Rome is one of the most spectacular cities on earth and although you could spend an entire lifetime exploring its iconic streets there’s a lot you can see in a single weekend. One of the convenient things about Rome is that a great deal of the must-see sites are within easy reach of each other which means that you can really make the most of a short time in the city.
The ideal way to plan your weekend break to Rome is to arrive on Friday evening and depart on Sunday night. That way you can rest and relax on your first evening in the city, have a lovely meal in a restaurant and take a stroll before heading back to your hotel for the night. That way you’ll be feeling refreshed on Saturday morning and ready to start your site-seeing tour of Rome.
I live in Volterra part-time. Volterra is about an hour away from Florence. But flying to Florence from the United States is difficult and expensive. So I always fly out of Rome or Milan. You can get to Florence from either Milan or Rome very easily by train. Rome is a fantastic city to spend a weekend, whether you are a tourist or an expat.
How Do You Get To Rome?
It’s very straightforward to get to Rome from almost anywhere in the world and from other parts of Italy! If you’re traveling to Rome by plane then you’ll probably land at the main airport, Rome Fiumicino. This is around 45 minutes from the city center and there are three main options to get to your hotel from the airport.
The cheapest way to reach Rome from the airport is to take the shuttle bus. This takes 50 minutes to an hour and costs less than 10 Euros per person. Alternatively, you can catch a train into town which will cost around 15 Euros per person. Lastly, the most convenient way to get to the city is to catch a taxi from outside the terminal. This will take around 40 minutes, should cost under 50 Euros and will drop you off directly at your hotel. I highly recommend taking the Leonardo Express train from Fiumicino to Roma Termini.
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You can also drive to Rome from elsewhere in Italy and the European Union however you should be warned in advance that the traffic in the city is famously difficult to navigate! For this reason, unless you’re an experienced driver in Rome it’s probably best to avoid driving your own car to the city.
Lastly, you can catch a train into one of the city’s central train stations. This is a comfortable and relaxing way to get to the city and you have a choice between high-speed and regional trains. Most trains will arrive at Termini Station, which is the main station for the city center. The best website to buy train tickets for travel in Italy in my option is Italia Rail. You can pay in US Dollars and the tickets are pre-validated (which means you do not have to validate them at the station). This site allows you to pick the exact seat also for a very small amount, which you should do.
I have seen tourists from the United States get into these trains with large pieces of luggages. Unlike Amtrak, trains in Italy do not have a large dedicated space in each compartment where you can store heavy luggages. So you will have to work with the conductor to find a convenient spot.
The rail and metro networks in Rome are excellent so it’s a great way to get to the city. Once you’ve arrived in Rome it’s most convenient to catch a taxi from outside the station to your hotel.
The Best Place To Stay For A Weekend In Rome.
Every neighborhood in Rome has its own unique charms but if you’re only planning on being in the city for the weekend then you want to stay somewhere that is central, with easy access to all the major attractions.
The four major attractions of Rome, namely the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps are all within walking distance of each other. The ideal place to stay during your weekend in Rome is undoubtedly the Pantheon area. The Pantheon is right in the historic center of the city and is close to all the top monuments, museums, shops and restaurants.
There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the Pantheon neighborhood of Rome. The area is quite touristy and can get very busy during the summer months but if you’re only in town for the weekend this is nothing to worry about; remember, you’re a tourist too!
One of the leading hotels in the Pantheon neighborhood is the Singer Palace Hotel. This beautiful hotel began its life as the headquarters of Mr. Singer’s famous sewing machine company in the 1850s. However, in 2018 the well-known Visocchi family transformed it into a stunningly chic 30 room boutique hotel.
The room rates get more expensive as you get closer to this area. There might be some cheap deals, but keep in mind that they might be hostels with shared bathrooms or hotels with very tiny rooms. You can find many nice hotels that are reasonably priced that are near the Roma Termini. Make sure you pick a hotel that is on the Via Giovanni Giolitti side of the train station and not the Via Marsala side of the train station. The Via Giovanni Giolitti side is only about 15 minutes by walk away from the four major attractions that I mentioned above. PRO TIP: Pick a hotel that is close to the intersection of Via Giovanni Giolitti and Via Cavour. There are several American chain hotels in this area.
If you want to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican in addition to the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps, then I suggest you should stay on the other side of the Tiber River along the Lungotevere dei Mellini. During my recent trip to Rome I stayed at a place called the “Luxury On The River” with is on Lungotevere dei Mellini (near the famous Ponte Cavour bridge. From this hotel you can walk to the Vatican in 25 minutes and to the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps in 15 minutes. I took the subway to visit the Colosseum.
Where Should You Eat In Rome?
Rome is any food buff’s dream come true and with so many superb restaurants to choose from it can be hard to know where to start! There’s so much on offer that you can enjoy food from any part of the world; although since you’re in Italy’s capital you should, as they say, ‘Do as the Romans do’.
Serving breakfast until 11.30 am, the Barnum Cafe on the Via del Pellegrino has a great selection of continental and cooked breakfasts on offer. The cozy cafe has a family feel and is renowned for the quality of its coffee! It’s advisable to book a table at the but even if you don’t there should be a spare table for you.
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For lunch in central Rome, you can’t beat the Rifugio Romano on the Via Volturno. The master chefs specialize in traditional Italian food as well as a good range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, so no matter what you’re tastes or dietary requirements are you’ll find everything you could want here. The restaurant also has a well-stocked cocktail bar if you’re looking for some refreshments after your lunch!
In the evening the highly acclaimed fine dining Ad Hoc Restaurant on the Via Ripetta serves excellent Italian cuisine, and with its uniquely eclectic interior design, you’ll never want the meal to end. The beautiful atmosphere, friendly staff and unbeatable wine list all make this restaurant unmissable during your stay in the Eternal City. As well as the more standard Italian dishes the Ad Hoc Restaurant is also famous for its truffles and desserts.
Important Things To See In Rome.
Although you only have a weekend to immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Rome the city is so compact that you can still fit a lot in. My favorite thing to do in Rome is to walk the streets of Rome, particularly the areas around the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navarro and the Spanish Steps. This is not the most ancient part of Rome. The areas around the Colosseum and the Forum are significantly older.
No trip to Rome would be complete without visiting the Colosseum. The former home of gladiator fighting, chariot races and other major entertainments, the Colosseum was built in the 1st Century AD and used to hold up to 80,000 spectators.
You can walk through the Colosseum’s remains, explore the unground tunnels and stride out onto the floor of the arena. You can book your place on a guided tour of one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks to enjoy the benefits of an expert tour leader.
Touring the inside of the Colosseum can takes time, even if you have timed tickets. So plan accordingly.
The Pantheon was built in the 2nd Century AD to celebrate all of the Roman Gods. As one of the city’s best-preserved sites, you can explore the amazing building to discover the wonder of Ancient Rome for yourself. Located in the heart of Rome, you can take a guided tour or a self-guided audio tour of this incredible temple.
Boasting the largest unreinforced dome in the world, the Pantheon is a fascinating example of the advanced engineering skills of the Roman Empire. During the height of the tourist season it can get very busy so it’s worth arriving early to avoid the crowds.
The small square in front of the Pantheon, the Piazza della Rotonda, is one of my favorites in all of Italy. It is tempting to find outdoor seating in this square and enjoy an aperitif. But remember that if you walk a half a block away from this square, the same aperitif will be almost half the price!!
NOTE: When you visit the Pantheon, you should also visit the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. They are both very close to the Pantheon. Although the Trevi Fountain is very popular with the tourists, it is relatively new, the Pantheon is about 1500 years older than the Trevi!!
The National Museums Of Rome.
The 4 National Museums of Rome are often overlooked by visitors to the city but there is such a wealth of incredible exhibits on display throughout these buildings it’s not worth missing. The museums are spread out across 4 locations including the Palazzo Massimo all Terme, Crypta Balbi, the Baths of Diocletian and the Palazzo Altemps. Each site contains spectacular relics and archeological treasures from throughout the long history of the city.
There are also plenty of great modern additions including interactive exhibits, contemporary artwork as well as some of the most important sculptures in Rome. This makes it an ideal stop-off for families with children as well as couples and solo travelers. For your convenience, you can buy a combination ticket which allows you to enter all 4 of the museums anytime during the course of 3 days.
The Vatican Museums And The Sistine Chapel.
At the very center of Rome’s culture and history, the Vatican is one of the most popular attractions in the city. There are several large museums as well as the astounding Sistine Chapel where you can see the amazing ceiling frescoes which were painted by the legendary Renaissance artist Michelangelo. You can also see more than 50 galleries, elegant courtyards and some of the most significant art collections in the world.
To discover the incomparable splendors of the Vatican City you can join a guided tour that allows you to skip the lines with your knowledgeable, multilingual guide. Your guide will take you all around the best spots including the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms as well as the surrounding Vatican Museums. The tour lasts for 3 hours which means that you can easily fit it in around the rest of your itinerary.
A Full Day Tour Of Rome – All Inclusive.
If you want to see all the main attractions in Rome in a single day it’s almost impossible to do it on your own! However, you can join an exclusive 1 day tour of the city in a luxury car with a highly knowledgeable guide who knows all the ins and outs of the city. During the course of the day you’ll see every one of the main sites including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City and the Pantheon.
The tour includes a hotel pickup in the morning, fast track ‘skip the line’ tickets to all attractions as well as a traditional Roman lunch along the way! You’ll be driven around the city in a luxury car and your private guide will make sure you have a wonderful personalized experience.
Discover The Eternal City On A Weekend Break.
Rome is one of the most amazing cities in Europe, if not the world! As you explore its streets you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were in a giant museum; although, in a way, you really are!
From the Pantheon to the Vatican, the Colosseum to the National Museums, Rome is any culture vulture’s dream come true. So whether you’re visiting on your own, as a couple or with your family, the Eternal City is guaranteed to leave you with lifelong memories that you’ll always be able to treasure.