When You Have a Layover in Rome (Italy)

Recently one of my friends was in Rome and said she was going write a blog post called “What to Do in 24 Hours in Rome!” and I thought, “I should write that, too, since I don’t want to spend more than 24 hours in Rome ever again.” I know, this is a super unpopular opinion and I’m total fucking weirdo for having it. But the tl;dr: I didn’t really like Italy when I visited in 2008.

I’m not a foodie, or into art museums, or the Catholic church. There’s only so much Gelato I can eat and I live in New York City, so I can get pretty good, authentic Italian food pretty much any time I want. Despite my reservations about Rome, here’s what I think you should do if you ever have a long layover in Rome.

Pantheon: This is a former Roman temple that was built from 113-125 AD. It’s currently a church and a major tourism site because it’s one of the most well-preserved examples of Roman architecture. It’s dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world and it’s over 2000 years old! There are two Italian kings buried in the Pantheon: Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto’s Queen, Margherita.

Trevi Fountain: This fountain is famous because it’s been used in movies like Roman Holiday, La Dolci Vita, and Three Coins in the Fountain. It is located in the Trevi district of Rome and it’s construction was completed in 1762 and it was inaugurated by Pope Clement XIII. This beautiful fountain is directly in front of Palazzo Poli, an Italian palace. The fountain is breathtakingly beautiful, especially on a sunny day.

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Spanish Steps: These famous steps connect the Piazza di Spagna to the Piazza Trinità dei Monti, in front of the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The steps were constructed from 1723-1725 and opened officially in 1725. These steps are also famous for being used in many well known movies like Roman Holiday (again), The Talented Mr. Ripley, and even the TV show Everyone Loves Raymond.

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Roman Colosseum: This historical site dates back to 70 AD. Although it’s partially in ruins due to earthquakes, it’s amazing to see something that old. It’s estimated that it used to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators back in it’s heyday. It was here that the Roman gladiators fought.

Catacombs of Rome: In these ancient catacombs are the bodies of thousands of Catholics. Originally, the Romans liked to be cremated but then in the 2nd century AD, they started preferring burials because they believe it would better preserve their body to be resurrected for the second coming. Because of a lack of space above ground, these catacombs were built below ground. They are creepy and very similar to the ones in Paris. The catacombs that I visited housed mainly the monks. These are super creepy.

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Vatican City: I’m not a fan of the Catholic Church, but I think it’s worth visiting this city-state within Rome just to go see the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, which I wrote about here. If you have no interest in the chapel though, don’t bother because the Catholic Church doesn’t need more money, IMO.

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Eat Lots of Gelato, Wine, and Pasta: In case you don’t live in a place with a plethora of amazing food, you should eat all the gelato and pasta you can. I don’t have any suggestions for places you should go, but I’m pretty sure anywhere you go will do the trick.

So, there you have it. There’s all the touristy stuff you can cover if you have a layover in Rome. If you have any suggestions for what to do when you have a layover in Rome that isn’t full of touristy goodness, let me know in the comments below!

The main photo is of the Fontana del Tritone. All photos are mine and they are of questionable quality because they were taken in 2008!

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