Vatican City (Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica): Take the metro to Ottaviano. From there it’s a three minute walk to the great walls of the Vatican City where you queue to buy tickets and enter the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel. Resist the queue-jumping promises from the commission-hungry tour guides and wait in the fast moving queue. Or to avoid the queues and the hassle completely, buy tickets in advance.
After weaving your way through the scores of tourists and amateur photographers in the Vatican Museums to the ultimate, wondrous Sistine Chapel, follow the city wall to the epic St Peter’s Basilica.
MAXXI (Contemporary Art Gallery): Back onto the metro for two stops to Flaminio then jump on a U2 tram up Via Flaminia four stops along where you’ll discover the wildly creative MAXXI museum. Opened in 2010 and designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the building itself is as impressive as the art within. Free entry with the Roma Pass.
Aventino Keyhole: Hike up the hill to Aventino, and peek through the keyhole near Santa Sabina church to spy an amazing view of St Peter’s.
Coliseum: The colossal stadium ruins are familiar from Ridley Scott’s film, Gladiator, and are just as impressive in real life. Skip the queue with a Roma Pass.
Trevi Fountain: this spectacular fountain and sculpture is hidden among the cobbled streets of Tridente. Throw a coin in and make a wish.
Porta Portese flea market: Rome’s biggest and most famous flea market is found just across the Ponte Sublicio Bridge on Sunday mornings. Search through the stalls to pick up a bargain.
Spa at Boscolo Palace: After a day on foot seeing all the city’s sights, enjoy a relaxing massage in the oriental Kamispa at the Boscolo Palace Roma Hotel.
Fendi: Pop into the flagship store of Italian designer brand, Fendi, and gawp at the luxury clothing and accessories on display.
Super: Located in the artesian area of Monti, Super is a lovely little concept store selling unique clothes and fun gifts.
Spiezia: Rumoured to be one of the smallest stores in Rome, Spiezia has been run by optician Alessandro Spiezia since 1967. Stocking prestigious designer brands alongside his own glasses and sunglasses, this store is sure to satisfy even the most demanding and unconventional of clientele.
Riga Dritto: This recently opened stationery shop from Milan stocks the cutest pencils and pens from Japan, and pretty paper products made in Italy.
D Cube Heritage: As night falls on Piazza del Fico, this small store lights up the street with its stylish homeware from Italian brands such as Seletti, and some quirky imported speciality brands including Falcon.
TO EAT AND DRINK
Antico Caffe Greco: Founded in 1760, this opulent cafe on the main street of Via dei Condotti is always crammed full of tourists but I recommend standing at the bar with the locals to enjoy a strong espresso.
Pipero Al Rex: Stop off for a speedy Michelin-star lunch at an intimate friendly restaurant. I recommend Chef Pipero’s famous carbonara with thick cut chunks of bacon, rich creamy egg-yolk sauce and a sprinkling of the very best Parmigiano.
Trattoria Settimio all’Arancia: Aperitivo is a must in Italy. As they are laying out the tables for dinner, enjoy a delicious glass of Prosecco and an accompanying plate of prosciutto while watching the sun set.
00100 Pizza: This inconspicuous little pizza outlet was one of the few open at lunchtime on a Sunday (believe me, we did our research). From the owner of renowned pizzeria Sforno comes this chunky, cheap pizza sold by the slice. I loved the Patate e Pancetta and the Classico Suppli with irresistible arancini-esque balls of deliciousness.
Pompi: There is only one place to try Tiramisu in Rome. Tourists and locals alike queue for this speciality at Pompi. Available in different varieties, the boxed dessert costs just €3,50 and can be enjoyed in or out. Get there early to avoid disappointment. Who said Tiramisu for breakfast wasn’t a good idea?
Bar del Fico: Late night drinks are best enjoyed in the atmospheric Piazza del Fico. If you’re hungry, dine in the super trendy restaurant, otherwise enjoy a cocktail or beer in the chic Parisian-style bar.
Frigidarium: There is always a queue outside Frigidarium. Stop off on your way home from a night out for a creamy gelato, available in an array of tempting flavours.
Boscolo Palace: There are three Boscolo hotels in Rome, the 5 star palace has a great range of facilities on offer. The large, luxurious rooms will provide an ideal home for your weekend in Rome.
Many thanks to the Rome Tourist Board for their help with this trip:
www.turismoroma.it and Tourist information service: Roma 0039 060608.