When visiting the eternal city, there are two things you need to do: walk and eat. Sometimes, you do them at the same time. In Rome, there is so much history and culture to discover, a whole separate country to visit (Vatican City), and some of the best food you’ll find in the world. Here are the top tips for visiting Rome from our friend Amanda at Eternal Escapades! Enjoy her local expertise.
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One of the most wonderful things about Rome is that you can still see its history woven into the buildings all over the city. Hit up the Coliseum and Roman Forum to walk the footsteps of Julius Caesar himself. Stroll past the Victor Emmanuel II monument that commemorates the first king of a united Italy. Maybe try to tell a lie to the Mouth of Truth, but beware, legend says if you lie it eats your hand.
One of our top tips for visiting Rome is to visit the Pantheon and pay tribute to a few artistic marvels such as painter Raphael and composer Arcangelo Corelli. Wander the narrow streets to the incredible Trevi Fountain and drop a coin to ensure your return to the Eternal City. Climb the Spanish Steps commissioned by the King of France in 1725, then meander through the Villa Borghese Gardens, a former vineyard turned into one of the largest gardens in Rome.
If your tastes are of a darker nature, visit the Santa Maria della Concezione die Cappuccini church. The interior is decorated with the remains of bones rumored to be from 3,700 Capuchin friars that were burned to death between 1528 and 1870. Or explore the Castello San Angelo, with its tragic history and hidden escape routes from the Vatican. There is no shortage of both cultural and historical places to explore in the beautiful Italian capital of Rome.
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It is impossible to visit Rome without taking time out to go see the Vatican. Even if you’re not Catholic, Vatican City is practically the most iconic stop on your Roman Holiday. It is rumored that if you were to stop for 1 minute to admire every single item in the Vatican Museum, it would take you nearly 2,000 years to get through it all.
Most notable of course is the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling of which is the pinnacle of painter Michelangelo’s career. Take some time to admire the inexplicable work of art that towers over the chapel giving it an unearthly feel. That’s not to underestimate the mind-blowing art that makes up St. Peter’s Basilica.
Given that it is located in the smallest country in the world, a visit to Vatican City is an absolute must for any Roman Holiday. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see the Pope. Tours of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s are recommended because there is so much to see and learn about, it’s better to have a guide.
There’s a reason that Rome is in large part a walking city. It’s because you need to walk off all the calories you ingest from all of the incredible food you’re going to eat. There are of course an abundance of pasta and pizza in Rome, which are national staples that you can’t go wrong with. That being said, Roman cuisine offers more than just your average bowl of spaghetti.
Make sure to try bruschetta. The simplicity of amazing Roma tomatoes and onions soaked in decadent olive oil and white vinegar over a crunchy toasted slice of bread is actually mouthwatering. Grab a suppli, a fried ball filled with creamy rice, meat and tomato sauce with a melted mozzarella center. If you’re a veggie lover, artichoke will be your friend. Fried or marinated, they are finger licking good.
Can’t forget about the sweets. Rome is the center of the gelato universe. Summer, winter, spring or fall, you’ll want to walk around the city with a cone of gelato in hand. Definitely go for "pistacchio" (make that ch=kk sound count!), but all the flavors are amazing. Submerge yourself in a cannoli or maritozzi for breakfast with a hot cappuccino in a tiny pastry shop. Then remember, the rule is walk a lot or get fat quickly.
The truth is, Rome is a traveler’s paradise. It offers so many wonderful things to be explored and experienced. It is a bustling and cultural city with its own unique way of life. Just remember, always Illy, never Starbucks!
Photo Credit: Flickr, Eternal Escapades