Italy: The Best Places to Visit in Rome
1. The Colosseum.
Yes, the Colosseum. One of the most famous, well-known, and touristy spots in all of Italy. Why go visit something so typical and by the book? Somewhere that everyone who has been to Rome has seen? Because it’s as awesome as it sounds. A structure that is barely 50 years shy of being two millenniums old, built from the ground up with nothing close to what kind of technology or materials we have now. As far as getting there, the blue line of the metro has a stop at the Colosseum with a few Italy-style fast food places to grab a quick snack too. Many official tour guides suggested buying tickets online beforehand, or paying extra to get in right away with a guided tour. What I did was the exact opposite: to purchase tickets, you enter the main level of the actual structure, the same entrance that people who already have tickets enter. The line to buy tickets was no longer than five minutes long, and then we just walked right in. Maybe it was just a lucky Saturday afternoon, or maybe it’s just that easy and the tour guides only tell you otherwise to make a bigger buck, or euro I suppose. Exploring it on our own and at our own pace was the best way to do it if you ask me, but if guided tours are your thing, look into it.
2. The Tiber River.
Located right in the heart of Rome, the Tiber River is an extremely accessible river to get down to, as there are sets of stairs on both sides up and down the whole river, leading to a popular running/biking path that runs along the river. If the beautiful bridges and view of the river weren’t enough of a draw, the graffiti is another genuine piece of the present Roman culture that you can indulge. Obviously it’s free to walk along the river, and the Tiber is a great place to see even more unique vines and growth on the sides of the tall walls. Instead of taking the main road above, head down the stairs and take the riverside path for a few blocks and you won’t be disappointed.
3. Pimm’s, the restaurant.
Located in Trastevere, just down the way from Piazza Trilussa, is a great stop for anything from breakfast to pizza to happy hour. A very popular midday spot for a cappuccino and “apertivo,” or an appetizer kind of happy hour, students can regularly be found sitting outside to watch the hustle of the beautiful street, or inside the chic atmposhere that the restaurant has to offer. If you’re looking for good gnocchi, Pimm’s has the best, in my opinion. They also have fantastic drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. With some of the friendliest waiters who can always suggest the best drink or dessert, Pimm’s is a perfect place for any meal.
4. Villa Borghese
The garden and park is one of the most beautiful places in all of Rome to get away from the city area. The 148 acres of green does not disappoint if you’re looking for large ponds, endless beds of all kinds of flowers, a place to grab a coffee, sandwich, or dessert, and tons of paths to walk through and places to sit and enjoy. A high view of the city is comparable to the view from Gianicolo Hill (another great outdoor spot to check out), and often times there is live music at the top of the Borghese’s lookout point. There is even a small place of carnival like games and “rides” for the younger ones to enjoy, and both regular bicycles and pedal buggies to rent by the hour at a very reasonable price. Spend a morning or afternoon away from all the cars, peddlers, and the chaos of Rome in Villa Borghese.
5. G Bar
If you’re looking for great deals on drinks any night of the week, the best DJ in town, the best tacos on Tuesday, and young and friendly faces to greet you like family, you can’t miss G Bar. Its secret basement area offers an awesome exclusive spot for you and your friends to enjoy drinks, and its location is spot-on for bar hopping in Trastevere. Their margaritas of all flavors are awesome, and they have some of the best music from a DJ that plays in the top corner of the bar. Although it may look small from the outside, one wall of the bar opens up to offer access to the side street, right next to Almalu, another great bar famous for its Harry Potter shots. Check out G Bar for a fun night, and tell the owner Max that Clare sent you.
6. The Vatican
My final suggestion of places to see is the Vatican. Even if you aren’t religious, or don’t appreciate art, experiencing the Vatican is very worth it if you can maneuver around the few “souvenir sellers.” What is great about the Vatican, aside from the great view outside of the many Bernini statues atop the perimeter of the square, is that it’s another free-entry spot. The only thing you have to worry about is a potentially long line to get in, depending on the time of day and day of week that you go. I went on a Tuesday afternoon and was only in line for about 25 minutes, while peak times like Sunday afternoon can have lines up to four hours. You also need to plan ahead for your attire: females must have their shoulders covered, and no pants or skirts/dresses higher than the knee. Once you’re inside, you have the option of climbing to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, or touring the beautiful church full of ornate decor and grand ceilings, stained-glass and statues, and amazing displays of tributes to past popes. The Vatican has such a rich and wonderful history, and seeing it inside and out will be an experience you won’t regret.
This list of recommendations could go on for pages and pages, as all of my future lists for these series could, but these hot-spots are ones that will fill your time in Rome with great food, beautiful scenery, rich history and art, and wonderful memories. Rome is known as the “Eternal City,” and with this list you can make sure to make your memories of the Eternal City are fond enough to be eternal memories.