History, Food & Romance in the Eternal City
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | November 8th, 2017
Rome, a city immersed in ruins yet more alive than ever. There are so many reasons to visit this amazing place - the sights, the culture, the food. This magical city is filled with one captivating attraction after the next, and romance can be found around every corner. If you're looking to travel back in time, eat your weight in pasta and gelato, and see some of the most impressive creations in the world, then a trip to Rome is in order. Pack your bags, book the ticket, and don't miss these seven incredible sights.
The Colosseum is the most widely recognized symbol of Rome. Built over 2,000 years ago, this ancient amphitheater was the home of gladiatorial combats, wild animal fights, and lively public shows. Today, thousands of tourists pile into this magnificent arena to wander the circular halls and imagine what it was like to be a Roman warrior or spectator back in the day.
Considered to be the most magical sight in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is believed to grant wishes to those who toss a coin into its mystical waters. As legend has it, if you throw one coin into the fountain, you are ensured a return to Rome. If you throw two coins, you will encounter a new romance. If you throw three coins, you will soon be married. With all the hopefuls in the world, this fountain collects over one million dollars every year. That money is then donated to different charities in Rome. Toss a coin, make your wish, and marvel at this gorgeous masterpiece.
When Michelangelo saw the Pantheon for the first time he said that it looks more like the work of angels, not humans - I couldn't agree with him more. The breathtaking architecture combined with the most exquisite church interior makes the Pantheon one of the most beautiful sights in Rome. Numerous restaurants set up shop around this spectacular church, and I can't think of a better spot to enjoy a lunch than with an up close and personal view of the Pantheon.
The Spanish Steps, also known as Scalina Spagna, is a great place to hang with the locals. Grab a pizza or gelato, take a seat on this exquisite butterfly-shaped staircase, and strike up conversation with locals and tourists alike. During the late evening, the steps become practically empty, making it a fantastic time to explore the serene beauty of this place.
Back in ancient times, the Roman Forum was considered the city center of Rome. Housing some of the most important government buildings, basilicas, and temples, this complex was also the location for important social spectacles. Today, the forum sits in enchanting ruins. Be sure to take a stroll through this unique place, and imagine what it looked like long ago.
One of the liveliest spots in Rome is definitely Piazza Navona. Filled with restaurants, shops, vendors, and street musicians, this popular square is alive with Roman culture. Indulge in homemade dishes, watch a magic show, and admire three of Rome's most magnificent fountains, all while listening to beautiful music and experiencing authentic Rome at its best.
Home of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Inside this tiny metropolis is the Vatican Museums & Gardens and St Peter's Basilica. A trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to all three of these incredible sights. A tour is not required, but I do recommend making a reservation on their website ahead of time. See some of the most stunning architecture, artwork, and gardens, and don't forget to lay your eyes on Michelangelo's ultra-impressive Sistine Chapel.
Best time to visit: My favorite month to visit Rome is October. Fall (September - November) is generally the best time to visit due to comfortable temperatures and low crowds. The summer months (June - August) are HOT! Temperatures can reach as high as 100°F, and the crowds are heavy. Winter (December - February) brings cooler temperatures ranging from 40°F to 60°F, and the crowds are at their lowest. Spring (March- May) is a lovely time to visit Rome. The weather is heating back up and daytime highs sit between 60°F and 70°F. The crowds begin to pile in around mid-May, so the earlier you visit in springtime the better. As far as rain goes, Rome is a relatively dry area. Winter and spring have the most precipitation days, with an average of seven rain days per month.
Where to stay: My three favorite neighborhoods in Rome are Trasvetere (authentic-Rome with cobbled streets and a thriving restaurant scene), Piazza Navona / Pantheon / Campo de'Fiori (best for first-time visitors, as you can walk to most of the main sights), and Piazza di Spagna (high-end hotels and shops can be found here, and the area is still walkable to most of the main sights). A few of my favorite hotels are The Westin Excelsior, Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel, and Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But if you really want to splurge, stay at the Hotel Savoy Roma, Hotel de Russie, or Hotel Hassler Roma.