Rome in 5 days

I finally had the chance to revisit Rome, Italy. I lived in the city for three years when I was in Middle School, but I was never a tourist in my own city. I rediscovered Rome for the first time, and doing it at 22-years-old was a lot of fun.

I stayed in a great hostel. Alessandro Hostel + Bar, located on Via Vincenza, it was a five minute walk from Rome’s Termini station so it was super easy to commute to practically anywhere I wanted to go in the city. I even saved money by taking the Alessandro Express from Fiumicino airport to Termini. It was a 20 minute train ride into the station compared to a €40, 40 minutes cab ride.

“What I loved about the hostel is that everyone was very social,” says Emily Pugh, a fellow backpacker who was in Rome at the same time as me. “All the social events made it very easy for me make friends.”

Day 1–The Colosseum and the Roman Forum 

In the summer the lines for both attractions are insane. There will be tourist guides persuading you to buy a €40 ticket. They let you skip the long line in turn for a tour that includes The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and the gardens. All three attractions are across the street from each other. Try checking the lines before making your decision. Usually the line to the Roman Forum goes faster or is shorter, and you can buy a ticket for €12 which will include the three attractions. I found that on Sundays the lines were shortest.

“Buying a tour guide ticket, just to skip the line, wasn’t worth it,” says Ed Gregory. “I was better off waiting and buying the €12 tickets because at the end of the day I could tour on my own time, without having to wait for a crowd or tour guide to move along.”

Seeing the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the gardens took an estimated 4 hours.

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Day 2–The Trevi Fountain and Piazza di Spagna 

Take the metro to Piazza di Spagna where you can see the Spanish fountain and the Spanish steps. In front of the steps is Via Condotti, the richest shopping district in all of Rome. A 10-minute walk East from the steps will land you at the historical Trevi Fountain.

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Day 3– The Vatican 

You can take a metro line into Vatican City from Termini station. The Vatican always had the best shopping at reasonable prices in my opinion. Once you exist the metro, you walk a few minutes towards the hustle-and-bustle of Vatican city. Once you see the round pillars, walk through them to get into Saint Peters square. The line to go inside the Vatican Cathedral was really long, at least when I was there, and I went during August–peak tourism season. But if I remember correctly, when I lived there, I never saw such long lines during other seasons. It took about a 45-minute wait to get in. The line keeps moving so it goes by quickly. It’s a cathedral so dress appropriately. Your legs and shoulders need to be covered otherwise they won’t allow you inside.

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Day 4- The Vatican Museum

I wanted to break down the two tourist attractions that were in the same vicinity, but apart from each other. The line to get into the museum was again about a 45-minute wait but not so bad because it’s up against a big wall that shades you from the sun, which you can lean on or use as a shield from the heat.

The museum has a ton of statues and paintings, but the main attraction was in the chapel to the see the infamous “Creation of Adam” fresco by Michelangelo.

Day 5– Roam to Piazza Venezia, The Roman Forum and Trastevere

Piazza Venezia is a spectacular building and square architected by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo. The Piazza is at the end of Via Del Corso and Viale di Fori. Walk down Via Del Corso and you’ll run into The Roman Forum. There’s no entrance fee to go inside the forum. Once you feast your eyes on the monument, take a breath and sit outside to enjoy some gelato.

End your day by taking the tram to Trastevere.  On the side of Trastevere river, you’ll see vintage flee market stalls, arcade games, and live music. The restaurants by the Trastevere offer a variety of choices from Middle Eastern cuisine to Italian food. The atmosphere is perfect for a romantic evening by the water.

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