For more than 500 years, Rome ruled the world. For art lovers, history buffs, religious pilgrims and foodies, Rome very much remains the epicenter today. Passionate travelers come to the Eternal City in droves to experience Italy’s famous La Dolce Vita against a stunning historic backdrop. Here are 30 ways to experience the very heart of Rome.
Start each day with a cup of the world’s best coffee. (No Starbucks here!)
Toss three coins into Trevi Fountain first thing in the morning before the crowds come.
Admire the Baroque fountains by Gian Lorenzo Bernini at Piazza Navona.
Select a bouquet of peonies for your room at the Campo de’ Fiori outdoor market between Piazza Navona and the Tiber River.
Look past the graffiti, traffic and cigarette butts to notice flowering baskets, bougainvillea, painted wooden shutters and hidden courtyards.
Gain a sense of accomplishment and save money by taking the metro!
Take a Colosseum Underground Tour for an exclusive look into the city’s gruesome past.
Walk in the footsteps of Julius Caesar at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s most ancient spots.
Visit the Jewish Ghetto west of the Palatino for the famous Bocca della Verita “Mouth of Truth” and amazing fried artichokes.
Plan in advance to attend the free Papal Visit in St. Peter’s Square most Wednesdays at 10 am.
Shop for trinkets and religious relics ahead of time to be blessed by the Pope.
Climb 551 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and see the disciple’s giant key to the kingdom of heaven.
Skip the long lines by booking a private tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
Visit the often-missed Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, one of Rome’s four major churches.
Grab a table at a sidewalk cafe in Trastevere, just south of the Vatican.
Take a walk up to the Garibaldi monument on the Gianicolo, Rome’s second-highest hill with magnificent views.
Peek inside the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of the oldest churches in Rome, with breathtaking mosaics.
Eat gelato every chance you get.
Order wine and pasta at every meal.
Walk off the calories by exploring the city by foot. (Use Google Maps to navigate the labyrinth streets)
Take shelter in the Pantheon during an afternoon shower and watch the rain fall inside through the oculus.
Wait for your train at the Mercado Centrale Roma, an artisan food market at the main Roma Termini station.
Buy a ticket a few weeks in advance for the Borghese Gallery and admire works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens and Raphael.
Escape from the crowds and find peace among the umbrella trees in Borghese Gardens.
Celebrate happy hour—or Aperitivo—with an Aperol Spritz and small bowls of almonds, fresh olives and potato chips at a nearby bar.
Splurge on drinks at the Hotel Eden’s rooftop bar for incredible views of the city.
Sit on the Spanish steps for a while and soak in the colorful scene.
Walk in the footsteps of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn on Via Margutta, Rome’s charming short street.
End a great meal at Babette with their signature lemon cake that’s absolutely heavenly.
Toast to a perfect day with a limoncello as bright as the city.
Gelato at Pantheon: ©istock/Ugur Keskin
Spanish Steps, Pope Francis During the Papal Visit, Campo de Fiori flowers, Roman Forum with umbrella trees, charming streets, Raphael’s “School of Athens” in the Vatican Museums : ©Laura Anders Lee