It is impossible to visit The Eternal City and not want to return again and again. There is so much to discover, learn and experience in this amazing city called Rome. We highly recommend exploring the unique and out-of-the-ordinary as well as the world’s most famous must-see attractions in Rome.
Original and Unique Spots
1) La Grande Bellezza Rooftop Restaurant
It is truly one of the best rooftop bars in Rome. Sipping a drink on the terrace makes you feel like you are on a Roman movie set. Set against Sant’Agnese in Agone, the views from the bar are spectacular. This terrace boats a full 360-degree view of Rome. It overlooks Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Palace of Justice and the infamous St. Peter’s dome.
2) Palazzo Patrizi
Owned by a prominent Sienese family since the mid-17th century, the Palazzo Patrizi shows Roman grandeur. It has plenty of glamour: frescoes by Raffaello Vanni, grand salons with period furnishings, brocade-covered walls, and paintings by Vasari, Guercino, and Maratta. The Palazzo Patrizi hosts special dinners and cocktail gatherings, and even cooking classes helmed by the Marchesa Elisabetta Patrizi Montoro.
3) Gianicolo Hill
Climb up the hill that gently rises above the neighbourhood of Trastevere for one of the best views over the city of Rome. Go just before noon to hear the daily canon shot or wait for sunset and gaze out at the panoramic scene spotting terra-cotta roofs, countless church domes and other monuments from the Vatican, the top of the Spanish Steps and the edges of the Colosseum. On clear winter days, you can see as far as the snowcapped mountains outside the city.
4) Quartiere Coppedè
The compact Quartiere Coppedè is one of Rome’s most extraordinary neighbourhoods. Conceived and built by the little-known Florentine architect, Gino Coppedè, between 1913 and 1926, it’s a fairy-tale mix-match of Tuscan turrets, Liberty sculptures, Moorish arches, Gothic gargoyles, frescoed facades and palm-fringed gardens. At its heart, the whimsical Fontana delle Rane is a modern take on the better-known Fontana delle Tartarughe in the Jewish Ghetto.
5) Rose Gardens
Opposite the Circo Massimo lies the Roman Rose Garden, first created in the 1930s and home to over 1000 varieties of roses. It’s an ideal setting for a romantic stroll.
6) Cine Caffe Casina Delle Rose
The Casina delle Rose, once one of the most beautiful places in Villa Borghese, is now the home of the Casa del Cinema, one of the best cinemas in Rome. This state of the art moviedrome is complimented by an equally stylish café-bar. Delicious lunches are served and excellent coffee.
7) Come Il Latte
Come Il Latte boasts some of the best gelato in town. They also offer some great lactose-free flavors such as apple & cinnamon and chestnut. From their cones to whipped vanilla cream toppings and chocolate sauce, there isn’t a single bland moment when eating something prepared here.
8) Gregory’s Jazz Club
Gregory’s Jazz Club is one of the few places in Rome that offers great live jazz almost every night of the week. Locals love this spot as the barmen are knowledgeable, the drinks are fantastic and the music is great. When you enter, you’ll feel as though you’re somewhere in Brooklyn, NY in a secret location where only a few lucky ones have the honour to sit and enjoy some top-quality jazz in a very intimate setting.
9) The Mouth of Truth
Dating back to around the 1st century CE, the Mouth of Truth is a tall stone disc carved into a humanoid face with hollow holes for eyes and its gaping mouth. The original purpose of the large medallion has been theorized as everything from a ceremonial well cover, to a piece of fountain decoration, to a manhole cover. While the origin is up for debate the one unifying legend surrounding the stone carving is that if one were to stick their hand inside the disc’s mouth and tell a lie, the rocky maw would bite the offending handoff. The Mouth of Truth, which now rests outside the doors of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, has been used as a whimsical lie detector in a number of movies.
Renowned Must-See Attractions
Built by Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum was inaugurated in 80 AD. It is easy to see why the Colosseum is one of the most popular monuments in Italy. It could seat a crowd of 50,000, who were allowed free entrance into games and often provided with bread while they took in the entertainment. Inside, the arena floor was made of wood covered in sand (to help soak up the blood that would be shed). Trapdoors allowed for a quick change of scenery, or for the release of wild animals that were sometimes let loose into the ring to fight human combatants. The whole structure was originally covered in travertine and decorated with marble statues.
2) Roman Forum
Located near the Colosseum and to one side of Palatine Hill, the forum was the centre of the Roman empire. Excavation and restoration efforts have revealed many of the most important structures including the Temple of Saturn, the House of the Vestal Virgins, the Temple of Julius Caesar, and the Curia where the Roman Senate once met.
3) Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s
It is impossible to see everything in a single day, and even just seeing the highlights will take your entire afternoon. The most famous stops include the Raphael Rooms, the Pinacoteca, Room of the Maps and (of course) the Sistine Chapel. The collection spans from ancient Roman statues to modern paintings.
The Pantheon’s distinctive domed roof is visible from many of Rome’s best vantage points. The Pantheon is the oldest building in continuous use in the world. The temple was dedicated to the classic Greek gods (the name refers to “all gods”). The Oculus – the hole at the top of the dome – was meant to signify a connection to the gods. The dome itself is a feat of engineering that was unmatched for thousands of years. Today the Pantheon is a Catholic Church, and the doors close when mass is being held. It is also the final resting place of the painter Raphael, as well as two Italian kings.
5) Spanish Steps
The area was once an English neighbourhood, but because the piazza was named for the Spanish embassy to the Holy See which sits in one of the buildings around the square. Today, the area is best known for luxury designer shops and high-end boutiques. Romans and foreigners alike gather and sit on the stairs to people watch.
6) Trevi Fountain
Designed by Nicola Salvi, who won a competition hosted by Pope Clement XII to commission a bold new fountain. The fountain, which is Rome’s largest, sits at the end of an aqueduct. Its name comes from the tre vie – three streets that converge and end in front of the baroque masterpiece. It is traditional to throw a coin over your shoulder and into the fountain – and legend says if you do, you’ll return to Rome again.
7) Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona began life as the Stadio di Domiziano, a 30,000-seat stadium which gives the distinct shape to this popular square. In the 15th century, Piazza Navona became the site of Rome’s central market. Today, the square is best known for artists and street performers, as well as sidewalk cafés.
8) Campo de’ Fiori
Currently, home to a vibrant flower and vegetable market. By night, the area is transformed into a major drinking destination, but the side streets retain much of their original charm. Many of the narrow streets are named for the types of artisans who once had shops there, such as Via dei Chiavari (key makers) and Via dei Cappellari (hat makers).
9) Catacombs of St. Callixtus
The St. Callixtus complex is made up by above ground cemetery areas with annexed hypogea that can be dated to the end of the second century A.D. These were originally independent of one another and were later connected to form one vast network of community catacombs. One of the most ancient and important regions of the catacombs is that of the Popes and of St. Cecilia. Along with one gallery of this region the cubicula called “of the Sacraments” developed (first decades of the third century A.D.), which preserve some of the most ancient paintings in the catacombs. In one crypt of the region, almost all the pontiffs of the third century were buried: Pontain, Anterus, Fabian, Lucius, Stephen, Sixtus II, Dionysius, Felix and Eutychian. Next to the crypt of the Popes, the crypt of St. Cecilia is found to whom a cult was attributed especially in the high middle ages.