On the way out to China, I had a 16 hour layover in Rome. While usually cheap indirect flight routes are only desirable financially, this was actually a great opportunity to squeeze a mini city break into my travel plans.
Arriving at Rome FCO airport late in the evening, I took the bus to Roma Termini where I crashed in a cheap hostel for the night. The next morning, after a good rest, I had a good few hours to explore central Rome.
The most iconic building in Rome, the colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre) is a must-see. Having visited previously on a family holiday, I decided to have a wander around the outside before continuing on.
Arch of Constantine
Erected to commemorate the victory of the first Christian emperor, Constantine, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, this arch is incredibly well preserved. It is located just across from the Colosseum so worth a quick look while you're there.
The Roman Forum was once the political, religious and legal centre of Ancient Rome. It covers a large area with many important buildings and monuments, which would take at least several hours to explore in full. I chose again to just skirt round the outside and peek through the fence at the highlights, saving the rather pricy entrance fee…
Arch of Titus:
Baths of Elagabalus:
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine:
Temple of Venus and Roma:
Temple of Saturn and Arch of Septimius Severus:
Forum of Nerva
Consisting of the Temple of Minerva and a colonnade, this small Forum nearby can be easily viewed in full looking from the street nearby.
Other nearby sites
Since I had a slightly lazy morning and hence only a few hours to wander around, I was only able to take in a few of the main sights nearby. There is easily enough in the immediate Colosseum area to occupy you for a day on its own, particularly if you were to explore inside some sites.
Alternative layover ideas
If you've already seen the Colosseum, you could instead explore a different area of the city, for example the Vatican City.