They say Rome wasn’t built in a day so you can’t really expect to see it all in that bit of a time frame either. With that being said, we saw a fraction of it in 2 days. If you don’t have a lot of time, let me suggest some “touristie” places to visit and enjoy. You are a tourist when you are a first or second time visitor to a city. Don’t let people who have been somewhere discourage you from seeing something because they say its a tourist trap. Advice from others is good but I always think, let me see for myself, then let me be the judge.
The city is quite large so wear comfortable walking shoes. Plan what you want to see before you leave your hotel. This makes your daily journey easier on your feet. Buy tickets to the Colosseum at the Forum which is about a block away for about half the price. Also buy tickets to the Vatican in advance and you can skip the mile long line and feel like a vip! Speaking of the Vatican, it is larger than you can imagine. The number of rooms and ancient artifacts housed there are tremendous. I recommend Rick Steves walking tour that you can download for free to your smartphone instead of paying for the audio tours at the historical sites. It saves you money and gives u the freedom to explore on your own.
The Sistine Chapel is smaller than you would think. You have to be quiet and they prefer you wearing pants and not shorts, and no spaghetti strapped or low cut shirts. To my surprise they have disposable pashminas for purchase or bring a shawl. No hats allowed either. Once you walk down the long corridors lined with magnificent art and tapestries, you are escorted quietly into the chapel. The best suggestion here is to make a beeline to the left wall and grab a seat on the bench to take in the brilliance of Michaelangelo. The crowd will be herded to the middle of the room and moved right to the back out the door swiftly. No camera phones or cameras are allowed to prevent flashes and to maintain the atmosphere of reverence. But…you know how that goes. Needles to say it was visually amazing and took Michaelangelo 4 years to complete. .and not laying on his back like we were taught to believe. He then was commissioned again in 1535-1541 to paint “The Last Judgement” on the wall behind the alter. It features a self depiction of the artist himself amongst the people midway between Christ and hell.
St Peters Square completes the visual experience with panoramic sweeping views that include the basillica, statues of the saints and a glimpse of the Pope’s house. With so much to see and learn in Rome, one visit is not enough. Rome is a city you’d want to keep coming back to again and again. Oh, not to mention the food and wine..but that’s a whole different article by itself.