Rome remains an enigma. An unbelievable cauldron of history and modernity, the city has been host to events that have not only shaped Italy but also the world.
There is so much to discover and ponder upon that a short trip usually doesn’t suffice. Trying to catch everything may make you feel overwhelmed. So, it’s prudent to have an itinerary – if you are in the process of making one, this travel guide can be of help. I have handpicked must-see destinations, free things to do, and the best restaurants to go to. I also highly recommend checking out Italy visa application center for all the details you need to travel to the country seamlessly.
Tip: The best time to visit Rome is from late September to Mid November
Never travel to Italy in August, as major establishments are closed due to ferragosto
I. Rome Tourist Attractions
Undoubtedly, one of the most visited monuments in Italy. You are likely to express a swarm of tourists thronging to this place where gladiators once fought for their lives.
It is believed that the Colosseum dates all the way back to 72 A.D. During that time, the place could accommodate over 65,000 people! There are over 80 entrances to this behemoth building, so you can imagine what a towering presence it has.
Tip: The Colosseum is open every day, except January 1st and December 25th.
Tickets to the monument can be bought at the counter (not advisable), and also through online (guided tours).
Due to security concerns, tourists are expected to report to the ticket desk half an hour prior to the reserved time.
2. Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Just next to the Colosseum are the stimulating sites, known as Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. One ticket gets you entry to both of these, and you can walk freely between the two.
The Roman Forum was the epicenter of social and political activity in the BC era. The place went through transformation under different kings, so it is highly recommended that you take the help of a guide to fully understand its evolution and eventual ruin.
Palatine Hill, once the home of emperors and temples, is now a key tourist attraction in Rome (although it gets overshadowed by the Colosseum next-door). The place offers great views and the perfect setting for spending some time under the shade of trees.
Tip: As the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill can be visited on the same ticket, it’s advisable to start off with Palatine Hill. The queues are way shorter here.
3. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museum
If you are visiting Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums are must-visit places. There is so much history, tradition, and spirituality associated to these places that it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sights.
St. Peter’s Basilica is, in more ways than one, central to the spirit of Rome. It dominates the city’s skyline and is spiritually important to Catholics all over the world. Key attractions at St. Peter’s Basilica include St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Baldachin, and Bronze Statue of St. Peter.
The Vatican Museum is more than just Sistine Chapel. There are over 1400 rooms in this grand palace, and with so much to absorb, it can get overwhelming for the most experienced travelers. Therefore, having a plan helps. I highly recommend keeping these in your must-visit list when visiting the Vatican Museum – Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgment, Raphael Rooms, Apollo Belvedere and the Belvedere Torso, and Porphyry Basin.
Tip: Book tickets online to avoid the long queues. Take a printout of the map of the museum to navigate through this marvelous maze.
In addition to these must-visit tourist attractions, the other points of interest in Rome include Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, Saint Peter’s Square, and Galleria Borghese.
II. Best Restaurants in Rome
Rome’s culinary delights are famous all over! The Romans take their food and wine seriously, and you will find a level of intricate detailing in their offerings. There are a number of restaurants in Rome where you will find mouth-watering pizzas and gelatos, but as they say, all restaurants are equal, but some are more equal than others! Here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Rome.
This beautiful restaurant in the vicinity of Piazza del Popolo is truly one of Rome’s finest. I highly recommend trying the coda alla vaccinara (oxtail). You should also try the 6-course All’Origine menu. The ambience inside is chic, and if you have been through Rome’s majestic ruins throughout the day, it can be a much-needed contrast.
2. Armando al Pantheon
As the name suggests, this restaurant is a favorite among people visiting the soul-stirring Pantheon. I recommend trying the spaghetti alla gricia and spaghetti aglio. The restaurant is always booked, so making a reservation is a necessity.
3. Osteria Bonelli
I am recommending this restaurant for real value-for-money. The dishes and wine are delightful. Served on paper tablecloths, the ambience isn’t chic or urbane, but humble and easy on the pocket. I had a great time at this restaurant considering we were a group of six, and despite eating to our capacity, we were surprised to see how low the bill was.
4. Classic Rustic Roman
The Classic Rustic Roman is the restaurant to go to if you are in the mood to have a dose of the classic Roman cuisine. Specialties of the Roman Renaissance and ancient delicacies are on offer in this beautifully designed restaurant. I recommend trying the potato gnocchi and suppli’ – I will not reveal what these are to keep the surprise quotient intact.
These were some of the best restaurants in Rome. If you are visiting Rome anytime soon, we highly recommend doing your research as it is not a city that you can visit in a day or two. There’s so much to do and experience that a well-prepared itinerary should be created.