Piazza Navona, Rome

Rome: Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Pizza. Wine. Gelato. Bruschetta. Crostini. Caprese Salad. Sangria.

I’m back in London taking a break in between classes after three delicious and action-packed days in Rome. First, let me say that Rome has got to be one of the most amazing cities in the world. There’s so much to see in a relatively small area, amazingly friendly people, and delicious eateries. From start to finish, our trip was stress-free. Despite having to wake up at 3:45AM on Friday morning to grab our 4:45AM cab to Paddington Station, I was excited and ready to go for Friday’s action-packed day in Rome.  We arrived in Italy at about 11AM and got settled into our quaint hotel, Hotel D’Este, by the early afternoon. The hotel was perfect for us, a great value in a good location. We had a huge room and a decent-sized bathroom, plus pretty incredible views of Santa Maria Maggiore church. As a first timer to the city on a budget, I was thrilled.

Being our first day in Rome, we decided to do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour (€19) to familiarize ourselves with the area and see as much as possible in a single afternoon. Our first stop? The Colosseum.

Roman Colosseum, Rome, ItalyRoman Colosseum, Rome, ItalyRoman Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is breathtaking. Yes, it’s touristy and you will likely queue in a fairly long line to get in, but its a must for first-timers to the city. Entry will run you around €16 including audio guide, but the views were worth every penny, and seeing the history of this space in real life is pretty remarkable. Keep reading to see the views from the top!

Roman Colosseum, Rome, ItalyRoman Arch

After leaving the Colosseum, we hopped on the bus to head over to Piazza Navona for lunch and gelato. When in Rome, right? On the way, we made our way past Palatine Hill (shown above), the place where, according to legend, Romulus and Remus were taken in by the She Wolf. It’s a beautiful sight on its own, made even more intriguing by the story that it embodies.

RomeRomulus and Remus, Rome

We ended up in Piazza Navona for lunch with an incredible view of this fountain that was sculpted by Bernini. His work is dotted throughout the city and is a major draw for anyone even remotely interested in art or architecture. The Trevi Fountain is perhaps his most famous but others are equally beautiful and awe-inspiring. After our jaunt in Piazza Navona we headed back to get ready for the evening, with dinner in Trastevere. We had a brilliant time practicing (read: learning) Italian while we were there and the people were beyond friendly and welcoming. One of the bonuses we found with exploring Rome in November was the lack of crowds. There were other visitors but relatively few considering the masses that descent upon the city during the summer months. The temperatures were perfectly comfortable for exploring on foot and we were able to meander through town without being shoulder-to-shoulder with others. Definitely a lovely time to be in this city!

Stay tuned for our second day in Rome, where we were able to see the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and enjoy liters of sangria. Mmmm!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.