36 Hours in Rome Italy with Adventures by Disney – what to see, where to eat and where to stay. The Colosseum, Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. PLUS where to find the best pizza in Rome and the most luxurious hotel in the city!! #Italy #Rome #travel #europe
We just got back from the trip of a lifetime to Italy. It was AMAZING! We did a tour with Adventures by Disney. It wasn’t a sponsored trip. We paid for the trip, and it was worth every single penny! We stayed in the nicest hotels, had incredible VIP tours, amazing food and Disney handled all our transfers and luggage the whole time we were in Italy. It was great to be pampered on vacation!
We spent 8 days and 7 nights in Italy. We visited Rome, Orvieto, Tuscany, Florence and Venice. We loved every place we visited. I took over 2900 photos! OMG!!! I had the hardest time picking the photos for all the posts. I did my best to pick a few that give you the best views of our trip.
Today I am sharing all about Rome. We hit all the highlights and had a VIP tour of the Colosseum, The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. You don’t want to miss the pictures from the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. We were the only people in the building! They usually don’t allow photos inside the Sistine Chapel, but the security guards gave us a few minutes to snaps some pictures. The pictures are incredible!!!
I also included where we ate and where we stayed. The hotel was super fancy and we dined in one of Anthony Bordain’s recommendations!
We arrived in Rome and headed straight to the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete.
It is the largest amphitheatre ever built.
Construction on The Colosseum began in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD.
We had a VIP tour that allowed us to walk in on the main stage.
The same way the gladiators would have walked in back in the day.
It was really cool to see the ruins in the middle of the amphitheater.
During Roman times, there was a wooden stage that covered these ruins.
The lower level consisted of a two-level underground network of tunnels and cages beneath the arena where gladiators and animals were held before contests began.
It is estimated that the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 to 80,000 people.
Our only full-day in Rome started bright and early in Vatican City.
We got to Vatican City around 8:30 and there were no crowds yet!!!
This is the window that The Pope speaks from in the Vatican.
After you go through security, look to the right.
You will see this open door with a Swiss Guard guarding the entrance.
This chimney is on top of the Sistine Chapel.
This is where the white or black smoke comes out when the Cardinals vote on a new Pope.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The inside of St. Peter’s Basilica is breathtaking.
The church was built between 1506 and 1626.
The Baldacchino stands over 94 feet tall and is made out of bronze.
Michelangelo designed the dome.
He died before its completion.
The dome was brought to completion by Giacomo della Porta and Fontana.
The Pietà by Michelangelo depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.
Michelangelo carved the sculpture out of marble between 1498–1499.
It is 68.5 in × 76.8 in.
Don’t miss the unicorn in the archway!
The Spanish Steps are a set of 135 steps in Rome. They were opened in 1725.
The steps climb a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom and Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top.
At the top of the stairs stands the Trinità dei Monti church.
The Trevi fountain was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini. It was finished in 1762.
It is 86-feet high and 161.3-feet wide.
Make sure to throw a coin into the fountain!!
Throwing of a coin from the right hand over the left shoulder will ensure that you will return to Rome in the future.
The Pantheon is is a former Roman temple that is now used as a church.
It was completed in 126 AD.
The Pantheon’s dome is the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 142 feet.
Piazza Navona is a square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian.
It was defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century.
The Fountain of the four Rivers with Egyptian obelisk is in the middle of Piazza Navona.
Our tour included an after-hours tour of The Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
We were the ONLY people in the whole building!!!
The Vatican Museum displays works from the immense art collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries. It includes several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
The museum contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employs 640 people.
The Gallery of Maps was the highlight of the whole tour for me.
It contained a series of painted topographical maps of Italy based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti.
The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII as part of other artistic works commissioned by the Pope to decorate the Vatican.
It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels of the 394-foot long gallery.
This is the ceiling.
This is the work of a group of Mannerist artists including Cesare Nebbia and Girolamo Muziano.
When leaving the museum – don’t miss the beauty of the spiral staircase.
And don’t forget to look up after you have made your way to the bottom!
The Sistine Chapel was my favorite thing in all of Rome.
It was the most amazing, most impressive work of art I’ve ever seen.
The Chapel is currently the site of the Papal conclave, the process by which a new pope is selected.
Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508 to repaint the ceiling of the Chapel.
The work was completed between 1508 and 2 November 1512.
Michelangelo did not want to paint the Chapel. He felt he was more of a sculptor than a painter.
The most iconic painting in the ceiling is The Creation of Adam.
The Last Judgment is painted on the wall behind the alter.
Michelangelo painted it between 1535 and 1541, on commission from Pope Paul III Farnese.
This was 25 years after he completed the ceiling. He was almost 67 years old when he completed this masterpiece.
Just a little tidbit about Michelangelo painting the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel – contrary to popular belief, he did not lie on this scaffolding while he painted. He painted the whole Chapel from a standing position.
I could have stayed inside the Chapel for hours and admired all the paintings.
It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have the place all to ourselves.
Where We Ate
Our first meal in Italy was at Il Miraggio.
It was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel.
We split a pizza.
We also split an order of Cacio e Pepe – cheese & pepper pasta.
It was a great start to the trip!!
Via della Lungara 16, Rome, Italy
Phone: +39 06 687 5319
We stopped for gelato near the Trevi Fountain.
I got chocolate chip & caramel. YUM!!!!
It was the perfect way to beat the sweltering heat in Italy!
Via del Lavatore, 96, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Phone: +39 06 678 3219
Our tour stopped for lunch in Rome at Da Francesco.
We got to sample four pizzas.
The traditional margherita pizza – crushed tomatoes and mozzarella.
Next up was a prosciutto pizza.
Third was a spicy salami pizza (think pepperoni).
The last pizza was a four cheese pizza.
It didn’t have any sauce. It wasn’t my favorite because of the gorgonzola on top, but I’m glad I tried it.
We finished the meal off with a slice of tiramisu!!!
Piazza del Fico, 29, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Phone: +39 06 686 4009
Dinner was on our own on our last night in Rome.
Our wonderful tour guide, Marco V, recommended Trattoria Sora Lella.
I looked it up and found out that it was recommended by Anthony Bordain.
I had Marco make us a reservation!!!
We bought the bread basket. Bread is not Italy’s specialty. Skip it!! LOL!
Chicken Legs started with the Caprese Salad.
The tomatoes in Italy are the best in the world! This was amazing.
We shared an order of the meatballs and they were incredible!
Chicken Legs got the Veal Saltimbocca for his entree.
He loved it!
I got the Carbonara.
It was to-die-for. I wanted to lick the bowl.
The crispy bacon – OMG! YUM!
We had to get dessert because we were in Italy on vacation.
Chicken Legs got a ricotta pistachio dessert.
I went for the cheese cake with sour cherries.
This wasn’t like NY style cheesecake. It had a cake like crust. It was good.
I HIGHLY recommend Trattoria Sora Lella when you are in Rome!
Trattoria Sora Lella
Via di Ponte Quattro capi, 16, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Phone: +39 06 686 1601
We spent two nights at the Hotel Gran Meliá Rome.
It was located near Vatican City.
The rooms were spacious and the bed was pretty comfortable.
The bathroom was nice.
Small for American standards, but pretty nice for Europe!
Address: Via del Gianicolo, 3, 00165 Roma RM, Italy
Phone: +39 800 788 333
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I feel quite "SILLY" to say I'm viewing your "Gorgeous & Informative" pictures, a whole year later, but Well worth the wait!!!!
"Grazie" Stephanie, please keep your Delicious recipes and Kool travel blogs coming:)
15 years in the Army and in the 70s 3 of them spent in Vicenza Italy close to Venice. Three of the best years of my life.I loved the people, the culture and towns, villages and cities. Lots of traveling. For me the best food in the world. It was all amazing. So grateful I was lucky enough to go there.
Wow! Really fabulous!
Absolutely breathtaking! Thanks so much for sharing!
Love the photos!!!
Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful and impressive pictures. I will never get to go there so I really enjoyed your pictures with the great explanations too! I want to save all these pictures because they are so great! GlendaJ
We leave for Italy in just over a month. I'm taking notes on the food! I can't wait to see all the beauty of the country!
Have fun!! It was incredibly beautiful!!
You are a pro with the camera — your pictures are beautiful! Mine never come out like those. The detail is amazing! This makes me want to go back to Rome!
Thanks!! I’ve got a fancy camera & have lots of practice.
Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the explanation of the pics. I think my favorite was also the Museum and Sistine Chapel.
I thought Rome was amazing too. I only had 1 day there on my tour. Our tour guide told us Rome wasn't built in a day and you can't see Rome in a day. You saw some of the best sites. I agree the food was delicious. I didn't understand the potato chips with the food, but it was better than than the bread. Lol!
Our local guide said the same thing. I’d love to go back
Am so jealous! Wonderful photos and a great post. Thank you for sharing.