5 Things You Must Do in Rome
Ahhh Roma…My favorite city in the world!
Rome is a wonderful city that in current day is modern but shares time and space with the layers of rich history and magnificent cultures from centuries past.
There is so much to experience in this great city and picking 5 Must Do’s is extremely difficult.
Getting here is up to you but once you arrive you will not be disappointed. If you only have a few days to spend exploring this great city then you’ll want to be prepared to prioritize some of your activities and make the most of your visit.
Here are my “5 Things You Must Do in Rome” to help you make your Rome experience a memorable one.
#1 The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain
So you’ve just arrived from a long day of travel? Not to worry. Any first day, or night, in Rome must begin with a taxi ride to the most glorious place in the city, Piazza Rotonda, home of the Pantheon. This is a magical place. A spiritual feeling washes over you as you step out from your taxi and look up to this magnificent structure. She’s beautiful, majestic, and welcoming. Standing in the presence of the Pantheon you realize you have arrived.
Enjoy this moment! The beauty, the energy, the experience, it’s like no other in Roma. In fact, every evening I find myself wandering the streets to end up at this place. Me with countless others enjoying this time with a glass of Italian prosecco while musicians play and fill the piazza with beautiful music. People from all over the world gather here day and night along with the locals to feel this place. People have told me they have cried in the presence of this wonderful building and I myself always get wet eyes when I arrive here.
From Piazza Rotonda walk the streets toward your next stop the beautiful Piazza Navona. It’s only a short stroll but take your time as the streets are lined with shops and restaurants and government buildings and there is so much to see.
When you enter the beautiful Piazza Navona you feel you are starring in a movie and in fact many movies have been filmed here. This is the place where Rome shows her sex appeal in a romantic setting that is sure to make every couple feel even more in love before they leave. The piazza is home to three beautiful fountains, street vendors, and countless bars, restaurants, and shops.
Piazza Navona is beauty from every angle. Rome is a busy and loud city but somehow this piazza no matter how crowded is always calming. Take time to stroll laps around the piazza stopping to enjoy the views and a prosecco before we backtrack and walk the narrow streets to the famous Trevi Fountain.
Trevi Fountain, the most impressive and famous fountain in all of Rome. You’ve seen it in travel books and magazines but nothing compares to actually being here in person. Thousands of visitors flock here to see this fantastic work of art.
It is stunning.
The beautiful Trevi Fountain. Give yourself time to see it during the day and at night.
#2 The Hop On, Hop Off City Bus Tour
Rome is a large and busy city. Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk for miles and miles each day. To give your feet a rest and cover a lot of territory a great option to see the sights is via the Hop On, Hop Off, City Bus tours. For a nominal fee of about 25 euros per person you can ride the bus all day and use it as your public transportation and tour guide. It makes it’s way through many areas of Rome and gives you the opportunity to become oriented in the city. I ride these bus tours in every major city I visit and absolutely love them.
#3 The Colosseum and Palatine Hill
Perhaps the most iconic symbol of Rome is the Colosseum or by it’s proper name, The Flavian Amphitheater. This is a definite must see. This is the place of legend. Ancient Rome ruled the known world back when the Colosseum was constructed around 70 AD and any trip to Rome would not be complete without seeing this magnificent structure inside and out.
Outside of the Colosseum you will be approached by many individuals wanting to sell you a walking tour of the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. I have taken the tours on many occasions and for the price, about 25 euros per person, you get to bypass a rather long entrance line and receive not only a guided and narrated tour of the Colosseum but also the Palatine Hill. End to end the tour usually lasts about three hours and is well worth the price. A good tour guide will explain the history of the area as well as keep you entertained with stories of the gladiators and emperors of the times.
High above Rome overlooking the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Circus Maximus is the Palatine Hill. Home to the Roman Emperors of the centuries the Palatine Hill is a great place to visit. The ruins of the Roman palaces, baths, stadium, and other structures are set in a beautiful picturesque setting consisting of beautiful botanicals.
As busy as Rome can seem the Palatine is another great spot to enjoy serene surroundings in the heart of the city. Tour guides treat you to a walk that covers the entire hill depositing you at the entrance to the Roman Forum. Time permitting you will want to enter the forum and experience the historic epicenter of Roman life.
#4 St Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museum
Within Rome is Vatican City, home of the Pope, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum.
No matter your religious preference you must visit this beautiful place. St. Peter’s Basilica is stunning and inspiring. Beautiful architecture and art await you here.
To get this spectacular view of St Peter’s Square you can purchase tickets and climb over 500 stairs to reach the cupola at the top of the Basilica. Although it is a difficult hike up to the top it is worth it to see Rome 360 degrees from this vantage point.
To me the greatest museum in the world (sorry Louvre) is the Vatican Museum. Some of the most beautiful art from around the globe dating back centuries is on display here. Spanning over two miles of beautifully decorated buildings and halls the art is breath taking. The various buildings that make up the museum connect seamlessly and present their art in beautiful settings. Just when you think you have seen it all you arrive in the Sistine Chapel one of the most famous and important buildings of the Catholic religion and home to the beautiful work of Michelangelo.
Give yourself at least three hours to see the museum. Admission runs about 30 euro for adults, and be sure to purchase an audio guide to really enhance your experience.
#5 The Musei Capitolini and Borghese Gallery
The Vatican may be the greatest museum in the world but two lesser known but wonderful museums in Rome are the fabulous Borghese Gallery and Musei Capitoloini. These two museums are true favorites of mine and I highly recommend you make time to see them during your stay in Rome.
The Borghese Gallery is located in the beautiful Borghese Gardens. This small museum is very intimate and you must purchase tickets in advance so make it a point to check the museum hours of operation and schedule your visit. Once admitted you are given about two hours to tour the gallery and you will need every minute to truly enjoy all of the beauty located in this wondrous place.
The Musei Capitolini or Capitol Line Museum is the third museum you must see. Rome is filled with many more museums but the Musei Capitolini is simply amazing. Don’t miss it. Beautiful statues and paintings are displayed in the magnificent halls of this museum and as a special treat visit the cafe on the rooftop of the museum for a cold prosecco and a wonderful view of Rome.
I love the museums of Rome. Each museum has it’s own personality and each contains the best from cultures across the centuries. All of the beautiful art is complimented by the majestic buildings that contain them. You can see pictures of the works in books but seeing them in person truly inspires.
5 Things You Must Do in Rome – #6 Oh Yes, Number 6
Rome is a city with so much to offer and you would need weeks to see it all. I could have made a list of 100 Things You Must Do in Rome but as promised I kept it to just 5.
Well, let me leave you with one more…
It is said that if you toss a coin into the waters of Trevi Fountain that you will return to Rome. Don’t forget to take a moment and partake in this tradition as there is so much more to see and you will certainly need to come back again and again…