Friday 18 June 2021 11:06
What to do in Rome if you’re only here for the weekend
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working non-stop with tourists from different areas who’ve been given the green light to travel again: restrictions have eased not only here, but in their respective countries too. We’re humbled that they chose Rome (and From Home to Rome!) for their first trips after more than a year, […]
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working non-stop with tourists from different areas who’ve been given the green light to travel again: restrictions have eased not only here, but in their respective countries too.
We’re humbled that they chose Rome (and From Home to Rome!) for their first trips after more than a year, but we also understand that many people simply don’t have anymore the same amount of days to devote to the exploration of a city: many of them only land in Rome on Fridays to leave again after the weekend is over.
Of course, no matter how long, everyone wants to make the most of a cityscape, so that’s why we came up with a list of must-visits and must-dos for all of those who find themselves in a “I only have a weekend” situation! Here’s what we thought you should do in 2 and a half days/3 days in Rome!
Starting last year,
museums and other attractions work on a strict “reserved tickets only” policy: make sure you book your visit well in advance, as weekend slots go sold out frequently.
This policy affects popular landmarks like the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums and Borghese Gallery, as well as less crowded places like the Capitoline Museums. Don’t test your luck and think you’ll find a friendly ticket seller to sneak you in at the very last moment: if it can happen, it’s only for those museums that are really off the beaten path (think the
We also recommend booking tables in advance if there is a specific restaurant you are interested in trying. Try using such popular booking apps as The Fork, or any of the ones we discussed
Once you are checked in in your accommodation you chose from
our portfolio, you’ll find that we leave a small batch of essentials in the apartment: coffee pods, for instance, or tea.
Nothing fancy: just something to tide you over before you go out on the town. You’ll need to do a little grocery shopping for anything you might need during your stay, and luckily there is always a supermarket nearby if you’re staying in the city center.
Once you are done with that, we recommend exploring the nearby area or, at the very most, devoting a visit to one of the museums that are more manageable, time-wise.
Your first hours in Rome, therefore, could be spent at the Borghese Gallery, with a later stroll in the adjacent Villa Borghese Park, or at the Capitoline Museums, walking around the Capitoline Hill afterwards, or strolling down from there to the Jewish Ghetto and Tiber Island. Crossing the river to Trastevere is also recommended if you still feel like walking: the perfect destination for evening drinks or a great dinner, Roman-style.
Particularly if it’s your first visit to Rome, the Vatican Museums need your undivided attention. Our advice is try and secure tickets for as early as possible in the morning, so whatever time it takes you to visit, you’ll still have enough hours in the day to experience something else in the city.
The classic thing to do after the visit includes walking through Baroque-era Rome, which is doable even from St. Peter’s: head for the river, at the end of Via della Conciliazione – stop to admire Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo/Bridge of Angels, cross that one and walk towards the city center along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (or Via del Governo Vecchio if you’re feeling confident about not losing your bearings).
A series of alleys will lead you to Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and nearby Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, as well as the Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. From there you can also walk across beautiful Piazza di Pietra to reach Trevi Fountain and (if you want!) the Spanish Steps.
It’s a lovely stroll, which has the added bonus of passing by some of the churches holding some of
Caravaggio’s most famous paintings– and the best part is, seeing them or entering the churches is free of charge!
If you’ve arrived in Rome on a Friday, your third day here falls on a Sunday, which for many locals stands for Porta Portese, the city’s best known flea market. Held every week in the streets surrounding the Porta Portese gate (but as easily reachable from Trastevere and the local train station there), it is an experience. You can buy vintage clothes, antiques, second hand books or movie paraphernalia here, among many other items. Don’t forget to try your haggling techniques!
If you’re nearing lunchtime, we suggest heading for the Testaccio area, just across the river from the Porta Portese gate: home to many a great restaurants, it’s a district that has not been completely taken over by mass tourism and because of this it offers a welcome glimpse into authentic Roman life.
Enjoy a walk around the astounding Monte Testaccio hill, Imperial Rome’s very first landfill, entirely made of broken vases. Also in the area is the last standing pyramid of Rome,
Piramide Cestia, which is not open to the public except on selected dates.
As an alternative, if you wish to complete your weekend with more art and history, line your Porta Portese shopping with a timed entrance to the Colosseum: you can hop on tram line no. 3 to go easily from one to the other!
Take your time exploring the Fora and the Palatine Hill: it will take you several hours to enjoy the heart of the old city (and if you have a camera with you, snap away: the contrast between ancient and modern is astounding).
So there you have it – these are our suggestions for a weekend in Rome. Would you like some more alternatives, or an itinerary that addresses
contemporary architectureand modern history? Do get in touch: we will consider writing a second part to this post!