While it might seem near impossible to conquer this impressive city in just a few days, we have created a list of 11 things you need to do in Rome, featuring the essentials to complete your Rome bucket list.
Basically, what we’re really trying to say is that Rome is jam-packed with history and flavour, and you’d be crazy not to totally fall in love.
1. Go underground at the Christian Catacombs
Seriously spooky, the Christian Catacombs in Rome are one of the first large-scale burial sites and home to some of the oldest burial underground tunnels in the world. Containing many frescoes and carvings with historic and religious references, the Catacombs are bursting with eerie history. Step below the surface for an alternative way to experience Rome.
2. Stick your hand inside the Mouth of Truth
This one is kind of strange, but stay with us here. Legend has it, The Mouth of Truth was said to bite the hand of those who lied. You can find this handsome marble face standing at the Piazza della Bocca della Verità, and while we don’t personally know anyone that has had their hand bitten off, we highly recommend a stop to brave the marble face – just shoot us a message if the legend fares true.
3. Discover aperitivo
The real question here is why has the world not jumped onboard the Italian ritual of aperitivo? The prelude to an indulgent meal, this is like the Italian version of Happy Hour. How does it work? It’s easy. Simply order a drink, ideally a spritz (prosecco with Aperol or Campari, served with ice and a splash of soda) and off you go, feasting on local food until the sun goes down.
4. Step out of Italy and into the Vatican City
Tick another country off the ‘places to visit before I die’ list with a stop at the Vatican City. How you spend your time here is up to you. Navigate your way through the whirlwind of local guides on hand to escort you through the Vatican, or go solo and explore at your own pace.
5. Eat, eat, eat gelato
Italy is home to some of the best gastronomic traditions in the world, with one of those being gelato – of course. One of life’s greatest pleasures, from the classic flavours to the out-there-crazy taste sensations, Rome is home to the best gelato in the world.
6. Spend all day in the Trastevere neighbourhood
Never, ever pass up an opportunity to visit the Trastevere area, tucked away on the edge of Rome and home to trendy restaurants, a thriving social scene and cobbled-streets. Ditch the crowds and take a break on the west bank of the Tiber River. Here, you will find typical dishes served the ‘right’ way – cooked in the same way for generations. Once you step into this hidden neighbourhood, be sure to clear your afternoon of sightseeing – once you sit down for lunch, the hours just slip away and before you know it, it’s time for another round of aperitivo and dinner.
7. Explore the Piazza Navona
Three fountains. Two churches. Swarms of tourists. But 100% worth it for the cafés that line the square. Touristy? Sure. Worth a visit? Absolutely. When you’re searching for a pizza break, make sure you visit one of the many traditional family-run trattorias tucked away in the side streets edging around the square.
8. Battle like a gladiator at the Colosseum
Rock your best gladiator pose and prepare for a supremely popular (but impressive) tourist trap that is well worth a visit. Top tip: rise and shine to beat the crowds for a dose of Roman history.
9. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
Throw a coin. Make a wish. You know what to do. Just like the Colosseum, pack your day pack in the early hours and see if you can snap the holy grail of all selfies at the Trevi Fountain, sans crowds. After battling the crowds, be sure to grab something to eat and do NOT leave Rome without trying the essential dishes born out of this city, such as the Pasta Carbonara and Bucatini all’ Amatriciana.
10. Gaze at the Pantheon
First of all, the Pantheon is free to enter, instantly winning points for travellers on a budget. And while there may be a few more elbows to brush past through the crowds, when the sun streams through the gigantic hole in the roof, it will make you say ‘ahhhh’. Plus, the added bonus of impressive marble columns and grand architecture will satisfy your eyes.
11. Hang on the Spanish Steps
You must, we repeat must stop by the Spanish steps to complete your journey through Rome. A somewhat commercial side of town, the steps come alive at night and are truly magnetic.