Things to do in Rome
The perfect vacation in Rome
What do you need to know before visiting the ancient city, and its churches, squares, fountains, monuments, underground catacombs, temples, famous cafes, restaurants, and bars?
What should you travel with? What exactly has to be your budget? How many days should you plan to spend in Rome? Which restaurants to go to and which museums to visit?
And how to book all the guided tours and tickets in advance when planning your trip.
If this is your first time in Rome, this is the perfect itinerary for you. Pick a location somewhere between Campo de' Fiori and Piazza del Popolo, or from Trastevere to the Jewish Ghetto. We highly recommend staying around there, because it is safe and you will find plenty of things to do in the historical center.
Campo Marzio was known for its importance from the time of ancient Rome through the Renaissance and the Grand Tour period, when everyone’s destination was to travel to the ancient city of Rome to visit its ancient ruins. Famous poets such as John Keats, and Shelley, and the young poet Goethe, mentioned that this was the most beautiful city in the world.
John Keats lived by the Spanish Steps in an area that, for a while, was called the British Ghetto, where a lot of aristocrats, including Giacomo Casanova, would meet and hang out there. Even Mozart lived briefly nearby in Piazza Nicosia, where he composed one of his important pieces. Everyone stopped at Rome’s most important coffee bar, called Antico Caffè Greco, right by Via Condotti, which is today known as Rome’s fashion shopping street, home to Gucci, Prada, Versace, and Armani.
The Trevi Fountain is nearby, so it is a must-stop to toss a coin into the fountain. It has become a tradition now for everyone to do that, and the money goes to charity, which, by the way, is about a few thousand euros a day. Getting hungry? You might like to stop for a bite at the exit of the Trevi Fountain, where you will find a well-known restaurant called L’Archetto. You walk under its beautiful arch from the Renaissance, and there it is, the restaurant. It is known for its 100 different types of pasta. I would pick the Amatriciana, which has bacon, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. Walking back towards the Pantheon, you will find Don Nino, an amazing pastry shop that has the best gelato in Rome. My favorite flavor is the pistachio, but try the coffee as well.
Tiramisu, or rather Mr. 100 Tiramisu, is one of the most delicious places in Rome. They have more than 100 different types of tiramisu, with great music inside. There is a lovely Spanish girl that works inside who will prepare the tiramisu right in front of you. You will never forget this place once you try it. Now that you've had food, you’re ready for some sightseeing, and we have a huge list for you to visit for the next couple of days.
First, the Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio di Loyola, is famous for its beautiful ceiling, painted with trompe-l'oeil architecture by Andrea Pozzo. It celebrates the work of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus in the world, presenting the saint welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by allegorical representations of all four continents. The church has a deaconry rank and is dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Built in Baroque style between 1626 and 1650, it originally served as the chapel of the adjacent Roman College, which was moved in 1584 to a new larger building and was renamed the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Second, just a few blocks away are the Pantheon and the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The church is right on Piazza della Minerva, and is one of my favorite churches in Rome. It is the only church in Rome that has Gothic style architecture. Although the facade was later redesigned in the Renaissance style, its interior still retains the beauty of the Gothic period. Even the vault was painted with blue and gilded stars. The three most important things not to be missed are the Carafe Chapel, which contains the 15th-century frescoes by Filippino Lippi; there are scenes of the Annunciation and the Assumption. Then, over the altar is his St. Thomas, and there is also a stunning marble statue by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Christ the Redeemer, finished in 1521.
In third place is the tomb of Saint Catherine of Siena, beneath the high altar. She is buried here, but sorry, her head is missing, since it is not here, but in the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena.
And here is another list for you if you find more time to visit all the other important churches. The church of Santa Maria del Popolo contains two Caravaggio paintings. The church of San Luigi dei Francesi, which houses three Caravaggio paintings, including The Calling of St Matthew, in its Contarelli Chapel. The Church of Saint John in Laterano, that was built in about the same period as Saint Peter’s Basilica, and it used to be the seat of the popes before the Vatican City. And don't forget to see its statues, depicting the 12 apostles.
The church of Scala Santa has the sacred staircase from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem, which was brought by Saint Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine. The church of Saint Clement, where you find four levels of structures from the time of ancient Rome that have been rebuilt on top from the 13th century until the 18th century. On the first underground level, you will find a statue of the god Mithra and the first cursing in Italian: "Fili de le pute, traite!".
In the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, you will find the most amazing statue ever sculpted by Bernini, the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, in the last chapel at the end of the church,
The church of San Pietro in Vincoli, where Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to sculpt 40 statues for his tomb. These were never completed, but there you can admire Michelangelo’s beautiful Moses.