Rome is a magical city and is best explored by foot so you can soak up the atmosphere at a leisurely pace and experience all the beauty and stunning architecture that make up the Eternal City.
With so much to see it can sometimes be hard to decide where to start on your Roman adventure. Here is a short guide to some of the most popular areas of Rome, to give you an insight into what to expect from each particular zone.
Remember when you are out for a stroll (or as the Roman’s say ‘a passeggiata’), take the opportunity to watch the world go by whilst enjoying an ‘aperitivo’ or a coffee seated at an outside table in one of Rome’s many famous piazza’s.
When in Rome, particularly in the historic center, take a moment to glance up at the buildings or pop into one of over 900 churches in Rome. You will notice some magnificent architectural designs and sculptures in the most unexpected places.
Ancient Rome was founded on seven hills: the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal and Viminal. Neighborhoods around these areas were created with each having their own very distinct identity and feel.
Ancient Rome was founded on seven hills
The historical center, otherwise known in Italian as the ‘Centro Storico’ is the true heart of Rome. With winding alleys and cobbled streets, there is something for everyone. From art to architecture, restaurants, and cafes to museums, Renaissance churches, and extraordinary fountains. Every corner you turn brings a new surprise. Some of the most popular piazza’s to visit include Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Farnese and Piazza Barberini.
If history and archaeology are of special interest to you, then the area representing ancient Rome containing many of Rome’s architectural ruins, must be your first port of call. Legend has it that Rome was founded on April 21st 753BC by Romulus, one of the famous twin brothers (Remus was his twin brother), who according to legend, were raised by a she-wolf. You will notice the she-wolf and twins symbol across the city. The impressive Roman Forum, Colosseum, Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla are all worthy of a visit on any trip to Rome.
Trastevere is located on the other side of the River Tiber, close to the Tiberina island, which is located in the middle of the Tiber. Trastevere is a popular place for both Romans and tourists alike, boasting a variety of pizzeria’s and eateries and is the perfect place to be for an evening. With windy cobbled alleys and a unique feel, this area attracts many artists, celebrities, and ex-pats.
The Jewish Ghetto lies directly across the Tiber from Trastevere and is well-known as one of Europe’s oldest, surviving Jewish communities. This area features an ancient synagogue set up in 1874 as well as Renaissance and Medieval architecture.
A trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to the Vatican City. Made up of 108 acres of land, the Vatican was ratified as an independent state in 1929. The Vatican comprises St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, the Vatican Museums and the immaculate Vatican gardens. Famous for Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and a multitude of magnificent works of Renaissance art, the Vatican is a must-see. Make sure you leave sufficient time to take in all the magnificent works of art, which really are a truly incredible achievement. What a Life tours have a number of experienced tour guides that are experts in the Vatican and offer various tours, check out the details to find the most appropriate tour for your group.
Other areas to check out include Monti, a small, but very ‘cool’ area of the city that has increased in popularity in recent years and is conveniently nestled centrally between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. The church of Santa Maria ai Monti is well worth a visit, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1850, the church features frescoes on the dome by Cristoforo Casolani. This unique area of Rome is host to artisans, vintage shops and some of the most popular eateries in town.
Rome’s Enchanting Neighborhoods
This is just a small insight into some of the areas of Rome to check out. If you would like a local’s view of the best places to visit, get in touch with us and depending on what you would like to see in Rome, try one of the tours. Our experienced and enthusiastic tour guides will take you on an unforgettable tour of this spectacular city.
What a Life Tours have provided extraordinary guided tours of Rome since 2009. They are the number 1 rated Vatican tours agency on Trip Advisor since 2011 and were recently awarded ‘Historical Tour of the Year 2016’ by the prestigious travel journal Luxury Travel Guide for their Colosseum Private tour. Find out more about their magical Rome by Night tours.