Rome is a really charming city that was made famous not only by its historic, cultural and artistic heritage but also by many movies that were shot here, along its streets and in front of its beautiful monuments and buildings. Despite being a modern and cosmopolitan city, Rome has maintained the typical Italian lifestyle and atmosphere that any visitor seeks in popular Italian destinations.
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How to spend a weekend in Rome
A weekend in Rome: Friday afternoon
You can get to Rome early in the afternoon and leave your baggage at the hotel (the best area for your accommodation in the historic center and especially the area around Piazza di Spagna, to have all the main attractions within walking distance and save money and time avoiding chaotic public transports).
Your first stop can be Trinità dei Monti Church (in Piazza della Trinità dei Monti 3). It is one of the most photographed places in Rome. From here, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the famous Piazza di Spagna, located just below the Spanish Steps, one of Rome’s most famous landmarks. In front of the church, you can also see the Obelisco Sallustiano, one of the many obelisks you’ll encounter in the streets of Rome.
Down the stairs, Piazza di Spagna will welcome you with its lively atmosphere and its famous fountain called “Barcaccia”. This square owes its name to the Spanish Embassy, which established its headquarters here in the XVIIth Century. Now, you can either have an ice cream and taste it sitting on the stairs, like locals often do on sunny days, or walk along via Condotti, the heart of Roman shopping district.
From Piazza di Spagna, take via del Babuino and walk until you reach another famous square called Piazza del Popolo. It was the place were the public executions were carried out in the past and its focal point is a huge obelisk (Rome is the non-Egyptian city with more obelisks in the world!).
Take Salita del Pincio (Pincio’s Climb), to enjoy another amazing view and take some pictures. You’ll find yourself in a large garden with a panoramic terrace. This park was built during the Napoleonic era to offer the citizens the chance to enjoy nature, even in the middle of the city.
Spend your evening around Piazza Navona, the iconic baroque square hosting Bernini’s most famous work: the Fountain of the Four Rivers. Nearby, you’ll find many restaurants, pizzerias and trattorie for your dinner.
Traveling to Rome with a tight budget? Check out this post on free things to do in Rome.
A weekend in Rome: Saturday
First thing to do: visit the Colosseum! Its proper name is Flavian Amphitheatre and it is the symbol of Rome. It’s really ancient: the construction works began in 72 BC and ended in 80 BC! As you probably know, it was an entertainment arena where people watched fights between gladiators, struggles with wild animals or replicas of famous battles, even with water and real ships.
To discover all the historical details and visit the Colosseum thoroughly, it’s best to take a guided tour. This option will also give you another advantage: it will allow you to skip the endless line you always find in front of the ticket offices!
The second must-see attraction is Foro Romano (via della Salara Vecchia 5). This archaeological park encloses the main ruins and historical remains of the Imperial period like temples, monuments, ancient mansions and so on. You can either visit it by yourselves or take a guided tour.
Tip: The Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and Palatine Hill were incredible places to visit, and the most important monuments in Rome, so needless to say, the lines were massive. Luckily, we bought skip the line tickets that helped make our tour so much easier and convenient.
From there, you can reach Piazza Venezia with a short walk (about 10 minutes). Here you’ll see another important monument: The Altar of the Fatherland. It is also called “Vittoriano” and it is a commemorative monument ordered by the Italian King Umberto I di Savoia to celebrate the birth of the reunited Italian State (1861). In 1921, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was placed at the centre of the complex to remember the men who lost their lives during World War I.
Next head to the Trevi fountain, take a few minutes in front of the fountain, take some pictures and also throw a little coin inside, as the tradition suggests!
Walk on to reach the Pantheon, (in Rotonda Square). It was built to host the statues of the Roman pagan gods. Today it hosts the tombs of the Italian Kings as well as the tombs of famous artist like Raffaello.
To enjoy a typical Roman Saturday night, go to Trastevere district! Here you’ll find many restaurants, cafés, pubs and clubs in a picturesque and vibrant atmosphere. Before dinner, have a look at the nice Santa Maria in Trastevere Church, located in the homonymous square.
A weekend in Rome: Sunday
Start your day early with a visit to San Pietro, another symbol of Rome. (If you want to see the Pope, you can go there for his Blessing taking place each Sunday at 12, but keep in mind that there will be a huge crowd and you’ll have to be prepared to stand for at least 2 hours under the sun!).
San Pietro is located in Vatican City, which means that the whole district is an independent State ruled by the Pope. It is the smallest State in the world. When you visit San Pietro, don’t miss its masterpiece: the Michelangelo’s sculpture called “La Pietà”.
After taking some pictures to the beautiful San Pietro Square and to the imposing cathedral, you are ready to visit the huge Vatican Museums (entrance from Viale Vaticano). You can always do this the other way round. Head first at the Vatican Museums and finish at the San Pietro Cathedral
Tip: Visiting there is an essential Rome experience, and it will be quite overwhelming! Before anything, you should know that the queues are huge. No matter how much you think you can wait, you can’t. The queues go on for seemingly forever, so I recommend a skip a line tour. Both times I’ve been there were with the skip-the-line guided tour, and it added to the overall comfort and convenience of my entire visit there. If you’re not really into tours, you can wander on your own and skip the lines.
After lunch and before starting your return trip, you can stroll along the Tevere River until you get a glimpse of Sant’Angelo Castle, the former mausoleum of the Emperor Adriano that later became a fortress and part of the city walls. Then cross Sant’Angelo Bridge (also known as Elio Bridge) with its imposing statues representing 10 Angels with the symbols of the Passion.
Practical tips for your weekend in Rome
- Wear appropriate clothes if you plan to visit San Pietro and other churches: no shorts, no miniskirts, no undershirts nor low-cut shirts.
- To avoid wasting money on extremely expensive bottled water, drink from a “Nasone”: they are public fountains scattered throughout the city where you can refill your bottle for free.
- To avoid wasting too much time in line to buy entrance tickets, book everything online in advance or buy a Roma Pass (http://www.romapass.it/en/home/)
What to taste on your weekend in Rome
- Carbonara (pasta with egg, bacon or pork cheek, pecorino and black pepper)
- Supplì (a ball of deep-fried rice with tomato sauce stuffed with mozzarella)
- Cacio & Pepe (pasta with pecorino and black pepper)
- Coda alla Vaccinara (a stew made with oxtail and veggies)
- Abbacchio alla Scottadito (lamb ribs)
Nightlife in Rome
- Trastevere district:
-Cioccolata e Vino in Vicolo de Cinque 11 for some cocktails
-Big Hilda Pub in Vicolo de Cinque 33, if you prefer a classic pub and beer house
- Testaccio district:
-Tram Depot in via Marmorata 13, to taste some street food in a vintage tram coach
-Rec23 in Piazza dell’ Emporio ½ for the best cocktails of the district
- City center district:
-La Cabala in via dei Soldati 25 if you like a fancy atmosphere in a medieval building
-Shari Vari Playhouse in via di Torre Argentina 78 to enjoy a different musical genre each night
How to get from and to the airport of Rome
Rome has two airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino.
From/to Fiumicino airport:
Fiumicino airport is only 26 km away from Rome.
The Leonardo Express is a direct train that connects Fiumicino airport and Termini Station in Rome in 30 minutes. Tickets costs 14 euros each way. Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.
Regional FL1 Train connects the airport with other stations in Rome (not Termini) like Tiburtina. From there you can take the metro to the city centre. Tickets costs 8 euros. You will need another ticket for the metro (1,50 euros) Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.
The cheapest way to travel between Fiumicino airport and the Rome’s city centre is by a shuttle bus that makes 2 stops in the centre (Termini Station and Piazza Cavour near the Vatican). Journey time 55 minutes depending on traffic.
Tickets costs 6 € one way and you can buy them online.
You will find taxi stands outside all the airport terminals. Always use the official taxi services and do not take offers from drivers inside the terminal. There is a fixed price of 48 € each way.
Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick Ups
The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city centre is by a private transfer service like Welcome Pick Ups. It costs exactly the same as a regular taxi, only now you will have already prepaid for it, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall holding a sign with your name on it, a bottle of water and a city map. You will not have to worry at all about the language as all drivers speak English. There is a fixed price of 48 € each way.
From/to Ciampino airport:
The cheapest way to travel between Ciampino airport and the Rome’s city center is by a shuttle bus that makes a stop to Termini Station. Journey time 40 minutes depending on traffic.
Tickets cost 5 € one way and you can buy them online.
Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick Ups
The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city centre is by a private transfer service like Welcome Pick Ups. It costs exactly the same as a regular taxi, only now you will have already prepaid for it, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall holding a sign with your name on it, a bottle of water and a city map. You will not have to worry at all about the language as all drivers speak English. There is a fixed price of 44 € each way.
Where to stay in Rome
You could stay at Royal Rooms which is about 201m away from Via Margutta and enjoys all types of amenities – from shopping, nearby plazas, cafes and things to do, along with amenities like a bidet, shower, hairdresser and much more. – Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Located just outside Palazzo Medusa, this property is one of the best in Rome and is a lot of people’s top pick there. Not only do you get a large TV, bathroom, hairdryer and more, you also get to enjoy a wonderful gastronomic experience, bike rental, and super comfy beds. – Check here for more information and availability.
The thing about Navona is that it sells well and it sells fast. It’s an incredible choice for travelers – there is the food, the city walks around, and bike rental. But there’s also the unbeatable location of being 192 m from Piazza Navona. You’ll thoroughly enjoy the Baroque architecture of the hotel. Click here for more information and the latest prices.
This is where comfort and slide go hand in hand, and the hotel itself has a hard to compete with location. Located directly on the Piazza Navona, this hotel is a 5 minute walk away from history – the Pantheon… You’ll also enjoy free city views, free WI-FI, furnishings, and everything you need. Click here for more information and availability.