Only a few days in Rome?
Three days? I was there for 10 and didn't see everything. One day has to be spent at the Vatican. Another day has to be spent in ancient Rome. The Coleseum, Palentine Hill, the Forum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon are all well within walking distance of each other. The last day I would just walk around and explore the city there's a lot to see that isn't on any guide book. Especially small piazza and cathedrals in out of the way places. And I would suggest not eating at a restaurant on the main street. There are a lot of small out of the way restaurants in back streets that are absolutely awesome. Have fun.
St. Peter's Wednesday morning mass
OK, I only saw him once - along with 1000s of other pilgrims all straining for a glimpse.
Each Wednesday morning (as long as the Pope is in town) he has mass in St. Peter's - if you can secure tickets for an "audience" you are all set. They are free but you have to ask for them.
We showed up early, I bought a beautiful rosary for my Gramma and we waited along with all the other folks to see him.
thank goodness for digital cameras, at least I could take a picture with the digital display in the back - otherwise it would have been of the ceiling!
Madam Lucrezia - Adds her voice to talking statues
The mutilated marble bust of a colossal statue of a priestess of Isis near Chiesa di S. Marco became known as Madama Lucrezia and it provided a female character to the little choir of talking statues, which was called il Congresso degli Arguti - the Shrewd Congress.
The most famous pasquinade is no doubt:
Quod non fecerunt Barbari
What the Barbarians did not do (meaning to Rome)
the Barberini did.
The target of the pasquinade was Urbanus VIII Barberini (1623-44) who had used the bronze tiles of the Pantheon for the Canopy of St Peter's.
Open Top Bus Tour
We bought tickets for the 110 open top sightseeing buses, which were valid for unlimited travel on that route on the date purchased. Along with the ticket we were provided with a set of headphones that we could plug in at any seat on the bus to hear a commentary, in our choice of language, on what could be seen from the bus and a city map showing the route the bus took through the city’s streets, where it stopped to pick up passengers and the location of places of interest.
We were told that there would be diversions on the route later that day due to road closures so we decided to travel the full route first to make sure we had seen everything before parts of the route became unavailable. This really helped us to get a feel for the layout of the city and to decide what we wanted to see later. For my tastes the commentary was a little sparse but I suppose many people prefer just to look at the view from the bus and might find constant commentary distracting.
We did the same route again on the last bus that went round that day, so we could see all the beautiful buildings lit up after dark and during the day, we used it to travel between all the places we wanted to visit, including the Castel Sant Angelo, the Coliseum and the Trevi Fountain. Although it was very cold the day we used it, there was such a good view from the top that we didn’t mind sitting outside on the top deck and from here it was lovely to be able to see some of the decorative features on the upper floors of many of Rome’s buildings and also over the river and its many interesting bridges.
Compared to the ordinary bus services, the stops are rather far apart, so you can end up with quite a walk if you want to see something which isn’t right by a stop but the map they provide at least makes the route clear. The cost for the one day ticket was 13 Euros and the full route covered eleven stops. There is a map available on the website listed, which shows the route and stops.
Panella is a great place that I stopped at a couple times. It's hard not to. You'll walk by and smell the baked goods, pizzas and fresh crepes wafting from inside. Try to fagottini integrale, which is a whole wheat pastry filled with your choice of fillings. I had it with strawberry. Yum. This is also a great place to stop in for a light snack. Grab a drink (they have good coffee drinks as well as alcohol) and a slice of pizza in the afternoon.