This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission from some companies mentioned in this post. There's no additional cost for the reader when using an affiliate link. Read the full disclosure here.
Rome is the capital of Italy. You can stay here for 3 to 5 days depending on what you want to visit. The best thing you can do in Rome is wake up early and see how this city comes to life. You can easily explore the city with a bike or a scooter.
There are two places that I would recommend to go early in the morning so you can enjoy the beauty of it and that are the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Those two places are getting really crowded during the day which makes it hard to fully enjoy it.
The Pantheon is beautiful and it’s free entrance. It is the best-preserved ancient monument of Rome and it has the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built. It used to be a Roman temple, but now it’s a church. The Pantheon is one of the most influential buildings in the Western world. Hadrian built it over the temple of Marcus Agrippa (27 BC) but kept the inscription of the earlier temple (Agrippa’s older temple). The inscription is ‘M:AGRIPPA.L.F.COS.TERTIUM.FECIT’, or ‘Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, in his third consulate built this’.
The temple that Hadrian built (this one) was dedicated to the classical gods. That’s why it’s called Pantheon, it comes from the Greek words pan (all) and theos (god). In 608 AD this building was consecrated as a Christian church, now it’s officially known as the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres. That’s why it was spared from the worst medieval plundering, that reduced many of ancient buildings to near dereliction in Rome.
When you go at 6 am in the morning to the Trevi Fountain, you have it almost all to yourself. You can watch the city come to life; in the morning there is a chance that you see multiple wedding shoots passing by.
Tip: go at 6 am and bring some breakfast to watch the city waking up.
There is a myth that says you have to close your eyes, think about Rome and throw the coin in the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder. It means that you will return to Rome, (I did this when I was a child and well, I’m back). If you throw two coins, then you’ll find your loved one. If you throw three coins into the fountain it means a wedding or a divorce.
Did you know that even the ancient Romans often threw coins in the water? It was to make the gods of water favor their journey.
Some facts that people spread around about the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi):
- It is one of the oldest water sources in Rome
- The fountain is made from the same material as the Colosseum — travertine stone: it’s a mineral that’s made of calcium carbonate formed from springs, especially hot springs.
- Every day roughly €3000 is thrown into the fountain
- Every week they collect the coins and give them to an Italian charity called Caritas – Caritas uses the money for a supermarket program to help people in need to get groceries.
- It’s a crime to steal the coins from the fountain
Tip: don’t forget to bring a coin (or two or three) to the Trevi Fountain.
It’s a beautiful and very impressive building, but the history around it is not that beautiful. There was slavery and animal cruelty and a lot more. People had to fight animals and that was just for amusement. However, it’s an impressive building and it was a different time back then, don’t forget about that. It’s history and it made us who we are now.
If you want to visit the Colosseum, I recommend ordering your tickets online on the official website because otherwise you have to wait in a really long line. Keep in mind that you have to pay extra if you pay with Visa. You can choose to visit it with a guide or on your own, you need to know there is a lot of information to read when you’re walking around. It’s also possible to buy a book with the history beforehand.
The Colosseum is an Amphitheatre built at the will of the Flavian emperors. It’s made out of travertine blocks and the construction began in 71 AD. They financed it with the spoils from the Jewish War of 70. It has a long history and has been restored several times until the 5th century.
It was a public building for spectacles, the admission was free. They presented animal hunts, death sentences and gladiatorial fights. The seats were arranged in a strict order, the best places were close to the arena, reserved for senators, the high class. The rear sector was for knights and two sectors above were for the lower social classes. Higher than the others (which offers poor view) was reserved for the plebs. There was also an imperial box, with the best view.
So, the higher you sit, the lower the social class. It’s strange how time changes. Seeing animals and humans suffer was amusing back then. Now, luckily, it’s a different time but it’s interesting to learn about how life used to be.
Tip: order your tickets online on the official website!
Walk around and explore
Rome was not built in one day. When you’re in Rome, walk around and learn about the history, it’s so interesting. The best advice for any city is to walk around and explore. Talk to the local people and learn from them. Do the must do’s and explore. You will see some beautiful churches, yes, they have a lot of churches. They also have a lot of beautiful streets with stunning views.
There are so many delicious pasta and pizza places, oooh and try Peroni if you drink beer because it’s beer from Rome. Walking around the Tiber river is also really nice.
Tip: rent a scooter or a bike to discover Rome.
Spanish steps, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Del Popolo & Monument of Victor Emanuel II
The Spanish steps are beautiful stairs that were used for many movies. It got famous because of the blockbuster film in 1953 called Roman Holiday played with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
Castle Sant ‘Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) also has a long history but now it’s a museum. It was built around 123-139 AD and was once the tallest building in Rome.
Piazza Del Popolo, in this place you’ll see some stairs. You can climb the stairs to a beautiful park where you can walk around. There is also a wonderful view when you’re at the top.
Monumento Emanuel II is free to enter, you can go up and have a beautiful view over the Colosseum. You can even go higher with an elevator but then you have to pay.
Read all about Vatican city in the blog about Vatican City.