So you have landed in Rome and you have no idea what to do next or where to start. I get it, arriving in a new city can be overwhelming and foreign, as well as the language, people, food. The list really does go on. It is only natural to feel out of place when you have stepped foot into a city that you never have stepped foot into before.
Don’t worry, here you will find a mini Roman Bucket List to suit all types of travellers.
Who ever said they visited Italy and didn’t have pizza? Absolutely no one, ever. Not eating pizza in Italy would be like not enjoying your favourite pleasures in life, impossible and unnecessary. So please, do yourself a favour and eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner because you’re in the place where pizza is made best.
My favourite pizza joint: Head down to the Trevi Fountain and on the right-hand side up the alley way, you will see a yellow building on your right with green vines growing furiously amongst it. And there, you have the best pizza place in all of Italy.
Visit the Colosseum
In 70AD the Colosseum went under construction by several different architects and finished in the year of 80AD. With trap doors for special effects, over 80 different entry points and where 500,000 people and animals lost their lives due to the battles put on for entertainment, we have what we know today as the Colosseum. Marvel not only at the beautiful structure of the outside, but go deeper and view the stadium from the inside. As you stand on the top story looking over at the ruins, close your eyes and you can slightly hear the roars of the crowd and feel the heat of the energy as the fighters below fight for their lives. Your imagination will empower you as you stand still amongst such a prominent part of Roman history. Entry into the Colosseum stands at 12Euro, however as there is hundreds of people outside convincing you to go inside, you may be able to get it for cheaper.
Sit by the Trevi Fountain with Gelato
Ah, Italy, home to gelato and all things scrumptious. Scattered throughout Rome, is hundreds amongst thousands of gelato joints with countless flavours. And what better place to eat your gelato than by the Trevi Fountain. It is no surprise that the fountain gets super crowded during the day, but each corner of the fountain seems to be forgotten as tourists want their picture right in the centre. head over to one of the sides, sit, eat your gelato and people watch as people try to get a turn taking an iconic instagram photo.
Throw three coins into the Trevi Fountain
The legend goes, that is you throw three coins into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder with your back towards the fountain, you are destined to return to Rome. Each visit to Rome, I never wanted to risk not returning, so I have done exactly this. As much as I am unsure about certain superstitions, this is one I wasn’t going to take my chances on.
Ride the Hop on Hop off
As cliche as this one may be, it can be an enjoyable ride to sit on an open-air bus taking in your surroundings. Not only does the Hop on Hop Off tick off all the major sights that you may want to see, but there are also headphones to learn about the things you are seeing. Bonus!
Go to a nightclub and party like a European
If you have been to Europe, and have been out in the nightlife, you will know that nowhere knows how to party like Europeans. Here, it is considered lame to be at a nightclub before 2am and to not leave any earlier, or later, then 6am. So, what do they do up until 2am? Head over to a few bars, take a nap or even have a late dinner before hitting the club scene. Rome is packed with nightclubs, try your luck out at Shari Vari Playhouse, Room 26 and Lanificio 159.
Marvel at the dome inside the Pantheon
The Pantheon was first built as a temple to worship all gods and is now used as a church, and boy is it worth a visit. If you can, I would urge you to head over to the Pantheon as early as possible, as the line for the Pantheon can be a lengthy wait during peak season. The dome of the Pantheon use to be the largest in the world for 1300 years and is, even today, the largest unsupported dome in the world. This dome is truly worth a visit as you will be taken away by the size and beauty that is found within.
Visit the Vatican
Christian or not, the Vatican is a must see and do in Rome, well technically it’s an entire country in itself. The smallest country in the world. Home to all the reigning popes since the 14th Century, step inside a place where history is still being made and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church lives with so many influences upon the world.
Tip: Buy your tickets beforehand and trust me, it is worth investing in an express pass as lines can be hours long. Perhaps avoid this also by going as early as you can.
Visit the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum sits just a short walk away from the Colosseum and is home to a heap of Ancient Ruins that were once important governmental buildings. Tickets must be purchased for this, and is included in the Colosseum ticket.
People watch in the Piazza Navona
Grab a slice of pizza, a mango gelato for dessert and sit amongst the buzzing and crowded Piazza Navona. Street performers, tourists, locals and all sorts of life come alive here, and what better place to people watch, but make sure to keep an eye on your belongings as the busier the place the more thieves there are.
Have lunch on the Spanish Steps
For some reason, every time my girlfriend and I came close to the Spanish Steps, both of us had a sneezing fit, weird! Enough of that, the Spanish Steps is gorgeous in the summer and spring and even just as beautiful in the winter with the died down crowds. As you can see form the photo above, the crowds in Rome during the summer are truly like no other, but don’t let this detour you, it makes for the busy atmosphere Rome is known famously for.
Window shop… or shop if you dare
Personal comment, I couldn’t afford to shop, and gosh did I wish I did. Rome, especially around the Spanish Steps, has oodles of shops from high end brands to the all famous H&M.
Have a coffee like an Italian
Wait in a long line, order a shot or an espresso and leave. Done. Most of the coffee shops in Italy do not have any seating. People don’t meet at a coffee shop for a chat, instead they head to the best pizza slice place in town.
Be taken away by the art inside the Sistine Chapel
Be one of the 25,000 people who on average visit the Sistine Chapel a day, which is located in the Vatican City. Despite Michelangelo describing working on the art within the Sistine Chapel as miserable, he came out the other end with exquisite pieces or work. Be sure to find a quite spot, sit and admire the detail in colour and attention in subjects. The image above was founded on the internet, as you are not allowed to take photos inside the Chapel.
Go on a walking food tour
What a better way than to eat, drink wine and wonder through the streets of Rome than taking on a walking food tour. Click here find a tour and get your walking boots on for a typical night out in the town, including eating excessive amounts of Italian food.
Home to some of the oldest wine in the world and the world’s largest wine producer, it is not a shocker when you are in Italy that you must try some for yourself. I do not drink wine, but several friends of mine have adored and devoted their nights to bottles and bottles of Italian wine.
Take a day trip to Pompeii
One of the most memorable experiences was my trip to Pompeii, and we did this as a day trip from Rome. Don’t lose an opportunity to experience the city lost in time, as you will truly be taken back the strength of Mt Vesuvius and by how much of the city still stands today.
Read about my experience here.
Visit the Museums
Rome has a selection of museums to visit and to admire history in. So If you are a history freak or simply just love learning about the city you are in, then head over to a museum. Borghese Gallery, Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini and Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo are just a few I’d recommend for you to take a peep at.
And here we are, the final thing on my list and the one thing I do in absolutely every city, get lost. Not literally, but figuratively. There is nothing better than going for a walk to no where in particular, and along the way you may just pass by the Colosseum, or your soon to be favourite pizza shop.