With layers of history, omnipresent antiquities, and elegant piazzas at every turn, Rome is filled with the sort of impromptu discoveries that make certain cities such memorable honeymoon destinations. And did we mention the gastronomy? Whether it’s crisp, Roman-style pizza, a bowl of pasta at a centuries-old trattoria, or a dinner date at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a view, the food alone is worth a trip to Rome.
That said, there’s a right way to see Rome in three or four days, and there are plenty of first-time faux pas, too. So whether you have your sights set on Rome as the kickoff or finale to your dream Italian honeymoon—or you’re simply looking for a memorable minimoon getaway—here’s what you need to know to plan a few days in the Eternal City that you'll always remember.
Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps—four iconic Roman landmarks—are all within easy walking distance when you stay in the heart of the city. And the Colosseum and Vatican City are each just a few stops away on Rome’s Metro, which is remarkably easy to navigate given that it only has two lines, A and B. (A third line is being built, but progress is slow due to archeological discoveries.)
In Central Rome, one hotel presides over the rest, literally. At the top of the Spanish Steps, the historic and oft-photographed Hassler Roma has reigned with elegance and grace since 1885. You'll frequently find fifth-generation hotelier Roberto Wirth meeting and greeting guests in the lobby, offering local dining recommendations, or inquiring about their stay.
Book tours and tickets in advance—or don’t. (But do your research.)
Well before you board your flight, it’s best to acknowledge that you won’t see all of Rome in one trip. There’s an adage about Rome not being built in one day, and you can’t see and do it all in three or four days, either.
But you can definitely cover some ground! With so many famous sights, it’s a good idea to have a rough game plan in mind—what tops the list for the two of you? Would you be fine skipping, say, the Vatican Museums, home of Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel, knowing you’ll be back another time, so you can have more leisurely mornings? Are you more of a DIY couple, or would you rather book a customized tour package that takes care of all of the details? How you experience Rome all depends on how the two of you prefer to travel together, your budget and your interests. Visiting the Colosseum and the Forum, two of Rome’s most iconic and historic sites, you could spend a few hours or the whole day.
Most importantly, don’t overbook your days in the Eternal City. Who wants to feel like contestants in The Amazing Race on their honeymoon? Make sure there’s plenty of time for strolling the streets, lingering over a cappuccino at an outdoor cafe, stopping for gelato, and, of course, for those legendary Roman sunsets.
Plan for sunsets and a few exceptional meals.
Sunset hour in Rome is a magical experience. For the ultimate sunset viewing and dinner date, join the romantics at Terrazza del Pincio in Villa Borghese Park to watch the sun set over the Rome skyline and book twilight dinner reservations at Imàgo at the Hassler, just down the road. Imàgo, on the hotel's sixth floor, features unparalleled city panoramas and refined, globally inspired cuisine that’s earned the restaurant a Michelin star.
In general it’s a good idea to make reservations for dinner and opt for more spontaneous choices for lunch while sightseeing—whether it's an outdoor cafe or a charming neighborhood trattoria or enoteca, you really can't go wrong. The hotel concierge can help confirm dinner reservations before you arrive or even the same day and can also offer recommendations for such local gems as Babette and Ristorante Nino, or options in Trastevere, the Jewish Ghetto, and Monti neighborhoods, all popular dinner destinations.
Fly in and out of Fiumincio airport.
Wherever else your Italian honeymoon travels may take you, Rome's international airport is an easy point of entrance. And with the launch of Norwegian Air’s new direct routes between Rome and New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California, it couldn’t be more affordable. Fares start at $189 each way, a ridiculously low price even after paying a little more for luggage and seat assignments. (For a mini-splurge, Norwegian’s Premium cabin includes food and beverage, two checked bags and deep reclining seats.)
The Leonardo Express high-speed train connects the airport with Termini Station in Central Rome in about 20 minutes. Termini Station is also home to Mercato Centrale, an airy, modern food hall that’s a delicious first taste or sweet finale of Roman cuisine. While it’s a bit hard to find—follow the signs for luggage storage and you're heading in the right direction—this slice of food heaven will be waiting for you.