Are you going to be visiting Rome or Bologna for the weekend?
With a wealth of so much to see and do in Italy, it can be hard to figure out what to see first. Following my previous article explaining why you should plan a weekend escape to Florence and Siena, I have followed up with two more great weekend getaways.
The first is Rome, which you can reach in under three hours on the fast train from Livorno. The second is Bologna and Modena. Reachable in just over two hours from Livorno, they can easily be combined into one weekend. Easy right? Below are some must-see sights, experiences, and restaurants to make your weekend seamless and jam-packed.
I swear Rome is one of the best cities on earth. I honestly love it and cannot fault it. There is so much to do that one weekend almost isn’t quite enough, however, there is still plenty of time to experience the city. I can honestly say you won’t be disappointed. So, where do you start? Let me help you by suggesting 5 of my favourite places.
What to do in the city
- The Forum – Home to some of the most impressive and largest Roman ruins, it was the heart of the Roman Empire.
- Colosseum – This spectacular amphitheatre shouldn’t be missed. Wander around the impressive structure to witness it in all its glory. A guided tour will take you further into the colosseum, where you can see the animal cages and holding pens for gladiators.
- The Vatican and Sistine chapel – Spend an afternoon wandering around this amazing museum, which is filled to the brim with stunning tapestries, paintings, and ornate sculptures. The Sistine is also home to Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’ – what most people come for, along with other frescos by famous artists. Don’t forget to look up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling as it’s an impressive piece of art which took Michelangelo 4 years.
- St. Peter’s Basilica – This church is one of the most magnificent on earth. Although it’s free to visit, the queues can be long; it’s worth it though. Visitors can witness Michelangelo’s Pietà along with the crypts which belong to several popes. The dome is also worth the climb – the inside is an impressive sight and the exterior offers the most stunning views across the city.
- The Trevi Fountain – I love this iconic fountain, it’s a wonderful expression of Baroque architecture. It can be busy, but sipping an Aperol L’Antico Forno do Fontana do Trevi whilst watching the world go by is an absolute must.
Best restaurants in Rome
- Glass Hosteria – This one Michelin starred restaurant based in Trastevere is headed by Cristina Bowerman. She focuses on contemporary Italian cooking, it was exceptional.
- Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina and Roscioli Caffe Pasticceria – These restaurants are owned by the same family and right next to each other. The Salumeria requires you to book in advance but their plates of pasta are exceptional and extremely popular among the tourists and locals. The cafe is a great place for a cocktail and antipasti and doesn’t require a booking in our experience.
- Osteria Cacio e Pepe – I loved this place and have no clue how I found it. Their Cacio E Pepe is to die for – Honestly, the best! The restaurant is gorgeous, it’s so small and super traditional and simple… it’s so Italian!
Tiramisu is famous across Italy, but Pompi Tiramisu is the one – they are so delicious and have many different flavours from classic to pistachio and lemon… yum!
Terrazza del Pincio is a great place to watch the sunset over the city. Be sure to take your own bottle of wine. When visiting, this was one of my favourite experiences of the city. The view was spectacular.
Visiting Bologna & Modena
Bologna is the beautiful medieval capital of Emilia-Romana. It’s often overlooked by tourists but it just so happens to be a foodie’s paradise. Here are a few things that may interest you while visiting Bologna.
- See all the sights – Piazza Maggiore, Fountain of Neptune, Palazzo del Podesta, Two Towers etc.
- Visit Basilicas and Cathedrals – Basilica di San Petronio, Cathedral Metropolitana di San Pietro andBasilica de San Giacometti Maggiore etc.
- Wander the streets – My favourite was Via Pescherie. It’s filled with cafes, Italian food shops and small plate restaurants. Any –and all– of these should be visited, but Zerocinquantino was the best.
- Bar-hop down Via Santo Stefana – This street is alive with all the locals and each place serves great cocktails and wine! Due to its strong popularity, booking a table is highly recommended (even for a drink).
Modena is a beautiful and elegant town, famous for many things including Massimo Bottura and his restaurant, Osteria Francescana, Ferrari, Parmigiana Reggiano, and Modena Balsamic Vinegar. Architecturally the city is stunning with its many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wander the streets to explore the markets and artisan shops, and taste the local produce.
- Piazza Grande – Characterised by the cathedral, this is the heart of the small city. It’s a great place to grab a coffee and admire the square.
- Modena cathedral – The romantic-style cathedral is an impressive structure that was built in 1099. The interior of the cathedral depicts the story of Adam and Eve, along with showcasing other murals and frescos.
- Ducal Palace – This was once the historic home of the Duchy of Este but is now home to the Military Academy. The Ducal Palace sits at the end of the famous Via Emilia on the beautiful Piazza Roma, which features fountains & marble benches. It’s a lovely spot to take in this part of the city.
- Enzo Ferrari Museum – Located just outside of the city centre, the museum showcases true Italian excellence and highlights the history of Ferrari. The museum was built in the shape of a car bonnet and painted in Ferrari’s famous yellow! It’s a fun afternoon for car lovers.
Best restaurants in Bologna and Modena
Francescana (Modena) – This is Massimo Bottura’s brainchild, and one of the best restaurants in the world. Its high quality commands a more premium price tag, but it’s the perfect choice for special occasions.
Zerocinquantino (Bologna) – I love this restaurant and I love the street even more. This is a great place for antipasti, tagliatelle and wine. You will love it – it’s super casual and great fun!
Ristorante Al Pappagallo (Bologna) – Having hosted many famous faces, this place is an institute in Bologna. They serve excellent regional dishes and it’s lovely to sit out on the street while watching the world go by!
L’Archivio (Modena) – It’s such a pretty bar and it even sells my favourite gin!
Ceccarelli Amedeo (Bologna) – This is one amazing shop, it’s filled to the rafters with meats, cheeses and local produce! It’s amazing!
Head to Superyacht Content Travel to find out about more European destinations.