There and back
How you can enjoy a one night only trip to Rome.
I know. It is almost an impossible task to execute: enjoy Rome for only 2 days and 1 night. And in truth, it really is pretty inconceivable, but what if you need to take a very quick trip to the Etrernal City? You might want to take full advantage of being there and do the best you can with such little time.
I recently had to take a trip to Rome that was exactly this: 1 night, one afternoon and one morning. I had been to Rome a number times before and this has certainly worked in my favour. I was able to save a lot of time because I knew pretty well where everything was. Having said all that, when in Rome there is always a big chance of being surprised by unseen and stunning sights. So, here are my tips for those, sadly, in a rush.
It is really important to choose the hotel for its location, rather than anything else. Being right in the middle of all the touristy spots are in crucial if you do not want to waste too much time wondering around and getting lost. I picked Navona Theatre Hotel, which is situated right behind Piazza Navona. It is not that special, but its location is unbeatable. The room I had was quite lovely with a large comfy double bed, a new and nice bathroom with very good showers. The view was, however, non existent. My room was literally facing the reception desk which I didn't like as I could hear everything the receptionists talked about and it was a little noise at breakfast time. From my window I could see the back of a building where people dump stuff such as old tables and charis. There was also a car parked in that tiny yeard. Really not great. But as I was out most of the time, I didn't ask if they could move me. But overall, a sweet room and a good enough breakfast, which was included.
Navona Theatre Hotel
It is very important to make your way into the city from the airport as quickly as possible. Presuming you are travelling light (1 night, remember?), you can avoid the wait at the luggage claim area and get on with heading towards the centre of Rome. If you are flying to Fiumicino Airport, I definetely recommend taking the Leonardo Express. It costs 14 Euros and you are in Roma Termini in just under half an hour. I really like the train system in Italy. I find it fuss free and really easy to use, compared to the UK one which is complicated and costly. Once you reach Roma Termini, the main train station in the city, I suggest a short taxi ride to Piazza Navona. Take one the taxis outside the airport and they are pretty reliable. The ride will cost around 8 to 9 Euros. Any more than that you have been taken on a ride, quite literally. To get back to Fiumicino, do the same thing: taxi to Termini and Leonardo Express, usually from platform 23 or 24.
Because my hotel was a few steps from Piazza Navona, I was only a few steps from major touristy spots. Navona itself and its magnificent Baroque features, fountains and old History was a stones away from my hotel. I strongly recommend a visit to the Sant'Agnese church in the piazza for breathtaking Baroque architecture with the most gorgeous frescoed cupola. I confess that, due to the lack of time to get lost (I strongly suggest doing so when you can), Google map was my best and trustworthy friend. From Navona it took me around twenty beautiful minutes to reach the crazy spot that is the Trevi Fountain. The first ever time I saw this world famous sight, I was with a group of Roman friends and after chatting through the night, we took a walk and by 3 am, when there was absolutely no one around, we had the fontana just for ourselves. It corssed my mind getting in the water and play Ekberg, like La Dolce Vita. But wouldn't it be silly? Leaving the Trevi Fountain, a quick 10 minute walk and I was by the fabulous Spanish Steps, an exclusive are in Rome for the super rich. Steps up under the Italian sun and the view is astonishing! Make your way back to Navona and allow yourself to get just a little bit lost inside the narrow labyrinth of streets in the city before stopping by for one of the best parts: the food and the wine!
FOOD AND DRINK
Now, this is very important, but a bit tricky. You might think that you cannot go wrong in Rome when it comes to food and drink. But, with the amount of restaurants available inside the touristy area, you will be surprised to find quite a fair number of places that serve food that is certainly not up to the standards of the Italians. I tried 3 restaurants whislt there and can recommend 2 of them. Unfortunately, one of the really good looking restaurants and with such a cozy interior and excellent staff, the Cantina e Cucina, served food I was less than impressed with. I ordered pizza and I can tell you I sure know what good pizza tastes and looks like. I used to live near Naples. I was gutted when my order arrived with a pizza looking like it had come straight from the supermarket. The house wine was pretty decent. I then, ordered a tiramisú. Oh dear, no hint of coffee at all! None whatsoever. Instead a super sweet creamy dessert with too much chocolate powder. Sadly, I am not going back. However, one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tried was in La Piccola Cucagna, in the Via della Cucagna. I ordered pasta and the difference here is that the pasta was so fresh and I could tell. Absolutely divine fettucine with prawns, courgette and lots of garlic. My second pick is the rather sad looking Gino e Pietro Trattoria. The atmosphere is far from vibrant. There was no music, no fuss, but a lot of locals were eating there, on their own or with their families. It is a simple place, no fancy furniture or flowers for Instagram shots, but the food is a straight forward business: delicious! They do not have a website, but you will find them at Via del Governo Vecchio 106.