Rome in 4 days – Day 1: Monti and the Ancient sites

Rome in 4 days might sound do-able, but it is actually ambitious and unattainable. The city is like an open air museum and it will take you weeks to cover all. Nonetheless you can get a good bite out of the Roman culture in 4 days and check off the must-see landmarks and ancient sites. During my 4-days trip I stayed at the überhip Corner Townhouse boutique hotel. The hotel is perfectly located; there’s a tram stop in front of the hotel that takes you to vibrant quarter Trastevere and it’s a 10-minute walk to the ancient Roman Forum and Palantine Hill.

For my first day in Rome I planned a morning of sightseeing and a lunch and afternoon shopping in the quarter Monti.colosseum

Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

I started my Roman city exploration with a visit to the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum was in ancient times the judicial, political, religious and commercial center of Rome. The site is packed with ruins of ancient buildings, shrines, statues, temples and palaces. I was in awe of how well they withstood the test of times. Palantine Hill is the centermost hill of the seven hills of Rome. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. Circus Maximus is the ancient chariot-racing stadium and festival venue that could hold 150,000 spectators.

TIP:Purchase an entrance ticket that grants you access to the Roman Forum + Colosseum. It’ll save you money and you can skip the line at the Colosseum and take the fast track.

Palatino Rome

Palantine Hill

Forum of Rome

Roman Forum

Rome Forum

The Roman Forum and Temple of Saturnus in the lower left corner

Arch of Titus Rome

Details of the Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus Rome

Arch of Titus

The Colosseum

The Colosseum is the largest amfi theatre ever built. It could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators at a time. Originally is was used for gladiator contests but later on took on other functions as well. The Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome as well as one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions. The underground maze of gladiator tunnels and passageways are a must-see.

colosseum

inside the colosseum

inside the colosseum

The Arch of Constantine

Next to the Colosseum you’ll see the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch dating back to the year 315. The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It commemorates Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312.

Arch of Constantine in Rome

Arch of Constantine

Piazza Venezia, The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II 

From the Colosseum I walked towards Piazza Venezia by following the Via dei Fori Imperialia. Following this road you’ll see the Forum and the market of Trajanus on your right hand side. This is the largest empirical forum in Rome.

Forum of Trajanus

Forum of Trajanus, the colonna di Traiano and Basilica Ulpia

The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II is a grandiose white marble building with stately stairs and awe-inspiring statues. You can see the building from afar anywhere in Rome as it towers above everything and is very distinctive of its white construction. Inside there’s a museum and you can also go on the roof for an amazing view of the city. Looking down on the roundabout Piazza Venezia, away from all the traffic noise and herds of people is really inspiring. This was my favourite spot in Rome, so much that I returned twice.

Monumnet Victor Emmanuel Rome

Monument Victor Emmanuel Rome

Monumnet Victor Emmanuel RomeMonumnet Victor Emmanuel Rome

Plaza Venezia Rome

Piazza Venezia

Shopping and eating in Monti

Behind the Basilica Ulpia and the Forum of Trajanus starts the vibrant quarter Monti. Monti was historically a quarter of brothels, taverns and artisan workshops. The workshops are still there, now occupied by artists and designers. The old taverns were transformed into restaurants and modern wine bars. The cobbled stone streets of Monti are packed with vintage shops, cozy restaurants, bars, bakeries and small local designer boutiques. Beautiful facades with greenery and window sills with flower pots make this quarter just as interesting and friendly as the popular Trastevere quarter yet less crowded and overrun by masses of tourists.

Monti RomeMonti RomeMonti Rome

Must-sees in Monti are the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Mercati (market) of Trajanus. But most of all, Monti is the ultimate spot for an Italian lunch or dinner and afternoon shopping. The best streets for shopping and eating are: Via Urbana, Via dei Serpenti, Via del Boschetto, Via Panisperna and Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

Via Urbana

Fata Morgana ice cream parlour – Piazza degli Zingari 5

When in Rome you eat gelato daily, but the gelato from Fata Morgana is different and therefore a must-try. People are literally queuing outside the gelateria. Their ice cream is home-made, natural, gluten-free and dairy free. But that’s not all. Their out-of-the-box flavours are their unique selling point. Think intense flavours like chestnut or baklava. Try the banana with sesame or the blueberry cheesecake.

ice cream at Fata Morgana

Grezzo raw chocolate – Via Urbana 130

At Grezzo you can get raw vegan chocolate desserts and delicacies. Cakes, pastries, smoothies, ice cream or truffles, all with high quality raw chocolate.

Elena Kihlman Design – Via Urbana 101

This cute little shop is packed with Nordic home decor accessories and one-off designs by independent designers. From colorful mugs to leather handbags and fun prints. It’s a joy to shop for presents in this shop.

Aromaticus – Via Urbana 134

Aromaticus is an urban farming shop and bio slow food bistro in one. The food here is healthy, organic and delicious! Try a fresh salad, a vegan burger, soup or their tasty hummus!

At Kokoro at Via del Boschetto 75 you can find beautiful tunics, dresses and kimonos in bold patterns. For ethnic furniture pieces and home accessories head to Estremi at Via del Boschetto 2A. They have soft fabrics from Asia, wooden carved decor items from Latin America and embroidery from Eastern Europe. 

Monti is hands down the hippest neighbourhood in Rome and a welcome escape from the crowded tourist spots. In Monti you can mingle with the locals, watch Roman millenials go about their day, shop local designs and make a culinary journey. What more do you wish for?

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