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Things To Do In Rome
Rome, the eternal city, is the capital of Italy. But you already knew this probably. The city is most likely as old as legends say it is and was once home to the invincible Romans that fought and ruled all over Europe. But what is inspiring about the city today is the fact that it has preserved its heritage in buildings and churches and monuments going back more than 2000 years. So for history enthusiasts, this is it. For religious scholars and theologists, the Vatican City is it. For Da Vinci Code and Dan Brown fans, you are in your personal literary heaven. For others, there is much else to do in Rome, so don’t you worry!
Tour the Vatican
The Vatican City is located inside the city of Rome, and is the smallest country of the world. Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons fans, yes, this is where all the adventures of Professor Langdon took place. You must come to tour the Vatican, go around its rich museums with original paintings and hangings, meet the Swiss Guard, see the cathedrals (especially the St Peters Basilica) and if you are lucky, see the Pope. You will also get to see the Sistine Chapel with its stunning frescoes painted by Michelangelo, and revel in the ancient squares and cobbled streets of this seat of Roman Catholic Church.
Make sure you are not scantily dressed, with covered shoulders and no shorts or skimpy skirts. At all times remember that aside from a massive tourist hub, the Vatican is really a place of holy worship.
Admire the Ruins of Roman Forum
Well yes, ruins are a thing to admire when they belong to the Roman Forum. This archeological site has an ancient history. It was once the hub of Rome City and held the government offices and marketplace of the settlement. You can only imagine what the now ruined place looked like more than 2000 years ago, with cobble stone streets and vendors hawking out their wares, people conversing in ancient Roman and leaders going in and out of the public offices. The Roman Forum dates back to 500 BC, and was even developed later by Julius Caesar.
Photoshoot on the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps in Rome make for an iconic place, a trail of 138 steps that connect Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. They lead to the Trinità dei Monti church and the ship shaped fountain by the name of Bernini. You can also visit the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Rome's best under-radar museum. But the most coveted would be to get some Instagram-worthy photos on the steps.
Trastevere or ‘across the Tiber’ is one of Rome’s most beautiful neighbourhoods across the said river. There is a very bohemian atmosphere here, with a chic hip vibe which contrasts to the ancient, awed aura of the other part of the city. Trastevere is home to unique family-owned boutiques, perfume shops, BoHo jewellery sellers, cafes that have no more than three tables out on the cobblestone street and houses that are ochre in colour. This is a completely different facet of Rome and turns wild by the night, as the bars on the streets buzz with music and locals and tourists descend to enjoy by the moon.
Drop a Coin at Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is much more than just a fountain. It is a place of great beauty, a hub of tourism, a meeting place for locals and the most ardent wishing well. People come here from far and wide to throw a coin that grants them their heart’s deepest desire. But a local tradition compels tourists to throw two coins into the Trevi, one for your wish, and another so that you come back to Rome. The marble statue of Roman God Neptune with the tritons is a sight to behold by day as well as night. So you also get a chance to click some amazing photos.
Eat your Weight in Gelato
When in Rome, do as the Romans do when it comes to the luscious Gelato. This specially light Italian ice cream, made not with whole milk but lighter cream and air, is a beautiful desert that is eaten at any time of the day. Trailing a ruin? Pick a gelato cone. Tired? Pick a gelato cone. Post coffee lazy afternoon? Lick your way through a small gelato. Waiting for your lunch? Maybe polish a biggish gelato! You may have a few inches on your waistline by the end of the week but hey! It is definitely worth it.
The best places for authentic gelato without colours or added flavours include San Crispino on the Via della Panatteria and Giolliti. At any other gelataria, ensure that the pista gelato is not green but brownish to confirm that there are no added colours.
Visit the Catacombs of Rome
Once used as Jewish and Christian Cemeteries, these catacombs are an eerie trip at best and haunted at worst. But it never gets to the worst, rest assured. You must visit the Catacombs of Callixtus, over 15 hectares of land with walls that are beautifully presented with Christian beliefs of life through birth, baptism, scenes from Old and New Testament etc. Capuchin Crypt near the Trevi Fountain is a also a good place, best explored with a guide. All these underground burial grounds are hauntingly beautiful and you will remember the echo of your voices from these crypts long after your trip is over.
Pump the Nightlife in Testaccio
If you thought that Romans are all history and no party then you’ve clearly not seen La Dolce Vita. The 1960s romcom is one of the most classic examples of Rome’s fun side, where after sundown, the city takes a new throb of beat and pulses to the rhythm of the young and vibrant of its lot. The Testaccio area of Rome is the hub of its nightlife, transformed from a working neighbourhood. There are numerous bars, clubs, restaurants and all-night cafes, from where lights ad music spill onto the streets. A real Roman night experience, some days night markets are also set up here.