It has been a little while since I last posted about our Rome trip. I’m excited to share more about what we did and saw a few months ago!
After getting settled into our hotel and familiarizing ourselves a little with the area, we were itching to start exploring the city. We began each morning of our trip with a cappuccino and breakfast, which was provided by our hotel.
Day 1: The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, Baths of Caracalla, and Altar of the Fatherland/Terrace of the Quadrigas overlook
We decided to begin our morning at the Colosseum, since the crowds tended to be worse later in the day. We did visit Rome during “off season,” but there were still larger crowds than I was expecting. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to visit during the summer months when it is considered “peak season”!
The Colosseum was spectacular. It truly took my breath away and made me tear up a bit. I cannot say how glad I was that we decided not to pack our days too full of activities. It allowed us to take our time at each attraction and soak everything in instead of rushing through to make sure we made it to the next place in enough time. Ryan and I spent about an hour and a half walking around the Colosseum and taking in the vastness of this iconic structure. This was my favorite site of the trip, hands down!
Your ticket to the Colosseum also gives you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Naturally, those were our next stops. After entering the grounds of the Roman Forum, we decided to head up Palatine Hill first so we could enjoy the lookout and stake out what sites in the Forum were most interesting to us. This is another instance where we were glad we set aside the time to soak in everything around us. There is so much to see in the Roman Forum that you could easily spend a good amount of time exploring.
The jet lag was catching up to us, so we decided we needed a little espresso break to help us keep going. We found that we looked forward to grabbing an espresso in the afternoon each day since espresso cafés were everywhere!
On our itinerary, we listed a few sites that were a little more out of the way just in case we had the chance to check them out. As it turns out, we found ourselves with some extra time and decided to make our way out to see them. We walked along the track of Circus Maximus, an ancient chariot-racing stadium located adjacent to Palatine Hill. Next, we headed to the Baths of Caracalla. We did end up purchasing a 48-hour Roma Pass for our trip, which gave us discounted admission to the Baths. The Baths of Caracalla were very expansive and offered us a nice reprieve from the crowds (since its location was more out of the way).
The last major site we wanted to check off of our list for the day was the Altar of the Fatherland. Ryan did the majority of the research for our trip and discovered that there was an overlook at the top of the structure that gave you excellent views of the city. Ryan and I love a good overlook and couldn’t pass that up. We arrived at the top right around sunset and the views were spectacular. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.
After a very full day of exploring, we decided to venture to Trastevere to grab some dinner. With our Roma Pass, we got unlimited rides for all public transit — metro, bus, and trams — which helped us get to Trastevere so much easier. Ryan and I love to take public transit wherever we travel. It helps us to get a real feel for the city we are in and experience even more of the culture.
Day 2: The Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastián
One of the first things I told Ryan that I had to see when visiting Rome was the catacombs. I remembered learning a lot about them in school and had to take advantage of this opportunity to check them out. After doing a little research, we realized that some of the major catacombs were located further outside of the city. It took some creativity and careful planning, but we figured out how to work them into our trip!
Be sure to check the hours of operation before heading out to visit the catacombs. When we were preparing for our trip, we realized that one of the catacombs was closed on the day that we had originally set aside to visit. Thankfully, we were able to play with our itinerary a little to find the best time to visit both catacomb sites. The trek out to the catacombs by bus was a little lengthy but worth it (to us).
Pictures weren’t allowed inside of the catacombs, so we don’t have much to show of our explorations. I will say that it was incredible to take a tour of two of the most famous catacomb sites. It is truly a maze once you get down into the catacombs, and I am very glad we had a guide to help lead us through the narrow passageways.
After we finished our second tour, we decided to go on a little walk down the Appian Way, one of the oldest and most important roads of the ancient Roman Empire. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best day to walk along the road (it was overcast and rained off and on all day), but we still enjoyed a relaxing day checking out some places “off the beaten path.”
Rome was most certainly living up to all of the hype, and we still had two more full days to explore even more!