Piazza Navona

Two days and one night in Rome

Two days and one night fitting in as much Rome as possible!

With only two days in Rome, we were able to visit a number of ‘must-see’ attractions. Using only public transportation and no organised tours, we were able to see:

  • The Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • The Colosseum and the Forum
  • Trastevere
  • St Peter’s Cathedral
  • Campo di Fiori
  • The Trevi Fountain
  • Via del Corso and Piazza del Popolo

While two days provided time to see all of these sites, the time spent in each of them was limited. For example, we didn’t join a tour and we didn’t go inside the Colosseum or Forum. With limited time, they both had to be admired from the outside.

Despite only having two days in Rome, we were able to scratch the surface for a speedy, and entertaining visit!

When visiting this ancient and awe-inspiring city, be prepared to clock some serious kilometres. Make sure wear comfy shoes!

Day 1

Arrival in Rome for our two day adventure

After a very restless 11 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, a three hour layover and then a 6 hour flight to Rome, I finally arrived in Italia!

Sometimes a delayed flight ins’t so bad. I was arriving in Rome a couple hours ahead of Deane and Marce (mom and stepdad). With the delay, my time spent waiting in the arrivals area was shorter than expected. Things got even better when my checked bag arrived on the same plane as me (yay! I’ll have clothes this year!).

I had planned to wait by the giant ‘burnt orange’ meeting place pole I read about online that people use as an easy to find meeting place. Come to find out, it was no longer orange, and I waited for about 45 minutes wondering whether they would be able to find me. It didn’t help that I couldn’t get a good view of the people arriving because there was a gigantic group of eldery people waiting to go on a group tour. The group finally left and out popped Deane and Marce!

After catching the Leonardo Express train from the airport, we arrived at the Termini Station. With our accommodation two block away at the Beehive, we quickly checked in and set off to explore.

Let the sightseeing begin!

Our first stops were the Pantheon, a made-to-order sandwich at Panino Ingegnoso in a nearby piazza and the first gelato of the trip. Because it’s never too early for a gelato!

Panino Ingegnoso sign
An inexpensive, yet tasty lunch, a couple minutes walking from the Pantheon
Rome gelato
First gelato of the trip

We then walked over to the nearby Piazza Navona to see the collection of fountains. This is also a popular spot for artists (and con artists) to sell their wares to the hoards of people admiring one of my favourite piazzas in Italy.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona – what’s not to like?!
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona

Next we walked past the Victor Emmanuele Monument towards the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Since we’d gone through the Forum and the Colosseum the year before, we decided to do a ‘walk-by’ instead. By this time it was almost time to check in, so we headed back to the Beehive but got a wee bit lost along the way. And by lost, I mean we ended up on a street that wasn’t on the map!

The Colosseum
The Colosseum which never ceases to amaze me after seeing it on four different trips
The Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine – one big ass arch!
A small section of the Roman Forum
A small section of the Roman Forum

An evening in Trastevere

After an hour or two of some much needed shut eye, we headed across the Tiber to Trastevere for dinner. After walking past many tasty looking options, we finally settled on a restaurant and sat at a table in the street that may have really been an alleyway. The waiter was cute and the waitress was a bit eclectic. The waiter pinched Marce’s chin when he ordered a drink. Too funny!

After a dinner of lasagna, pizza and a carbonara pasta (carbonara originates in Rome), we headed back to cross the Tiber on Ponte Sisto. But before crossing the bridge we stopped to listen to street performers playing 1970s classic rock tunes. It was so good we joined the hundred or so people also enjoying the music. No one there was enjoying it as much as a little one year old girl who was dancing like there was no tomorrow! Molto carina!

Once they finished their set, we crossed the bridge and over to Campo di Fiori. Deane wanted more vino but Marce and I had hit the proverbial wall brought on from the devil that is jet lag. We reluctantly left and caught the bus back to Termini and then a short walk to the B&B. By the time my head hit the pillow I was out until the morning.

Day 2 with a focus on St. Peter’s Square

Our two days in Rome was literally two days as we were leaving on a 6pm train to Orvieto. To see as much as possible, we started the day with a ride on bus number 40 to see St Peter’s Square. I ran the last few hundred meters to try to get as far into the queue as possible and to save some precious minutes. It didn’t really matter though because despite how long the queue is, it moves fairly quickly. To pass the time, we listened to our Rick Steves’ St Peter’s Cathedral podcast to get some information on the square. Taking about an hour, we made it inside the church and continued to listen to the podcast for some context for the hugemongous church we were seeing. This was my third time and it still amazes me how large it is.

St Peter's Square
St Peter’s Square. All with our headphones in to listen to the Rick Steves podcast!
Michelangelo's Pieta
Michelangelo’s Pieta behind glass after someone attacked it a few years ago.

Campo di Fiori and the Pantheon

After an hour or so inside the church, we headed back across the river and over to Campo di Fiori where we had lunch at the Magnolia restaurant. Deane had a beautiful salad and Marce and I had a pizza and some apple cake. Not an amazing restaurant, but we were able to sit outside and enjoy the people watching. Paying for a table with some shade, was worth it for the welcome relief from the heat.

Making our way towards Via del Corso, we made another stop at the Pantheon. This time we went back inside to listen to the Rick Steves’ walking tour to learn a bit more about what we were seeing. A highlight for me was finding out the bronze used on the original doors was partly removed to make the doors inside St Peter’s, which we had seen earlier in the day.

Inside the Pantheon
Inside the Pantheon. The floors, the walls, the columns, the ceiling. Amazing!
Outside the Pantheon
Outside the Pantheon, re-enacting our “look how big this tree is” photo from Queensland, Australia a couple years earlier.

The Trevi Fountain and its thick plastic panels

We continued towards the Trevi Fountain, which was mostly uncovered, but without any water. Still pretty amazing to see, even though we could only see it through plexiglass! (update – it was up and running and refurbished a few months later in November 2015).

Trevi Fountain Refurbishment
Trevi Fountain in the final stages of the restoration back in 2015. Now the fountain is restored and full of water.

Shopping along Via del Corso

Marce wanted to buy a watch so we turned around and walked up Via del Corso, central Rome’s shopping strip. He found a watch at the very first store he went into. He shops almost as quickly as Jarrad! We continued along Via del Corso hoping to get more pictures on the lions we sat on last year. Arriving in Piazza del Popolo we saw the lions were covered up! So disappointing. Hot and sweaty (and dare I say smelly) we walked over to the Spagna metro stop and took a very crowed and very hot metro back to Termini. With an hour and a half to spare before our train we took the time to relax a bit at the B&B, then back over to Termini to get some Grom gelato and catch the train to Orvieto.

We visited Rome in mid-September 2015 as part of a 10 day trip to Italy with my mom and stepdad. Our trip included: two days in Rome, an overnight in Orvieto, two days driving around the Val d’Orcia based in Montepulcianotwo days in Chianti based outside of Greve in Chianti3 days and 2 nights in Cinque Terrea stopover in Pisa and two days and nights in Venice

Have you spent two days in Rome (or more?). What are you must-see sights? Leave me a comment below.

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