One of the things I like about living in London is the ability to tack on a destination whenever I head back to the US. On a recent trip back to Chicago to meet up with Ashley and visit family and friends, I found that an extended layover in Rome was the same price as the direct trip to Chicago! Rome, being only a couple hour flight from London, sounded like a nice spot to check out en route to Chicago so I endeavored to cram as much in as I could in 24 hours.
Taking an early flight from Heathrow is not easy. To catch a 7AM flight, you generally want to be at the airport at 5AM. From central London, this means you probably want to leave at 4AM. You have two options: Taxi or Night Bus. I opted for the night bus at around 3:45AM and got to the airport on time.
The flight was quick, however immigration took about 45 minutes. Getting into the city via train adds on another 25 minutes. I was determined to not let any of this stop me!
I booked a room at a B&B close to the Colosseum so I could be near the ancient parts of the city I was interested in seeing on my first stint. Walking from Termini Station to the Colosseum area takes about 15 minutes but it’s not a bad walk.
After realizing I arrived earlier than I said I would and nobody was there to receive me, I decided to head to the Roman Forum (walking distance) and get my tickets for Palatine Hill/Roman Forum/Colosseum . The first thing I noticed is obviously the Colosseum. This thing is unreal.
The ticket entry gaining you access to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum is without a doubt one of the best deals I’ve seen and definitely worth buying.
Inside the Colosseum is surreal. The scene of so many epic movies. You can see clearly the pits under the ground floor where they would keep wildlife, plants and others that they would surface to the top with a pulley system for hunts and other spectacles. I read that they would also flood the inside of the Colosseum to recreate water battles!
The levels of detail preserved are amazing.
After spending time in the Colosseum, I decided it would be a good idea to head to the Roman Forum. Another amazing thing is the view you can get without even going inside.
From inside you can get a more aerial view.
You will do a lot of walking so this will likely consume a good portion of the day.
While in Rome, I thought it might be good to see Vatican City as well and pick up some souvenirs for family from the area.
Prepare for a wait if you want to go into St Peter’s Basilica.
As far as dining went, unfortunately I didn’t get many food photos. But there was a lot of great food around and due to some great recommendations from my hosts I ate pretty well. I tended to stick to pizza and pasta because…hey it’s Italy!
Anyway, obviously 24 hours in Rome was not enough but it was to get a feel for the ancient part of town and to make me want to revisit! Hopefully next time with Ashley!