Rome has always been a city I’ve wanted to visit with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. I must admit, I wasn’t prepared for what my eyes were going to see and my mind try and comprehend.

We wanted to see the ancient ruins like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum which showcase the power of the former Roman Empire. A must do on our list was Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, and St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.

So last weekend, we left our two boys at home (too young for a busy city with lots of walking) with their nan and my wife and I took a weekend city break to the eternal city.

We took the 2 hour EasyJet flight from Bristol to Ciampino Airport, caught the bus (jeez they drive like absolute lunatics in Rome!) and then a taxi to our hotel opposite the Colosseum. Our hotel was and the view of the colosseum from our bedroom was pretty cool!

This hotel was chosen because of it’s view and walking distance to many of the historical places we wanted to visit – the colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi fountain…even the Vatican we walked to…best way to see and experience everything is walking. Walking at night was the best as it was a cooler temperature, less busy and very romantic with everything lit up.

We found ourselves instantly walking amongst classical ruins and early Christian places of worship. Stumbling across amazing architecture, statues, ruins – it’s almost too much for you to take in and after a while it becomes normal to see an amazing detailed giant sculpture that must have taken years to create. It’s an incredible city. Some decent graffiti too.

One of my favourites was this memorial tower. Massive and detail on it was unbelievable.

There were so many great neighbourhoods, shops, markets and a buzzing aperitivo scene.

The gelato did not disappoint!

We saw this chap just hovering in the street – no idea how!

And came across the biggest salami we’ve ever seen.

Food was really delicious and fresh – especially if you enjoy pasta and pizza like us.

The weather was sunny and hot both days reaching 90 degrees in daytime. Thankfully there was hundreds of places to get ice cold drinks from but they are not cheap. A small bottle of water cost 3 euros.

On Saturday we visited the Vatican museums – mid afternoon a storm blew in whilst we were inside the museums with torrential rain, thunder and lightening which just added to the amazing experience.

St Peter’s Basilica was the highlight of the trip – we visited the Vatican first and then queued to go into St Peter’s Basilica – the sheer scale blew our minds like nothing we had ever seen before, nor are likely to again.

We decided to climb the hundreds of steps to the top of St Peter’s Basilica. The lift was only 2 euros extra – in hindsight we probably should have done that and saved our legs as it was knackering and very tight passages in places….but wow the view was worth it!

View from the top of St Peter’s Basilica

Inside St Peter’s Basilica was simply mind boggling! I can’t really put into words what this place is like and any amount of photos just don’t do any justice. It’s one of those places you have to see.

Here’s a little video I shot to give you some idea…

Pieta – Another one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces – this one was behind bullet proof glass
On Sunday morning we bought tickets for a Colosseum tour so we skipped the hour long queue and went straight in. It was worth seeing inside, it’s scale again like so many things in Rome is enormous – you find yourself imaging what it would have been like when the Colosseum was full of spectators watching the gladiators battle. The heat, the noise, the spectacle must have been incredible.
We loved the experience and don’t think we will ever forget being inside St Peter’s Basilica. One day I’m sure we will go back with our boys – it’s one hell of a history lesson that’s for sure!