Why you need to visit Rome in December

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Matt and I went to Rome to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our relationship. We didn’t actually plan on going there (our first idea was to go back to Iceland in the winter to see the northern lights, but that turned out to be too complicated for just a weekend), but we used the new feature of Google Flights where you can choose the time period and the maximum price you’re willing to pay and they show you all destinations that correspond to your search. And so we found Rome and managed to book our flight and a really nice hotel for a ridiculously cheap price.

Pantheon in Rome, ItalyRome, Italy at sundown

Going to Rome in December is literally the best idea ever. Everything is way cheaper than usual, you don’t have to stand in lines for ages because there are a lot less tourists than in the summer, and it’s still pretty warm so you’re good to spend the whole day outside if you bring the right clothes (which I didn’t, the indicated 15°C made me way too optimistic).

Vatican City at Christmas time, Italy
Vatican City, Saint Peter's Basilica, Italy

We did most of the usual sightseeing by just walking. I loved how you can walk everything and basically don't need to use public transports, except to go to Vatican City!

Rome is just a really pretty city in general, but what made it special to me were the ancient Roman monuments that you almost randomly walk by. My favourite must the Pantheon - maybe because you can clearly see how old it is since it's situated much lower than the new buildings.

We visited the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on two different days because they actually close super early, at 3:30 pm!
There was a long queue at the Colosseum, even in December. They check your bags and everything and then let you in, so you can just explore it on your own. It does help to have a Lonely Planet with you, or some other tour guide, to be able to read about the different parts of the Colosseum and how they were used. We stayed about an hour, which I think is a reasonable amount of time to plan for the visit. Just add another hour for the queue!
The Forum is much more vast. It's looks like someone just assembled all the ruins in one place, but that's actually not the case! You start your visit on the lowest level where you can see remains of Roman buildings. But then you can climb up to Palatine Hill to see more ruins (some  buildings are very well preserved, so it's particularly interesting to imagine how the different rooms were used) and you get to admire the whole Forum from above! You can stay longer than 15:30 once you're inside as well, the closing hour depends on the season.

Rome has pretty large streets for a historical city and there are a lot of piazzas, which generally gives you an impression of space. But the piazza in front of the Trevi fountain was packed with people! I can only imagine how it would look in the summer. It's a little difficult to get a good view (especially for pictures). That doesn't make the fountain any less impressive though!

Vatican City is equally packed. We had to queue for about an hour before entering Saint Peter's Basilica (but it's absolutely worth it) and around 45 minutes for the museums. There's no direct path from one to the other, you have to wait twice. Keep in mind that there are no ATMs in Vatican City and you have to pay in cash for any activities.
We even saw the pope in Vatican City on a Sunday morning!

Bridge in Rome at sunset
Trevi fountain in Rome, Italy
Forum in Rome, Italy

Also, I really fell in love with Venchi chocolate, it’s so delicious! Be sure to try it if you go to Rome and if you’re a chocolate person like me.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy


  1. Schöne Fotos! Plant ihr noch mehr zu sehen in Italien? Der Text ist auch super!!!

    1. Danke :) Im Moment ist noch keine Italienreise geplant, aber ich möchte auf jeden Fall mehr von dem Land sehen!


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