When it comes to Italy vacations, few cities can rival Rome for its history, culture, and sheer beauty. With so much to see and do in the Eternal City, it can be hard to know where to start. In this traveler’s guide, we’ll highlight the best things to see and do in Rome, from ancient ruins to world-class art and cuisine.
Explore Ancient Rome
No visit to Rome is complete without exploring the city’s rich history, and the ancient ruins are a great place to start. The Colosseum is perhaps the most iconic attraction, where gladiators once fought to the death in front of crowds of up to 50,000 people. The Roman Forum, once the center of political and social life in the city, is another must-see attraction. Other notable ancient sites include the Pantheon, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Circus Maximus.
Discover Renaissance Art
Rome is also home to some of the world’s most famous Renaissance art. The Vatican Museums house an incredible collection of artwork, including the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The nearby St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, is also a marvel of Renaissance architecture and design. The Borghese Gallery, housed in a beautiful villa in the center of Rome, is another must-visit for art lovers, with works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Bernini.
Experience Italian Cuisine
No visit to Italy is complete without sampling the local cuisine, and Rome has plenty of delicious dishes to try. Pasta dishes such as spaghetti carbonara and cacio e pepe are staples of Roman cuisine, as are pizza al taglio (thin-crust pizza sold by the slice) and suppli (deep-fried rice balls with cheese). Gelato is also a must-try, with many excellent gelaterias scattered throughout the city.
Wander Through Neighborhoods
One of the best ways to experience Rome is simply to wander through its neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Trastevere, on the west bank of the Tiber River, is known for its narrow streets and lively nightlife. The Monti neighborhood, near the Colosseum, is a trendy area filled with vintage shops and trendy bars. The Jewish Ghetto, located near the Roman Forum, is home to some of Rome’s oldest and most historic streets.
Take a Day Trip
While there is certainly plenty to see and do in Rome itself, the city also makes a great base for day trips to nearby attractions. The ruins of Pompeii, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, are located just a short train ride from Rome. The seaside town of Ostia Antica, once a bustling port city, is also a popular day trip destination. And the hilltop town of Orvieto, located in the Umbria region, is a picturesque destination with a stunning cathedral and beautiful views.
Italy vacations are always a good idea, and Rome is a city that truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of this beautiful city, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.