Rome is one of those cities that is just straight up mesmerizing. I find literally every single thing about the city beautiful. From the pizzerias on every street corner to the pastel-colored buildings covered in ivy, the city is truly magical. The only downside to Rome is the crowds upon crowds of tourists. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but i’ve never seen as many tourists as I saw in Rome. You usually see photos of the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain and think, gee, it sure looks peaceful there. But no, boy is that wrong.

My first day in Rome was a dreary, rainy day with no sun in sight. As we walked down the alleyways towards the Trevi Fountain, we could hear the water gushing and knew we were close. We were so pumped to see it in real life, until we got there and realized that wouldn’t be so easy. We stumbled upon the biggest crowd of tourists crammed into the tiny area in front of the fountain, and had to physically push our way through a crowd just to get near enough to see the water. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like on a nice, sunny day. We snapped some photos (mainly of the crowd, because you can’t get a photo without at least 10 people in it), and then made our way back to our hostel.

We made a game plan to do the next day differently and experience Rome without the mass crowds. Setting our alarms for 5:20am, we had a plan to get to the Trevi Fountain by sunrise, then head to the Pantheon followed by the Colosseum. It’s hard waking up that early when you’ve done 13 miles of walking the day before and all you want is sleep, but trust me, YOU NEED TO DO IT.

I kid you not, there was not a single person in sight when we arrived to the Trevi Fountain. I could actually see the whole fountain without having to push people out of my way. It was a completely different experience from the day before and made me appreciate the beauty of it way more. The Pantheon and the Colosseum were the same - it was just us and the shop owners who were silently opening their restaurants and cafes. By 7am, the sleepy-eyed tourists were starting to emerge, and by 8am tourists were bustling about in full swing.

We had seen 3 of the biggest tourists sights all before 8am, and had the whole day ahead of us to explore. I’ll write more about the rest of Rome another day, but if you have plans to visit Rome, take my advice and wake up for sunrise. You won’t regret it!