Ah, the Eternal City. How can you resist? Many people think that Rome is just a big city with all the big city annoyances – traffic, smog, noise, graffiti. Yes, it is all that but dig a little deeper and you will find quiet little neighborhoods, streets lined with colorful ivy-covered buildings, small cafes and magical gardens when you least expect them. Don’t push Rome to the bottom of your list. Discover the Rome of the Romans, the Rome that goes way beyond the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. The real Rome.
- Nearly 700,000 euros worth of coins are tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain each year. The proceeds are donated to Caritas to help those in need.
- Modern Rome has 280 fountains
- Rome became the capital city of unified Italy in 1870, taking the title from Florence.
- Law in Rome allows cats to live without disruption in the place they were born.
The gate in the Piazza of the Priory of the Knights of Malta on the Aventine Hill. You are in for a real treat when you look through the keyhole.
Off the Beaten Path
Palazzo Massimo – The National Roman Museum. Most people never make the time to go to this incredible museum located near the train station. They have reconstructed a 1st c. BC triclinium (dining room) which was lavishly decorated with vibrant frescoes. It is an impressive collection of frescoes, statues and floor mosaics that is beautifully presented.
WAY off the Beaten Path
My favorite catacombs are those at Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura. The church has a wonderful history as well as a vibrant and active community. It’s a beautiful place to visit and the complex includes not only the church and catacombs (which can be visited only with a guide) but also the little mausoleum of Santa Costanza, the daughter of Constantine. It dates back to the 4th century and contains a fascinating mix of pagan and Christian symbolism in the mosaics. The building was consecrated as a church (baptistery) in the 13th century.
A concert at Bramante’s courtyard (near the Piazza Navona).
Cacio e Pepe – basically, the best mac & cheese you will ever put in your mouth. This Roman staple must be ordered when you are here (preferably at Roscioli restaurant), Pizza Rossa – who knew pizza without cheese could be so delicious. The best thing about this is that it can be a midmorning snack to give you a little kick as you tour the city (preferably from Il Forno del Campo).
Santa Sabina, Aventine Hill. My favorite churches in Rome are definitely the Early Christian and this one is one of my all time favorites. I am not alone in this – it’s an extremely popular church for weddings. Don’t miss the original 5th c. column located in the right hand aisle, the original wood doors and alabaster windows (all dating back to the 5th c).
The Turtle Fountain, near the Ghetto.
A cocktail in the garden bar of the Hotel de Russie.
La Scelta di Goethe (this is virtual, right? A girl can dream!)
Rome truly has something for everyone. From modern art to classical music, from exquisite fine dining to mouth-watering street food, from haute couture boutiques to bohemian artist workshops. Don’t skip this city. If you have been, feel free to mention some of your favorite things to see in do in Rome in the comments below.. Everyone has a different experience. That is the beauty of travel.
More Roman inspiration from the archives: