Last year I was lucky enough to win a 6-month scholarship to go study in Italy for free. Naturally, I spent those 6 months eating pizza, pasta, tiramisu, drinking Aperol Spritz and travelling around the country with my Erasmus friends. My trip to Rome was the first trip that I planned when I moved there.
I remember it was March. It was the first week of classes and I had just made a new friend. I was so excited! My goal was to make as many friends as possible from all over the world. This new friend, Ivana, is from Croatia and we instantly clicked. We both like the same kind of music (we listened to Despacito way too much during those 6 months. It’s still our friendship song), we had the same classes, we both knew how to speak English and Italian fluently and we share the same humour. We became best friends just like that.
We planned on going to Rome for three days, sightsee and take as many pictures as we possibly can! (we took over 2,000 photos… goal achieved). My friend Ivana was the one who took these amazing pictures by the way! I remember train tickets being close to €100 for one way. I also remember how me and her were like nah .. ef that! So went on GoEuro and found tickets with Flixbus for €7.
I was gobsmacked. Firstly, Italy is HUGE. We were staying on the outskirts of Bologna and the drive to Rome is about 7 hours. So finding tickets that cheap was insane! Secondly, I have never heard of FlixBus before and now, thanks to our trip to Rome, I am FlixBus’s biggest fan! If you haven’t checked out FlixBus yet, I highly suggest you do. It’s cheap and the service is very professional.
Moving on. The day finally came. We both packed a hand luggage suitcase each and we both had our handbags and an extra bag with more stuff each. We had an early morning train to catch to Cesena and then our next stop was Rome!
Our first stop was the Vatican Museums.
I’ve seen the Vatican many times on T.V. but being there is a whole new experience. There were a lot of soldiers and police in that area which is what you’d expect. The Vatican Museums are centrally located and you can get there easily with a metro. In our case, our hotel was only 10 minutes away so we walked it there. We spent the entire afternoon walking around, taking pictures and talking to policemen (Italian men are something else let me tell you). Fun fact: there are a number of laundry places in the Vatican square
The Pope commissioned these to be built so the homeless people can wash their clothes! We headed back to the Vatican Museums on Sunday in the hopes of seeing the Pope but he wasn’t in Italy at the time. Talk about bad timing huh!
While you’re there, make sure you visit Point Sant’ Angelo . There are usually lots of tourists there taking pictures so try to find a small spot where you can squeeze in and smile!
The following day we went to the Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi & the Altara della Patria.
One tip that I suggest if you’re interested in going to the Colosseum is buying tickets online beforehand. The queue to get in was insanely long. So much so that me and my friend gave up on going in the Colosseum. But we still took some beautiful pictures outside and admired its beauty!. There’s also a little square in front where you can sit down and relax. A number of locals were sitting there drinking and chatting.
There are also some old Roman Villa ruins around the Colosseum that I recommend you checking out.
Next, we headed to the Fontana di Trevi. Let me tell you, it is IMPOSSIBLE to take a picture without some tourist appearing in your photo! But it was worth it going there. It’s one of those sights that you have to see when you go to Rome. Also, for any ice-cream lovers out there, there’s an amazing ice-cream shop exactly opposite of the fountain. You can’t go wrong with ice-cream in Italy 🤤.
Before heading to our next stop, we stopped by this cute little restaurant and ate pizza and spaghetti carbonara. The latter is a delicacy in Rome so I suggest you try it at least once! Food in Rome can be a bit pricey, especially if you in tourist-dense areas like we did. What I suggest is that you find family-owned restaurants that are not in the tourist areas. You can easily Google them and a huge list comes up. We did that for dinner once and only spent €15 on a 3-course meal which included antipasto, bread, lasagna and wine. Now that’s a bargain! Other than that, if you’re rolling on a budget like we were, you can buy schiaccata or slices of pizza from supermarkets or a number of take away/bakery shops found all over Rome.
After we stuffed our faces in that delicious food, we headed to the Altara della Patria.
This is a monument built to commemorate Victor Emmanuel which was the first King of the Kingdom of Italy. Visitors can go inside and admire the marble architecture, Roman-style columns and the great views.
The next day we went horse back riding!
This was a new experience to me. I have never been that close to a horse, let alone ride on one! We did some research before we went down to Rome and we came across Riding Ancient Rome. We contacted them via WhatsApp and within a couple of minutes, they replied back. The whole experience lasts for an hour and costs about €50. For some that may seem a little pricey but let me tell you, it’s super worth it! The people there are very nice and they make sure you are comfortable with the horse. Plus, the horses are very well looked after. I remember my horse was white and her name was Bella ❤️
Secondly, what makes this even more special and worth it is that they took us around the ancient part of Rome. You can still see the Roman villas and the cobbled pathways. It was like we were taken in a whole new world. I highly recommend you checking their website out and consider going horseback riding with them!
They’re located on the outskirts of town. I remember we had to get the metro and walk it there. Make sure you plan ahead so you won’t arrive late and miss out on this amazing experience!
And there you have it, my trip to Rome! Of course, there are many other sights to see but we were a bit tight on time so we didn’t have the time to visit everything. If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Rome, please go there! The city is full of history and culture, there are many sights to see, the food is delicious and the weather is gorgeous (most of the time). Rome is easily accessible with trains and buses and there are a number of metros located all over the city just like any other major European city. You will NOT be disappointed