1. Skip-the-line Vatican Tour
This Tour is as good as its name – see the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, Raphael’s Rooms and more without the world-famous snaking long lines that these historic attractions are associated with. Yes, for real – savour the wonderful feeling of walking right past a never-ending queue to a separate door, reserved just for you.
Travel in groups of no more than 20 and be armed with an expert guide to get the full Rome effect, soaking in the historical and religious significance of everything as it is explained to you. How’s that for a VIP Rome experience?
Skip the line into sacrosanct sites like the Sistine Chapel with an expert guide. Photo Credit: John and Melanie (illingworth) Kotsopoulos / Flickr
2. Day trip to Pompeii
You’ve heard of the devastating ancient eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that triggered a mass tragedy in the surrounding historic city of Pompeii, bringing death and destruction to nearly everything and everyone who had lived there 2000 years ago. But have you seen this world-renowned archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage Site for your own eyes?
Take a coach or train out to the ruins of Pompeii from Rome – there, you can observe the ruins of the city (still rather well-preserved thanks to ash coverings from the volcanic eruption) as well as the haunting death casts of the historic residents of Pompeii. Created from plaster poured into hollows left by the ancient dead, these death casts capture the Pompeii people’s last bodily position and form as Mt. Vesuvius raged upon them.
See the Pompeii death casts at the site of Mt. Vesuvius’ deadly eruption itself. Photo Credit: Andy Hay / Flickr
3. Angels and Demons Tour Path
Another must-do in Rome itself – take the Angels and Demons Tour for a personal experience of Dan Brown’s Path of Illumination, the trail that fictitious protagonist Robert Langdon followed in an attempt to catch a serial killer in the thrilling novel and movie of the same name.
Supposedly put together by the ancient secret society, Illuminati, in an attempt to weed out those who were not worthy, the Path of Illumination takes you from St. Maria del Popolo Church to St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’ Angelo and St. Maria della Vittoria Church.
See locations mentioned in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons in the flesh, like Castel Sant’ Angelo. Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis / Flickr
4. The Pantheon
To leave Rome without seeing the Roman Pantheon would be a cardinal sin, so be sure to make time in your itinerary for a stop by this world-famous ancient temple. Thought to have been constructed between 118-125 AD, the Pantheon was a key building of the ancient Roman Empire. It is believed to have served as a temple dedicated to all the pagan Gods, as the Pantheon’s name in Latin translates to ‘every God’.
Be awed by the spectacular size and structure of the Roman Pantheon. Photo Credit: Storm Crypt / Flickr
5. The Colosseum
Another absolute must-see in Rome, the massive Colosseum is the battle arena where ancient gladiators used to fight to the death. Considered the symbol of the eternal city, the Colosseum is an impressive figure that is nearly 200 meters long, 156 meters wide and stands almost 50 meters tall.
Enter the massive and magnificent Colosseum, the site where countless ancient gladiators lost their lives. Photo Credit: Thinkstock
6. The Trevi Fountain
After spending a sufficient amount of time imagining yourself as a gladiator at the Colosseum, head over to the Trevi Fountain, one of the most photographed sites in Rome. The sparkling water of the fountain originates from one of Rome’s oldest aqueducts, the “Acqua Virgine”, and dashes over the statue of Neptune, God of the sea, proudly standing with his chariot drawn by sea horses.
Don’t forget to toss a coin into the fountain before leaving! Legend has it that tossing a coin into the Trevi will one day lead you back to the eternal city.
Rome’s most photographed site, the ethereally gorgeous Trevi Fountain. Photo Credit: Andrew Whiting / Flickr
7. The Roman Forum
Have a look at the spectacular ruins of what used to be the Roman Empire’s central marketplace – or Magnus Forum – the centre of all city activities and the hub of life. Thought to have been standing since 7th century BC, the Roman Forum holds the remains of ancient basilicas, temples, gladiator arenas, government buildings and more.
The spectacular Roman Forum, once the centre of life in the Roman Empire, is now left in ruin. Photo Credit: Benson Kua / Flickr
8. Da Enzo Al 29
Don’t leave Rome without having had a taste of cucina romana, or traditional Roman cuisine. There’s no better place for Eternal City food than at Da Enzo Al 29, a superb Roman trattoria that serves simple, hearty Italian food so good it can take days before one can wrangle a table reservation, so be sure to book early! For Da Enzo, quality is everything – and this is a philosophy you’re sure to be able to taste once your dishes arrive in front of you.
Via dei Vascellari, 29, Roma RM, Italy
_Da Enzo Al 29 is a charming little trattoria that serves simple, time-honoured Roman cuisine. Photo Credit: daryl_mitchell / Flickr_
9. Ciacco & Bacco
Think Italian food is all about pasta and pizza? Think again!
Ciacco & Bacco is a charming little sandwich bar that dishes up mouthwateringly delicious gourmet salads and sandwiches stuffed full of fresh ingredients and high-quality cured meats. It seems like the Italians can do no wrong, even with fare as simple as meats, cheeses and bread – Ciacco & Bacco is the perfect solution for those looking for a lip-smackingly good takeaway lunch.
Via dei Ramni, 28/30, Policlinico, Roma 00185
A preview of things to come. Photo Credit: Hideya HAMANO / Flickr
10. Pizzeria Loffredo
There’s no place better than Pizzeria Loffredo to get your pizza fix – just imagine good ol’ wood-fired thin-crust pizza, affordable and simply served up on a plate. So amazing is the pizza that – though neither pretty nor served with flamboyance – it manages to gambol diners away just on its taste alone and earn a spot in Rome’s Hall of Pizzeria Fame.
Via Vestricio Spurinna, 53, 00175 Roma, Italy
Pizzeria Loffredo’s food offerings may not be pretty, but they sure do taste great. Photo Credit: Pizzeria Loffredo Facebook