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When in Rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of Italy

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

At this point, is there anything we can say about Rome that hasn’t already been said? The famous city has been drawing in tourists, romantics, and artists for centuries, and has been the star of more movies than Marcello Mastroianni himself. It’s a film come to life, an endless stream of ancient ruins, piazzas, and restaurants that never seems to lose its charm. Looking for a list of the best things to do here? Look no further.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Colosseum

You likely already know, have seen, or heard about the Colosseum. It is the largest amphitheater ever built, and, if you have the chance to explore inside, one of the most impressive things you can see in Rome. The arena that once housed gladiator battles and executions is now a maze of tunnels, columns, and dust. The best views can be found on the 5th level, which offers panoramic views of the theater.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Pantheon

Let’s be clear: Rome’s Pantheon is not just another temple. It is the city’s most important landmark, built in 125 AD and boasting some of the most epic pillars on earth. These things make the White House look small, and no trip is complete without a picture of its facade.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

The Spanish Steps

Walking is the perfect way to burn off pasta, so the Spanish Steps make for a perfect afternoon activity. The staircase connecting Piazza di Spagna to the Spanish Embassy is filled with magical sights, from kids splashing in the fountain to emeralds glowing in the embassy.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

The Vatican

The Vatican is home to one of the largest and most important art collections in the world and is set across 54 galleries, courtyards, and hallways. You’ll find countless works of art by artists like Raphael and Michelangelo, whose Sistine Chapel remains the GOAT of frescos. You get goosebumps just looking at Jesus reach out to Adam–the entire history of man at their fingertips.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Felice a Testaccio

Did we mention Rome might have invented cacio e pepe? Whether the stories are true or not, the city’s restaurants all serve their own version of this signature dish. The best place to order one of these plates is at Felice a Testaccio, which prepares the pasta in front of you and has graciously located itself outside of town. You’re going to need a long walk after this one.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Trastevere

Rome is full of quaint neighborhoods but, with all the sightseers, not many will offer you a proper taste of bohemian life. For that, cross the river to Trastevere: home to street markets, local bars, restaurants, and apartments, and more alleys than all the canals in Venice. Get lost in the maze of streets that make up this section of town–then, after you spend a couple of hours walking, stop in for drinks at one of the many outdoor bars.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Rome Opera House

Since its founding by Domenico Costanzi in the late 19th century, the Rome Opera House has remained one of the finest opera houses in Europe. We recommend you stop by for an opera or if you find that too snooty, check out one of the many fashion shows put on by brands like Dior. Is that too snooty for you? Take a tour instead, which will give you access to the neo-classical design.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Piazza Novana

You can’t visit Rome and not spend at least a couple of hours in a piazza. The best place to do so is Piazza Navona, an area surrounded by restaurants, fountains, and ancient statues. Here, you can grab a bite or an Aperol spritz, and take a second to relax while the rest of the world goes by.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Forum Hotel Bar

Grab a drink at the same place actors like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere frequent, on the rooftop of one of Rome’s most prestigious hotels. Located just above the Roman Forum–the ruins next to the Colosseum–this spot is perfect for those looking to take a second to unwind. Many only come here for an Instagram photo, but the best thing you can do here is to spend a couple of hours in the company of silence.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Baths of Carcacalla

This oasis was once a public bathing complex in the third century. Now, it’s open year-round for visitors to wander its many ruins, fields, and arches. Each summer, the Roman opera performs at the baths to sold-out crowds. Those lucky enough to get tickets are treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Tiber River

Does anyone here like sunsets? Thought so. If you’re in Italy, you’ll probably want to see a sunset at some point, which means you should probably head down to the Tiber river at golden hour. There’s a great view from the river itself, though we recommend you stand on the bridge to watch the eternal city swirl into an eternal haze.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Dormus Aurea

Emperor Nero’s pad was once considered the Playboy Mansion of Rome. Built between 64-68 AD, the underground mansion was home to some of the wildest parties in town before it was abandoned completely. The site is under restoration, but visitors can join guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays to see what made this place so unique.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Trevi Fountain

Often referred to as “The Three Street Fountain,” the Trevi Fountain is an excellent example of the city’s regional art. Located at the intersection of three streets, this fountain draws in visitors from all sides of Rome. Its statues are a lineup of masterpieces from Nicola Salvi, but the real reason everyone is here is because of Federico Fellini, who shot the famous scene of Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg lapping in the pool at midnight.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

Stadio Olimpico

Move over, American football. The crowds of 70,000 that cram into Stadio Olimpico make the Superbowl sound like a high school game. Even people who find soccer boring can’t help but be blown away by the noise.

food, when in rome: 15 things you must do in the capital of italy

St. Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica is a church built by some of Rome’s greatest architects. It is the most renowned piece of Renaissance construction, with contributions from Michelangelo, Maderno, and Bramante, and houses one of Rome’s most dramatic squares. On the way to the top, you’ll get a birds-eye view of both the square and the Vatican chapels.

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