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10 things to do and see in Rome

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10 things to do and see in Rome
10 things to do and see in Rome

It is quite difficult to talk about Rome in a few words, and it is hard to believe that this wonderful city was built on a small settlement of shepherds on the Palatine hill and there was a she-wolf that nursed two children as they were her cubs. Perhaps billion of tourist each year look for this mystery, while they are visiting Rome.  The modernity of this city is not so romantic if you think about people, car and things that go back and forth. However, the capital of Italy is a beautiful destination like few cities in the world. In this page we suggest 10 things to do and see during a holiday or a weekend in Rome.

If you are looking for a hotel in Rome, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 2000 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

The Colosseum

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There’s a legend about the Colosseum: one day it will fall down, Rome will fall down with it and with Rome the rest of the world. If this legend is true, let’s hope that this incredible monument stay there for long time! Inaugurated with the name of Flavian Amphitheatre, it was called “Colosseum” in a second time probably because of the colossal statue, known with the name of “God of the Sun”, which was near the amphitheater and looked like Nerone.

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

The Romans had fun watching the gladiators and the wild animals wrestling, or assisting at spectacular simulations of naval battles. This monument was built by the emperor Vespasiano, founder of Flavi dynasty. His son, Tito added two lines of seats completing the work wanted by his father, and to celebrate the end of the works (80 AD)  he organized 100 days of games. Nowadays the Colosseum is still one of the most important monuments of Rome. Around the amphitheater is possible to see the Centurions, people dressed like ancient Roman combatants, who stay there to pose in the tourists photos, and now they are part of the tradition too. Even without knowing anything of architecture or history, everybody is charmed by this monument, for which Roma is known all over the world. And looking at it after the sunset, whit all  spotlights on, it’s beyond words!

Where: Piazza del Colosseo
How to get there: Subway line  B – Colosseo stop
When – Hours: from last Sunday of  October to 15th February from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm; from 16th February to 15th March from 8.30 am to 5 pm; from 16th to last Saturday of  March from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm; from 30th March to 31st August from 8.30 am to 7.15 pm; from 1st to 30th September from 8.30 am to 7 pm; from 1st to last Sunday of October from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm.
Never: 1st January, 1st May, 25th December.
Tickets: The ticket office closes one hour before closing time.
Tickets can also be purchased at the ticket offices of the Palatine in Via di San Gregorio n. 30, or in Piazza Santa Maria Nova 53 (200 meters from the Colosseum) and includes also the entrance to the Palatine and Roman Forum.
Full price: 12,00 €; Reduced: 7,50 euro, for European Union members between 18 and 24 years and for European Union teachers; Free: European Union citizens under 18 and over 65 years.

The Pantheon in Rome

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With its dome and colonnade atrium, the Pantheon is one of the most famous Roman monuments. According to a legend, it’s the place where Romulus, after his death, was taken to heaven by an eagle.  It’s a Temple dedicated to all gods (Pan Theon- all gods), and it was built by Emperor Adrian between 118 and 125 A.D. replacing an earlier temple of Marcus Agrippa consecrated to Mars and Venus.

The Pantheon in Rome
The Pantheon in Rome

In 609, the Roman temple was converted into a Christian basilica with the name of Santa Maria ad Martyres. In 1870 it became shrine of the kings of Italy. Inside you can find  the tombs of Victor Emmanuel II, Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy, as well as that of the great Raffaello Sanzio. This building is characterized, more than anything else, by the largest hemispherical dome of 43.3 m diameter equal to the height from the floor, on top of which there is the largest  opening (9 m.), called “The  oculus (eye)” . From this hole comes the light, but also water falls down when it rain. However, it flows rapidly thanks to both central and lateral holes on the floor that prevent the formation of puddles. So, it’s not true that in the Pantheon doesn’t enter the rain. While it’s true that when it rains, the opening creates a “chimney effect” that is, an upward air current that crush water drops. Thus, even when the rain is pouring outside, the feeling is that inside there is less rain.

Where: Piazza della Rotonda
How to get there: Subway. Barberini stop (A line) . With the bus: n. 30,40,62,64,81,87, 492 (Lago di Torre Argentina stop)
When – Hours: from monday to friday 9.00 am – 7.30 pm. Sunday 9 am to 1.00 pm. In case of Mass or wedding celebrations, the entrance could not be admitted.
Tickets: free entrance

Trevi Fountain in Rome

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If you are in Rome and you want to come back here, don’t hesitate and throw a coin into the famous Trevi fountain to realize your wish. Planned by the architect Nicolò Salvi, this fountain receive the water from the aqueduct “Vergine” (lit. “Virgin”) from August time. Central theme of the fountain is the sea, its style is characterized by the mix of Baroque and Classicism, reaching a perfect harmony.

Trevi Fountain in Rome
Trevi Fountain in Rome

The Trevi fountain has been a movie set , the theatre of manifestations and a stage of great events. One thing has to be clear: only Anita Ekberg in “La dolce vita” can take a bath in this fountain. If you try to do it you’ll have to face the  police ‘s reaction, and we are sure, they won’t be nice. The beauty of this construction leave the visitors breathless for its majesty, and few people notice a particular: on the right of the Trevi fountain there’s a  travertine vase-shaped sculpture, it’s called “asso di coppe” (lit. “Ace of Cups”, the cups are one of the four seeds in a pack of neapolitan cards). The legend tells that Nicolò Salvi positioned it in that place to prevent the vision of the fountain to a barber who tormented him with negative opinions about the work.

Where: Piazza di Trevi
How to get here: Subway line A, stop “Piazza di Spagna” or “Barberini”, then walk a little in direction of Piazza di Trevi.

Piazza Navona in Rome

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It’s one of the most beloved places for Romans and tourists, the ideal place to spend time while sitting at a table in a bar, among Baroque sculptures and architectures.

Piazza Navona is the site of the ancient stadium of Domitian (here- hence its oval shape), who wanted that place to host the athletics competitions (agones). Until the XIX century, in the square were organized recreational and sport shows. In August, the piazza was flooded by closing the drains of the fountains, to give a little coolness to the Romans. The main attraction of the Piazza Navona is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by Gianlrenzo Bernini (1651).

Piazza Navona in Rome
Piazza Navona in Rome

The rivers are the Ganges, the Danube, the Rio de la Plata and the Nile represented by four giants placed on a pyramidal rock from which rises a Roman obelisk. In front of the magnificent fountain stands the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone with a  concave façade, designed by Borromini to emphasize the dome. The square is embellished by two fountains and precisely, the Fontana di Nettuno or Calderari’s and the Fontana del Moro in front of  Palazzo Pamphili, designed by Giacomo della Porta. It is a sight not to be missed, populated by tourists by day and young people by night who come here to spend their evenings, especially during the Christmas season when there are many characteristics stalls and the night between 5 and  6 January  during the Epiphany.

How to get there: Bus 64, 46, 70, 81, 116, 186 e 492.

The Vatican Museums in Rome

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Born from the patronage of the popes who gathered for centuries and commissioned outstanding works, the Vatican Museums are considered among the most beautiful museum complexes in the world (13 museums, one different from another), with one of the finest art collections in the planet.

The largest museum treasures are made from precious works of Greek and Roman antiquity (the Laocoon, the Apoxyomenos, the Apollo of Belvedere), as well as the rich collection of Egyptian art (mummies) and the Etruscan one (Mars of Todi).

The Art Gallery has a small but fine collection of paintings ranging from XII to XIX century, with works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci. The Museums also include some beautifully frescoed halls as the Borgia Apartment, frescoed by Pinturicchio around 1490, the Raffaello Rooms, which are the four rooms used by Pope Julius II as his residence decorated by raffaello.

The Vatican Museums in Rome
The Vatican Museums in Rome

There is also the famous Sistine Chapel (named by its founder, Pope Sixtus IV) made by the extraordinary Michelangelo’s genius. It’s one of the most celebrated treasures in the world, visited each day by  20,000 visitors. The frescoes of the Creation (on vault) and the Last Judgment (on the altar wall), are considered among the largest and most intense painting masterpieces of art history. Could you disagree ?!

Where: Viale Vaticano
How to get there: Subway line A , stop: Ottaviano – S. Pietro; Cipro (for both 10 minutes by feet); Bus 49, 32, 81, 982, 492, 990; Tram 19
When – Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9 to 4 pm . Closing hours 6 pm . Closed Sunday, except for the last of each month (with free admission 9.00 am  to 12.30 pm  Closing 2.00 pm ), unless it coincides with the Holy Easter; 25 and 26 December; 1 and 6 January; February 11th; March 19; Easter Monday; May 1; June 29; 14 and August 15, November 1.
Tickets: Full price: € 16.00; reduced € 8.00; Special schools € 4.00; Free: last Sunday of each month.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome

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With its dome made by Michelangelo and the monumental façade, the St. Peter  Cathedral dominates the spectacular St. Peter’s Square surrounded by tall colonnades, Bernini’s masterpiece.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome
St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome

Heart of the Catholic Church, the Cathedral arises where in 324 Constantine built a shrine in honor of the First Apostle who was crucified and buried over there. In 1506, Pope Julius II commissioned Donato Bramante to design the construction of what would be the largest church in the world (22,000 square meters). Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, were just some of the architects who succeeded in ” St Peter’s Factory” in more than one hundred years to complete the great work. The greatest artists of the Roman and  Baroque Renaissance have left beautiful masterpieces, just think about the wonderful Pietà made by Michelangelo, the Pulpit of St. Peter,  the monument of Urban VIII and the sumptuous canopy of Bernini. It’s a place not to be missed  by pilgrims and visitors from around the world.

How to get there: Subway line A, Ottaviano – San Pietro stop
When – Hours: Cathedral: every day, from 1 October to 31 March: from 7.00 am to 6.30 pm ; from 1 April to 30 September: from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm
Tombs of the Popes: April to September: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm ; October to March: 7:00 am  to 5:00 pm ; Dome: April to September: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; October to March: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Villa and Galleria Borghese in Rome

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The Villa Borghese Park is the  green “heart” of Rome. Designed in 1605 for the hedonistic Cardinal Scipione Borghese (favorite nephew of Pope Paul V), it was modified over the centuries by his successors.  In the early XX century it was purchased by the state and today it’s a real garden of delights .

Villa and Galleria Borghese in Rome
Villa and Galleria Borghese in Rome

The park contains within its 6 km of circumference, neoclassical statues, exotic buildings, an artificial lake, an aviary, numerous fountains, gardens and groves, a riding school, a zoo (the Bioparc), an amphitheater (Piazza di Siena ) and some museums.

The most famous is the Museum and Galleria Borghese placed in the homonymous XVII century villa (known as the Casino Borghese) . It was designed to preserve the magnificent private collection Borghese, initially made by Scipio. The villa is divided into two sections: the collection of sculptures (Museum) on the ground floor, among which you can admire some of Bernini’s masterpieces ( “Rape of Proserpine,” Apollo and Daphne “) and the famous Paolina Borghese statue made  by Canova; and the Art Gallery on the first floor, which includes works by great masters such as Tiziano, Raffaello, Caravaggio, Rubens.

Where: The park has 9 entrances among which:  Porta Pinciana, Trinità dei Monti, Piazza del Popolo and Piazzale Flaminio
How to get there: Villa Borghese (Park): entrance from Piazzale Flaminio metro A, Flaminio stop.
Borghese Museum and Gallery: metro A , Spagna stop (follow the signs for Villa Borghese – Via Veneto); bus n °: 5, 19, 52, 53, 63, 86, 88, 92, 95, 116, 204, 217, 231, 360.490, 491, 495, 630, 910, 926.
When – Hours: Villa Borghese (Park)
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Borghese Gallery and Museum
Tuesday through Sunday, from 8.30 am to 7.30  pm (with access every two hours starting at 8:30 am). Closed: Monday, December 25, January 1. To visit you have to book your ticket. Info and booking tickets: 06. 32810 (Mon-Fri 9:00 am to 6:00 pm , Sat 9:00 am to 1:00 pm )
Ticket: Adults: € 9,00 (+ € 2.00 as reservation fee); Reduced € 4.50 (+ € 2.00 as reservation fee) for EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old and permanent teachers in schools; Free (+ € 2.00 as reservation fee) for EU citizens under the age of 18 and over 65 years.

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps

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You can’t go to Rome and don’t see Piazza di Spagna with its Spanish Steps: 135 steps that seem to climb up to the sky. Wonderful setting for fashion shows and famous stars of many movies, Piazza di Spagna is known and loved all  around the world.

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps
Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps

Many historical figures have stayed here, as Joseph Balsamo, called Cagliostro, famous alchemist and esoteric, who was staying in one of the houses near the square. The legend says that his arrest happened in the square and that his wife’s ghost still walks in this area;  she denounced her husband to the Holy Office, the Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition. Today the atmosphere is more reassuring, with thousands of tourists sitting on the stairs (even if they could not) or around the  Barcaccia “Four Rivers”,  the not beautiful fountain in the center of the square, ideal to cool off in the summer.

Things to eat in Rome

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Roman cuisine is genuine, popular, simple but nourishing, unchanged over the centuries. Part of the tradition are rigatoni with pajata, (beef or calf offal cooked in a very tasty sautée) and Amatriciana bucatini (tomato, bacon and cheese), cheese and pepper, all high calorie dishes par excellence, but it’s  worth making an exception to the diet.

Things to eat in Rome
Things to eat in Rome

The original recipe was born in Amatrice, a town of Lazio where the spaghetti with bacon and cheese, were the typical dish of the shepherds in the central Apennine mountain. Then it spreads throughout Italy. Don’t miss the other great Roman dishes like Carbonara spaghetti which, they say, were made with the food rations of the Allies during the Second World War, or the ones with cheese and pepper. The Capitoline kitchen is not only based on the first courses: in one of the excellent restaurants in the city you can taste typical dishes like Roman lamb, Vaccinara oxtail, fried mixed meat, porchetta of Ariccia with the famous artichoke at the Jewish style, chicory. If you are able to still stay stand, you can close your lunch with a nice cream currant bun!

Where to sleep in Rome

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Pope’s audiences, international events, concerts, schools and millions of tourists make the search for a good hotel  a big challenge, but Rome has an exceptional tourist capacity.

Where to sleep in Rome
Where to sleep in Rome

If you book in advance, you’ll save a lot and you can find a better location, but you’ll always find a place, even during high season. Obviously if you want to stay in the old town centre you’ll pay a higher price or if you want to save your money you have to be flexible to small hotels without breakfast or private toilet. Much more possibilities come from the hotel just outside the centre . The average price of a 3 star hotel for one night starts from 80 €.

If you are looking for a hotel in Rome, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 2000 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com