One of the oldest cities in the world, Rome, has once been a center of culture, power, and politics. Its history dates back to over 2500 years. The city is associated with mythologies and legends, offering a unique mix of ancient and modern culture. Consequently, there are so many things to do in Rome, that you will have to make some hard choices.
Several Roman emperors have ruled this majestic city and left behind impressive landmarks to commemorate their legacy.
Over time, these sites have turned into famous tourist spots. The eternal city of Rome is renowned for its ancient relics and timeless architecture. Religious buildings, monuments, and palaces make Rome one of the top European destinations.
When in Rome… don’t forget to do these 10 things
Although there are several amazing things to do in Rome, these 10 things are must-do.
1. Admire the ancient beauty of the Colosseum
Not sure where to start off your Roman tour? How about the universally recognized symbol of Rome – the Colosseum. The place boasts a rich, and might we say ‘bloody’ history. Being the greatest amphitheater of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum used to host animal fights and gladiator combats.
Around 4 million people visit the Colosseum annually. To make the best of your trip, buy your tickets beforehand, or you’ll have to wait in line. Better yet, get a combined ticket for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, and skip the long ticket lines. Or take a VIP tour of the Colosseum that will give you access to the underground levels and the top level.
2. Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain
According to legend, throwing a coin in the fountain will bring you back to Rome. But you don’t have to visit it only to make a wish. Its stunning Baroque beauty is enough to make you want to stop and stare. With an awe-inspiring center statue of Neptune surrounded by tritons, the Trevi fountain is a marvel of architecture.
Unfortunately, the fountain is overcrowded with street hawkers selling souvenirs and tourists almost the entire day. So to admire the fountain in its full glory, visit early in the morning or late at night, and you just might find it crowd-free.
3. Explore the history in the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was the center for political, religious, and commercial activity in Rome and dates back to 500 B.C. It includes the Senate building, the Rostra where Marc Antony delivered his eulogy for Julius Caesar, the Arch of Titus, the Temple of Vesta (where you would have found the Vestal Virgins), and a number of other civic buildings and temples.
At this archaeological site, you can almost picture the people of ancient Rome strolling down the cobblestoned streets in their togas.
When visiting the site, it’s recommended to hire a guide as the ruins inside the forum have few signs. Plus, a guide can add to your knowledge of history and bring the place to life.
4. Shop till you drop at the Galleria Alberto Sordi
Rome is famous for its ancient places, but do you know there’s an old market where you can shop for modern design dresses and contemporary accessories? Galleria Alberto Sordi is that place.
The Galleria dates back to 1922 and is considered as one of Europe’s most elegant places to shop. Adorned with mosaic floors and stained-glass ceilings, the Galleria has everything ranging from designer-wear and cosmetics to books and food.
Some of the famous stores present in the Galleria include Zara, Italian bookstore La Feltrinelli, La Rinascente (Italy’s Macy’s), and Massimo Dutti.
5. Absorb the Panoramic Views at Gianicolo
Gianicolo is the highest vantage point that gives you a grand panoramic view of Rome. A long winding road takes you to the top. If you don’t prefer hiking, take a ride on a Vespa or in a car. From the top, you can view the amazing Roman monuments, including the Palazzo Venezia, the Spanish Steps, and more.
At dusk, the place is crowded with Roman lovers and street hawkers. So if you want to enjoy the place with minimum commotion, visit it early in the day.
6. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica
It may be a holy site for Catholics, but you don’t have to be Roman Catholic to admire the artistic marvels of St. Peter’s Basilica. The original basilica was reputedly built over the tomb of St. Peter by Constantine in 349 A.D. Later, the church was demolished, and in 1626, the current one was created in its place. Now, St. Peter’s Basilica is the world’s largest church, spanning over 240,000 square feet.
Inside this historic marvel you’ll find Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta,’’, and Bernini’s magnificent altarpiece ‘Baldachin’ and ‘the chair of Saint Peter’ among many other masterpieces.
St. Peter’s is in Vatican City which is its own country within the city of Rome. If you want to visit the Vatican Museum or the famed Sistine Chapel get there early or better yet, get a skip the line ticket. For more information check out a guide to visiting the Vatican.
7. See modern art at MAXXI
In the midst of all the ancient beauty, this modern art museum has a unique place of its own. It holds the honor of being the first national art museum of contemporary art.
The architecture of the building itself is strikingly beautiful, with big open spaces, concrete ceilings covered with glass and staircases that seem to come out of nowhere. The museum hosts art exhibitions and activities all year round.
8. Climb the Spanish Steps
Almost every movie set in Rome has a scene shot at this spot. Nothing describes its magnificence better than that.
Climb these famous renowned steps, head over to the Trinita Dei Monti church, and appreciate Bernini’s ship-shaped fountain and the piazza. If you climb further, you’ll come across Villa Medici that gives you picturesque views of the Centro Storico.
Off to the side of the Spanish Steps, you’ll find one of Rome’s under-the-radar museums, the Keats-Shelley Memorial House.
9. Take a walk on the streets of Trastevere
If you want to take a break from the city culture and want to experience the Roman spirit, then visit the Trastevere neighborhood. It has cobbled streets and is lined with cafes and restaurants that serve cheap but delicious food.
Walk down the streets that are mostly car-free. Explore the shops that have unique items that you won’t find at ones usually bought by tourists. Visit the piazza in front of the gorgeous Trastevere Church in Santa Maria.
10. Indulge in Roman cuisine
Roman cuisine is famous for its simplicity; as it’s prepared with few seasonal ingredients and tried-and-tested methods. Typical Roman appetizers include fried salt cod fillets, fried artichokes, salumi, and a variety of cheeses. One of the most desired cheeses used in Roman cooking is ‘precorio romano.’’.
Besides cheese, Romans are especially fond of pastas, particularly ‘cacia e pepe’. It is a simple pasta dish prepared with black pepper and plenty of pecorino romano. Other classic Roman pastas include spaghetti alla carbonara, tagliatelle cacio e pepe, and bucatini all’amatriciana.
It is said that a lifetime is not enough to explore Rome. And we believe it’s true. A trip to Rome can be overwhelming as there is so much to do and so many places to explore.