Weekend in Rome – sights and travel tips

5 years of Latin. Finding subjectives, objectives, and verbs sentence by sentence. Decipher Roman stories and wisdom from Virgil, Ovid, Cicero and Caesar. And in the end, the little Latinum in the bag and yet no idea about anything. My Latin teacher reproached me for having too much imagination and too little patience. I was fascinated by the stories of ancient Rome and the wisdom of its thinkers. The meticulous interest in Latin came second. When I visited Rome for the first time as a teenager, however, the fascination quickly disappeared. Rome was noisy and dirty. Too much traffic, too many people. And somewhere in the middle of this metropolitan hustle and bustle, some columns that remind us of a long-gone empire. I walked past walls that withstood the wild gladiator fights and marveled at the remains of ancient temples built in honor of the gods. What remains with me from this one trip to Rome is the memory of the long queue of people in front of the Sistine Chapel and the lavish décor elements in our former hotel somewhere on the edge of the Centro Storico.

Actually, I wasn’t planning a trip to Rome this year, Prague was my dream candidate for a pre-Christmas city trip. But my sister, with whom I planned this trip, had already seen Prague. In the end, the choice was between Amsterdam and Rome. The dice fell on the latter. One thing in particular was exciting, how selectively memories are stored over the years. Rome was also full of cars and people on this second visit. And after more than 20 kilometers of walking across the city, we fell exhausted into our hotel bed on the second day of travel. But Rome is also beautiful. Nice and exhausting.

Done – Sightseeing in Rome

Hello Rome |

We start our tour at Piazza Venezia, at the foot of the mighty Capitoline Hill. Directly behind it is the epicenter of the remaining contemporary witnesses from ancient Rome: Trajan’s Forum, Roman Forum, Colosseum and Circus Maximus. With all the dilapidated remains of columns and boulders lying around, imagination is required to imagine Ancient Rome in its full bloom during the imperial period. The numerous figures dressed as legionnaires don’t help me much. However, this attraction seems to attract the rest of the tourists.

Roma Capitol







Southwest of the Circus Maximus, on the highest point of the seventh hill of Rome – the Aventine Hill – there is something for keyhole peepers. The “Buco di Roma” is a small, iron-studded keyhole in a large green gate. If you look through it, you will be surprised to see St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance. Even though this spot is still treated as an insider tip, it is unfortunately no longer so. But where do you stand in line for about 15 minutes just to “happy” through an inconspicuous keyhole?


Stroll through the Centro Storico |

The Centro Storico is pretty much the same as the idea I remembered. In front of the Trevi Fountain, people crowd shoulder to shoulder even on this December weekend to take the best picture. Between the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, tourist shops with junk and cheap restaurants have the upper hand.

But as we advance to the western part of the Centro Storico behind Piazza Navona, we find the pretty, less frequented alleys. There are iconic bars to discover, such as the Bar del Fico, and beautiful squares such as this one at the Chiesa di San Salvatore in Lauro. We pay a second visit to the Trevi Fountain at nine o’clock in the morning. At this time, even this hotspot is pleasantly quiet.




Trastevere and Testaccio – pretty and hip |

Next, we cross the Tiber Island to take a look at what is probably the prettiest part of the city. Trastevere is definitely not lacking in picturesque alleys and piazzas as well as nice restaurants. But this fact has already made the rounds. The best thing to do is to take some time and explore the winding alleys off the main paths. As a reward, authentic backyards with red Vespas, hanging laundry and sleeping cats beckon.

But Trastevere is no longer hip. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. Artists and students have moved on. Among other things, in the Testaccio district. In the vicinity of Roma Ostiense train station, for example, commercial buildings have been converted into cool bars, clubs and restaurants. Flea markets next to hip pubs. Honestly, it’s really cool here. And if you like it dignified, head for the restaurant Stazione di Posta for an aperitivo.






Enjoy the view from Piazza Guiseppe Garibaldi |

Our walk takes us from Trastevere towards the Vatican. To do this, we choose the route via Piazza Garibaldi. The few meters of altitude are worth it, because from the piazza there is a bird’s eye view of the historic center of Rome.



Aiming high |

A trip to the Vatican is simply part of a visit to Rome. We skipped the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel this time. Instead, we wanted to aim high. To avoid the long queues, I organized tickets in advance at GetYourGuide to get to the dome and the cathedral without queuing. It worked perfectly and is worth the cost of around 30 CHF in my opinion.







Relax in the countryside |

We recommend a detour to the Parco degli Acquedotti. The green area is located in the municipality of VII and can be reached by the metro line Anagnina – Battistini in twenty minutes from Termini (single ticket 3 euros / day ticket 7 euros). It feels like you’re far out of a big city. Perfect for leaving the traffic noise and hustle and bustle behind and walking along the ruins of Roman aqueducts



Modern Magnificent Buildings |

The area north of Villa Borghese offers highlights for architecture fans. The latest architectural flagship is the Museum of Contemporary Art – MAXXI. The exposed concrete building with few straight façade parts, but a lot of sloping façade parts, was designed by Zaha Hadid. If you walk through the Villa Borghese park from the centre, you will stop halfway at the 20MQ. The restaurant is also a design store and has great smoothies and vegan dishes on the menu, among other things. And for sweet luck, you can steer the Gelateria Settimo Gelo (). The strawberry ice cream is divine!


Eaten – Restaurants in Rome

… we have extremely well!

Kaffeepause | Bar del Cappuccio, Via Arenula 50


Mittagsstärkung Terre d’Acqua,


For in between | Trapizzino,


Something Sweet | in the centre: Gelateria del Teatro / in the north: Settimo Gelo


For the big appetite | Urbana 47, Via Urbana 47


Slept – Hotel in Rome

Hotel Victoria | Via Campania 41

We spent the night at the Hotel Victoria, right next to the northern city wall in front of Villa Borghese. The hotel is about a 15-minute walk from Termini Station and is conveniently located for exploring the northern parts of the city, as well as the area around the Spanish Steps to the Vatican. Very nice is the secluded roof terrace with a view over the rooftops of Rome. The four-star hotel is one of the Swiss Premium Hotels and offers guests a quiet retreat close to the city centre. Sensationally good (and uncomplicated) was the free internet connection. Rarely has the upload of raw files to the cloud worked so quickly. And for me, this is one of the most important criteria when choosing a hotel on a city trip. Less to my taste is the cluttered room furnishings. At least the floral bedspread would have to be swapped for something more discreet. Then it would be perfect.






Other practical tips:

  • From Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, you can take the direct train (14 euros) to Termini Station in 25 minutes
  • Near the Hotel Victoria, I can recommend the Osteria Barberini (Via della Purificazione 21) for dinner. Excellent seasonal truffle dishes
  • For a sweet breakfast, it’s worth taking a detour to Bar Pompi (v)
  • Cool bars, restaurants and shops can be found along the Via Urbana – from Italian specialty shops to chocolateria, which sells vegan brownies

Please note: This stay was supported by Swiss Premium Hotels – thank you very much for this. As always, my readers can be sure that I always represent my views and enthusiasm here.

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