My year couldn't have started better.
Even if I wasn't staying during the holidays, I could still comfortably name this article 'Roman Holiday'. The atmosphere was magical - there were Christmas decorations everywhere, as well as orange trees (with oranges in December and January); the weather was warm and sunny as it was Spring. Everyone spoke the language I love and study. We would have Nutella toast and have the most perfect cappacino for breakfast, see so many beautiful things that I could barely process them all and finish our day only after we walked for about 20km (no, that's not a typo). We felt the pain in our legs only by the end of the day - we were too busy discovering, wandering around and being stunned. The center of Rome isn't that big, so you can visit everything you want in 4-5 days. These were my favourite places, in no particular order.
1. Fontana di Trevi
Anita Ekberg unfortunately wasn't there, however, a huge crowd of tourist was (around, not in the actual fountain), taking photos
and throwing coins. But don't worry, with a little effort you can find a perfect there's-no-one-around-me-spot for pictures in front of this
masterpiece made by Nicola Salvi. Also, don't forget to throw a coin above your head when making a wish, so you can come back!
What's the first thing you think of when someone says 'Rome' if not the most famous amphitheater in the world? Once upon a time, where the gladiator fights took place, with space for 55,0000 spectators, now the main tourist attraction. First Sunday of a month, free entrance but be prepared for a loooong line. Tip: If you know in advance where you want to go & you need tickets for it, buy it online. They'll cost a euro or two more, but they'll save you from waiting for hours and hours. Which is not at all amusing.
3. Altare della Patria
When they were building a monument for the king who united Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, motto was obviously go big or go home. When you first look at it, you can't not notice how big, majestic and white it is. When you second look at it, it kinda looks like a huge wedding cake or typewriter, which are only some of its nicknames (la torta nuziale/macchina da scrivere). When you climb (a lot of) stairs, you'll see the eternal flame that burns for unknown soldiers - then you'll see a breathtaking view of the city.
4. Piazza Novona
The moment I stepped on this baroque square, it became my favourite. Bernini designed the facade of the church of Saint Agnese (it'll be the first thing you notice) as well as the fountain with the Egyptian obelisk in the middle. According to the story, Agnese was a young girl who was killed because she refused a guy's proposal and devoted her life to Christianity (#ThatsWhyWeNeedFeminism). Because my brain wasn't really able to work properly while I was there, all I could think of was WOW. I'll let the photo speak instead.
Somewhere between the last and the next point on this list, there is Galateria Della Palma, where you can choose between 150 flavors of ice cream.
I could try only 2 at the time, despite my unconditional love for ice cream, and they were SO good. 10/10 would reccommend.
5. Spanish Stairs
I don't know how, but wherever we went, we would somehow end up on Spanish steps. Maybe unlocked Dior's WiFi would call us. Anyway, the fashion shows of high end brands are held here in summer. You can find their shops nearby, in via Condotti, as well as festive parades (we accidentally became apart of one). From cold, white stairs we even watched a marathon. The only disappointment is that I wasn't approached by the 2018 version of Gregory Peck.
6. The Vatican
We visited this tiny country on the 1st of January and accidentally arrived just in time to listen to the Pope's New Year's speech. Even for me, pretty non-religious person (and especially not Catholic), it was a beautiful experience. We didn't go inside because the entrance was free, so the line was beyond huge but if you have the chance - don't make the same mistake we did.
7. Piazza del Campidoglio
When the emperor Carl V visited Rome, pop Paul III was embarrassed that the capitol is so muddy and...not so in ideal state. That's why he asked Michelangelo to design the façade and the line characteristic to this piazza. It's really close to the Altare della patria, so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.
8. Villa and park Borghese
After you see the masterpieces of, among others, Bernini, Caravaggio and Raffaello, take a walk into the park. Park Borghese is like an oasis in the middle of the city. It reminds me of Boboli gardens in Florence but the entrance is free. You can ride a bike or a boat, or make a picnic while listening to the jazz music. If you get hungry and you didn't bring anything, which I recommend, you can walk to Piazza del popolo. In one of the streets that begin on the piazza, there is a great pizzeria that will, for around €4 give you a big and perfect pizza slice with a thin crunchy crust.
Trastevere is a super lovely part of the city next to the river Tiber (Tiber = Tevere) on the same side of the river as Vatican. It's full of old, red houses with flowers on the windows or clambering plants, little cobblestone streets and lively nightlife, as well as perfect sweets that taste like Ferrero Rocher in random pasticcerias.
10. The Mouth of Truth
If you don't trust your significant other, take them to the mouth of truth (Bocca della verita) that exists since 4th Century BC. According to the legend if you put your hand in them and lie, well, you won't have a hand anymore.
11. Monet's Exhibition
Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love Claude Monet and his work. Since it's like this city was built for me, it happened that his exhibition was at the same time as my stay. If you happen to be in Rome until 11th February, don't miss the chance to see his masterpieces; from his first caricatures to 'Water Lilies', everything is absolutely beautiful and worth seeing.
P.S: Thanks to the guy who assumed I was under 18 (if he asked to see my documents he'd discover that I am not) and made me pay less for a ticket than I normally would. One more good thing that happened that day lol
This guest post was written by Dunja. Check out her Instagram