‘All roads lead to Rome’ they say, and certainly, if you happen to be on your way to the Italian capital, then there are a bunch of activities that must feature in your itinerary. Loaded with historical repute, this city which has arisen along the shores of the Tiber showcases samples of architecture that date back to the glorious days of the Roman empire. Throw in an everlasting ambiance of romance and charm, some delectable pizzas and gelatos and you’ve got an ideal holiday getaway. Rome promises a memorable experience, as you take a stroll down the city’s illustrious past and also take a whiff of the modernism that thrives here. Since you’re already lured by the thought of a Roman holiday, let’s head out and take a look at 12 things you’ve got to do when you are in Rome.
12. Revel in ancient Roman ruins at the Roman Forum
As you wander through the Roman Forum, you will quite certainly be able to paint a picture of ancient Rome bustling with its daily activities. Although this sizable site dates back to 500 B.C., names such as Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar were instrumental in its expansion. The grand gateways and cobblestone roads beckon visitors to spend hours admiring the remnants of what might have been a booming area of ancient Rome. A guide is recommended, as they really do bring the stories to life with their expressiveness!
11. Relax at the Piazza Navona
In order to get a clear sense of what the city’s Baroque architecture displays, the Piazza Navona is the place to be. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is a saying we’ve all come across, and the Romans indeed like to have their hours of relaxation. Hence, you’ve got to make your way to the oval-shaped Piazza Navona, which is one of Rome’s most popular public spaces. There’s no dearth of manners for you to spend your time, since the Piazza has many a restaurant, gelaterias, and a whole line of souvenir shops. Don’t forget to pause at Bernini’s Fontana di Quattro Fiumi, which showcases sculptures that represent the world’s four great rivers. Add to that un caffè and you’ve all it takes for a relaxed afternoon.
10. Laud the Pantheon’s perfection
As the name suggests, the Pantheon was initially a temple dedicated to all gods. However, today this marvelous building is the burial site for kings and notable figures of Rome, including Raphael. The Pantheon’s hallmark is its geometric perfection coupled with its impeccable preservation. When a building is labelled the world’s only architecturally perfect building, it speaks volumes about its significance and value – the Pantheon is the proud owner of this title, and rightly so. This architectural marvel also features a giant dome, which was until modern times the world’s largest dome. Along with the dome comes the oculus, which allows sunlight to stream into the Temple of the Gods.
9. Breathe the power of the Colosseum
This monument of massive proportions offers a whole different experience altogether. Who hasn’t heard tales of courageous gladiators perishing in this epic arena? This Flavian amphitheater which was a crowd puller to view mass slaughter had a capacity of around 50,000. It is said that the Colosseum would fill up in 10 minutes, such was the demand for watching people perish before their eyes. You can still get a feel of how electric the atmosphere might have been as thousands watched a tiger come up against a lone brave gladiator.
8. Reserve some coins for the Trevi Fountain
Along with being a tremendous Roman attraction, the Trevi Fountain also functions as a piggy bank for the Red Cross, and perhaps the most stylish one at that! This Baroque masterpiece is credited to Nicola Salvi, whose statue of Neptune at the center radiates power and masculinity. In order to avoid the flocking tourists, visit this monument either early in the morning or late at night, and you can try your hand at all the selfies you want.
7. Explore the Centro Storico
Rome is synonymous with the narrow cobblestone roads that wind their way across the city, and the Centro Storico is a perfect exponent of cobblestones that liven up your esprit! Connecting the Piazza del Popolo to the famous Colosseum, the three main streets that constitute the Centro Storico are lined with some of the best gelaterias, cafés and restaurants and are sure to lure you in. Moreover, the streets offer a range of souvenir boutiques, jewelry shops and private courtyards which are home to some of the wealthiest citizens of Rome. There is also no dearth of ‘Baroqueness’ in the Centro Storico, courtesy – the numerous churches.
6. Take a shot of Espresso
Shifting the focus exclusively towards the gastronomical side of things, it’s time to stop for a quick coffee. And since you’re in Rome, you must give the Espresso a shot. For the non-coffee-connoisseurs, Espresso, credited to the Italians, is essentially coffee brewed by ‘pressing’ a tiny amount of nearly boiling water through a layer of finely ground coffee beans. Don’t waste your time hunting for your usual Starbucks, instead do as the Romans do – drink Espresso! As for the coffee-crazy folk, make sure you pay a visit to two of the most renowned cafés in the Italian capital – Tazza d’Oro and Caffè Sant’Eustachio.
5. Shop to your heart’s content at the Galleria Alberto Sordi
Built way back in 1922, the Galleria Alberto Sordi is known to be one of Europe’s most gorgeous places to shop, with its stained-glass skylights that permit ample daylight to pour in. You will find here myriad stores that sell books, designer clothes and vintage Italian branded material. Designated streets will offer stores that are certainly going to entice you with its goods.
4. Stop at Gusto for an Aperitivo
To enhance your Italian vocabulary, an aperitivo is broadly speaking a snack. Any restaurant or bar should offer you anything that ranges from salted nuts to extravagant buffets, but Gusto is one place you could start at. This authentic Italian restaurant offers a great selection of salads, pizzas and drinks, all at considerably affordable prices. Sit down, relax and let your taste buds do the rest!
3. Admire the grandness of St. Peter’s Basilica
At the heart of the Italian capital is the seat of Christianity in form of the St. Peter’s Basilica. Even though you might not be a Catholic, nothing prevents you from admiring the grand structure that is the Basilica. Originally, it was built in 349 A.D. by Constantine to honor St. Peter, the first pope. Nevertheless, the architectural wonder you see today is the world’s largest church which was built after its predecessor was razed to the ground. Tourists flock here in thousands to get a glimpse of the Pope sometimes. Once inside, don’t miss out on an opportunity to revel in Michelangelo’s Pietà.
2. Relish Giolitti’s Gelato
If you’re looking for ice cream in Rome, all you’ll get is gelato – but there’s no reason for disappointment, for this Italian delicacy is something you really must taste. Gelaterias, or shops that sell gelato, are pretty much everywhere you look in Rome. However, some are loyalists and visit only their favored stores. ‘Giolitti’ which stands just a few hundred meters from the Pantheon, has been serving some of Rome’s best gelatos for over a century now. Order a small cone of two flavors, plus a dollop of whipped cream, and you’re in for a treat!
1. Pay homage to the Vatican Museums
One day is much too short for doing justice to the Vatican Museums. Nevertheless, you could definitely visit the crown of the Museums, which is of course Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the Sistine Chapel. The exquisite exhibition of art on the ceiling, which unfortunately blinded the great painter, is a treat to the eyes for both artists and simple tourists alike. The mastery in strokes almost make the massive fresco come to life. In the center, you can almost feel God breathing life into Man.
Now that’s one jam-packed itinerary for your Roman holiday! If you’re planning on your maiden visit to the Italian capital, don’t forget to include these in your list of activities. However, feel free to explore this marvelous city further on your own and add some things to your top experiences. Splendid views of the Tiber and the Vatican City, delightful treats and a peaceful mind are few of the gifts Rome is sure to bestow upon you.