Wisdom for a few short hours in Rome
If you only have one day in Rome then I regret to tell you that it’s just not enough but it happens for different reasons so let me start by explaining to you exactly how to do it. I have lived in Rome for more than a decade and there are days where I would have nothing better to do than to just walk through the city. Over the years my general route would pass by the Colosseum and towards the Vatican. Although this is a hefty walk, at the same time it’s the essential and golden journey. Let’s imagine you have from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m – for argument’s sake.
For me the key things to see are the Colosseum then the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and finally the Vatican state. But if you do have these hours and you do have a good way of finding your way from place to place this is essentially what I think you should do it’s kind of like an Irish man’s one day in Rome.
Start your day in Ancient Rome
When you get to the Colosseum, walk all around it spend time there good time look at it walk towards it and touch it, remember that this was built for one purpose only and that is it was built to entertain an arrogant and very egotistical people who believed they were entitled to anything they wanted. The Colosseum was mass murder on an industrial scale but it is still beautiful to look at. Although it was built so that people could enter fast and exit quicker, today it takes hours to get in and it’s not free as it was when it was built and it’s for sure less entertaining than then. I like to walk from the Colosseum on Via Imperiale towards Piazza Venezia because this street brings you straight through the ancient Roman forum and passes so many vitally important temples and public squares and areas of the most renowned leaders who spilled blood for Rome and all its romantic riches. Walking Via Imperiale you can get a sense of the greatness and achievement of Rome and you truly are walking the centre of the political power.
When you enter Piazza Venezia just stand there and think of Mussolini swaying the Italians using his emotional grasp, I won’t go into the history of the area but it is interesting and if you look around you going to see something which relates to Napoleon. Then make your way to the back of The Victoria Emmanuelle Monument up the hill to Piazza Campodgolio , this place to me is one of the most interesting little spots with a lot of very entertaining scientific and gossipy history. There’s also a very nice view from The Piazza. Then walk down the hill towards the Jewish ghetto.
By now you should be firmly within the ghetto of Rome, the history of what the Romans did to the Jews and then again what the Catholics did to them is astonishing then on top of that we had the Nazis in Rome and the history of what they did to the Jewish community is so depressing that I try to avoid talking about it at all. I do love the restaurants in this neighbourhood and there’s some small cake shops which are fantastic. The Jewish ghetto in Rome is one of the only surviving communities in historic Centre everybody else seems to have sold out and there are very few Roman families still living in the historic Centre but the few who are left are known by me and they work for Angel tours especially during our food tours. In the ghetto, sit down relax and soak in the atmosphere and take time I just look around and appreciate Rome in its natural state.
The next thing you need to do his to get over to my favourite place in Rome, The Pantheon. This to me is the quintessential key element of Roman history but has time is going on it reveals through its story the character and personality of Rome both ancient old and modern. Try to find out as much as you can about The Pantheon so that you can truly appreciate the history, of course we do free tours but they are every evening at 7 p.m. You could always get in touch and ask us for some nice info that we have on the history of this extraordinary ancient Temple.
The walk from the Pantheon towards Piazza Navona is very short but nice and then when you enter into the Piazza which is something you won’t forget easily. This Piazza is one of the most decadent in Rome if not the most. I like to walk around its entire circumference and knowing the history as I do I really get to appreciate the heart and the culture.
By now you should start heading towards the Vatican. Go from Piazza Navona towards Piazza Campo De Fiori another of my favourites although the history is quite ugly and truly barbaric. It’s actually my favourite Piazza in Rome and it also has one of my favourite to the coffee shops called bar Farnese it’s older generations of Romans running it they haven’t raised the prices for decades I’m for sure do not enter to rob tourists. Then the Piazza Farnese is also an interesting place. Go from this Piazza down towards the river and cross over the Ponte Sisto into Trastevere, but only go to Piazza Santa Maria and Trastevere because you don’t have a lot more time. This is another of the old Roman neighbourhoods that is interested but those get quite crowded like Piazza Navona. For I walk around this neighbourhood is work doing.
Of course I’m assuming you stop just for snacks or coffee so by now it’s probably 5 or 6 p.m. and you’re walking along the river towards to St. Peter’s Square. If it’s the right time of year and the Sun is setting it’s a beautiful time to be standing in the Vatican state in St. Peter’s Square watching the religious people who are finding themselves in a type of Mecca or the tourists who are just there to take a picture. Hopefully after reading this you are not the person they’re just to take a picture but that you’re looking at it from a different angle and on another level. Think about what it cost to build all of this and where that money came from, think about the time it was built and the poor souls working on it. Or maybe perhaps most of the time they felt they were doing it for a higher purpose and certainly looking at it today it elevates my consciousness so much that maybe it was for a higher purpose in the end. A short walk from Saint Peter’s Square along the Vatican walls will take you to the Metro A line.
That’s your one day in Rome done through my perspective. Of course I didn’t include entry time to any of these sites and I didn’t include the Spanish Steps or the Trevi Fountain. If you are going to enter the Colosseum and the Vatican well then you should really get tickets online in advance because if you don’t you can find yourself wasting so much time waiting to get in and being harassed by people who sell tickets on the street. Although these people do offer a very good service if you don’t have a ticket for yourself already. I didn’t include the Spanish Steps because it’s such a crowded place that I don’t know when is a good time to go and I don’t think that the history is interesting enough, the neighbourhood is snobby and everything around there is expensive although you should see it at least once I do still appreciate going there. I also didn’t include the Trevi Fountain because I think that should be seen at night with the lights on and the later the better.
Remember if you’re stopping at coffee shops that they offer different prices so standing at the bar gets you the cheapest price, it’s a good idea to ask locals where a good coffee shop can be found or a good place to get a sandwich. When you getting in gelato make sure to get it handmade and don’t go to one of the factory ones because it’s just not the same, when you read artigianale then you know you’re in a handmade ice cream gelateria.
Just do note that a lot of time can be wasted dealing with people who are trying to sell you things especially around the Colosseum and Piazza Navona, some guys give you roses pretending that they’re free but just move on and ignore them completely because you’re there for the experience of soaking up the atmosphere of the city. Of course they recommend that you do some research online or to bring along a small guide book so that when you get to a site like Piazza Navona or The Pantheon then you have some knowledge other than its initial Beauty.
As I said in the beginning I often spend one day just walking to city of Rome but since I know it’s so well I often do head for particular churches or museums which I know have art works by my favourite artists. If you’re going to be in Rome Florence Venice Paris Istanbul Barcelona Dublin Galway Pisa or the south of Spain and you’re looking for some tips do get in touch so that we can send some of the spots that we like to recommend.
Also, Angel Tours is my company and if you look into it you’ll realise that we don’t pay for advertising, we are literally a word of mouth grown agency, that’s important it’s important to say that our success is coming from articles like this and from people talking about us amongst each other at dinner tables when they get home from the holidays. I think that if you only have one day in Rome or any City for that matter that if you can do try to get one good to guide to show you around because it saves on time. So when you’re looking for a guide like this researching on the internet a bit more than just clicking on paid ads will help you to find someone who has local almost like a friend who has you in their City for a few hours and it into the ass kicking off to show you what’s important to them. I know from experience because when my friends arrived I always take one day where I just walked into the city in any of the cities that I know well. But I do the same with the guests of Angel tours, when I meet them if I find their personality and attitude is something that I find interesting or we connect on some level, I go all out I mean I really spend time and put in genuine energy into trying to express to those people what I feel for the history and culture of Paris or Barcelona or Florence or in Rome. I tried to help them understand what it was of the city that made me fall in love with it more than 10 years ago. If you can get it guide you treat you like this can you really onto a winner. But with all that said, if you’re just a poor student who needs his money for alcohol, are you just don’t like the feeling I’ve been taken around by another person, did my advice is to choose a route and see if you worthwhile things in the city but never to rush it or to try to get as much in as you possibly can.
Remember if you get lost in a city then maybe enjoy that too because it was getting lost that helped me to discover parts of a city that are remind most loved and cherished memories of that day that I got lost. I often happened upon a little place that I really don’t tell many people about except for a few lucky customers and friends.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and it has some value for you.
Thanks Sean T AngelTours