Nothing can prepare you for the first time you step out onto the streets of Rome. As if walking into a history book, every twist and turn unearths an ancient icon – hardly surprising given the city’s 3000 year old history. A cityscape truly like no other, spectacles such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon fool you into believing, if only for a second, that you’ve stepped back into the Roman age. But oh no, Rome is very much the 21st century city, where priests in Prada sip espressos alongside aspiring fashionistas, and people watching is considered the city’s unofficial pastime. Tempted? You bet you are – these are the 5 things to do in Rome…
CAMPO DE’ FIORI
A significant part of everyday Roman life, the Campo De’ Fiori in the Parione district is Rome’s oldest open air market. Beloved by tourists and locals alike, the market plays dual purpose, transforming in the evening to become a raucous, bustling open-air pub.
One of the Jewels of the Roman crown, the Pantheon is over 2000 year’s old and proudly holds its title as Rome’s best preserved ancient monument. Whilst you may struggle to believe this from the exterior view, as you pass through the towering bronze doors and feel your eyes moving upwards to the dome above you, we’re pretty sure you’ll agree. Considered the ancient Romans’ greatest architectural achievement, the Pantheon dome is the largest unsupported dome in existence at a staggering height of 43.3 metres. An essential to do for any trip to Rome.
SHOP FOR LEATHER
Italy’s famous leather industry dates back to 1200 BC (insane, we know) so if you’re buying your leather goods from this part of the world, you know they’re the real deal. Most of the leather shops will have their workshops attached so you can see the masters in action. Want to know how to spot authentic vs fake? These guys will have all the answers.
THE JANICULUM HILL
Commonly referred to as the 8th Hill of Rome (referring to the 7 hills Ancient Rome was built on), the Janiculum is THE place to go for the best views in all of Rome. Found in the Trastevere neighbourhood of the left bank of the Tiber River, this is the place to go for the money shot; as the river sweeps out in front of you, spot everything from the Pincio gardens on the left to the Colosseum on the right, not forgetting the majesty of Rome city centre in the middle.
Over the river from central Rome and literally translated as ‘beyond the Tiber’, you’ll find the Trastevere district – one of Rome’s prettiest and most vibrant neighbourhoods. Picture perfect, the quaint cobbled streets and colourful palazzi are the quintessential Rome you’ve been dreaming of, and you could spend hours here watching time go by in one of the many trendy restaurants, cafes or pizzerias. For the ultimate people watching spot, head to the Piazza Santa Maria – by day a yummy mummy hangout, by night a student favourite for soaking up that Dolce Vita Roman spirit.