If you have followed me on Instagram (do it here!) for awhile, you might remember that Marc and I went to Italy for 10 days back in March.
Now, 6 months later, I’m finally getting around to writing about it. Such is life!
While I plan to also write about our time in Florence and Cinque Terre (personal fave part of the trip for me), I’m starting out with a fun little guide on how to do Rome in 3 days. While we were a little nervous about making the most of our short time in Rome, I think we really nailed it and covered all of our bases.
Most important priority: gelato every night. Mission: accomplished.
Let me start out by saying that our time in Rome was a little bit of a bummer because Marc caught a stomach bug from Lars right as we left the states and we had to spend basically the entire time somewhat near a bathroom. Which brings me to my first travel tip: public bathrooms in Rome are basically non-existent. Plan accordingly!
Okay, moving on!
We arrived in Rome around 9 a.m., which was really like 3 a.m. our time. We had both slept a couple of hours on the plane but you know how that goes….it’s not exactly the most restful sleep. Our plan was to power through the day, without over scheduling ourselves.
Our basic goals of the day were to explore the area that we were staying in, which was a couple of blocks from the Pantheon, visit the Pantheon, and the Trevi fountain. Since the Pantheon was the closest, that’s where we started. The line was super short to get in, so we barely had to wait and ended up exploring the Pantheon for about a half an hour.
We also stopped at a little deli that Marc remembered getting sandwiches at when he studied in Rome in college for a snack. Eating in Italy reminded me that the simplest ingredients can be so delicious! Also yes – that is a pig head below. Enter wide eye emoji here.
After the Pantheon and lunch, we walked over to Piazza Navona, which is a cute little area with a lot of restaurants and pretty fountains.
And here’s where our trip might be a little different from yours. A few weeks prior to leaving on our trip, we found out that I was pregnant. While this was a total YAY for us, it meant that I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy any Italian wine or Negronis. While it’s totally a small sacrifice to pay for the privilege to grow a baby in my body, it was a little bit of a bummer.
So while we just wandered around Piazza Navona, I’m thinking if I had been able to drink this would have been the perfect place and opportunity to have a little happy hour. Most, if not all of the restaurants, had patio seating which were perfect for sipping wine, having a bowl of olives and bruschetta, and people watching.
Instead we kept walking and decided to stop by the Trevi fountain. It’s becoming quite apparent that none of the pictures in the world could really do any of Rome justice. The intricacy and details of the statues and fountains were seriously breathtaking and I could understand why this is a huge tourist spot to stop.
After all that walking, we took a quick nap in our hotel before heading out for dinner for the night. Marc had a restaurant in mind that was highly recommended from his colleague, which was where we planned to eat for the night.
Side note: we saw some of the most beautiful sunsets during our time in Italy! I’ll be sure to include every single one in these posts!
For dinner I had *the* most amazing pasta dish of the trip (of course it was on the first night…setting high standards from the start!) which was some sort of truffle cream pasta. So decadent and delicious. Marc also really enjoyed his carbonara pasta and wine.
And of course, our day ended with gelato. Sadly, this is when we first realized Marc was coming down with a stomach bug, as he didn’t feel like eating gelato after dinner. When Marc turns down gelato, something is UP.
For our second day in Rome, we planned to do the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and Castle of St. Angelo.
We had purchased 9:00 tickets to enter the Vatican, which comes along with another funny story. Marc and I were both up a lot of the night, as Marc’s illness finally presented itself. Because of this, combined with jet lag, we did something VERY unlike us and overslept. Until like, 8:45 I want to say. Needless to say, it was a stressful first hour of our day as we rushed to get ready and hike a couple of miles from our hotel to Vatican City, unsure if they would let us in past our reservation time.
It ended up not being a big deal at all and the ticket handler didn’t even bat an eye.
The Vatican was so many things to me. It was overwhelming, inspiring, and seriously just so incredible to see. There was room after room of statues, artwork, artifacts, and so much history and religion.
After the Vatican, we were planning to also visit St Peter’s Basilica. However, you might be able to see in the photo below the crazy long line to get in. We debated for quite awhile whether or not we should wait, and ended up deciding against it.
Since we had rushed to get to our reservations for the Vatican, we barely had breakfast and were super hungry. We checked out Campo Dei Fiori, which is a little square with a huge market and a bunch restaurants, for lunch.
I had to stick with mainly vegetarian options, as deli meats aren’t on the approved list of foods for the pregnant folk, but I was definitely not complaining with the panini I had. It was full of veggies and I swear there was some sort of special salt that made it extra delicious. I also took advantage of the abundance of sparkling water options in Italy. When it comes to sparkling water, Italy knows how to do it right, and I had one with every meal…so refreshing!
We ate our sandwiches while walking around the market, taking in the sights and smells of the flowers, cheeses, and Italian products being sold like truffle-EVERYTHING, Limoncello, oils, and vinegars.
After lunch, we spent the late afternoon exploring Castel Sant’Angelo, which had multiple uses throughout history, from a mausoleum for the original Roman Emperor who had it commissioned, to a a fortress and castle for popes. Now it’s a museum and open for touring. We happened to visit on International Women’s Day, so I got in free (sweet!) but there’s usually a small entrance fee.
Castel Sant’Angelo was not only full of history, but had amazing views of the city. We spent a couple of hours here, exploring and taking in the views. As you can see, we had great weather and the view was breathtaking!
Another view from Castel Sant’Angelo.
That night we had planned to check out another recommended restaurant, but Marc still wasn’t feeling the greatest. I popped into a tiny take-out place and bought a delicious veggie pesto pizza to enjoy in the comfort of my pajamas and hotel bed. Perhaps not how we had imagined spending the night, hey – that’s life! I think we did pretty well rolling with the punches and still making the most of our time.
For our final day in Rome, we had BIG plans – the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. This day involved a LOT of walking and I would definitely recommend giving yourself plenty of time to take all of the sights in of both the Colosseum and Forum.
One of the amazing things about Rome and Roman history is that no matter how much of it you’ve seen in photos or read about, it really is no comparison to seeing it in person. To guide us through both the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we downloaded Rick Steve’s Italy app and played his walking tour through our headphones. It definitely made this experience more enlightening to hear about things that actually happened in the place right in front of my eyes. Roman history is fascinating!
Then it was off for more walking and exploring! The Roman Forum was actually something I don’t remember learning much about in school. Once again, I was super thankful for Rick Steve’s and so blown away by the history!
After a super long day of walking and adventures, we headed back to our hotel for a little rest. I couldn’t resist a gelato break first, though!
We went out for a late dinner at a restaurant that we just happened to walk by with a cute little cobblestone patio called Osteria Delle Coppelle. We started with a cheesy potato appetizer and I had a simple and delicious pasta for my main dish while Marc stuck with the basics and had some bruschetta. The menu was all in Italian which made things interesting but we were charmed by how quaint and delicious the food was. Our other observation of the night: Italians like to drink. A lot.
We spent the rest of the evening wandering the streets of Rome, stopping at some fountains, peering into shops, and people watching.
And that’s it – our three days in Rome! I felt like we did the things we personally wanted to do while not overpacking our schedules and still feeling like we had time to take our time.
Next up in our Italy adventure: Florence!