Rome has been one of my long time bucket list destinations, as for many others. My trip last fall was very spontaneous though, and it was that I finally went to this city, because the flights were the cheapest. I´m always up for a trip down south into the sun to eat some gelato, see the stunning old architecture and that special charm of Mediterranian cities and as Italy is a dream for me anyways, I was beyond exited, when the plane touched down. To share it with you here are my 10 musts for Rome.
1) Visit the Forum Romanum
What used to be a place of a lot of hustle and bustle in the ancient Rome, is only roamed by tourists today, but that keeps the stunningly well preserved ruins alive in a way. As the area is strechted out sufficiently to host the heaps of visitors that take a trip back in time, the masses spread out pretty well and the visit stays enjoyable, even during the weekend. It is not a coincidence, that this place popped into my mind at first, as I find it to be one of Rome´s highlights.
2) Watch the sunset from one of Rome´s seven hills
Staying for two nights and having incredible weather the whole time, I got the chance to see the sun set over the roofs of Rome from two marvellous spots. The first one was a little park on Aventine Hill, from where you overlook the city and can see the Capitoline, and as far as the Dome of the St. Peter´s Basilica and beyond.
Following the tips in many articles about the city, which I had read in advance, the other night I watched the sunset from the backside of Piazza di Campidoglio on Capitoline Hill, overlooking the Forum Romanum, with the Colosseum in the background. It was a stunning and very special moment, when I truly appreciated solo travelling for the silence and time to yourself you have in those moments.
3) Take a break on Piazza di Navona
Piazza di Navona is exactly what you would an Italian public square expect to be like. In the heart of the old town -and you wouldn´t really expect a square like this while walking through the alleys that get you there- the cobblestone square is enclosed with buildings and offers a great space to take a rest from exploring. Around the Piazza you can find numerous Restaurants and Cafés with small tables outside, people eating and enjoying the sun and just a lively Italian atmosphere. Well, and unfortunately a lot of street vendors too. The only downside.
4) Eat GELATO
You weren´t thinking of leaving Italy without getting your dose of this creamy goodness, were you? I wish I had written down the name of the shop I got my icecream at, because it was very reasonably priced and incredibly delicious. I just remeber that it was somewhere close to Piazza di Navona on my walk coming from Vatican City. But it shouldn´t be an actual challenge to find great icecream in the Italian capital anyways.
5) Take a walk up Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill is set right next to the Forum Romanum making the view a sight you shouldn´t miss. Moreover it has a spacious park, inviting to take a stroll and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
6) Visit Piazza di Spagna (and Piazza del Popolo)
Making my way to Piazza di Spagna I was counting on visiting the Spanish steps, as most visitors of Rome I guess. Unfortunately they were currently being restored, so I wasn´t even able to take a good photo of them. Anyways I still liked the square with it´s Mediterranean flair and palm trees and find it worth a visit.
Only a ten minute walk from Piazza di Spagna you can find Piazza del Popolo, which is a huge public square. And I mean huge. Enjoy a break at this airy, spacious place and enjoy the southern sun.
Note: the Spanish steps seem to be open to tourists again since the beginning of December (which means I missed it by a week) and will be completely finished in spring 2016.
7) See the Pantheon´s huge stone dome
Even if you´re not usually the person to visit religious buildings (like me), I´d seriously suggest you take a look at this one – and it´s free, so you can´t really argue, can you? The dome is huge and – considering it´s almost 2000 years old – it is pretty incredible what architectural skills the ancient Romans already had.
8) Walk around the Colosseum
Other than the Vatican (which I didn´t like) I couldn´t write a post leaving out the Colosseum. If you hit the line to enter or just round the Colosseum´s facade (watch how the types of stone change while walking around) is your decision – and depends on how much time you´ve got to explore. But either way, just don´t miss out on this impressive building!
9) Get lost in the old alleyways
Do I have to add anything? To find the hidden gems of a city, the beautiful tranquil corners that aren´t flooded with tourists (and their selfie sticks), but instead with a special charm and feeling, you just gotta let yourself float sometimes.
10) Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is set pretty unexpectedly (just like Piazza di Navona or the Pantheon), so that after turning around the corner of another small alley you´ll suddenly find yourself confronted with the impressive fountain. Here I was luckier, than with the Spanish steps, as the restoration of the fountain had just been finished a few weeks before my visit.
If you don´t want it to be your last stay in the Eternal City, throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain. Cause the story goes, that if you do so you´ll be sure to return one day. We´ll see how that goes.
And since I threw a coin, I´m curious about your favourite things to do in the Italian capital. Let me know in the comments.