Things to do in Rome

Top 5 places you must see in Rome

  1. Ostia Antica. With so many fascinating things to see in Rome, Ostia Antica may not have topped your list, but it would definitely be a shame to miss. One of the best tourist attractions, it is still void of the long lines that you may find at some of the others, so it makes for a more relaxed visit. Ostia Antica contains the ruins of an ancient Roman port town, which was once considered to be the gateway into Rome. You can reach it in under 30 minutes by train, and you’ll be tempted to explore for hours.
  2. The Colosseum. When most people think about visiting Rome, they instantly envision the Colosseum. As it was once the largest and greatest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, you can still almost hear the clash of the gladiators and the roaring of the lions. In short, you can’t leave Rome without a visit or even two to the Colosseum, as it is a true representation of the absolute power of the ancient city. Plus, many just come to see the architecture, which is a feat all to itself.
  3. Roman Forum. If you want to see a representation of what Roman life was like, the Roman Forum is a brilliant way to envision it. You can even take part in a free tour that will explain everything you need to know about the area that was once the very epicenter of life in Rome. It was the focus of politics, religion and day-to-day activities, so expect to see temples, arches and the remnants of political structures.
  4. Pantheon. The Pantheon is not only one of the most ancient structures on the planet, but it is also one of the most well-preserved. It only takes a few minutes to visit this inspiring building, so take it in a few different times. Built in 25 BC by Marcus Agrippa, it was once a temple to the gods.
  5. The Trevi Fountain. While Rome may have many fountains, the Trevi Fountain is the largest and the most popular. Surrounded by many myths and fables, tourists flock to throw in coins and take photographs. This 18th-century monument was designed by Nicola Salvi. Upon his death, Giuseppe Pannini made the finishing touches in 1762.

Top 5 things to do in Rome

  1. Circle the Colosseum, inside and out. While we’ve already mentioned that visiting the Colosseum is a MUST, don’t forget to give the outside of the amphitheatre a once-over. You won’t even need to purchase a ticket to do this. Plus, this is the best way to get some truly postcard-ready pictures of this symbol of Rome. Try at dusk, and in different seasons as well.
  2. Get a tour of Vatican City. Vatican City its own independent city-state, but it is definitely synonymous with a visit to Rome. Even if you have no religious affiliation whatsoever, Vatican City is still something that you’ll want to experience. Of course, don’t think about missing St. Peter’s Basilica, and be sure to ask about the scavenger tour!
  3. Stroll the Trastevere Streets. If you’re looking for a picturesque little getaway, complete with cobblestone streets, then Trastevere is most definitely the right place to visit. It’s mostly pedestrian-only, so this adds to the peaceful vibe. While you may come to eat at a cozy cafe or browse some of the unique shops, you can also take in the lovely architecture. At night, musicians often take to the streets on the weekends, and you can see some performances in the little piazza.
  4. Eat something typically Roman. Rome is known for its bounty of authentic Italian foods, so you should be pretty excited about the culinary tour that you’re about to embark on. Venture into the old Jewish ghetto for a plate of Jewish-style artichokes. Many Romans just love Cacio e Pepe, which is a simple pasta dish, doused with pecorino romano and plenty of black pepper. Also try the Bucatini all’Amatriciana, which is a tomato-based sauce with pork and onions, along with the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, with a tasty sauce of eggs, pancetta and pecorino romano.
  5. Walk through the Campo dei Fiori Markets. Italy is really known for its food markets, and Rome is most definitely no exception. However, easily the most popular is the Campo dei Fiori. Near the Piazza Navona, it has housed a daily morning food market ever since the 1800s. This is where the locals go to stock up their pantries for the week, so if your apartment has a kitchen, you can easily prepare your own meals from the ingredients you can purchase at this bustling market. Cooking at home can also really help out with your student budget, and it can be a fun activity to share with your roommates.

Top 5 events in Rome

  1. Settimana della Cultura.

Where: various venues

When: One week during spring Cultural Heritage Week offers an opportunity for all state-owned museums and monuments to allow visitors for an admission charge.

  1. Natale di Roma.

Where: Campidoglio

When: 21 April Born in 753 BC, Rome isn’t exactly an ordinary city. Therefore, it hosts one big birthday party. With most of the revelry hosted at the Campidoglio, fireworks are just one part of the huge celebration.

  1. Roma Incontra il Mondo.

Where: Villa Ada, via di Ponte Salario

When: Mid-June through early August The Villa Ada park hosts a variety of musical acts on its lakeside stage. With the breeze off the lake, this makes it one of the most-favored summer music festivals. Additionally, you can expect bars and food stalls.

  1. Maratona della Città di Roma.

Where: Via dei Fori Imperiali

When: The 3rd or 4th Sunday in March Attracting some famous participants to the Marathon Village, this is Rome’s annual marathon, beginning and ending at Xia dei Fori Imperiali. There are multiple events, including the Stracittadina Fun Run, which is a 5km jog, along with the long 42km main event. You can sign up online up to one day before the event.

  1. Jazz & Image Festival.

Where: Villa Celimontana

When: Early June through mid-August Held in the beautiful Villa Celimontana park, the stages of this festival feature some acclaimed artists from multiple musical genres. The festival grounds are lit with candles and torches, giving a whimsical feel to the fun. There are also dozens of stands selling a variety of wines and local foods.

Top 5 bars in Rome

  1. 8 Millimetri.

Via del Moro, 8.

8 Millimetri is one of the most budget-conscious hangouts for students near Trastevere. From the outside, it may appear to be rather small, but sometimes the party also spills outside of the bar. But don’t worry — the fun doesn’t stop.

  1. Il Sorpasso.

Via Properzio, 31/33.

Il Sorpasso is an underground cafe and bar that creates a unique setting for a night of drinking with friends. There’s plenty of room, and the open atrium gives it an even more spacious feel. The subterranean vibe is very popular with students, and they even serve up really good cocktails at a fair price.

  1. Stravinskij Bar.

Via del Babuino, 9.

Located in the Hotel de Russie on the Piazza del Popolo, this famous bar deserves at least one visit. Priced at around €20 and up, the cocktails are perfectly crafted and claim to be the city’s best. Even the locals seem to agree.

  1. Co.So..

Via Braccio da Montone, 80.

This contemporary bar is one of the newest in Rome, and it’s getting a lot of attention. Its trendy name is an abbreviation for Cocktail and Social, and it’s high up on the list for one of the best places to party in the city.

  1. Salotto 42.

Piazza di Pietra, 42.

Salotto 42 has actually been ranked as one of the best bars on the planet, and some of this may have to do with the fact that it overlooks the 2nd-century ruins of the Temple of Hadrian. What better way to experience authentic Rome and have a beer or two? It also offers small plates and finger foods, all set to a backdrop of hip music. With indoor or outdoor seating, the crowd is more relaxed in the afternoon, and a bit more upscale at night.

Top 5 restaurants in Rome

  1. Checco er Carettiere.

Via Benedetta, 10.

If you want an authentic experience in Trastevere, Checco er Carettiere offers delicious foods, surrounded by black-and-white pictures of local celebrities who have visited. Started in the 1930s by the Porcelli family in the 1930s, it’s come a long way from a donkey cart selling wine. This only adds to the appeal, making it a real favorite amongst the locals. Be sure to have the large ravioli in broth, or opt for the tender veal dish.

  1. Ba' Ghetto.

Via del Portico d'Ottavia 57.

Set in the old Jewish Ghetto, this fun establishment offers tasty dishes in both indoor and outdoor settings. There’s a kosher kitchen, and the menu boasts a variety of Roman Jewish dishes, plus both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Jewish fare. Don’t miss the spicy fish platter or baccalà with raisins and pine nuts.

  1. Marzapane.

Via Velletri 35.

This cozy restaurant with only 20 seats has a trendy glassed-in kitchen. The best part is that the dishes are affordable, but they taste as if they came from a Michelin-starred restaurant. Be sure to have the Mediterranean nigiri, with a raw red prawn on a filet of San Marzano tomato, and topped off with gelatinized soy. The intimate setting only adds to the appeal here at Marzapane.

  1. Stazione di posta.

Largo Dino Frisullo.

Set in a 19th-century complex, this nearly famous eatery is housed in a crumbling, archeological spot. More and more has been revitalized as time goes on, such as grocery store, exhibit space and a hip bar. Stazione di Posta is the newest arrival, and it has quickly grown in popularity, especially due to its unique location in a row of former cattle stalls. Be sure to indulge in the Ajo e ojo di mare, a wide pasta covered with a shellfish reduction and sprinkles of mussel powder.

  1. Home Food.

When you’re in a new city, you may not have the time or the budget to always eat out at a restaurant, even when you have so many to choose from in Rome. When you still haven’t met friends who will invite you over for a traditional Italian dinner, there’s another alternative. Home Food uses a pool of home cooks throughout the city, and you can book a meal with them at a very minimal cost. After you eat your fill of Roman stew, you’ll love the pears, which are baked with ricotta and chestnut honey.


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