Rome: A City of Religion, Culture and Love
Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world. And for a good reason, you can spend months just trying to explore the official museums, ruins, and parks in the city and you will still be surprised to learn that you missed some hidden gems. Not to mention all the delicious cuisine and luxury shopping opportunities that available all over the city. Most visitors are attracted by the world-renowned sights including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Vatican City’s St. Peters Basilica, and Sistine Chapel. If you’ve already visited these must-see sights, then you should venture on and explore some of Rome’s well-kept sights.
Immediately west of Vatican City is the Prati neighborhood. The area often gets overlooked by visitors to the city even though it is within walking distance to all major attractions in the city. The area has many cafés and restaurants that are predominately visited by locals. If you want a quick, delicious bite on the go or just a casual sit-down place to sip your coffee and soak in the surroundings you should stop at Il Gianfornaio. The restaurant offers smoothies and coffee as well as pastries and flatbread pizzas. If you rather enjoy a sit-down meal just a few blocks away is the Flavio al Velavevodetto al Quiriti which serves Roman cuisine. The rigatoni alla carbonara is a delicious dish and the restaurant is open relatively late. Prati also calls itself home to one of the best gelatarias. The Neve di Latte is an experience that is a must for anyone who enjoys ice cream. The gelato is made from only the best ingredients and the price is surprisingly affordable for a major city.
Castel San Angelo
Walking south from Prati towards the Tiber River you will undoubtedly run into Castel San Angelo. While it is hard to call the castle a hidden gem, the building is underestimated by tourists. The original impression of the castle is a plain medieval fort. However, once you start getting towards the top you find yourself in lavish apartments covered in Renaissance art used by Pope Paul III. But the real piece of art is the view at the top of the building. The circular design allows you to see as far as you can in every direction. Enjoy a small cup of coffee at the café while you admire the view towards St. Peters square.
Next, walk south across the Tiber River to Piazza Navona. This large square perfectly represents the nostalgic image of a traditional Italian square. The square is enclosed by beautiful buildings including the Sant’Agnese in Agone cathedral. There are also numerous cafes and restaurants, and in the middle, there are three spectacular fountains. To the east of the piazza, stop for a quick cup of coffee at the famous Sant’ Eustachio il Caffe. The coffee is very smooth and creamy which provides a unique Italian café experience. Nearby you will find the oldest building in what is one of the oldest cities in Europe.
The Pantheon Temple was a pagan temple that has been converted into a Christian church. The lines are not too long and it’s one of the few free attractions in the area. North of the Pantheon there are small cobblestone streets packed with spectacular restaurants and bars only rivaled by the famous Trastevere neighborhood.
Piazza Del Popolo
East of Prati, over the Ponte Regina Margherita Bridge is Piazza del Popolo. Like many of the other destinations on this list, the piazza was heavily featured in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons book and movie. Specifically, the Piazza del Popolo is unique due to the numerous sphynx statues, the oldest obelisk in the city, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Above the piazza is the Terraza del Pincio which offers great views of the city as well as Borghese Park which is a great escape from the summer heat.
Finally, make time to visit the Trevi Fountain. While Rome is covered with fountains, the Trevi is in a category of its own. The size, sound, and lighting from the fountain create a breathtaking atmosphere. A short walk away is the iconic spot for all of you love birds, the Spanish Steps.
Rome has an abundance of restaurants and attractions to satisfy all of your senses. Rome was not built in a day and it is certain that you will not be able to see everything in a day or a month, but you should consider adding as many of these attractions to your itinerary. You will never forget the experience.
Know Before You Go
- Feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco was banned in 2008.
- Florence is most famously recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance. The symbol of the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is full of history and beauty.
- One of the most famous viewpoints in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs.