Rome and Venice in just 4 days!
Not saying this to make it look like an achievement but this really was one of our shortest and sweetest holidays. Besides the fact that I was down with the worst cold of my life on this entire trip, Italy was nice to us.
We planned this holiday very last minute and it was a week before we had to leave for India. Shivam could only take a maximum of 2 days off from work but we really wanted to see Italy before leaving from UK so had to do with whatever time we had on our hands. Of course you can spend weeks at stretch and not come across seeing it all but how could I miss this opportunity of a lifetime!
We spent two days each in Rome and Venice and it was the best way to go for a 4 days trip. The train journey from Rome to Venice was very comfortable and took us approx 3 odd hours. Rest of our time was divided between roaming around these cities and travelling to and from London via flight.
Best time to visit Italy –
Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit if you wish to save some money on hotels and flights which are way cheaper than summer months. The tourist footfall is reasonable but expect Italy to see visitors all year round. If you are travelling towards end of the year, Christmas is the best time although a little on the expensive side.
Two days in Rome – What to do and see if you only have two days in hand.
Rome is HUGEEE, trust me, there is so much to see that you possibly cannot cover everything in just two days. So get yourself a city map which is easily available at any hotel or airport/train station and mark down places that you wouldn’t want to miss. Planning your itinerary around this will save you a lot of time and hassle. For example, both Shivam and I like to explore any city by not just visiting the famous spots but indulging in local food and lifestyle. So we list down places to see and restaurants we want to cover and divide our time accordingly.
Also, I always make sure we stay in a property located centrally and has easy access to public transport. This saves both commute time and cab money. Plus city centres always have the best restaurants and shopping. Now let’s start with what you can do with just two days in Rome.
Day 1 –
Start early if you are planning to cover St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City as this might take almost a day. You can add Colosseum to this itinerary but it might leave you super exhausted. Since we had very limited time in Rome, we decided to start with Colosseum and cover Trevi fountain and Pantheon for Day 1.
Tour the famous Colosseum
A guided tour can easily take upto 2-3 hours and cost you about 30-40 euros for two people. You can save money on that and tour the Colosseum without a guide for which tickets are way cheaper. It will be useful if you have an audio guide on your mobile.
People watching while sitting on the Spanish steps
A decent meal for two at any restaurant can set you back by 25-30 euros. But you can buy lunch on the go from any take away cafe along with a refreshing beer or a glass of wine and have it sitting on the famous Spanish steps. The old city remains make for a mesmerising view with its tall pillars and statues. The cream and beige color scheme makes for a beautiful picture prop for all you social media freaks (including me). You cannot stop without taking a million pictures trust me!
Immerse in the beauty of Pantheon
Next move on to see Pantheon which is a roman temple transformed into a church and is said to be the most preserved building of ancient Rome. It is quite crowded during the day but a perfect hangout spot given the nearby local eateries and stores. You will find artists performing outside the Pantheon almost always and a huge crowd cheering for them.
Make a wish at Trevi fountain
Spend your evening strolling towards the Trevi fountain while enjoying some window shopping on the way. Stop for some coffee and Italian cafe experience on the way which is my favourite activity to do while in Europe!
Day 2 –
Vatican, world’s smallest city and St. Peter’s Basilica
On our day 2 we got up a little late and I was too sick and low on energy to cover it. So instead we decided to walk around the local markets and boutique stores for some window shopping and click more pictures. Basically, we did not do much other than visiting a church and experiencing the local life! It turned out to be a pleasant day than we had expected and all in all pretty satisfying.
Pro Tip –
Rome can get very crowded which means mad traffic within the city. Buses rarely have translation and people seldom speak English so Google translation app is a must. There are no ticket vending machines on the bus stops but you can purchase it from nearby local shops or metro stations.
Two days in Venice – Simple itinerary for a relaxing time in Venice
There is no other place like Venice in this whole wide world. This city left me in awe with its beauty! Venice can get fairly crowded but surprisingly, I was at ease after the hustle bustle of Rome and quite happy with our decision to choose it over Milan which was another option. Venice can be a little expensive compared to Rome but it was mesmerising to see everything from big buildings to houses built on water. Every path is connected to another via a bridge and every dead end leads you to water.
Day 1 –
Being a tourist in Venice
We reached Venice around afternoon and decided to walk to our hotel from the train station. It was a long 30 mins walk but oh so breathtaking. Water buses are quite affordable but we decided to walk to explore the city better.
After some rest we got out of our hotel to go see Piazza de San Marco but our hotel receptionist advised us to cover that in morning. So we ended up walking down the famous shopping streets between Rialto bridge and San Marco. We had dinner at one of the restaurants nearby and after binging on pizza in Rome, I went with hot vegetable soup and pasta this time. If you are someone who loves sea food, Venice is just the right place for you.
Day 2 –
Visit Piazza San Marco
It is a beautiful public square surrounded by with cafes, shops and iconic Saint Mark’s basilica (one in the picture behind me). You will have to deposit your camera and big luggage bags, if any, at the collection centre opposite to the basilica and pay some fee to go see inside. The queue was long so we skipped that and instead clicked pictures outside the beautiful church!
Enjoy coffee at the oldest Italian cafes in San Marco square
The Grand cafe Quadri in San Marco square is one of the oldest cafes in Venice and we decided to head there for some coffee and pastries. Now the fun thing about it, we had to pay close to 40 euros for a hot choclate, cafe latte and two pastries that we had! This was all because we didn’t know the standard prices apply only if you drink coffee standing at the cash counter and becomes almost triple if you order on the table. It was really shocking at first but Shivam and I had a big laugh about it later.
Bridges of sigh and view of the vast sea
From San Marco walk further to see the bridges of sigh, an enclosed bridge that connected to the prison on the other side of canal. The convicted prisoners would be taken from this bridge for a last view of the world before their imprisonment.
Go for a walking tour of Grand canal
From there we walked back towards the Grand canal for the very famous Gondola ride. No trip to Venice is complete without getting to experience the beauty of this city up and close in these cute boats. The prices vary from 60-80 euros for 6-7 people for half an hour but it was just the two of us so we paid 40 euros for a 30 min ride.
Adding to the list of things not to miss, do not forget to grab a gelato when in Venice. Even though I was down with bad cold, I had to satisfy my sweet tooth with one. If you are traveling with your partner or friends, drinking wine by the canal is an activity you must indulge in!
Italy is beyond beautiful and has so much to offer! With its gorgeous seaside towns and beautiful old cities, there is a choice for almost everyone. So if you are still contemplating your big summer vacation, look no further! Trust me I can go back to this beautiful country in a heartbeat!