Rome“Rome is not like any other city. It's a majestic museum, a living room to tiptoe through.” Alberto Sordi’s words perfectly describe the sensations you get when walking through the city’s streets.
Because it is impossible to feel indifferent towards Rome: Italy’s capital offers incredible views and breath-taking panoramas. Revered and celebrated, immortal Rome also won an Oscar for “The Great Beauty”, a film in which director Sorrentino showed the world the wonders of the Eternal City.
What to see in Rome: the city’s must-see attractions
When visiting Rome for the first time, your itinerary will be dotted with must-see attractions. The city has many famous landmarks and you cannot claim to have visited Rome without having seen at least one of them.
The Colosseum and other ancient jewels: the symbol of Rome
Naturally, the first stop on a trip to Rome is the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Located in the heart of the capital, it is the largest amphitheatre in the world and one of the most visited places on the planet. The Colosseum has captivated onlookers for almost 2000 years: its construction was started in 72 AD. The majestic building, which overlooks the whole city, will leave you breathless. Nearby, you can visit the Roman Forum, home to ancient Rome’s commercial, religious and judicial life. It is glorious to walk around this open-air museum, which is a delight for the eyes and a panacea for the mind.
The squares of Rome: Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain
Walking through Rome also involves discovering splendid squares, which leave an indelible mark on our memory. A notable example is Piazza di Spagna and its famous Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, or Spanish Steps: admire how the buildings overlook the square, breathe the stillness of eternity and climb the 135 steps leading to the church that the renowned steps are named after.
Another of the city’s symbolic squares, which is very popular among tourists and residents, is Piazza Navona. Here the aura of eternity gives way to a Bohemian atmosphere. Every day this splendid place, animated by its Baroque architecture, is full of street artists and painters. The square is very beautiful in the evening, partly thanks to three majestic fountains: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro (featuring a statue by the incredible sculptor Bernini) and the famous Fountain of Neptune.
Piazza Trevi is renowned for Trevi Fountain, which is considered one of the most beautiful fountains in the world and was immortalized by the famous scene in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. Built in the early 18th century, the Trevi Fountain is a sculptural masterpiece in which Baroque is harmoniously combined with Classicism. It is a must-see attraction, if only to curry favour with Lady Luck by throwing a coin inside. Every evening the coins are collected and donated to charitable causes.
Rome’s parks: Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is a beautiful patch of green in the centre of the city. It is an ideal place to visit after Piazza di Spagna, located around 10 minutes’ walk away. Pause on the route that leads to this majestic urban green oasis to admire the vast Piazza del Popolo, at the foot of the Pincian Hill. When you come to Villa Borghese, before heading to the centre of the park, go up to the Pincian Terrace, which directly overlooks Piazza del Popolo and offers a picturesque view of the city. Head on to explore all the attractions of the gardens: here, among artificial lakes, splendid fountains, sculptures and groves, you will temporarily forget the chaos of the city which you have now left behind. There are also several museums in the Villa Borghese gardens, the most famous of which is the Borghese Gallery and Museum, housed in the villa of the same name. Here you can admire works by Bernini and Canova, not to mention masterpieces by painters such as Titian, Rubens, Raphael and Caravaggio. Recharge, make the most of nature and continue your visit to Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums: the heart of Christianity
Regardless of your religious beliefs, St. Peter’s Basilica is an essential stop on any trip to Rome. Starting in the facing square, this basilica winds majestically through Rome: its splendid dome, a marvel of engineering and architecture, seamlessly merges with the colonnades designed by Bernini to mark out the square. It took 100 years to create this marvel, which is the heart of the Catholic Church.
Both inside and outside the basilica, you can admire evidence of the creativity of the best Renaissance and Baroque artists, which can be further explored on a visit to the Vatican Museums, located beside the Cortile del Belvedere: a treasure trove of artistic wonders, the Vatican Museums contains one of the largest art collections in the world. There are 13 museums within this large architectural complex, which is accessed by a beautiful entrance built for the Great Jubilee in 2000. The Vatican Museums house the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s famous “The Last Judgment”.
You can complete your day in the Vatican with a visit to the gardens and to the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo. Since it is not possible to visit everything in one day, it is a good idea to identify the route that most interests you beforehand.
Visit the Pantheon in RomeYou cannot say that you have been to Rome without having visited the Pantheon, one of the most famous monuments in the city and the burial site of various distinguished figures, such as Umberto I, Vittorio Emanuele II and Queen Margherita of Savoy. Legend has it that this astounding piece of architecture stands in the exact spot where Romulus ascended into heaven after his death. The Pantheon can be visited free of charge every day of the week.
Other attractions in Rome
As mentioned at the beginning of this long article, it is impossible to exhaustively discuss all of Rome’s attractions. This is why we advise you to walk around the city and to let yourself be captivated by the Italian capital’s distinctive magical atmosphere: lose yourself in the city and discover its beautiful sights on your own, try to recognize the locations where the many films that chose it as a setting were staged and explore Rome’s many districts. From Trastevere to San Lorenzo, Testaccio and Pigneto, the Rome’s neighbourhoods are characterized by a very special and authentic atmosphere that will make you think that you have stepped into an old film.
What to eat in Rome: traditional Roman cuisine
The pleasures of the table are an essential part of any trip to Rome. There is a strong gastronomic tradition in Rome, comprising so many dishes that you will struggle to choose a favourite. Let’s start with one of the city’s most symbolic dishes: “cacio e pepe” pasta. You cannot say that you have been to Rome unless you have tried this humble traditional Roman dish at least once: the simple ingredients transform into a creamy, tasty dish that will win over the most discerning palates. And let’s not forget “spaghetti alla carbonara”, strictly made with pork cheek. Don’t like egg? Never fear: you can also enjoy a delicious plate of “pasta alla Gricia”, which, to put in simply, is amatriciana pasta without the sauce. Notable main courses include “abbacchio” suckling lamb, one of the most succulent Roman meat dishes, which is an absolute must during the Easter period. You should also try “coda alla vaccinara” oxtail stew and “saltimbocca alla romana” veal, strictly accompanied with chicory, broad beans and pecorino. Still not full? If you feel hungry between lunch and dinner, treat yourself to a “supplì” fried rice ball, quintessential Roman street food.
To visit Rome and Italy, you must have a passport or ID card that is valid for travel abroad. The country is part of the European Union.
When is the best time to visit Rome? Although it is worth making a trip to Rome and discovering its countless attractions at any given opportunity, there is no doubt that the best seasons to visit are spring and autumn. From April to mid-June and from September to early October you can enjoy mild temperatures and days with little rain. Summer, on the other hand, is very hot and muggy and should be avoided if possible.