“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
If TFT has taught me one thing, it’s to appreciate the precious time I have while traveling. There are so many exciting things to see and learn and sometimes a limited time to do it. My favorite thing about a TFT itinerary is that it is jam packed with fun activities: hitting the highlights of each city while still getting a local feel thanks to our expert staff. Since living in Rome, the immensity of the city has been overwhelming at times and humbling at others. As I walk down the Via dei Fori Imperiali for my Art History class, I am amazed at how natural the backdrop of the Colosseum is. I am lucky to live in a city that has survived thousands of years and has more history than I could ever know what to do with. I would like to say I have mastered it in the 2 and a half months I’ve lived here, but I know that could take a lifetime. Nevertheless, I have compiled all of my knowledge about the eternal city into one weekend for the benefit of all our readers out there. Andiamo!
DAY 1 – Morning
First stop to beat the crowds is Rome’s ancient city center. A trick to avoid lines wrapped twice around the Colosseum is the secret ticket counter that has gone undiscovered by the majority of tourists. Head down the Via dei Fori Imperiali and at the traffic light where it intersects Via Cavour is an entrance where you can purchase tickets for all three sites with virtually no wait. Start at Colosseum first and marvel at this massively impressive structure where the gladiators fought and Romans went for theatrical entertainment in antiquity. Then make your way over to my personal favorite spot in all of Rome – the forum. Straight down the Via Sacra (sacred way) and through the ancient ruins of the Forum Romanum which was once the main marketplace and religious, social, economic, and political center of the ancient city. Last, trek up to the top of the Palatine: where it all started in the 8th century BC. Enjoy the amazing view point atop the hill that Romulus settled and began the city of Rome. The ticket for this history packed trio costs €12.00. More information can be found here http://archeoroma.beniculturali.it/en
DAY 1 – Afternoon
Already overwhelmed with the astounding amount of history in rome? The weekend has just begun! Hop on the B line (metro stop right outside of the Colosseum) heading toward the direction of “Barberini” two stops to “Termini.” Then switch over to the A line going to “Battitsini” just another two stops and get off at “Spagna.” Grab a panini from a bar on your way to the Spanish Steps and enjoy your lunch in the (hopeful) sunshine at one of my favorite places to people watch in Rome. On a nice day, you could just sit there forever taking in the beautiful Piazza di Spagna: a whirlwind of tourists and Romans alike as everyone moves past. Relax here for awhile and maybe walk around the surrounding area to pick up a souvenir. Next stop is the iconic Fontana di Trevi. Just a short walk from the Spanish Steps, be sure to have your coins ready to throw and avoid the guys with the big cameras trying to take your picture (it’s NOT free). After taking your own memorable photo, hold your coin in your right hand, and throw it over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain (try not to get too excited and fall in…yes, I actually witnessed this once). Congratulations, one coin in the fountain means you will return to Rome! Fun fact: the Trevi Fountain grosses about €600,000 a year; but don’t even think about diving for gold: the polizia will be after you with a hefty fine in hand.
DAY 1 – Evening
Another quick ten minute walk down a few alley ways and then suddenly you will arrive at the ancient temple to the Roman gods known as the Pantheon. It is fortunately one of the best preserved buildings in the city, and you can step inside to admire the grandeur interior that is nowa Roman Catholic Church. Keep heading across the Piazza della Rotonda and towards Piazza Navona, arguably one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. Clearly the focal point is the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, containing four figures that each represent a river from a different continent (Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata). Also notable are the Neptune and Moor fountains, as well as the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Now you may be all tour-ed out, so it’s time to end your perfectly Roman day with none other than some pasta all’amatriciana. This traditionally Roman style sauce with savory bacon, tomato, and pecorino cheese can be enjoyed at one of TFT’s favorite restaurants just off the square.
DAY 2 – Morning
Start your day bright and early at the Campo de Fiori market. Here at Rome’s oldest market you can find lots of delicious samples and peruse the stands with the freshest fish, vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Take a brisk walk over to the center of Rome to find the Victor Emmanuel monument in Piazza Venezia. The white building is sometimes referred to as “the wedding cake” because of its resemblance. To get a better feel for the true massive size of this monument: a dinner party of 22 people was held inside the statue of the horse in celebration of the monument’s completion. Take the elevator to the top for one of the best views of the city. In front of the building and across the circle lies the most famous shopping street in Rome: Via del Corso. Spend some time shopping anywhere from H&M to Prada.
DAY 2 – Afternoon and Evening
After shopping, make your way back towards Campo de Fiori for the best (and oldest) panini house in the city at Aristocampo before hopping in a cab off to Vatican City. Be sure to allow enough time here to see the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica before closing at 4pm and 6pm respectively. A visit to Rome would not be complete without a day over the bridge in Rome’s coolest neighborhood (and my current residence): Trastevere. After the Vatican and a long day of touring, it’s time for dinner at my favorite family run restaurant this side of the Tiber. Enjoy the hospitality at Trattoria da Teo where the owners treat you as family within seconds of stepping through the door. After indulging in some delicious homemade pasta, make room for the best gelato in Rome right here in Trastevere at Old Bridge. Stuffed to the brim? Now in true Italian fashion, it’s time for a long stroll after a big meal. Head up to the top of the Gianicolo hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome and offers an amazing view of the city which is especially fantastic at night.
DAY 3 – Morning
Rise and shine for the hidden gem that is only held on Sundays in our very own beloved neighborhood: Porta Portese flea market. Get everything from a 50 cent sweater to a 5 euro hair straightener along the blocks and blocks of vendors that take over the streets from 7am-2pm every week. I have yet to make it through the whole massive expanse as we are usually all bargained-out halfway through and call it a day to head home with our treasures. Bring your best haggling skills and prepare to be in awe at the low prices. After arguably the best market experience in Rome, head into the center of town to Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches and perhaps the site of the first openly celebrated Mass. At this point, you are just steps away from pizza that will change your life at everybody’s favorite pizzeria: Dar Poeta. Who knew a 5 euro Margherita pizza could be SO good?! Don’t forget to go for the dolce: Nutella and ricotta calzone covered in powdered sugar. Mangia!
WANT TO VISIT ROME?
Travel for Teens offers 4 trips that include a stop in Roma! Check them out here: