Rome is one of those cities that you could come back to several times and still not have enough time to see everything. It’s a city that’s filled with ancient history, incredible culture, and amazing food. It’s home to over 250 fountains and 900 churches. It’s the birthplace of many modern inventions such as highways and malls (both were built by the Romans) and, of course, contains many unique landmarks such as Vatican City and the Coliseum (formerly and otherwise known as “The Colosseum”), With all of this being said, it is no wonder that Rome is a traveler hotspot that captures the hearts and minds of almost all who are lucky enough to visit. We’ve gone ahead and done the hard work of figuring out where to go for you. During your next visit to Italy’s capital, check out these 5 places:
1. Mouth Of Truth
The Mouth Of Truth (Bocca della Verita in Italian) is one of those places you visit that you can’t forget. Legend has it that the ancient carving of a face and open mouth is able to detect liars. Apparently, it will bite off your hand if you are indeed a liar when you put your hand in the statue’s mouth. No one can confirm whether or not this is true, but the superstition still lingers and no Italian dares test the Mouth Of Truth. Now, the origin of the story is up for debate, but we do know that the carving was created around the 1st Century AD. The Mouth Of Truth is roped off today and can be found at the Santa Maria In Cosmedin church.
2. Spanish Steps
People milling about the Spanish Steps and enjoying a beautiful, sunny day is one of Rome’s most recognizable images. Originally built in the 18th Century, the Spanish Steps used to be a popular place to hangout for artists, poets, and the elite. Soon, the steps attracted people from all over the world and today it is a popular place to meet friends and family. At the end of the stairs is a beautiful fountain called, “The Fountain Of The Old Boat”. It is named after a folklore
story that says a boat was carried to the spot where the fountain is today to help Romans escape a massive flood in the 16th century. It helped many people escape, but the ship eventually sunk. The Spanish Steps is one of the most beautiful areas in the whole city. It’s a great place to people watch and soak in all of the energy that Rome has.
3. Piazza Del Popolo
Piazza Del Popolo, “People’s Square” in English, used to be a traveler’s first view of the city. It lies just inside the former old city’s northern gate and right along a route that was once heavily used for commerce. The size of the square is absolutely breathtaking and is one of the best spots in Rome to take in a sunset. On a nice day, you can see what looks like the whole city gather together in the square to watch the sunset. In my opinion, it has the some of the best fountains in Rome. It has three in total: one that depicts an Egyptian Lion, the other Neptune, and the last one is made to resemble the goddess of Rome. If you want to see a more relaxed side of Rome and one of the best sunsets you’ll ever witness, Piazza Del Popolo is a can’t miss.
Across the Tiber River from all of Rome’s history, lies one of the cities trendiest, most action-packed neighborhoods. Trastevere, a former working-class neighborhood, has turned into a great spot to eat, drink, and explore. There’s so much to do in Trastevere that it’s worth spending a whole day or two in the area. Start your day like the proper Italian you now are and grab an espresso before wandering around Piazza di Santa Maria and its surrounding charming cobblestone streets. It’s easy to get lost and spend hours in these side streets, but I don’t think anyone would mind. When you eventually find your way back to Piazza di Santa Maria, check out the Basilica di Santa Maria. Inspect the beautiful mosaics that cover the roof of the basilica. It’s difficult to not wonder how long it took them to make. After leaving the basilica, a visit to Piazza San Cosimato is necessary. This is where 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday, you’ll find one of the best farmer’s market in the city. The fruits and vegetables are incredibly delicious and you can’t beat the atmosphere. Speaking of delicious food, you are in Italy and I’m sure you want to know where to get pizza. You can’t go wrong with any pizza restaurant, but Dar Poeta is my hands down favorite. Their pizza is to die for and their Nutella and ricotta cheese calzone is worth the calories. Trastevere is one of those places you visit where you wonder when you can move in.
5. The Coliseum
I bet you were wondering when you would see the Coliseum on this list, but there’s no way you can’t put the Coliseum on best things to see in Rome. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and built in 80 AD, the Coliseum is a stunning engineering wonder that took over 10 years to build. The Coliseum was once the place where gladiators would fight to their death (gladiators were mostly slaves and prisoners of war). These matches were attended by all citizens, both rich and poor and was considered entertainment for the whole family (Times have definitely changed..) When the Roman Empire fell in the 5th Century, the Coliseum became abandoned and was no longer used. The Coliseum was plundered and run over by those that stripped the monument of all of its marble and other precious materials. The Coliseum is currently in the process of getting its first renovation. The price tag for the renovation is $25 million. Not a small sum at all, but the work is necessary to protect the Coliseum from pollution and vibration from the metro running below it. There are many tours of the Coliseum, but a basic ticket will set you back about 15 Euros.
This video offers a fantastic look:
To learn about other attractions in Rome, check out: 7 Secret Treasures Waiting To Be Unearthed In Rome