One of my coworkers is going to Rome at the end of the month and asked for recommendations! Well, besides New York City and Georgetown, Rome is probably the third place in the world I feel most comfortable speaking about since I studied abroad there in college. I took a class Georgetown offered called CLSS-625-62 The Ancient City of Rome. The course description read:
The Ancient City of Rome is a three-credit study-travel course, which offers an introduction to the archeology of the city of Rome, capital of a vast empire that stretched for thousands of miles and still the seat of Catholic Church. Sites to be visited in Rome include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the palace of the emperors, the imperial baths, and the Forum. Students will also examine finds the the numerous museums in Rome that house antiquities, including the Vatican Museums. There will be additionally be field trips to example the imperial port of Ostia as well as Pompeii, the city buried in AD 79 by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
I have seen dozens and dozens of sites, looked at hundreds of statues, and drank more than a few glasses of wine. You have seen a few of these photos here but For my coworker and for anyone else who might be interested, if you had four days in Rome, this is how I would spend it:
DAY ONE: Start the day by touring Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, it is best to go early in the morning as it gets hot and crowded. Then head over to center city and pass the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II but you don’t need to go inside. From there head to the Pantheon (+39 06 6830 0230) and explore in and around the area. There are many great spots for lunch and then you can meander to the Piazza Navona. Browse in Via del Governo Vecchio’s vintage shops, and finish up with an aperitivo (drink and nibbles) on the Campo de’ Fiori — don’t miss the adjoining Piazza Farnese.
|Trajan’s Forum (The Roman Forum)|
|The Home of the Vestal Virgins (Roman Forum)|
|The Temple of Saturn (Roman Forum)|
|Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II|
DAY TWO: Any trip to Rome, in my opinion, deserves a full day at the Vatican, regardless of the length of your stay. Start at St Peter’s and climb its dome for your first view over the Eternal City. Then visit the incredible wealth of the Vatican Museums (+39 06 698 84947), including the Sistine Chapel. You can book tickets online for the museums, which saves on waiting in line!
|The Courtyard of the Vatican Museum|
|The Dome of St. Peter’s|
|Cortile del Belvedere (The Vatican) On the left at 14 and on the right at 20|
|Laocoön and His Sons (The Vatican)|
|The Imperial Coronation (Vatican Museums)|
DAY THREE: The most famous and iconic site in Rome is definitely the Colosseum and you do not want to miss it. When you are actually standing inside the massive amphitheater you actually get a sense of what it would have been like 2,000 years before. I highly recommend you book your tickets ahead of time here. The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. To end day three head over to the Ara Pacis or Augustus’ Temple of Peace.
The Arch of Constantine
|The Arch of Constantine|
|The Temple of Divine Claudius (and Portico)|
|Bust of Augustus (Ara Pacis)|
|Augustus’ Temple of Peace (Ara Pacis)|
DAY FOUR: Start your fourth day in Rome by walking the Spanish Steps. If you are religious the Trinità dei Monti is a gorgeous French church situated atop the hill and there is a beautiful fresco of the Mater Admirabilis in a niche along a corridor that opens onto the cloister. From there head to the the Trevi Fountain and toss a coin in— according to tradition, this means you’ll return to Rome. Then after lunch I recommend going to the Capitoline Museum, there are a tremendous amount of beautifully preserved, famous statues all in the air conditioning.
|The Spanish Steps and Trinità dei Monti|
|The Trevi Fountain|
|The Capitoline Museum|
|The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Auerlius and Commodus as Hercules (Capitoline Museum)|
This four day plan covers almost every thing on my must see list; The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, The Colosseum, The Trevi Fountain, Pantheon , The Spanish Steps, San Clemente, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum and Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. If you have time I really enjoyed the The Ara Pacis Musuem, an outdoor temple they put inside to preserve it, but it isn’t a must-see. From the time I spent in Rome in university I think you can skip Ostica Antica, the Catacombs of San Callisto, the via Appla Antica, and Hadrian’s Villa.