I want to put together a few tips and recommendations for a three-day weekend. There is so much to see and do in Rome, I can’t imagine fitting it into a couple of days. And I’m sure that happens whenever you’ve lived in a city, but it’s crazy that I now see Rome that way.
There aren’t notes on some obvious sites, like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. But I urge you to make time for those places as well!
Get the City Mapper app. It is great for directions, especially in regards to public transportation. I have used this in several European cities, and it works great. The public transportation in Rome is not great, but this app has helped me keep track in real time.
Take the shuttle to and from the Fiumicino airport. I wasted a lot of money on cabs. Don't do the same!
Museums and exhibits:
Palazzo Barberini - The palazzo is gorgeous on its own. There are several stunning frescoes. Right now there are several exhibitions at the palazzo, one specifically features Giuseppe Arcimboldo. It is one of my favorite art exhibitions in Rome right now. It has a great audio guide that gives historical context about the period. And the art is strange, reflective and beautiful. It's main focus is his composite heads paintings, often made of fruits and vegetables. If you go, make sure to ask for the student discount.
Borghese Gallery - This is on the grounds of the Villa Borghese gardens. Again, the gallery is always incredible, but there is currently a Bernini exhibition. You have to book tickets in advance, but it is worth the planning. Bernini is so important to the history of art in Rome, and the gallery has many of his early sculptures. There are also several Caravaggio paintings at the gallery.
Gesù - This is my personal favorite. It is the most famous Jesuit church. If my neck would allow it, I would stare at that ceiling for hours. I really recommend going, the ceiling alone is so movimg. This church also influenced by many architects, so those who have been to a Jesuit church might recognize its structure.
St. Peter’s Basilica - Of course, if you only have time to see one church, go see St. Peter’s Basilica. Be prepared to wait in line, though. I recommend showing up at 8:45 in the morning, if possible. If you don't know a lot about the history of the basilica, do some research in advance. I am taking a class on Baroque architecture, and it was really helpful to have some context on the pieces.
Trastevere neighborhood - This is a really trendy area. There are a lot of great places to eat and have aperitivo.
Castel Sant Angelo - At the very least go look at this building. It is beautiful, and you can see it from the Vatican. I suggest taking a tour, though, as it has a really fascinating history. There are also beautiful views of Rome from the top.
Villa Borghese Gardens - This is a great place to walk around. There are ponds, fountains, and the previously mentioned gardens. You can also look into renting bikes.
Check in for my next blog! It will be all about food in Rome. In my experience, eating is the most important cultural exchange that takes place in this magnificent city.
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<p>Born and raised in Indiana. Very likely to ask, “if you could eat anything right now, what would it be?” at the wrong times. Join me as I write my way through Italy!</p>