Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I recently was asked by a friend to write them an itinerary of things to do in Rome. Things that are not listed in the tourism books. So I compiled this list of Tips and My Top Ten, Some of the things are indeed main tourist attraction, such as The Via Condotti, however I was writing with my friend interests in mind so I was required to point out where the high end shopping was.

That being said this list is a bit messy as it was more of a compilation of notes rather then a fully formed article. I have, however, added pictures for your enjoyment, they are all mine, save for the one of Tartufo.

At the bottom of the article I have put a map of Rome which has markers referring to the listed items, so please use that for guidance, and please feel free to share any of your Rome stories in the comment section. 

My Top Ten
1. Tre Scalini- Best gelato in the world. My opinion and the view of Lonely Planet travel guide.    But you MUST get the Tartufo, they invented the dish and don't bother getting it anywhere else.

   If you like chocolate you will probably find yourself getting this dessert a few times a day

2. La Fraschetta - Try the Salami pizza, or any pasta dish. Also the  caprese con pomodori e Mozzarella di bufala (simply bufala mozzarella, tomatoes and (sometimes) fresh basil) be sure to order in season.  

3. Villa Borghese gardens and Galleria Borghese- A beautiful park with some old temples strewn throughout the gardens.
The 19th century "Temple of Aesculapius," in Villa Borghese, was built purely as a landscape feature.
   The museum is amazing and due to limited passes per day very quite (especially for a Rome tourist attraction). 
The Gardens are elevated giving spectacular views of Rome and Vatican City to the west.  
View over Rome from Villa Borghese

4. Vie Del Pie' Di Marmo- Small walk in pizza shop, don't remember the name. Only place I found that served Pepperoni (American style).

5. Santa Maria del Popolo- a set of three churches around Piaza del Popolo. Art work inside from Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio. Also the creepiest church in Rome.
6. Sant'Ignazio- A Jesuit church with what is in my opinion has the most beautiful ceiling in the world (Ascension of Christ).
Ceiling at Sant'Ignazio. This picture doesn't do Justice to the amazing beauty of this work.
   Also the optical Illusion is amazing especially considering it was painted in the 1600's. You will have the church almost to yourself, which is awesome, however it will be somewhat difficult to find as it isn't on any maps.

7. Campo di fiori- Less touristy than Piazza Navona to the north Campo di foiri gets its name from the market there which has a wide variety of flowers.
   Also their is a small restaurant/bar at the eat end of the piazza which has great Sangria and is a nice place to relax and people watch.

8. Spanish Steps and Via Del Condotti- The Spanish Steps will give you a great view of the city from the top, also one way to get to Villa Borghese. Via Del Condotti is the main shopping street in Roma where you will find Gucci, LV, Prada, Dior and the like. (these shops are sometimes very strict on who they permit, so dress like you can afford to be there if you want to get in)

9. Via del Corso- A main route through the heart of Rome. A great walk with a lot of shopping and delis. Also many of the "Must Sees" of Roma are right off this road such as Trevi foutain, Piazza Del Popolo and Piazza Venezia.
Fontana di Trevi
Have fun trying to cross the streets at Piazza Venezia! Past the Piazza and you walk next to the ruins of the Forum and arrive at the Colosseum.

10. Trastevere- This isn't so much a single place as a whole section of the city. Much more laid pack and far less touristy. The food and culture are the best you are going to find in the city center. Their are a few churches over here with some amazing works of art. A day or two is a perfect break from all the madness of the tourist sites.


C. if you are craving Asian food this is where "China Town" is located, not a great neighborhood at night, but during the day perfectly safe and very Asian. (my friend is Asian so I added this as a half joke)

1. Walk everywhere because A. taxis are a waste of time and money B. Rome is littered with architectural and artistic wonders.
2. There are fountains through the city (I don't mean the fancy ones) which have a small stream of water, this water is drinkable so save yourself some money on bottled water.
3. There are thieves and pick pockets, best way to avoid these people is to NEVER give money to beggars, this singles you have money and makes you a target.
4. Don't buy counterfeit things, you can be fined a lot of money if caught at costumes and your stuff will probably fall apart before you even leave Italy.
5. Do Not go down under the Tiber at night, unless their is a festival and lots of people around, this is where druggies and vagrants live.
Sun sets over Rome, St. Peter's Basilica in the distance.
6. Don't be scared of all the things I said above just be aware of your surroundings and don't make yourself a target.
   Rome is a very safe city and you will want to be out at night as the city takes on a whole nother dimension.
7. Eat anywhere you want but try to go down side streets as these are the more authentic establishments usually, however in general if it doesn't look like McDonald's the food will be amazing.
8. Every Church is free and open to the public (most of the time) however, some churches have dress codes, shoulders covered for women is always a must, men should wear pants to avoid any issues as well.
   Go in every church you pass as all contains amazing works of art from Michelangelo, Bernini, Caravaggio and all those other Renaissance names (and all the ninja turtles of course)
9. Italian Restaurants use only in season produce, so while the worst time to travel in terms of volume of tourists is early summer it is also the best time to experience the cuisine.

Click on the map to bring up the full size.
This is a perfect transition article for the site as in the coming weeks the site will be dedicated mostly to my travels. I will still write non-travel related posts, but a majority of posts will be travel oriented.

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