How Not to See Rome in 3 Days

I have to start off by confessing that my trip to Rome was probably the worst planned piece of travelling I have ever done. Possibly the worst that anyone has ever done.

It was winter in the UK and I needed to get away from the rain, cold and general misery for a few days. The fact that my budget and time off work didn’t stretch to very much didn’t put me off. I found a flight that cost something ridiculous like 2p and even the fact that taxes and charges added up to about 50 quid didn’t stop me from booking it and looking forward to my first visit to Rome.

The first doubts about whether or not I had bitten off more than I could chew came in the taxi ride from the airport. I suddenly realised that this city is massive. Sure,  I had always known that it was fairly big but now I started to seriously worry about how to see it all in just 3 days. Here’s what not to do in this situation.

Don’t Have a Plan

peterThe thing with visiting Rome is that you need a plan, especially if you don’t have much time there. I’m not really a big fan of studying maps and ticking attractions off a list normally. I prefer to go for a wander and see what I bump into along the way. With this piece of timeless travel wisdom in my mind I decided to go for a walk upon arrival. The attractions will find me, I thought. Sadly, they didn’t. I knew that somewhere in this sprawling city there was a famous building called the Coliseum, another one called the Pantheon and a fountain which someone famously stepped into. Where the heck were they? The one spot of luck I had was in finding a big wall which appeared to enclose a large settlement within it. Aha, I thought, this must be the Vatican City. I walked along it for an eternity and felt quietly smug about the whole thing when I came to an entrance to the Sistine Chapel and museums. I was going to see that famous picture of God reaching out to Adam without even trying. I was a certified travel genius again.

Know Nothing 

It didn’t take long for the travel genius to get brought back down to Earth again. As I had done no research and knew nothing about the place I hadn’t realised that it was too late to enter the Sistine Chapel.  It wasn’t even that late but I felt crushed by my failure to do anything useful in the day. I bought a limp and ruthlessly overpriced hot dog and sat down feeling like the worst tourist in the world. I had spent the best part of the day in one of the world’s finest cities and all I had to show for it was a couple of blisters on my feet and a low quality piece of processed meat.

Get Uptight

It was only on the second day in Rome that I decided not to get uptight about the whole thing. I was here to have some fun and see stuff so why not relax and do just that? I entered St Peter’s the next morning and was staggered at the size and beauty of the place. It just seemed to have been stuffed full of incredible pieces of art everywhere I went. I even went up to the cupula (if that’s what it’s even called) and got a bird’s eye view of the other tourists scuttling about way below me. As I left there my idea was to run about and try and get to the Sistine Chapel but I saw a group of Italian families playing with the pigeons and shouting “mangiare” at them. I decided to sit down, take some photos and soak up the atmosphere. It turned out to be a great move and I spent several hours there watching the world go by and feeling as though I was finally getting to know Rome.  There was still another day left to see the vast array of treasures left here by over 2 and a half thousand years of human occupation.

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