Though it lies inland, Italy’s legendary landmark-packed capital is one of the Mediterranean’s most popular cruise destinations, which you can reach from the busy port of Civitavecchia.
6 hours in… Rome
If you’re planning on spending the afternoon in Rome, you probably already know which attractions you want to see, as the city’s home to some of the world’s most famous ones. Plan your route carefully and it’s possible to see a great many of them in one day, even if you don’t get chance to explore some of the larger ones in depth.
Perhaps Rome’s most famous landmark is the Colosseum. This ancient and imposing structure where gladiators of old fought to the death is unmissable in every sense and even if you don’t have time to go inside, you should visit just to see it for yourself. Another architectural marvel is the Pantheon, which boasts the world’s largest unsupported concrete dome, while the Trevi Fountain is a beautiful work of art which won’t fail to leave you speechless. Also within easy reach on foot is Vatican City and though you won’t have time to explore it all, if you arrive early or luck is on your side, the queues won’t be too long and you’ll have time to explore its stunning centrepiece, St Peter’s Basilica.
If you’ve already done the whistle-stop tour of Rome, you’ll no-doubt be eager to explore in more depth. A tour of the Colosseum is a great place to start, as though you’ll get a sense of its scale from the outside, you really don’t get a sense of the awesome spectacles which took place there until you step inside. You’ll also be able to see for yourself what a fantastic piece of engineering it was, too.
The Roman Forum is another historic attraction which will take you several hours to explore and is full of monuments, temples and other key structures, and offers a fascinating insight into how Rome was governed throughout the centuries. Understandably, the Vatican Museums are a hugely popular attraction and you’ll have to book in advance to ensure you get your chance to experience at least some of the jaw-dropping treasures you’ll find inside. Not surprisingly, the Sistine Chapel is one of Vatican City’s biggest draws, giving you the chance to see one of the world’s most celebrated artistic treasures.
Can’t keep away?
Rome’s the kind of city where you’ll always find something new to explore and even if you’ve visited the Forum before, if you did something else that day too, there’s sure to be some of it you didn’t see.
Palatine Hill is another popular spot which will give you a unique view of the Forum from above, while if you’re spending a couple of days in the city, a special Vatican Museums evening tour is a different way to explore the treasures away from the crowds. Rome’s not just about the Vatican however and there is a wealth of beautiful churches to explore across the city, including the Arcibasilica di San Giovanni Laterano, which ensures inner calm, the architecturally wonderful Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, which is brimming with artistic treasures.
Don’t even bother!
To buy water. “What?” we hear you say. “I heard Rome can get really hot!” it’s true, it can but there’s no need to pay over the odds for bottled water from shops in pricy tourist areas when there are plenty of public watering places available on the streets. As long as you don’t see the term ‘Non Potabile’, you’ll be fine. Or to get a taxi. While the majority of taxi providers are completely trustworthy, there are quite a few unsolicited taxis which will charge you over the odds and even if you do choose an official taxi, the city’s often heavy congestion means you’ll almost always get around quicker on foot.
Though they’re likely one of the landmark sites that you’ll have heard of, the Spanish Steps aren’t exactly a must see unless you’re specifically interested in their history. This is largely because when you visit, you’ll see more people than steps, as this is a place where it seems everyone comes to take a load off and enjoy lunch, so don’t expect to get a great photo!
Rome can be incredibly busy in the summer, so you might want to research the best time to visit to avoid the crowds and also enjoy the best weather that’s not too hot and not too cold.