in no particular order, these are 30 things you must see and do when in Rome!
Make sure you go in daylight and at night when it’s all lit up.
2. Roman Forum
Not only does it have a good view of the Colosseum it’s interesting to get an insight into what was life was like in Rome thousands of years ago.
3. Frederick Emmanuel Monument viewpoint
Near the Roman Forum is the Frederick Emmanuel Monument which (in my opinion) has the best view in Rome!
Take the glass elevator (you have to pay) at the back of the building for a great view from the front…
and the Colosseum from the back
4. Piazza Navona
Paintings, foot and just… quintessential Rome.
Very impressive that this building is still standing today!
6. Endless search for the cutest alleyways
My favorite place to explore (get lost) in the alleyways was Campo de’ Fiori
7. Spanish Steps
Attempt to get a picture at the Spanish steps without other tourist photo bombing… good luck!
8. View from the top of the Spanish Steps
Don’t just go to them – make sure you go up them too!
9. Trevi Fountain
No matter when you see it (day or night) it will always be packed with crowds. If you want a photo without other people you’ll need to crop it, or get up super early and go at sunrise. I opted to just crop the photo.
10. Visit the Magnum Shop
Conveniently near the Trevi fountain!
11. Eat Gelato
… Lots of gelato!
Make sure you go inside. Even if you’re not religious the tapestries and the building and painted ceilings are spectacular.
Tip: Do not get gelato anywhere near the Vatican. I made that mistake it was awful like liquid and tasted like food colouring – save your money for decent gelato literally anywhere in Rome except near the Vatican.
13. Castel Sant Angelo
After a short walk from the Vatican you’ll find yourself at Castel Sant Angelo. Worth a visit not only because it’s an old castle / fortress but it also has a great view from the top!
14. Visit an Italian Supermarket
So many cheese and meats displayed so neatly it’ll make you hungry.
15. Turn Phone Maps off and get lost
Or do what I did which was leave maps on… and still get lost
16. Giardino degli Aranci viewpoint
For a different perspective of Rome and a popular spot at sunset.
17. Take the underground
Easy to use and was actually a lot safer than I was expecting (didn’t feel dodgy even at night).
18. Eat Pizza
From cheap pizza in the Trastevere area to more expensive pizza in the touristy areas – you can’t go to Italy and not try proper Italian pizza!
19. Do a day trip
I opted for Hadrian’s Villa. The Villa was rundown and basically empty (not really set up how it would’ve looked back in the day) but the gardens and fountains are impressive.
You can do half day trips to Hadrian’s Villa or combine it with Villa Adriana which I chose to do. I wouldn’t recommend Villa Adriana – I know it’s very old but there really isn’t much left and without a guide walking around telling me what each building was back in it’s time, it’s basically just a bunch of old ruins. There aren’t building that you can go in, basically just remnants of brick walls.
20. Get in a car
I booked a private transfer to and from the airport as it was cheaper than a shuttle and my mum and I had no desire to be lugging suitcases on and off a train (Rome airport is really far from the toursit area). Turned out that being in a car with a crazy Roman driver was quite the experience. Tiny alleyways where you don’t think the car’s going to fit and the driver took the tight corners at high speed with ease, only one hand on the steering wheel and no accident!
21. Admire how the Roman’s park
If there’s a space, someone will park there. I found myself in disbelief numerous times not only over the miniature cars but the tiny spaces they squeezed them into.
22. Stationery shopping
23. Go inside a church
Or a few.. they’re all impressive.
If you want to get away from the hustle, go for a walk along the river after dinner (before it gets dark) or in the morning on the way to Castel San’Angelo. Ponte Sisto to St. Angelo Bridge.
View from castel sant’angelo looking at the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge
25. Villa Borghese Park
Not a must do – it doesn’t have pretty landscaped gardens just grass, but if you want to fill in time and get your steps up it’s a good walk on the way to Terrazza del Pincio
26. Terrazza del Pincio
Great viewpoint (even in the rain) where you can see all the way from the Frederick Emmanuel Monument to the Vatican and Piazza del Popolo below.
27. Walk the main street
All the way from Castel Sant’Angelo to the Frederick Emmanuel Monument is the main drag (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II).
Rome is best explored on foot!
28. Visit a fresh food market
Not necessarily to buy anything, just to look at all the spices and flowers etc.
29. Rome Catacombs
… If you don’t find Catacombs creepy (I do, so I skipped this)
30. Janiculum Terrace (Terrazza del Gianicolo)
Not a must do as it’s kind of out of the way, but if you have time, Janiculum Terrace is another viewpoint over Rome (although it was my least favorite).
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