If you have been following me for a while, you know just how in love I am with Italy. I can’t resist the scent of the fresh coffee, the taste of the pasta, the culture of luxury fashion and the dolce vita aura that permeates even the smallest villages and islands. Florence will undoubtedly always have a special place in my heart, as I studied, lived and started my career in weddings and events there. But beyond the rolling hills of Tuscany and the hidden Medici villas, Italy is a country of infinite treasures and history. Case in point: Rome.
One of the most visited European cities, walking around Rome is like wandering round an open-air museum. Basking in such beauty and culture is a rare privilege, so make sure to enjoy it while you’re there. Whizz around the city on a Vespa, stop by the obvious attractions, such as the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill and marvel at the artwork on display at the Doria Pamphilj Gallery.
But the absolute must-do in my opinion, while you’re in the Eternal City, is organising a trip to the Vatican. Whether you’re religious or not, you will be blown away, trust me. I visited for the first time with my husband earlier this year with a private guide (which was well worth the investment – I felt like I’d learned so much more than with an audio guide) and couldn’t stop raving about it to my friends and family.
The Sistine Chapel is the most famous draw, but make sure to see the Borgia apartment, Gregorian Egyptian Museum, Raphael’s Rooms and the impressive Carriage Pavilion. Unless you’re planning on spending multiple days in the Vatican, you’ll have to select what interests you the most, so do prepare before going. That also means you can choose your time-slots in advance to save you waiting around and wasting precious visiting time.
When in Rome, also make sure to visit Santa Maria della Concezione (a highly ornate Capuchin crypt), the Pyramid of Cestius (Remus’ tomb), the Museum of Roman Ships and my personal favourite, The Mouth of Truth. The latter is actually a memory from my first trip to Rome as a child with my family: I remember edging my fingers into the stone mouth in front of me, knowing that if he recognised me as a liar, he would bite my hand clean off. Nothing happened of course, but you always have that twinge of what if? I’d be intrigued to see if I still get that feeling of anticipation and excitement as an adult.
I think that’s what makes Rome so special to me: the excitement, the discovery, knowing that I’m going to be enriched and inspired by this magical place. You’d be amazed how much can happen in a weekend away…