You arrive early and the hotel room isn’t quite ready. Because it’s late February all the hundred and some odd dollar rooms are only 40 or 60 dollars a night. So, of course, you take advantage and book your stay at the Hotel Sant’Angelo. The ladies at the front desk were kind enough to hold our bags so we could go ahead and explore freely while waiting for the room to be available.
First up, The Pantheon. This piece of history seems very out of place in the middle of a square surrounded by cafes and shops that have very obviously sprung up around it. It is an architectural wonder.
One thing you’ll notice about being in Rome is that most places you visit you get the feeling as if you’re on an expedition uncovering the past. Yet at the same time, there is an elegance and a place to stop for coffee only a few steps away.
After a backtrack from the Pantheon, we found Augustus’s Mausoleum and the Ara Pacis, which are very close by to Sant’Angelo. They make good location markers if you use landmarks or buildings to help you navigate to your hotel. This might be a slightly underrated landmark in the overwhelming historic offering that is Rome. I mean, doesn’t it blow your mind that emperor Augustus is like…right there.
Don’t think you’ve missed the beautiful architecture if you arrive at night. The Forums and Colosseo remain beautifully lit. This means you can explore even after the sun goes down. There’s so much to be seen I’d use the extra time to my advantage. Like I said before, walking through Rome is like walking through a museum that never ends.
Wake up early, sit and enjoy your cup of Italian coffee, head out to the streets and you’ll see the same forums take on a new look. A perfect scenic stroll for making your way to the Colosseo and Palatine Hill.
Luckily, it’s just the start of the transition into spring — still sunny, yet not tourist season. At this time, one can manage to see The Colosseo, Palatine Hill, and The Roman Forum with plenty of time to spare (and the oranges are ripening still!). I could very well write a separate blog post on each of these locations they’re so rich in views and history. Whatever you do, don’t think one is more important than the other. If you make room for one, make room for all of them as they really help construct a vision of the ancient times.
After touring through all that ancient history you’ll want to break at the Caffetterie Terrazze del Vittoriano for a cappuccino, tiramisu, and one of the more gorgeous views of the city. As the sun sets, the views from the Roma dal Cielo take on a new look. The city starts to appear golden.
Before catching your evening flight, you’ll want to wake up extra early and wait in line to see the inside of The Vatican. Again, at this time of the year, though still a line if you don’t wake up early enough, the line is nothing compared to summer. And whatever you do don’t make the mistake of not purchasing your tickets to the Vatican Museum ahead of time. That line is not one you want to wait in — the online purchase is very much worth it in this case. And the museum has to be one of the most beautiful in Rome, dare I say the world. You’ll want to miss your flight home just to stay there all day.
Favorite Sights/Activities: The Vatican Museum, Palatine Hill, The Roman Forum
Favorite Food/Drinks: Caffetterie Terrazze del Vittoriano, Via della Croce Pastificio
Transportation: Metro to get from the train station to the main part of the city then all walking from there.
Secret Suggestions: One of the most beautiful places to see the sun set on the city is at the Caffetterie Terrazze del Vittoriano.
Travel Tips: Wake up extremely early to get in line for the Vatican, a long line starts forming early on in the day and usually only gets longer. If you’re going to see the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, or The Roman Forum, see all three at once for a ticket price deal. If you purchase your tickets online for The Vatican Museum you don’t have to wait in the ticket line that usually wraps all the way around the building.