One of my first and favorite memories of Rome is walking purposely to one site, and on the way, passing by ruins of ancient Roman remains. There was no sign to describe what it was, and it was not in the guidebooks. The Romans had unearthed just another roman empire-era site. This is common throughout Rome.
There is so much to see in Rome, that if you spent an entire month of sightseeing, you still would not see everything this wonderful city has to offer. So to narrow it down for you, I’m offering my top things you MUST do when in Rome:
Marvel at the Colosseum
I can clearly remember the first time I saw the Colosseum in “real life”. Josh and I had arrived in Rome on our first overseas trip, and a 9-hour flight. After we checked into the hotel , we decided not to do any sightseeing. We were tired, didn’t know how to deal with jet lag and we just wanted to get something to eat and go back to the hotel. Looking for a restaurant that was open, we rounded a corner and THERE. IT. WAS. It was so surprising to see and it was beautiful!
This is the iconic image of Rome (and of Italy), and you must see it! As you travel around Rome, you might be surprised at how many times you come across the amphitheater. Take it in, contemplate its immense size.
Hint: consider a tour that you can purchase at the ticket gate. We did this with our daughter and enjoyed the tour.
Stroll around Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona is an oblong area surrounded by quintessential ristorantes, stores and a beautiful church. There are two fountains on either end of the piazza, the Fontana del Moro (Fountain of The Moor) and the Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune). But, the masterpiece is the fountain in the center Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Rivers).
A stroll around the piazza is lovely during the day. A person could spend hours just marveling at the detail in the fountains. Also, there are many restaurants around the area with outdoor seating. This area at night becomes a carnival-type area with musicians, caricature artists and other performers. The lighting on the fountains is beautiful at night.
Indulge in Gelato at Fatamorgana
Ahhh, Fatamorgana…this is THE BEST Gelato! There are two important elements to tasty gelato: The cone and the gelato itself. Fatamorgana hits both elements spot on. The gelateria offers many different flavors of gelato, including some unusual tastes you might not have considered. The cones are delicious and smaller than your average cone. But don’t think of their size as a drawback! The price per cone is small, so you can try more flavors without filling up your belly or emptying your wallet.
You simply must drink cappuccino when you are in Italy! Luckily, you will find great cappuccino all over Rome. Read more in our article on cappuccino in Italy
Visit the Vatican Museum
When we planned to go to the Vatican Museum, our goal was to see Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We were pleasantly surprised that the museum was so much more! With 54 Salas (Galleries), it is impossible to see everything. The museum is home to four rooms devoted to Raphael’s paintings, a masterpiece painting by Caravaggio, the Hall of Tapestries and hundreds of statues. Our daughter especially loved the extensive Egyptian Collection.
Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
The legend states that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain you are sure to return. Although, we didn’t throw a coin in on our first trip, we still returned.🙂
This is a beautiful fountain that you really should see. This fountain is often featured in movies. Once you see it up close and personal, you will start to notice it in movies and think “Hey, I’ve been there!”
See the Pantheon
First built as a temple to honor “all gods” (in Greek, pan=all and theo=god), it was converted to a Christian church in 609 AD. The shape of a sphere fits completely inside the building and the ceiling dome is the top half of the sphere. To this day, the structure is an engineering feat and it is one of the best preserved Ancient Roman monuments.
Dine on Cacio e Pepe
When in Rome… eat cacio e pepe, the classic Roman dish. The meal consists of long thin pasta (like spaghetti or bucatini), local pecorino cheese and freshly ground pepper. Cacio e pepe is to Rome what pizza is to Naples, so you NEED to try it!