I made a last minute decision to fly to Rome for two days. First class was open so I thought why not? I haven’t been to Rome since 2010.
Flight over was great. First class always is. Good wine and lay flat seats. It was late so i passed on the dinner. Airplane food is never worth the calories.
Upon arrival in Rome, went through customs. Super fast and easy. No lines really at all.
I decided to take an Uber since I heard the train was sketchy and could be dangerous. It was daytime but I was jet lagged and wanted something easy.
The Uber was slightly weird. After a driver accepted, he immediately called me and told me where to wait. Then the driver approached me at the meeting spot. We had to walk quite a far way to the parking lot. I was a little nervous but eventually got to his car. Not sure if this is standard or not. The drive to the hotel was roughly 45 minutes and cost me $65.
I decided to stay at the Hotel Capo D’Afrika. A four star hotel near the coliseum. Check out my review. I used my trusty Hotel Tonight app for this last minute trip.
After settling my things and getting ready, I headed out to explore. My hotel is a two minute walk to the coliseum. It was spectacular as usual. I explored the area and walked around to the forum and then headed up to Piazza del Campidoglio Square where the Capitoline Museum is located. It had started raining so it was the perfect time to check out this world renowned collection.
The Capitoline Miseum houses s great collection of art, sculptures and statues. Really exquisite. Opened to the public in 1734, it’s considered the first museum in the world.
After the museum, I headed back to the area around my hotel for dinner. I found a great restaurant, Pasqualino Al Colloseo. Check out my review. Dinner was great but this area was really touristy and there were no top rated restaurants in the immediate area. After dinner I heaaded for the hotel and sleep!
The next morning, I headed for my tour. I managed to book a tour the day before with Rome Your Way tour company. A seven hour tour to Hadrian’s Palace and Tivoli Gardens. The office was located near Termini train station. It was a half hour walk from my hotel. Upon arrival, I checked in and waited for the tour to begin.
It was a large tour bus with 24 people. I had enough space to get two seats side by side. The drive was about 45 minutes to Hadrian’s Palace. We then walked uphill about 15 minutes to a small building with map of the site. Our tour guide explained a little of the history to us. We then headed into some of the ruins.
We only saw about 25 percent of the entire site, we spent roughly an hour and the half looking at 5 of the sites. I would have loved to see more. But the site is huge and you would need all day to hike around. And I mean hike, there is a lot of uphill portions on uneven terrain. But the site was still amazing and worthwhile to see.
We then boarded the bus and about 15 minutes later arrived in the city of Tivoli and went to lunch. Lunch was included in our tour price. The restaurant was nice set up with a couple of large tables so everyone could chat. Lunch included a pasta dish with tomato sauce and a chicken saltimbocca, Which is pounded thin chicken with prosciutto on top in a type of Marsala sauce. Both dishes were very good but tiny. And we also got a bottle of water and a bottle of wine. Roughly two glasses of wine per person. That was it. No salad, no desserts no coffee. I have done quite a few tours and while the food was good, they usually serve more in these tours.
We then headed off to Villa Este and the Tivoli Gardens. Our guide spent about twenty minutes described the art of this luxurious palace and then we got a half hour to venture into the gardens. It was spectacular. Well worth a visit.
We then hopped back on our bus for our 45 minute return journey. We arrived back in Rome roughly 4:45pm. All in all it was a great day trip out of Rome. The tour price was roughly $130.
I then walked back to my hotel. I spotted this church and decided to go in. It turned out to be the Basilica of San Clemente. A church with another church buried underneath! The cost was 10 euro to go down three levels under Rome to see some beautiful wall mosaics and the mithreum. It was fascinating.
I then headed to my hotel where my luggage was stored and had an aperol spritz on the rooftop. I then got an uber to the airport to check into the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport. The cost was $65 and roughly 45 minutes. Check out my review of the hotel.
The next morning I headed to the airport on the shuttle. As usual, the flight home was a jumpseat. Flights are frequently payload optimized. Rome is one of the most difficult destinations to non rev out of. Luckily some people didn’t show so I got to move to an aisle seat. It’s rough in the back with no open seats for 11 hours but I survived.
I never chanced the metro/subway while I was there. I also didn’t venture out later Than 8pm since I was alone. I did notice men were more aggressive here than most countries I have visited. I got a lot of stares and yells. And I’m fairly old so it wasn’t usual. All in all, it was a fun getaway to Rome but I would seriously consider traveling out of another city.