After Brian planned the perfect lazy trip to Paris, I got a little worried because I had lined up a trip to Rome that I felt now certain was going to kill us. I had about a billion things I wanted to see, and only five days to fit them all in. I told Brian upfront that I was going to be a slavedriver: "no sleeping in, no dawdling, and definitely no relaxing for us in Rome!"
If I was just going by the guidebook, that would have been challenging in and of itself. But I took several art history classes as electives in university. The thought of going to Rome without seeing all of my Italian must-sees in person was just unthinkable.
I returned to the guidebook again and again, checked websites, looked at all my saved landmarks in Google maps and felt more certain than ever that we just couldn't handle Rome. But the flights were purchased and the non-refundable hotel booked, so I just put it out of my mind until I could no longer.
A week before our departure, I committed my "itinerary" to spreadsheet from post-it note. I had already booked an early morning, semi-private tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica and we made a required timed-reservation for the Borghese Gallery, but everything else felt really up to chance. I wanted all the tickets in hand and a line-skipping guarantee. No time to waste! But I was going to have to be content with winging it on the ground.
We planned to pick up our Roma Pass first thing the morning after our arrival, and this would be the reason we decided not to buy more tickets in advance. The 3 Day Roma Pass gives you free entrance to your first two museums or archeological sites, discounted entrance to additional sites and unlimited public transit over the course of three days, but there's no way to get the discount on tickets purchased online in advance. That notwithstanding, the Roma Pass is well worth it (except don't bother with the app which is only in Italian)!
I planned for everything to go wrong. I planned for there to be a line outside the Tourist Information Booth where we would pick up our Roma Pass (there wasn't), I planned to get lost walked between destinations (we didn't), I planned to be stuck in lines for hours (we weren't). We had a few hiccups here and there, but everything fell into place and nothing really went wrong.
That left us with wide gulfs of time to fit in more and more. Whether it was one more church, or one more piazza, or one more walk past the ruins we saw yesterday, the list of things to see never got shorter. What I realized is that you can plan to see all you want in Rome, and probably fit in much more than you ever thought was possible, and still, it will never be enough. You want to see just one more thing, or you want to see it again, and you always notice something new. Rome really is a never-ending choose your own adventure.
We're going to share a lot more about our trip to Rome, but we wanted to tell you how much we loved the city. If we were intimidated by it, we know other people probably are too. Don't let your trepidation keep you from one of the world's oldest and most fascinating cities! Rome is easy to navigate, and the food is deceptively simple but the taste is to die for. Everything is fabulous in Rome, even if you have a bed so hard it gives you a toothache! You can't see everything in one trip, but you won't leave feeling disappointed. You will leave feeling inspired.