Rome is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Italy and one of the world’s most visited cities. Exploring it can be somewhat overwhelming with so many attractions waiting for you. Here we suggest a list of the top things to do in Rome to make your trip planning less stressful and your tour of Rome great.
1. Visit the Colosseum. This vast monument built in AD 72 attracts 20 million tourists every year. During its glory days, the arena seated 50,000 spectators that came to see bloody battles. Keep an eye out for the Colloseum’s modern day tenants – 200 cats. All of them have names and are fed daily by “gattare”, as the women who take care of cats are called.
2. Stroll through the Roman Forum. It has always been one of the most famous places in Rome. In ancient times, religious processions, elections, criminal trials and meetings of great men took place here.
3. Meet the Pope. Every Sunday afternoon the Pope speaks from his window at the St. Peter’s Square. On Wednesday morning, he holds the general audience in the Square or at Pope Paul VI auditorium. The tickets for the papal audience are free and can be picked up from the Swiss Guards at the “Bronze Doors” located just after security at St Peter’s Basilica. Definitely one of the best thing in the top things to do in Rome.See the schedule here.
4. Admire the panorama from the Janiculum. The Janiculum hill is not one of the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome but it is the cities second highest. It offers the best view of the city. At noon, you will hear a single shot of a cannon, to mark the exact time. The tradition dates back to the 19th century.
5. Wonder the cobbled streets of Trastevere. Despite the constant stream of locals and tourist that come to the bars and restaurants here, the area retains its original quaint character with laundry hanging from the windows of medieval crumbling buildings.
6. Gorge on pizza al taglio. Rome is full of tiny pizzerie that sell sliced (“al taglio”) delicious pizza. Grab a few slices and sit outside, just as Romans do.
7. Shop on Via del Governo Vecchio. You will find many beautiful antique shops near piazza Navona. On Via del Governo Vecchio there are also small vintage and independent designers’ boutiques that are worth a browse.
8. Listen to cicadas at the Protestant cemetery. Head to the historic quarter of Testaccio for peace and quiet. You will find Shelley and Keats’ graves here as well as many other famous writers, painters, sculptors and scholars. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the Italian capital, with cats sleeping in the shadow and cicadas singing on the trees.
Photo credits: Carla Tavares, Tom Hapgood, Shoebill2/Wikipedia, Einar Einarsson Kvaran