What to do in Rome ?
Rome truly is an amazing city with such an incredible amount of history and culture with so much going on. It can be hard to find the words to describe the Eternal City, but if you are lucky enough to get to spend some time here, you will probably never want to leave. Beyond the obvious, like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and eating lots of pizza, there is so much to do and see in the city. Hopefully this will give you some idea of how to start and make the most of your time in Rome!
The best way to get to know the city is to just wander around, which is never futile with so many beautiful things around every corner. Pick a few landmarks that you know well and try to get from one to another without any help. If you think you are really lost, you can always ask for directions or check a map (real or on your phone!). By doing this, and taking roads you do not normally go down, you will soon get to know your way around the city really well. You will also experience all the different atmospheres of the many areas. When you have time, just head off down a street randomly and see what you discover!
There are over 900 churches in Rome, many of which often go unseen. Throughout history, Rome has played a vital role in Christianity and then Catholicism, and as a result most of its churches are absolutely stunning, even if they do not look it from the outside. Many are just discretely tucked away, but often these are the most special. Churches tend to be open every day to visitors, closing for a few hours in the early afternoon for lunch. Even if you are not religious, if you see a church with open doors, you should just stick your head in and see the beauty inside. Some churches were decorated by great Italian artists of the Renaissance, such as Raphael and Caravaggio, but unless you go in, you will never know!
Italy as a country is renowned for its cuisine, and as the capital, Rome has a great many delicious offerings. Two favourite local dishes are pasta al cacio e pepe, a simple dish of pasta in a pecorino cheese and black pepper sauce, and supplì, a fried rice ball usually with ragù sauce and mozzarella inside (or even better, a supplì al cacio e pepe!). Pizza al taglio (by the slice) is also very Roman and makes for a great quick lunch on the go. Try eating at different restaurants in different areas, at least to start off with so you can find your favourite! As a general rule, places right next to major tourist attractions are to be avoided as they tend to be overpriced. Do try and find somewhere good near where you live for any emergency take-away pizza needs!
See the sights
Just because something is visited mostly by tourists, some of whom have just come from a cruise ship and only have a few hours in the city, does not mean you should not visit it too! While you are here, go and see the most famous sights at least once.
- Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain so you know you will always come back to Rome.
- Visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum but avoid going at peak times like the weekend.
- The Vatican Museums are a must-see. The collection of art is unparalleled and Michelangelo and Raphael’s work, as well as that of many others, is breath-taking.
There are lots of lesser-known museums and sites so do some research before you arrive and make a list of what you want to see. You will also come across some new things as you walk around so make a note of the address (and maybe opening hours) and add that too.
- Trajan’s Market is amazing and gives you the opportunity to walk on an ancient road and look down into the imperial fora from a different perspective.
- If you are into art, the Palazzo Doria-Pamphili is the most marvellous gallery right in the centre on Via del Corso.
Go for drinks in Trastevere
Literally meaning ‘across the Tiber’, Trastevere is a fun, local neighbourhood in Rome. Often considered one of the most authentic spots along with the Jewish quarter, it is also a great place to go out for drinks. There are lots of students around, with a few foreign campuses in the area, which make for a great atmosphere in the evening. Most people stand in the streets and because of this you will easily see just how many bars there are around the place. Some of the plainer-looking places are actually very local and quite cheap, but most places have a great atmosphere anyway, especially on a Saturday night.
This probably sounds like something your mother told you to do before you left but she is right. Even if you do not like the photo at the time, you will be glad you have it once you have left. Rome offers so many great photo opportunities. If you want to get great panoramic shots of the city there are a number of places you can go. Climb up the Gianicolo Hill behind Trastevere or go to the café in the Villa Medici at the top of the Spanish Steps. Of course, you can head up to any roof-top bar for great views over Rome and its many domes. You can also climb up to the top of St Peter’s Dome in the Vatican for gorgeous views over the whole city and try to spot all the main landmarks. You will surely cherish these photos and the memories you have of your time spent in the Eternal City forever.