Why do all roads lead to Rome? Well, the eternal city is a destination that holds a timeless allure and caters to all interests. While history buffs can spend days here exploring a ridiculous number of ancient sites, food lovers can spend a lifetime here sampling the city’s delicacies and cuisines. Art lovers can get stuck here for life, wowed by Michelangelo and Raphael.
With its ancient ruins, magnificent architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Rome is a treasure trove of history, culture, and culinary delights. The huge, sprawling city boasts huge open squares and spacious gardens, which are just perfect for the locals and travellers to mingle and watch life go by. There are tons of museums for free, and the vast metropolis can be explored on foot, looking at the marvellous architecture and beautiful churches.
If this is your first visit to this iconic city, here are five things you should not miss out on to make the most of your experience when exploring Italy’s rich culture and history.
1. The Colosseum and Roman Forum
No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. As one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the Colosseum stands as a symbol of ancient Rome’s grandeur. Step inside this ancient amphitheater and imagine the gladiatorial contests and spectacles that once took place here.
After exploring the Colosseum, wander through the ruins of the Roman Forum, the heart of political and social life in ancient Rome. Marvel at the remains of temples, basilicas, and other ancient structures that offer a glimpse into the city’s past. You can easily find vacation rentals in Rome with Cozycozy and get away with some awesome deals.
2. The Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican City, an independent city-state within Rome, is a must-visit for its historical and religious significance. Explore the Vatican Museums, home to an extraordinary collection of art, including the world-famous Sistine Chapel adorned with Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
From there, make your way to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world. Admire its stunning architecture, intricate mosaics, and Michelangelo’s magnificent Pieta sculpture. If you have the time and energy, climb to the top of St. Peter’s Dome for breathtaking views of Rome.
3. The Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps
Immerse yourself in the charm of Rome by visiting the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The Trevi Fountain is an iconic symbol of the city, known for its grandeur and the tradition of throwing a coin into the fountain for good luck. Take a moment to toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, ensuring your return to Rome.
From there, make your way to the Spanish Steps, a monumental stairway adorned with vibrant flowers. Sit on the steps and soak in the lively atmosphere or wander through the nearby streets filled with high-end shops and charming cafes.
4. The Pantheon and Piazza Navona
The Pantheon, a marvel of ancient Roman engineering, is a must-see for its architectural splendor. Step inside this well-preserved temple and marvel at its colossal dome and the oculus, a circular opening that allows sunlight to illuminate the interior. Take a moment to appreciate the impressive craftsmanship and the centuries of history contained within its walls.
Afterward, visit Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most beautiful squares. Admire the Baroque fountains, street performers, and the stunning Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Piazza Navona comes alive with bustling cafes, artists, and musicians, making it a perfect spot to relax and people-watch.
5. The Trastevere Neighborhood and Roman Cuisine
To experience the authentic spirit of Rome, venture into the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. This bohemian area is known for its narrow streets, colorful facades, and lively nightlife. Explore the neighborhood’s quaint squares, such as Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, known for its stunning mosaics.
Indulge in Roman cuisine at the traditional trattorias and osterias, where you can savor dishes like carbonara, cacao e pepe, and supplì. Enjoy gelato as you stroll through the area and soak in the atmosphere.
As a first time in Rome, here are some additional tips to have the best possible experience and save some money too:
- When in Rome, do what the Romans do, and you will observe that Italians don’t order coffee from the table but often order an espresso and drink it while standing. The point here is that you might get a service charge slapped on you if you order your coffee from the table.
- You can order gelato anytime, anywhere, and before lunch, after lunch, in the morning or evening, whatever you desire. This is great news for gelato lovers who should certainly explore the world of endless gelato flavours in Rome.
- Always buy bus tickets ahead of time and at any tabaccheria in the city as you can’t buy them on the bus. You can get a 48-hour or weekly ticket at a much lower price, and the good news is those tickets can be used for any kind form of public transportation in Rome.
- Take advantage of free museums on first Sundays, and do not miss the chance to explore and enjoy some of the most famous museums, galleries, parks, archaeological sites, and gardens are free. As lines quickly get long, show up early at your favourite site or destination on the first Sunday.
- As Vatican Museums are the major tourist attractions in Rome, you are likely to face long queues and more crowds outside these museums. It is best to buy museum tickets on the Vatican website to skip those long lines and save both your efforts and time.
- Carry cash but watch your bags too, especially when on public transportation or in crowded areas in key tourist attractions. Rome still functions on a cash economy, and although many stores and restaurants will process, you will have to use cash at some joints. So, keep some cash always handy, and although the city is safe, beware of petty crime, especially on crowded buses.