Are you a British traveller looking for the perfect weekend getaway? Rome, the Eternal City, is an ideal destination for Brits to explore history, art and indulge in delicious Italian cuisine. This comprehensive guide will walk you through an itinerary covering what to see, do, where to stay, eat and how to get to Rome from the UK. Follow these recommendations, and you will have a memorable and engaging experience in this beautiful city.
Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a treasure trove of history, architecture, and culture. From ancient Roman ruins to Baroque masterpieces, the city offers a unique experience for British travellers. In this guide, we have put together a two-day itinerary, perfect for a weekend escape. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Rome.
How to Get to Rome from the UK
There are several airlines that operate direct flights from major UK airports to Rome. The city has two international airports: Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA). The flight duration is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some popular airlines for British holidaymakers include British Airways, EasyJet, and Ryanair. Be sure to book your flights in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure the best prices.
Where to Stay in Rome
Rome offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. For a central location, consider staying in the Centro Storico, which is close to major attractions like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Trevi Fountain. Some recommended hotels in this area include:
1. Budget: Generator Rome – A stylish and modern hostel with private and shared rooms.
2. Mid-Range: Hotel Pantheon – A charming boutique hotel located just steps away from the Pantheon.
3. Luxury: Hotel Eden – A luxurious five-star hotel with stunning views of the city.
Keep in mind that Rome is a popular tourist destination, so book your accommodation well in advance to ensure availability.
Best Time to Visit Rome
The best time for British travellers to visit Rome is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) months. These seasons offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the busy summer months. However, do remember that Rome is a popular destination year-round, so be prepared for some tourist crowds regardless of when you visit.
How to Get Around Rome
Rome is a large city, but most of its main attractions are located within walking distance of each other. Walking is an excellent way to explore the city and discover hidden gems in the cobbled streets. However, if you prefer not to walk, Rome has an extensive public transport system, including buses, trams, and a metro system. Another popular option for getting around Rome is using e-scooters, such as Lime, which can be found throughout the city.
Day 1: Exploring Ancient Rome
Morning: Colosseum and Roman Forum
Start your day with a visit to the iconic Colosseum, a symbol of Rome’s ancient history and a must-see for all British travellers. The Colosseum was once the largest amphitheatre in the world and could hold up to 80,000 spectators. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
After exploring the Colosseum, make your way to the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These archaeological sites are included in your Colosseum ticket and offer a fascinating insight into the daily life of ancient Rome. Take your time strolling through the ruins and imagine the grandeur of the Roman Empire.
Afternoon: Pantheon and Piazza Navona
After a lunch break, head to the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple turned Catholic church. This architectural masterpiece boasts a massive concrete dome and is renowned for its perfect proportions. Admission is free, and it’s a must-visit site in Rome.
Next, make your way to Piazza Navona, a beautiful square lined with Baroque palaces and Bernini’s magnificent Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). This lively square is a great spot to relax, enjoy a gelato, and soak in the atmosphere.
Evening: Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
As the sun sets, head towards the breathtaking Trevi Fountain. This Baroque masterpiece is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a return trip to Rome, according to legend.
Finish your day at the Spanish Steps, a picturesque staircase leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church. It’s a popular spot for people-watching and enjoying the evening ambience.
Day 2: Vatican City and Trastevere
Morning: Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica
Begin your second day in Rome with a visit to Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and the seat of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Museums house an impressive collection of art, including Egyptian mummies, Etruscan bronzes, and works by renowned artists. A highlight of your visit will be the Sistine Chapel, where you can admire Michelangelo’s stunning ceiling frescoes and The Last Judgement.
After exploring the museums, make your way to St. Peter’s Basilica, another architectural marvel. Admire Michelangelo’s Pieta and gaze up at the impressive dome, which offers spectacular views of Rome if you’re willing to climb the 551 steps to the top.
Afternoon: Trastevere Neighbourhood
After lunch, head across the Tiber River to the charming neighbourhood of Trastevere. This picturesque area is known for its narrow, cobbled streets and vibrant atmosphere. Spend the afternoon wandering through the streets, visiting the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, and discovering hidden piazzas.
Evening: Villa Borghese and Pincio Hill
End your weekend in Rome with a visit to Villa Borghese, a beautiful park and the city’s largest public garden. It’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy the greenery, and take in the stunning views of Rome from Pincio Hill.
Where to Eat in Rome
Rome is a haven for food lovers, with countless restaurants and trattorias serving delicious Italian cuisine. Some recommendations include the following:
1. Da Enzo al 29 – Located in Trastevere, this popular trattoria serves authentic Roman dishes such as pasta carbonara and cacio e pepe.
2. Roscioli – This gourmet deli and restaurant near Campo de’ Fiori is famous for its mouthwatering pizza and pasta dishes.
3. Gelateria dei Gracchi – Treat yourself to some of the best gelato in the city at this gelateria close to the Vatican.
Must-Try Italian Dishes
When in Rome, be sure to sample some classic Italian dishes:
1. Pasta Carbonara – A rich and creamy pasta dish made with eggs, cheese, pancetta, and black pepper.
2. Pizza al Taglio – Roman-style pizza by the slice, featuring a thick and crispy crust topped with various ingredients.
3. Supplì – Deep-fried rice balls filled with mozzarella and tomato sauce, a popular Roman street food snack.
Rome is a captivating city that offers a wealth of experiences for British travellers. This two-day itinerary covers the main highlights and hidden gems, ensuring you make the most of your weekend in Rome. From ancient ruins to delicious Italian cuisine, there’s something for everyone in the Eternal City. So, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Rome!