City Orientation Walk II, Rome (Self Guided)

Rome's historic center is packed with so many landmarks and works of art, that it would take days to see it all. This walk highlights some of the most important architectural designs and landmarks built during the Renaissance and the Baroque, which are interspersed with a few timeless structures. The landmarks featured in this walk include the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Fountain of Neptune, and others.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

City Orientation Walk II Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk II
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Author: clare
Spanish Steps

1) Spanish Steps (must see)

The famous Spanish Steps are among the most popular tourist attractions in Rome and a favorite meeting point for many. The steps get their name from being in the vicinity of the original Spanish Embassy, which was located at Piazza di Spagna below. They were completed some 300 years ago, leading up to a beautiful 16th-century church above called Trinità dei Monti. Known as the longest and widest staircase in Europe, it is one of Rome's iconic sights, always filled with crowds of people from all over the world.

Since the 18th century, the unique design and elegance of the Spanish Steps has made it a popular and inspiring place for artists, painters, poets, and later Hollywood movies. The presence of artists at the Steps attracted many beautiful women to the area, that were hoping to be taken as models. This, in turn, attracted rich Romans and quite a few travelers. After a short time, the steps were crowded with people of all kinds of backgrounds. The tradition of the Spanish Steps as a meeting place has lived on ever since.

At the corner on the right as one begins to climb the steps is the house where famed English poet John Keats lived, nowadays changed into a museum full of books and memorabilia of English Romanticism. Another nearby sight is the Babington's tea room, which survived two world wars as well as various economic crises, to become a Roman institution and tourist attraction.

If you like famous spots with history and many photo opportunities, then this is the place for you. In terms of tourist activities, you can enjoy carriages, as well as many shops and bars. Most importantly, at sunset, climbing to the top of the Spanish Steps will give you unbeatable views of Rome.

***Movie "ROMAN HOLIDAY": Joe Meets Ann Again***
Fresh after haircut, Princess Ann sits on the steps, enjoying the view, eating gelato. After taking compliments for her new look, she confesses to Joe Bradley that she had run away from school and takes his proposal to spend the day together before she returns. And here the holiday begins!

Why You Should Visit:
If you like famous spots with history and many photo opportunities, then this is the place for you.
In terms of tourist activities, you can enjoy carriages, as well as many shops and bars.
Most importantly, at sunset, climbing to the top of the Spanish Steps will give you unbeatable views of Rome.

Best time to visit it is in the afternoon and later – also because of the heat.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fontana della Barcaccia

2) Fontana della Barcaccia

At the foot of the Spanish Steps on Piazza di Spagna, you will find the Fontana della Barcaccia, or the “Fountain of the Old Boat” – one of the most remarkable fountains in all of Rome.

It is yet another work by famed sculptor Pietro Bernini who was the Pope's go-to man on many occasions. He also contributed to the Fountain of Neptune in Naples and made statues for many churches throughout Italy. Initially collaborating with his son, Gian Lorenzo, he was later overshadowed by the young man's talent in marble cutting. In fact, this fountain was often attributed to both the elder Bernini and the younger one.

The fountain's design is based upon a real-life event. In the 15th an 16th centuries the River Tiber regularly flooded the area and according to legend, one flood was so devastating that the Piazza di Spagnia was submerged in water for several weeks. When the water receded, a boat was found on the square, and this inspired Bernini in his choice of subject for his fountain. The boat is depicted as half sunk in its basin, water spilling over the bows and trickling out of the side of the prow.

If you can find a bench, it’s a great place to sit in the sun listening to the fountain's gurgle. Because of the area’s low water pressure, the water doesn’t come out in a jet and fortunately, no-one has thought to change this by adding a pump. Famous English poet John Keats lived close by to this fountain and he is said to have heard the sound of the water in his deathbed. He even asked that the words “Here lies one whose name was writ in water” should be inscribed on his tomb.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Piazza Colonna / Column of Marcus Aurelius

3) Piazza Colonna / Column of Marcus Aurelius (must see)

Don’t miss a visit to Piazza Colonna in the historic heart of Rome. It is named for the marble Column of Marcus Aurelius which has stood there since the 2nd century BC. The marble column is quite grand, with massive intricate carvings in spiral relief, and it's no surprise the square was named after it.

It is a victory column, 30 meters high, built in the Doric style after the death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. During the column's restoration, Pope Sixtus V ordered that a statue of St Paul be set on top, either to remove any lingering paganism or to match it to Trajan’s Column (located on the Via dei Fori Imperiali nearby) where the same pope had a statue of St Peter placed on top.

If you have a long lens camera or binoculars, do spend some time viewing the reliefs nearer to the column's top, as they appear to be in much better condition than those nearer to ground level. Among the highlights are the strange and compelling images of a supernatural figure sending a great miraculous storm to save the Roman army during a battle. Aside for the column, there is also a small fountain with two sets of dolphins added in the 19th century, which are nice to look at as well.

The square is framed on three sides by impressive and imposing buildings, put up between the 16th and 19th centuries. One such is the Palazzo Chigi, built in 1562 for a noble family, which is now the official residence of the Italian Prime Minister. Palazzo Wedekind, built in the 17th century sits on the site of where the Temple of Marcus Aurelius once stood. The beautiful columns on the ground floor of this palace were taken from an Etruscan city once conquered by the Romans.

Why You Should Visit:
A fairly quiet place to allow an undisturbed stop for the contemplation of the wonderful continuous bas-relief Column of Marcus Aurelius at the center framed on three sides by attractive, palatial-looking buildings.

If you have a long lens camera or binoculars, do spend some time viewing the reliefs nearer to the Column's top, as they appear to be in much better condition than those nearer to ground level.
The building to the right of the Column as you look at the square from Via del Corso has a cool and shady arcade on the front and, inside, there is a glass-roofed shopping centre called Galleria Alberto Sordi which also has several nice coffee shops, and clean toilets.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

4) Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (must see)

The Church dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, was built in Baroque style in the 17th century, drawing inspiration from the Church of the Gesù in Rome, finished in the late 16th century. The church is best known for the illusional effect of its internal paintings inside the building.

The internal layout is the now very familiar "Latin Cross", and both the main section and the side-chapels are very elaborately decorated. Interestingly, there were insufficient funds to create a dome, so a painter was hired to create the illusion of what should have been a highlight. Therefore, all ceilings were rendered with ingenious perspective techniques to appear to extend far beyond the actual church limits. The effect, known as “tromp l’oeil”, is perfect, and one would never realize that the paintings are actually flat. Upon entry, visitors should stand on the circle marked on the center of the main floor to see all of this as it was meant to be seen. The elaborate main ceiling shows the entry of Ignatius of Loyola to Paradise and is sure to give a stiff neck to anyone gaping at it. To avoid such inconvenience, a large mirror reflecting the view up was positioned on the floor.

Other eye-grabbers include a huge stucco statue of St. Ignatius, as well as colored marbles, extensive gilding, and richly ornamented altars. The church is free to enter and is usually quiet. It also faces one of the nicest piazzas in Rome, also named after Loyola, which alone is worth visiting.

This church faces one of the nicest piazzas in Rome, also named after Loyola, which alone is worth visiting.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 7:30am-7pm; Sun/Holidays: 9am-7pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia

5) Pantheon (must see)

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most famous buildings, and its dome and columns have been inspiring architects for centuries. The original temple dates from 27 BC and was built under the consulate of Marcus Agrippa. It was destroyed by fire and lightning several times in the 1st and 2nd century, but each time rebuilt, eventually acquiring its current round shape. Under Emperor Hadrian, it was dedicated to “pan theos” – or all the gods of Old Rome.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Pantheon remained in the possession of the Byzantine emperors, although they no longer had any real power in Rome. One such emperor donated the temple to Pope Boniface IV in the 7th century. The pope turned the Pantheon into a Christian church and dedicated it to St Mary and all the Martyrs. For that reason, the Pantheon has never been demolished, as most other non-Christian temples in Rome.

From the Renaissance onward, the Pantheon was used as a burial place for prominent Italians, of whom Raphael and Victor Emmanuel II are the best known. The vast interior is incredibly preserved and well-kept, with beautiful art pieces. Perhaps most remarkable is the unsupported concrete dome – the largest such in the world, which looks as good as new and is especially stunning with the sunlight shining in. The drains on the floor are also ingenious to allow for rainwater to be drained off, and it is interesting to note that the floors are original, just like the massive bronze doors weighing over 20 tons each.

You can go in any day and marvel at the Pantheon's interior for no charge, but it is also recommended that you properly take it in from the outside. To sit on the steps of the fountain in La Piazza della Rotonda, eating gelato, watching other tourists, and gazing at the Pantheon's exceptional edifice is a highlight of any Roman holiday.

Why You Should Visit:
Italian baroque meets Roman architectural excellence!
Surely among the world's most amazing free attractions.

Incredible at night (on the outside), especially if you enjoy musicians with talent and engagement... but be aware of pickpockets.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-7:15pm; Sun: 9am-5:45pm; Public Holidays: 9am-12:45pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Maria sopra Minerva

6) Santa Maria sopra Minerva (must see)

Santa Maria sopra Minerva, or Saint Mary above Minerva, is well worth visiting to see Michelangelo’s statue of Christ and the late 15th-century cycle of frescoes housed in one of its chapels. Nevertheless, as the former headquarters of Dominicans in Rome, there is much more to this church. Sitting just behind the Pantheon, it is a real hidden gem packed full of art, funerary sculpture, and paintings.

While many other medieval churches in Rome have been given Baroque makeovers that cover Gothic structures, the Minerva is the only surviving example of an original Gothic church in Rome. There are several magnificent stained glass roundels above the nave, which are richly coloured in reds, greens, blues and gold. They look like fireworks bursting. Above the main door, there is also a magnificent roundel of Mary surrounded by saints. This could be the best stained glass in all of Rome. As for the ceiling, it is painted a deep blue with gold stars, like the night sky.

At the front of the building stands an obelisk on the back of an elephant sculptured by the master – Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Curiously enough, the obelisk is Egyptian and was brought to flank the entrance of the temple of Isis on this site in the 1st century. Apparently it is the smallest of the eleven obelisks in Rome, and fortunately so for the elephant carrying it. Nonetheless, the name of the church is Sopra Minerva, as the former Egyptian temple has been erroneously ascribed to Minerva instead of Isis.

If you have time take the guided tour the Dominicans offer every day for a small free. They will tell you a lot about the treasures you can find in the church and about Dominicans throughout history. They will show you also the cloister behind the church which is beautiful. Don’t miss this tour, if you want to know Rome from a different point of view.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm; Sat: 10am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm; Sun: 8:10am-12:30pm / 3:30pm-7pm
Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
Campo de' Fiori

7) Campo de' Fiori (must see)

Campo de' Fiori, translated literally from Italian, means "field of flowers". The name dates to the Middle Ages when the area was a meadow. At the end of the 15th century the meadow was paved and over time became a square for public executions. Here, in the year 1600, one of the cruelest executions in history occurred when philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt alive for heresy. He was a harsh critic of bigotry and of some important religious theories, such as the Trinity and the geocentric model; he also believed the universe could be infinite, with infinite different worlds. These thoughts were way beyond the tolerance of the Catholic Church and all of his works were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by the Holy Office.

In 1889, a statue of Giordano Bruno was erected in the middle of Campo de’ Fiori, on the exact spot of his death. He stands defiantly facing the Vatican, reinterpreted as a martyr to freedom of thought. The inscription on the base recites: "To Bruno - the century predicted by him - here where the fire burned".

Since about the same time in late 19th century, a daily vegetable and fish market has been held in the square. It is, in fact, a great place to stock on things like produce, cheeses, seasoning and pasta, and you can taste just about anything before you buy. The market is open early and dies down around 1-2pm. In the afternoons, local games of football give way to set-ups for outdoor cafés. By night, Campo de' Fiori is a meeting place for tourists and young people coming from the whole city; a hive of restaurants and entertainment to suit all tastes and pockets.

The market is open early and dies down around 1-2pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museo di Roma

8) Museo di Roma

The Museum of Rome is housed in the Palazzo Braschi, so if you decide to visit, you will get a double treat – that of admiring the exhibits while relishing in the elegance of a large Neoclassical palace. The sculpture of Jupiter, the Thunderer, is positioned at the entrance, to one side of the imposing staircase.

The museum reflects the last several hundred years of Rome, from the Middle Ages to the first half of the 20th century. It gives a good understanding of the changing city through collections that include paintings, engravings, furniture, ceramics, and photos.

There are two main routes to take – one where you learn about Rome's history and the other detailing all kinds of people who lived in Rome and their stories.

Of particular interest is the recent restoration project that has transformed the 3rd floor, making it perhaps the most comprehensive and significant of all the museum's floors. The video story, with bench seating, illustrates the many histories of the palace, such as the years of Mussolini, during which the exterior was in a major way, covered in Fascist banners. Also covered is the post-WWII period, when some 300 of Rome's impoverished citizenry moved into the building for shelter. Additionally, there is an audio guide, offered in both Italian and English, with adequate narration to provide the visitor with information.

The photography exhibition is also important to see, as its focus adds symbolic value to Rome as the place of Christianity "par excellence".

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-7pm; Dec 24, 31: 10am-2pm
Ticket office closes one hour earlier
Piazza Navona

9) Piazza Navona (must see)

Piazza Navona has been one of Rome’s liveliest areas for nearly 2000 years. In Rome there are lots of piazzas but Navona is certainly among the more prominent ones. The architecture is great, the sculptures are amazing, the sellers are selling, there are places to eat and drink, and there are lots of people enjoying themselves.

The piazza was first constructed in 80 AD, around the same time as the Colosseum. It once used to host chariot races but its current form took shape in the 17th century when Pope Innocent X commissioned most of the building projects. All around the piazza now stand perfect examples of Baroque architecture. Among the buildings of note are the Palazzo Braschi which houses the Museum of Rome, the Church of Saint Agnes with its massive dome, the Palazzo de Cupis where rooms can be booked, and the Palazzo Pamphili. There also are not one or two but three stunning fountains – a Moor wrestling with a dolphin on one side, the Fountain of Neptune gracing the other side, and in the center the Fountain of Four Rivers sculpted by Bernini – a truly unique work of art with a large obelisk on top.

The place has a cool, relaxing vibe which lends the perfect opportunity to take plenty of pictures. At night, it is very scenic and oftentimes the central fountain is lit up by a special light show. Occasionally there are good quality musicians and impersonators performing throughout. There are many benches to sit and you also get a chance to eat and glance at the wonders while enjoying an Italian meal and a glass of wine. If looking for more intimate and more economic meals or refreshments, you can always walk off the piazza onto one of the side streets. Even if you don't purchase anything, it still worthwhile to hang around there for a while to watch the world go by and soak up the beauty of just being in Rome.

Why You Should Visit:
A very large square (really an oval) that despite being busy and very popular, seems to still have room for everyone.
Even if you don't purchase anything, it still worthwhile to hang around there for a while to watch the world go by and soak up the beauty of just being in Rome.

If looking for more intimate and more economic meals/refreshments, you can always walk off the piazza onto one of the side streets.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Fountain of the Four Rivers

10) Fountain of the Four Rivers (must see)

In the famous Piazza Navona you will find the Fountain of the Four Rivers dating back to the 17th century. Rome’s love affair with fountains obviously goes back to antiquity; however, in Baroque Rome, fountains were seen as a reflection of the generosity associated with papal families. For this fountain, of the most politically astute Pontiffs, Innocent X, eventually commissioned one of the most innovative artists of the era – sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the son of Pietro Bernini. The end result is seen as Rome's greatest achievement in the genre, while also being emblematic of the dynamic and dramatic effects sought by high Baroque artists.

The base of the fountain is a basin from the center of which rocks rise to support four river gods and above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted with the papal family emblem of a dove with an olive twig. Collectively, the four gods represent four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Rio de la Plata representing the Americas.

The design of each god figure has symbolic importance. The Ganges carries a long oar, representing the river's navigability. The Nile's head is draped with a loose piece of cloth, meaning that no one at that time knew exactly where the Nile's source was. The Danube touches the Papal coat of arms, since it is the large river closest to Rome. And the Rio de la Plata is sitting on a pile of coins, a symbol of the riches America could offer to Europe.

If you would like to take beautiful pictures of this fountain, don't forget to use different angles and positions to capture its many details. There is plenty of free space around, so take your time.

Why You Should Visit:
If you would like to take beautiful pictures of this fountain, don't forget to use different angles and positions to capture its many details. There is plenty of free space around, so take your time.
The surrounding piazza is full of restaurants/cafes and excellent gelato places can be found.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Altemps

11) Palazzo Altemps (must see)

A single ticket to the National Roman Museum serves for four different sites. One of these is the Palazzo Altemps housing some of the more famous classical sculptures from Renaissance and Baroque-era collectors, as well as newer archaeological finds.

With its many frescoes and original painted wood ceilings, the luxurious Palazzo Altemps is sure to impress. As soon as you peek into the inner courtyard with beautiful sculptures, you will have the pleasure of an elegant sight.

The museum on site offers two floors of exhibits holding not just Roman and Greek antiquities but also Egyptian and even some Medieval pieces. Unlike other galleries, these collections are sparingly and well displayed, instead of being crowded together. There are no specific directions to follow and you can choose your own tour according to what you want to see.

The star feature of the palace is the Lodovisi Art Collection consisting of over 100 sculptures, including the indescribable Ludovisi Throne, a masterpiece of classic Greek relief.

In other rooms, you can see the frescoes and wooden beams from the medieval part of the palace that were revealed during restoration. There is also a fascinating area where you can look down into the well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman building that stood on the site before the palace.

Among other things to see, there is a wonderful fountain made of a mosaic of seashells, an impressive collection of busts of Roman Emperors, a bas-relief from the 2nd century AD, depicting gods and goddesses on Mount Olympia, and even a room dedicated to Moses, holding a fresco of scenes from the prophet's important moments in life.

To add to the interest of the museum, most items have a brief description and explanation as well “before and after” showings of how they were restored. After the hustle and bustle of Rome's main attractions, this place is a welcome escape, and each piece it displays deserves to be contemplated with attention.

Why You Should Visit:
A quiet and relaxing place torn between Renaissance architecture and Ancient sculpture.
After the hustle and bustle of Rome's main attractions, this place is a welcome escape, and each piece it displays deserves to be contemplated with attention.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7:45pm, closed on Mondays
Sight description based on wikipedia
National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo

12) National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo (must see)

On the right bank of the River Tiber stands the imposing Castel Sant’ Angelo, connected to the city by the Sant’ Angelo Bridge. The cylindrical building was erected in 139 AD, commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a family mausoleum. The emperor’s ashes, as well as those of his wife and adopted son, reposed there. On top of the mausoleum were a garden and a golden quadriga (a chariot drawn by four horses side by side). Other emperors ashes were also placed there, the last being those of Emperor Caracalla in 217 AD.

In 401, the mausoleum was converted into a fortress and incorporated into the Aurelian Walls. In 410, Visigoth looters stole the urns and scattered the ashes. According to legend, in 590 an angel appeared on top of the building and miraculously stopped a plague that was decimating the people. The fortress was renamed Castel Sant’ Angelo in honor of this event. In the 14th century, it was once again converted, this time into a castle and a prison. Pope Nicholas III had the castle connected to St Peter’s Basilica by a fortified passageway. Pope Clement VII hid here during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Today it is the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo. The statue on the roof represents the angel from the legend.

Why You Should Visit:
An interesting combination of war times, art, religion, and pure history.
The bridge leading to it has beautiful statues, as well.

Climb up all the way to the top for spectacular panoramic views of Rome and Vatican City.
You may bring water and snacks to the castle, or have a snack/espresso at the cafe upstairs.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-7:30pm
CLOSED: Jan 1st, May 1st, Dec 25th
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Trevi and Colonna Walking Tour

Trevi and Colonna Walking Tour

The Trevi rione (district) of Rome, which is the 2nd rione, is most famous for the Trevi Fountain, as well as for being home to several magnificent public libraries. Colonna is the 3rd rione of Rome and takes its name from the rione's most famous landmark, the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the Piazza Colonna. Colonna is also home to several palazzos, churches and other landmarks.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Sightseeing Walking Tour in EUR

Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) is a suburban area in Rome established in 1942, it was designed to host an exhibition which didn't take place due to World War II. EUR is popular for the period architecture of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The area also contains some very important landmarks of history and culture, including Museo della Civiltà Romana, Pigorini Museo Nazionale...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf. However, the pair argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus ended up killing Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill. Thus, Romulus named the city after himself and declared himself as king.

In a slightly less glorious account, Rome actually began as an Iron Age...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Vatican Walking Tour

Vatican Walking Tour

Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state consisting of an enclave within the city of Rome, it is the smallest recognized independent state in the world. The Vatican is one of the most sacred places in Christendom, it attests to a great history and a formidable spiritual venture. Although only 44 hectares in overall surface, the Vatican features several worthwhile places to see, such as...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's culture and history. Take the following tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

For ice cream lovers and dabblers this guide is a treasure chest of Rome’s best gelato shops. There are gelaterias everywhere. Many visitors to Rome only have a few days to explore the city. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your time and find the gelato locals eat. Often the authentic...
10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

Of all the things Italy is most famous for (cars, music, fashion, movies, etc.), food is, undoubtedly, top of the list. Rome may well not be the whole Italy, but no Italy is whole without Rome... And the Romans, much as all their fellow-Italians, like it "fresco", hence the abundance of...
Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Rome is the Eternal City and, as such, the list of gift options available here is countless. Whether it's something edible, drinkable, wearable or pleasing to the eye that you want - you will find it all here in abundance. However, if time or budget is the factor, perhaps you might want to...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rome for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rome has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Rome's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Rome Tourist Card, OMNIA Card, Best of Rome Sightseeing Pass, or Omnia Vatican and Rome Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Rome and Vatican City's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time. Some of them you don't even have to pick up but can scan straight on your phone at any of the city's major attractions/museums!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Rome hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Corso 281 Luxury Suites, Hotel Cosmopolita, Hotel Piazza Venezia.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rome, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Rome typically costs from around US$20 up to US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Rome and the Vatican City from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the route.

- Cruise along the river Tiber on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view Rome's top attractions from a different angle and be able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the stops along the Tiber riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to include a hop-on hop-off bus tour as well.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts 3 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Rome on a 3-hour bike and food tour to visit the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Eternal City from an informative group leader, plus savor some of the iconic food of the Italian capital.

- Come see all of Roman highlights at a great discount on the Rome Super Saver tour combining two best-selling guided tours for the price of one! Be guaranteed to skip the lines to all the major sights like Colosseum, Roman Forum, and more.

- Take a guided walk to explore Rome's renaissance after the demise of the Roman Empire, learn about the contribution of many popes towards the Eternal City's rise to its present glory. Along with viewing the iconic landmarks, on this tour you will also get a chance to taste Rome's famous gelato (ice-cream).

- Step back in time to the days of the Roman Empire on a 3-hour night tour of Rome to discover the city's top attractions in a different light. Experience Rome's nighttime ambiance amid the twilight and the evening lights adding a romantic touch to the famous sights.

- Explore the artistic trail of Caravaggio in the Italian capital on the Caravaggio walking tour of Rome paying tribute to the great artist's legacy manifested in numerous paintings throughout the city (churches and monuments). Ideal for those on a short visit to Rome and not sure where to start!

- Combine sightseeing with cooking on a 4-hour experience incorporating the “best of Rome” walking tour and the authentic pizza-making class led by a professional Italian pizza chef.

Day Trips

If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Rome, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like the chic island of Capri, ancient Ostia, Siena and San Gimignano, Assisi and Spoleto, Amalfi сoast, or the ancient city of Pompeii. For as little as US$70+ to US$170+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including gorgeous coastal scenery, historic seaport, charming medieval structures, birthplace of St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan religious order, ancient Roman ruins, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Rome, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned bus, boat or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.