While I love me a tour, I also really value the opportunity to explore on my own, take as many pictures as I wish, and not hold up a group… The first full day we were in Rome, I wanted to spend as much time as possible outside in hopes of helping us get acclimated to the time change…. particularly after we slept until 1:00 in the afternoon. #oops.
Since we were planning on doing an evening walking tour to hit all the “big” sights, we decided to venture a different direction with our afternoon walk… and my husband came up with his own Rome walking tour, highlighting things he wanted to see. I will say that it’s absolutely worth it to take it slow. Check out the tiny restaurants with the amazing smells. Enjoy the Borghese Gardens (I forgot how hard it was to get tickets into the gallery). Watch the kids play soccer in the Piazza del Popolo. Enjoy the Spanish Steps from both vantage points. Stop for wine and gelato breaks. You can save this Rome walking tour map by following this link.
I thought Via Sistina was *really* beautiful to amble along and the scents coming out of the restaurants were AMAZING. We were wandering during “siesta hour”, so most of them weren’t open, so you might plan better than we did.
The Spanish Steps definitely got more crowded as the afternoon went on – you can tell the difference between the picture taken from the top (early in the afternoon) and the picture taken on the way back (late afternoon).
The Piazza del Popolo felt more like Rome and less like a tourist spot. We saw nuns going to pray, children playing in the piazza, lovers enjoying the sunshine…. it was just a beautiful place to stop and watch the world go by for awhile.
We walked by the church that was built in 492 every day, and I never got tired of seeing it – it’s really fascinating to see the underground city of Rome and how it’s still standing next to modern-day Rome. Roman civilization really is a marvel of ancient innovation.