10 Tips for your Short Stay in Rome
So you're planning your Italian holiday. There's so much to see(and eat) in Italia and so many places to go to that most people aren't able to spend more than a few days in Rome*. I researched like a crazy person before we left, and here's my tips to make the best out of your short visit.
*Or maybe you're a lucky bastard who has more time in Rome (just stop rubbing it in and use these tips to make your stay more efficient).
1. Bring walking shoes with you and make sure they are broken in.
Yo, this is a top tip everywhere for a reason. We walked an average of 20,000 steps (whaddup Fitbit users) per day. That's a lot of steps anywhere, but especially in Rome with the cobblestoned streets. You don't want your day ruined because of some blisters!
2. Get into the Sistine Chapel before The Vatican Museum opens.
Look at these glorious photos I took at the museum with absolutely no one in there.
Not pictured here is me and the 20ish other people enjoying The Sistine Chapel all by ourselves. Why is that a big deal? Because 25,000 people visit The Vatican everyday. That's a LOT of people. It's just nice to not feel squished or rushed in The Sistine Chapel. Secondly, when we left at 9.30am, there was already a long line (think wrapped around the block) to get in. There's no point in wasting time waiting in line if your budget allows for the alternative which is...
Book yourself an early entry group tour (we booked this one). The Vatican opens its doors at 10AM (with the ticket office opening at 9AM). But, if you book this group tour, you get to enter at 7.30AM, way before anyone else. Once you're in, rush to the Sistine Chapel first. Take your time in there. After the Sistine Chapel —
3. Admire Stanze di Raffaello at The Vatican
Yes, you can go see the rest of the museum after visiting the Sistine Chapel. There's a lot to see in there, but the one thing you shouldn't miss is Raphael rooms. One of the rooms houses my favorite work of art ever, The School of Athens. I almost cried when I saw this fresco in person. So many greats depicted together. And also, I kinda love Raphael creepin in the corner.
4. Take the exit for St. Peter's Basilica from Sistine Chapel
After you're done touring the rest of the museum, you will likely end up in Sistine Chapel again (it's that stunning, you need to see it a second time). There's a door from Sistine Chapel that's kinda like a shortcut to St. Peter's Basilica but it's for tour groups only. Since you were originally part of a group, I say it's ethical to still use that door. Apparently there are guards at the door sometimes who might not let you through, so try at your own risk. If you fail, oh well. Just exit the museum and walk around the block to get to the Basilica.
5. Skip the line at The Colosseum
Whether it's prebuying your tickets online, or booking a group tour, do whatever it takes and plan for your Colosseum visit in advance. Again, don't spend what little time you have in Rome waiting an hour in line.
6. Grab some fresh, delicious, and healthy grub at Ginger Sapori e Salute
Don't get me wrong. I love me some pasta! And I am pretty sure we ate all the pizza Italy has to offer. But Rome was at the tail end of our Italian visit. There came a time when I just wanted some lighter food. Enter Ginger. Those yummy fruit platters, fresh squeezed juices and smoothies are a nice break from all the Italian yumminess. Also, they decorate the plates with sprouts so you know it's healthy, clearly.
Looks good? I highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat there. Bonus - It's just off Via del Corso, the big shopping street, so there's a lot to do around there.
7. See Rome at night
Rome is BEAUTIFUL at night (and well, always, but lights y'all). Plus all those super crowded attractions(Spanish steps, Trevi fountain etc.) get so much calmer after hours. You go throw that coin in the Trevi fountain without competing for foot space with hundreds of others!
8. Explore randomly
I don't think there's anywhere in Rome that's not worth seeing. So just go explore. Put your maps away and just walk. Or get on the metro and get down at a random spot. You're guaranteed to find cool stuff.
9. Find art in churches
There are 900+ churches in Rome. A lot of these churches house beautiful art by renowned artists. Research some and go to your favorite churches!
10. Book a hotel that will feed you breakfast
If you're a breakfast eater, plan for it. The common Italian breakfast is a pastry and some coffee. That usually doesn't work for eggs for breakfast eaters like me. While it is possible to find places that will make you an omelette, who wants to waste time in the morning! So make sure your hotel will feed you some eggs so you can start the day right.
I know I said 10, but here's a bonus one — BRING COMFY SHOES! Yes, this is worth repeating. And walk to all the places. Most everyone who goes to Rome falls hopelessly in love with the place, go be one of them. Buone vacanze!