Rome is still remembered by all five of us as one of our family’s absolute best vacations while living in Europe. We had 5 full days in the city. We had not been to Rome before, so we opted not to take any day trips out of the city in the short time we had. And we did not regret that one bit. It is important to get the metro/ and museum pass if you have 72 hours or more in the city.
The Card is designed to save you money on entry fees and transportation costs. At a one-off price, The OMNIA Rome and Vatican Pass will allow you entry into the Vatican City for free, as well as grant you free entry into two of Rome’s most historical sites, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum – among many others! To visit those attractions alone it would cost you €122 and that’s without transport costs. The pass 113 euros for adults, 80 euros for children and includes transportation costs for that 72 hours.
When we traveled to Rome, the “Roma” pass we purchased included the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum, plus two other museums. We purchased our Vatican tickets separately and online ahead of time. We did that here! It was wonderful skipping the line at the Colosseum, Palatine hill, and the Forum and the Vatican. We were there in October, and the line into the Vatican was very long, and if you are going to be there in the summer, even longer. We bought our pass when we got there from a tabac in the metro, but you can get it online.
Here was our 5 day Rome itinerary.
Day 1 Vatican, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps Get your tickets for Vatican ONLINE unless you buy the Roma Pass that includes it. Ours did not. We avoided literally a half mile line and went straight in. When we bought our tickets online, we booked with a guide, but once inside we could choose if we wanted to stay with the guide or go on our own. We purchased those tickets here: http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/index.html
We did a couple hall ways with her, but then went on alone. Our favorites were the hall of maps and the hall of tapestries. But there’s so much. Like the Louvre in Paris, I would recommend doing some online research ahead of time to see what you really want to see and where you want to spend your time. You can finish your tour of the Vatican in the Sistine Chapel. Your ticket to the Vatican gets you to the Sistine Chapel. No pictures allowed in there. Once you finish in the Sistine Chapel, you can either 1 return into the Vatican museum OR do what we did 2 exit through St. Peter Basilica. This may be the easiest way to see St. Peter’s, the largest (and perhaps most notorious) Catholic cathedral in the world. The building on St. Peter’s began in 1506. It is built in the same place as Peter the Apostle was martyred in about AD 65 by Emperor Nero. The 1st church of St. Peter was erected here by Emperor Constantine and lasted from 329AD to about 1500. It was so easy to just exit into the Basilica from the Sistine Chapel. So see all you want in the Vatican, then go Sistine Chapel, and from there, straight into the Basilica. THEN when you are good and done at both the Vatican and the Basilica, go to:
Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps which are literally right next to each other. ALSO perhaps The church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva -the only gothic church in Rome, can be squeezed in here. Michelangelo’s sculpture “Christ Bearing the Cross” is in this church.
Day 2 Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill. All must sees in Rome and do them one after the other, starting with the Colosseum. Enough cannot be said about these three epic sites. Just. Go! Afterwards you can see nearby St. Peter In Chains Cathedral. This church is believed to have both sets of chains that held Peter in captivity in Jerusalem (Acts 12) and also when he was imprisoned prior to his death in Rome. This church also has Michelangelo’s “Moses,” sculpture, an equally incredible sight to see.
Nearby Eats: On this day, we ate at a Rick Steve’s recommended restaurant (very good and reasonable) which was located a short walk up the hill from the Colosseum and only .2 miles from St Peter in Chains Church: La Tavernelle at Via Panisperna, 48, Rome, Italy
Day 3/4 Jesuit Church and just walking the city. The Jewish sectors of European cities are rich in culture and history. Be sure to visit the Jewish Ghetto Pantheon National Museum of Rome. My girls loved this partly because we had just read the Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers which was a great segway for our visit to Rome in general and also to this museum.
Day 5 Ancient Appian Way Tour If you’re interested, read Acts 21-22 to get some interesting biblical background and history about this old Roman road. This was the way that Paul the Apostle was led to his imprisonment in Rome. It is an absolutely beautiful area to walk and see. In this area, you can see and tour the Catacombs (Christian tombs), the Cecilia Metalla Tomb, Quo Vadis Church, and the Roman city gate and wall. NOTE of interest on the Quo Vadis Church: A 9th century church built on the spot where it is believed the Apostle Peter fled the inner city of Rome during persecution and met with Jesus here in a vision which subsequently inspired Peter to return to Rome, where he was killed for his faith in 67 or 68 AD under the direction of Emperor Nero.
After visiting all of these aforementioned sites, we chose to walk back to the city centre. It was a great decision. We actually walked straight to the Baths of Caracalla. The ancient Roman city gate and wall we enjoyed on our way there. Even if you Uber back, you must make a stop to see the Roman city gates and wall. Have the Uber or Cab pick you up at the catacombs and wait for you at the city gate for pics before heading back to the centre. Once we were through the city gate, it was about only a 4 or 5 kilometer walk to the Baths of Caracalla.
The Baths of Caracalla are one of the best preserved ruins of ancient Roman baths I have ever seen. It was a monstrous structure. Even now in ruins, it was ominous walking through it.
DAY ? Sant’ Angelo pedestrian bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the Tiber River. It has the best view of St. Peter’s Basilica at sunrise. Pick one of your 5 days (not the day you go to the Appian Way) and go before daybreak. We dragged out kids out of bed for this. The bridge also illustrates the passion of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ beautifully. It is anchored on one end by Castel Sant’ Angelo.
Where we stayed in Rome (albeit in 2010): Michelangelo Penthouse, in Center of Rome. Very near St. Peters & the Vatican.We loved this place. At least 3 sets of friends have stayed there since we did. Wifi was good. There is a kitchen and ample sleeping area for your family.
Rome is a place I want to return to again, but have yet to do so. Let me know about your visit there. I am always eager to hear.