongest impression of all the squares, that I saw in Rome. I agree that it couldn’t compete with Piazza Navona or Piazza del Popolo in a matter or architectural heritage, but by the atmosphere Campo de’ Fiori is a winner for me. 

Our Day 1 route is here.

Day 2. Beyond the Tiber.

Trastevere  Vatican.

Creeper plants always look good!

Like Day 1, our Day 2 also had nice surprises, that I haven’t seen coming before the start of our wanderings. Again, we all heard about the beauty of St Peter’s Cathedral or Vatican City, not once. And it is totally true – these places are magnifique. However, the true surprise of this day to me was Trastevere. Have you ever heard of it?

After The Great Walk Around the Rome on Day 1, we decided that we will go to the Vatican City on the other side of Tiber. On the map we saw that there are several places highlighted there, so we thought that it won’t be a boring walk, either. And, Dear Reader, how right we were!

Wandering around in Trastevere

Our Day 2 journey started and reached its zenith in Trastevere, probably the most intriguing neighborhood in Rome.  Streets in there are narrow and curly. And you know what are they decorated with? Creeper plants – there are arcs of them above you, wherever you go in Trastevere. Can you imagine how awesomely cool it looks?

They are fighting against tourist menu in Trastevere!

Also, Trastevere is full of cozy little family restaurants and pubs, which declare themselves as a haters of tourist menu. And the most important thing, is that all the streets with green arcs and cute restaurants lead to the main square, where… Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere is located.  There are a lot of fantastic basilicas in Rome, but this one beats most of them. 

It was love at first sight. I even have to admit, that the time spent walking in Trastevere was the most chillaxing of all the time spent in Rome. There are two main reason for this. Firstly, it is super nice part of Rome, but it isn’t crowded with tourists. This brings second reason up – you can feel real Italian spirit in the air of Trastevere. While walking there, for the first time in Rome, I caught myself turning on the chillaxing vacation mood, that only charming Italy towns can bring.  Do you know that Italy-feeling?

Rome from the Cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica

To sum up, our Day 2 route is here.

Day 3. Exploring Heart of the City.

Mouth of Truth – Piazza Colonna – Italian Parliament – Giolitti Gelateria – Trevi Fountain – Pantheon – Piazza Navona.

Giolitti is Disneyland for ice-cream lovers

Our Day 3 in Rome was dedicated for its symbols: legendary Mouth of Truth located in Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Navona Square. They are all amazing!

Despite this, there is one place, that I want to highlight. It is old, famous and iconic. It is located near the Italian Parliament and it serves the best gelato in the city!

Pantheon is one of the most majestic buildings, I have ever seen. It even seems, he’s a bit too majestic for the square and streets he stands in.

Gelato at Giolitti

If there is a paradise, it is Giolitti Gelateria. This cafe and pastry shop is a first gelateria in Rome! First means that it is open since the early 1900’s. I don’t know how about the pastry, but I can say that there was the best gelato, that I have ever tasted. 3 What is more awesome, this place has preserved the atmosphere and interior from the old days. It feels a bit like early 20th century, while in there. Classy and authentic place. 

In addition to this, prices are reasonable there. If my memory serves well, we paid 6-8 euros for 2 portions of gelato and 2 latte macchiato 4.

You haven’t tried real gelato, if you haven’t been at Giolitti’s! It is a Disneyland for an ice-cream lovers. As I am one of them, I think, that it is a must visit place in Rome. 

Trevi Fountain is even more spectacular in reality, than people talk. However, it is way too crowded.

Our Day 3 route is here.

Day 4. The Most Amazing Church.

Saint Paul Outside the Walls – Aventine Hill – Orange Gardens.

In the evening of Day 3 we felt already quite satisfied with ourselves like an explorers. However, we still had some time – our flight was just in the evening of Day 4.

During our time in Rome, we heard about some places, that interested us, but were located a bit further away from the city center. However, it turned out to be quite near the part of the city, that our hotel was located in. So, we decided to explore the surroundings of Rome center and I strongly suggest you to do the same. 

Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Saint Paul Outside the Walls is the most beautiful Basilica, that I have ever been to

Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls is one of the fourth main ancient basilicas in Rome. And, as for me, it is definitely the most beautiful among all the others in this ancient city. There are two reasons for that.

Firstly, it is history. This Basilica was built as a tomb for executed Saint Paul. While in Basilica, you can see his tomb below a marble tombstone in the crypt. After visiting a lot of churches and basilicas in Rome, this one felt like a truly meaningful, built for a strong reason.

Secondly, it is unique architecture. I’m not an architect enthusiast and I can’t analyze these things properly. However, I can say that it is spectacular. From the cloisters, gardens and the golden facade, to the rich interior and various different areas inside. It will definitely be the Basilica, that I will remember the best from all the others in Rome.

Our Day 4 route is here.

You will always find a parade in Italy! This one is for military forces.

Have you ever visited this majestic city? Have you tried gelato at Giolitti Gelateria? Tell me about your experience. Or about the things, you dream to see and experience in Rome. Dear Reader, I want to hear everything!! 

Yours, L. 

  1. If you are not huge fan of walking a bit longer distances, then, of course, you can choose a tour bus as the way to explore the city.  We did so in Barcelona, and in there I don’t know a better way to explore the city. However, for me Rome wasn’t a city, that needed a tour bus. Distances there aren’t very long, but considering, that each street you walk through can offer a spectacular sight or two, walking becomes some kind of an entertaining choice.
  2.  We this time means not P. and L., but L. and L.’s Mother, who is a fantastic travel buddy. As later on we talked about our trip with P., who had been there for 4 or 5 times, me during my first time there, saw and experienced more than he had during all those time.
  3. Until Giolitti Gelateria came into my world, I thought that the best gelato, that I have ever tasted was in Naso, Sicily. They, I have to say, is still very very tasty in my memories.
  4. Our biggest mistake in Rome was made in front of the Spanish Steps. We bought two portions of gelato for, I think, more than 15 Eur. Don’t do the same mistakes, there are a lot of gelaterias for a reasonable prices in a smaller streets.