1. Vatican Museums
Our first full day in Rome we got up early and went to the Vatican Museums. Now depending on how much you enjoy sculpture, history, and art, this museum can take you a couple hours, or half a day. We budgeted about 4 hours to go through the museum and the Sistine Chapel which is within the museum. Even if you skip everything in the museum, the Sistine Chapel is worth your time and money. As a heads up there is a dress code so make sure you comply so you can see the amazing artwork.
2. St. Peter’s Basilica
I’ve seen a lot of cathedral/basilicas throughout my life, but this one is by far the most intricate and beautiful. We decided to visit it in the afternoon after a much-needed pizza break and I’ll admit the line was around 100 people long. Despite seeing this line and accepting the fact we would be waiting for what seemed like hours, we got through the line and into the basilica in 20 minutes. An optional, but highly recommended, aspect of the basilica is to climb to the top. It is 8 euros to climb the 551 steps by stairway, or 10 euros to skip the first 320 steps by elevator and then climb the rest in the stairways. The view from the top is something I will never forget; it gives you one of the best views of all of Rome and the beautiful architecture of the city.
3. Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill
We decided to tackle this area of Rome our second full day in Rome, we had timed entry into the Colosseum and after we finished there our tickets also got us into the Roman Forum and access to Palatine Hill. This area is what you truly expect when visiting Rome, ancient ruins, amazing architecture, and feeling like you have been transported back in time. Budget for a half of a day at these three places, depending on how much you want to walk to explore the Roman Forum. We had some other places we wanted to visit so we saw what we wanted and headed out.
4. Trevi Fountain
After the Colosseum we headed toward the Trevi Fountain as our last item on our list of things to see in Rome. I knew I had to throw my coin in and make my wish and be the cliché tourist I know deep down I am. What I was not expecting was how massive this fountain is. When approaching the fountain, you know you are getting close when you start seeing crowds and crowds of people. You then follow a side street and bam! This is the most amazing fountain you will probably ever witness. I will admit going earlier in the morning would have helped with the crowds, but despite it being busy I made it all the way to the front and had amazing opportunities for photos without any trouble.
Lastly is not a certain place per se, but food in Rome is just as important as any landmark you will see. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that many carbs in one weekend and I don’t regret a single second. The pasta, the pizza, the gelato…. truly out of this world. My recommendation is don’t be afraid to splurge. If you pass by some gelato and its 9 am, go for it! When in Rome! There is really no judgement if you are on your third meal of pasta by 3 pm. The last tip I will say about eating in Rome is don’t be afraid to walk in the little alleyways you find and pick a restaurant from there. Some of the best meals we had were little places we stumbled upon while walking through the city.
Emma Ulrich is an Marketing Management and Business Communications student at the University of St. Thomas studying abroad in London for Fall 2019. Emma hopes to not only learn about London and the United Kingdom but explore other European cultures and learn more about the world than just little Minnesota. Keep checking back for more of Emma’s blogs here.