Rome : They call it the Eternal City for a reason. It wasn’t built in a day, all roads lead there.
Your stay in Rome is all about your state of mind.A holiday in Rome can mean expensive tickets for tourist attractions, but the eternal city has museums, music venues, markets and cinemas that can be enjoyed for free.
Top things to do in Rome:
1. Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
Spanish Steps and the piazza at their base are, collectively, both an incredibly romantic spot to spend an evening with a sweetheart on your arm.
Now, a few more tips to keep your Spanish Steps experience positive:
- The evenings are certainly more romantic, but they’re also when pickpockets come out in higher numbers. Busy times in the piazza make it easier, so keep an eye on your belongings.
- Restaurants and cafes in the area get to raise their prices because they’re right next to a major tourist attraction, so avoid paying through the nose for a mediocre espresso or gelato by eating elsewhere and strolling to the Spanish Steps afterwards.
- Be prepared to ignore the people selling individual roses or, worse, crappy trinkets and toys to tourists. They’ll follow you, and be rather insistent. Ignore them if you can. If you can’t, walk away.
2.Walk Through History in the Roman Forum
With sprawl of ruins, the Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre, a grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces. The site, which was originally an Etruscan burial ground, was first developed in the 7th century BC, growing over time to become the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire. Landmark sights include the Arco di Settimio Severo , the Curia , and the Casa delle Vestali .
You will have the conversation with yourself within “did Caesar walk on this one? how about this one?“)
3. Circle the Colosseum
The Colosseum is hugely impressive. It stands as a glorious but troubling monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Inside it, behind those serried ranks of arches and columns, Romans for centuries cold-bloodedly killed literally thousands of people whom they saw as criminals, as well as professional fighters and animals.
4. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica & See the Vatican City
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.While Vatican City is technically its own independent city-state, no one visits Vatican City on its own without visiting Rome as well. For most travellers, touring the Vatican is one day out of a trip to Rome.
5. Stroll the Trastevere Streets
One of the favourite and relatively peaceful haven is the Trastevere neighbourhood during the day, and I think it’s an area everyone should visit. The cobbled streets are mostly car-free, the restaurants and cafe’s serve up some of the cheapest eats you’ll find in Rome (and it’s good, too), the shops aren’t hawking the usual tourist crap, and the piazza in front of the Santa Maria in Trastevere church (which is beautiful) is as charming and delightful as you’d find in any Tuscan hill town. After nightfall, the Trastevere becomes the place to be for young locals and travellers alike.
6. Watching at the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome . The central figures of the fountain are Neptun (God of the sea), flanked by two Tritons. One struggles to master a veru unruly “sea horse”, the other lead a far more docile animal. These symbolize the two contrasting moods of the sea.The place is seriously touristy, expect it to be crowded.
7. Explore the Campo dei Fiori Markets
Every Italian city has an outdoor market where you can buy foodstuffs, and cities the size of Rome have several. But the one that’s worth your time to visit is the market at Campo dei Fiori. It’s not far from the famous Piazza Navona, and while the name means “field of flowers” it’s been the setting for a daily morning food market since the mid-1800s.
8. Take the view from the Gianicolo hill
It is outside the ancient city, so Gianicolo may not be counted among the proverbial “Seven Hills” of Rome, but it makes up for it by providing one of the best views across the rooftops. The hill provides a spectacular view of the domes and spires that make up the historic skyline. Up on the hilltop itself is a statue of Garibaldi: a charismatic figure in the Risorgimento (a movement that sough to unify Italy), and this marks one of the best spots to enjoy that great view and, in true militaristic style, every day at midday a cannon is fired, part of a tradition that started in 1847 to signal the time to the surrounding bell towers.
9. Find your own treasures at Monti’s vintage market
Founded in 2009, the market is a blend of contemporary creativity and vintage fashion: expect to find everything from handicrafts from cutting-edge designers to retro clothing, furniture and homeware items.
Not far from the Colosseum you’ll find the hip quarter of Monti, which hosts a fantastic “urban market” every weekend – held in the conference hall of Grand Hotel Palatino. The colourful and diverse array of trinkets and fashion on sale makes Mercato Monti an ideal place for a weekend wander, and the perfect excuse to explore the other independent stores and galleries dotted around the rest of the area’s small streets.
• Via Leonina, Every weekend 10am-8pm
10. Enjoy a film for free
In the beautiful Villa Borghese – a public park well worth a stroll around – the Casa Del Cinema is the result of an ambitious project, launched in 2001, to transform a derelict pavilion into a hub for the silver screen. With state-of-the-art projection equipment making it the most modern cinema in the city, the Casa Del Cinema (also home to a film library and a cafe) is a dreamland for film fans. The cinema has special presentations where you may get the chance to mingle with directors, producers and stars. The City of Rome subsidises screenings every afternoon and evening – meaning you can always catch a cinematic treat for free.
• Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1, Villa Borghese, Open daily, see website for screening times.
11. Discover the work of sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen
The ambitious yet somewhat obscure Norweigan-American artist Hendrik Christian Andersen moved to Rome at the end of the 19th century where he lived for over 40 years. When he died he left all his works to the Italian state, and his studio home – an art-nouveau villa between the river and via Flaminia – was eventually converted into a museum where some 200 sculptures, 200 paintings and 300 graphic works are now displayed. Inspired by the idea of a great “world city”, an intriguing concept to explore in the context of a visit to Rome itself.
• Via Pasquale Stanislao Mancini, 20, Open Tues-Fri 9.30am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-7pm.
12. The drama of the Burcardo Theatre Museum
Open to the public since 1932, the collection includes a number of beautifully crafted sculptures, including plaster busts depicting writers and actors from the past two centuries and a photography archive with thousands of dramatic (literally) black and white images of thespians in action.Filled with costumes and artefacts, the Burcardo Museum holds a collection dedicated to Italian theatre history.
• Via del Sudario, Open Tues and Thurs 9.15am-4.30pm, Fri 9.15am-1.15pm
13. The world’s most classical cat sanctuary
Excavated in 1929, the area contains the remains of four Republican temples as well as Pompey’s Theatre: the site at which Julius Caesar is believed to have been assassinated. Cats began hanging out there when the archaeological site was first opened, making the most of the shelter and protection provided by the below-street-level ruins, and were kept fed by friendly “gattare” or cat ladies. In the 1990s it became a more formal operation, although the shelter is still technically squatting on the land, and visitors drop in to enjoy what is one of Rome’s more curious attractions.
• Via di Torre Argentina,Open daily midday-6pm. Donations welcome.
Have a lovely stay in Rome !
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