Ahh Rome… I’ve dreamed of visiting you since I first watched Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on screen as a teenager and completely fell in love. Not just with her (my style icon) and with him (those chiselled features were, to me, as awe-inspiring as the Coliseum itself) but with you, the Eternal City. Some might say 40 years is an eternity to wait to see you, but I’m so glad I did. Because that big birthday I’d been dreading became the one of dreams as my husband told me he was sweeping me off – sans kids – to see you. Here’s how we spent our 3 day getaway:
how to spend 3 days in Rome
It’s impossible to truly ‘see’ Rome, without visiting it’s most famous ancient landmarks. We started with an early morning tour of the Coliseum which perfectly avoided both the heat and the crowds. We followed this with coffee at The Spanish Steps and a visit to the Trevi fountain à la Audrey before spending a relaxed afternoon wandering the cobbled streets, eating gelato in a quiet piazza near the River Tiber and people-watching (as essential to anyone’s Rome itinerary as the monuments). Then we headed back to our hotel to spruce up before a delicious three course meal of incredible cuisine in our hotel restaurant Sapori del Lord Byron.
As a (lapsed) Catholic I had no major desire to go to the Vatican City, but did want to see Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Our pre-booked timed ticket meant we walked past a queue that stretched around the city walls. And, despite myself, I found the place fascinating. Afterwards, we climbed the dome of St Peter’s Basilica – there are 551 steps in total (320 if you take the elevator half-way!) – but the reward is the best view of Rome that many tourists don’t know about. We followed that with Rome’s best pizza from unassuming but incredible takeaway restaurant Pizzarium (the chef, Babriele Bonci is known as the Michaelangelo of pizza dough!) near the Vatican museum entrance.
We spent the morning wandering around the 226 acre Villa Borghese Gardens, studying 17th Century sculptures and, um, snogging Italian couples (there were LOTS of them). Then we made our way to Trastevere, Rome’s prettiest and most foody neighbourhood; think labyrinthine cobbled streets, crumbling buildings and dozens of traditional trattorias to choose from. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for my special birthday treat – a night at the Teatro Dell’Opera where we watched the ballet Sleeping Beauty (and at nearly 3 hours long, my husband Ben was nearly one, too!) It was the perfect end to our Roman Holiday.