Rome has to be one of my favourite cities and I’m sure I’m not alone in that statement!
The only way to see Rome, especially the Vatican is with a guide. The amount of history and stories your guide regales you’d never pick up in a guide book. Following the morning tour of the city by bus I made mental notes of what sights I wanted to return to the next day. The area around the Pantheon was one that I went back to so I could sit in the piazza outside and have a coffee. The others were the Roman Forum and Coliseum which I wanted to go into and both are beside each other.
The afternoon was dedicated to the Vatican city and took in the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Basilica and the enormous art collection.
The Basilica leaves you in awe at the sheer size of it. The Italians were so proud of it they marked on the floor were the other great Cathedrals in the world would finish whilst this went on. The art collection is incredible with paintings and statues from all the worlds greatest artist. Its quiet surreal to be surrounded by such beautiful historical things. Security is strict when entering the Basilica and of course your shoulders must be covered.
Make sure you have good walking shoes on as it’s a large city with the main sights scattered all around. It would be a good 30 minute walk from the Spanish Steps to the Coliseum. Also a lot of the small streets are cobbled so heels are not recommended.
In the evening my favour area to eat is Piazza Navona. This whole piazza (square) has restaurants all around it with everyone eating alfresco. In the middle you have street entertainers, local artists painting and small stalls selling jewellery and other things. It has a wonderful atmosphere and following dinner you’ll find you’ll stay around this area. There are small streets off the piazza that have bars with seats outside for people watching.
Shopping is excellent in Rome, it doesn’t have to be all designer labels, there’s plenty to choose from.
The hotel was a good four star hotel. In Italy stars can mean anything as the hotels grade themselves so you find that there standard is usually lower than ours but the Crown Plaza St Peters did not disappoint. It’s in the vicinity of the Vatican and therefore they run a complimentary shuttle bus from the hotel to the city centre throughout the day which was perfect and we used it all the time. I’ve stayed in more central hotels before but of a lower standard but I think I prefer to have the comfort of a good hotel and know when I go back in the evening there is nice bar to have drink.
Overall I can’t recommend Rome enough. I’m fortunate enough to have a choice of cities to travel to being in the travel business but it’s one I always return to.
– Celine, General Manager