Rome: When to Go
Summer is too full of tourists, but is also a good time to travel – weather-wise. I recommend late summer when the tourists are lesser than early-summer, and the weather is still pleasant, and the days are still long enough to make the most of it. If you want to avoid the peak season crowds entirely, late Spring or early Fall would be more appropriate.
Where to Stay
If you are going to be in Rome for a short duration, being near the center of the city would be the best, where you can be close to all major attractions. A hotel near public transport can save many hours of walking or cab-fares. So find a hotel at walking distance from the Termini Station. Termini is close to Colosseum and Pantheon, and is centrally located with many dining options and shopping places. Plus, it’s doubly helpful if you’re taking the train from Termini to other Italian cities.
Things to do in Rome
Start the day early with the destinations farthest to your hotel. Take a metro to the Vatican City and walk over to the Basilica di San Pietro or Saint Peter’s Basilica.
For a fantastic view of the city and the Piazza San Pietro, you’ll have to take narrow, 2-hour long, never-ending steps to the top of the Basilica, but it’s really worth it.
Visit the Sistine Chapel to see some of Michaelangelo’s most famous paintings, including The Last Judgement and The Creation of Adam.
Have lunch on the way to Piazza Navona, where there are many souvenir shops and authentic Italian restaurants with outdoor seating. Isn’t it pretty? And yummy-looking?
After lunch, while you some time at Piazza Navona, also get some gelato at Grom, one of Rome’s most popular gelato places. I’ve done an in-depth article on my gelato experience in Italy, and more at Ice-Cream vs. Gelato vs. Fro-Yo vs. Sorbet vs. Frozen Custard: What’s the Difference.
Piazza Navona is a short walk to the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient monument in Rome. Be sure to sit inside to admire the beautiful dome and interiors.
Then walk over to the Piazza di Pietra, where lots of street artists are painting local sceneries and there are more souvenir shops and Roman-warrior-costume-wearing men.
Also nearby are shopping places, such as Lindt store and clothing stores, and perhaps you’ll also want to enter some of the groceries that sell local truffle oil, dry pesto mix, tricolor pasta and locally made cheese. It’s all delicious and makes for wonderful souvenirs to take back home.
Head over to the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous, sculptural and beautiful fountains in the world. It is also famous for tossing coins and making wishes. My friend and I made a game out of it, considering not all the coins we tossed actually went inside the fountain basin!
For dinner walk over to the Barberini metro station, where you can also check out the Piazza del Quirinale, or Quirinal Palace. It has some beautiful steps leading to it, very characteristic street views and also great views from the top of the steps of the Vatican City. It’s just gorgrous, and most tourists miss these views!
I featured one of these views of Rome and the Vatican dome in my recent article that has more of my rainy day photography. Check it out at Best Nail Polish Colors for Monsoon 2015 According to Your City!
My post-dinner leisure tip? Buy some assorted olives and cheeses, a bottle of Italian wine and some bruschetti to take to your hotel. Step up to the balcony or terrace of your hotel and have a glass of post-meal wine with friends, or just by yourself, with whatever you love – music on your phone, or painting, or writing your travel memoir, or reading a book!