If you are looking for day 1 of the “Rome in 2 days” itinerary, please click here.
Start your second day bright and early by heading to the most ancient part of Rome, called Roma Antica, home to the city’s most famous landmark: the Colosseum. If you want to visit it, do so, although I find it more interesting and impressive from the outside! The Colosseum is more than 2000 years old and used to be the place where Romans went to see the very cruel shows they liked so much: gladiators fighting for the lives either against each other or against wild animals. You can buy the ticket at one of the cash registers all around the building, and keep in mind that the ticket (12 €) also grants you access to the Foro Romano archeological park, which is right next to the Colosseum.
Foro Romano and Altare della Patria
Again, I think that the Foro Romano is best viewed and enjoyed by waking (for free) down Via dei Fori Imperiali, which is right next to and slightly above the Foro excavation sight. You will want to stop A LOT to take pictures of the columns, the ruins, and the beautiful churches in the distance. Via dei Fori Imperiali takes all the way up to Piazza Venezia, dominated by the Altare della Patria (aka Vittoriano) an imposing monument built in 1885 in honor of the king Vittorio Emanuele II, and home to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Take Via del Teatro di Marcello back down to the Tiber shore to the neighborhood that used to be the Jewish ghetto. The main street here is Via del Portico di Ottavia and, to me, is absolutely fascinating, as it’s dotted with kosher restaurants, bakeries, trattorias and – here and there – sobering reminders of the families who were deported in 1943 to be brought to concentration camps by the Nazis. Rome’s Jewish community is one of the most ancient in the world and their history and traditions are still very much alive in this wonderful neighborhood. The cuisine, especially, is something you should try: for more information on my favorite places to eat in Rome, read this story.
Campo de’ Fiori
Not far from the Jewish ghetto you will find another must-see square: Campo de’ Fiori. Lively and loud, this piazza is home to a wonderful market from 7 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday: if you want to see Romans buying fruits, vegetables, and the likes, this is the place to be. The square is also famous for the statue that dominates it: it’s philosopher monk Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake here in 1600 for heresy – a somber reminder of how unpopular it was, back then, to speak one’s opinions, especially if they were not in line with those of the Church.
Take Ponte Sisto to cross the Tiber into one of Rome’s most fascinating areas: Trastevere. This pedestrian-only neighborhood is a dream come true for photographers, as it offers countless opportunities to take pictures of quaint and quirky details, such as old doors, beautiful balconies, artsy shops and picture-perfect storefronts. Take time to get lost in the serpentine alleys, admire the little squares and courtyards, and just soak in the wonderful atmosphere of this traditional and quintessentially Roman quarter. This is a great neighborhood for a cheap and delicious meal: there are osterie and trattorie pretty much everywhere, but if you want to read my recommendations, read here.
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