Hello, my dear friends! I’ve been going through my Rome pictures and realized that it would be impossible to cover everything in a single post. I also don’t want to reinvent the wheel by give you yet another textbook guide to things to do, rather I want to share with you my very personal observations.
With the boys, we set our goal to be tackling one (at most two) of them per day. It worked out fairly well in the sense that we were able to spend enough time at each place to get a decent feel of it. Overall, Rome is super tourist friendly in the sense that at most of the attractions, one can easily be entertained outside as he/she would be inside. Here are a few places I think tourist experience can be maximized and how:
It is one of the largest open public space in Rome with beautiful architectures (church, shops, and three fountains). It is the perfect place to have a meal, listen to music, have a stroll, or just people watching. The restaurants and shops on the piazza are mainly for tourists, but in the neighborhood west of the piazza, there are plenty of restaurants where the locals hangout until the wee hours. There are great pizza, bars and gelato to be found in this area . Also the streets are the classic Rome narrow via (street) that are very photogenic at any given angle.
How to Maximize:
spend the golden hour (sunset to dusk) here, walk around the neighborhood first, grab dinner and gelato, then just chillax in the piazza. It is a lot more cool temperature wise and much less daytime tourists. If you travel with kids, they will be tempted by these people selling light-up slingshot (or arrow rocket), never buy them at asking price, haggle for a better deal (we got 8 for 5 euro but you can get a dozen for $8 on Amazon if you don’t mind pack a few in the luggage.
Pantheon is rustic but breath-takinly beautiful, both inside and out. Piazza della Rotonda is smaller than Piazza Navona but still fairly large, surrounded by lovely buildings where restaurants, hotels and shops are housed. There is a fountain in the middle of the piazza, the steps of the foutain often get crowded because they are great for sight-seeing, people watching and free of charge.
How to Maximize:
We came to the Pantheon both in the morning and in the evening, I’d say morning visit is better. I’d come here around 10 in the morning after getting one of the best coffees in Rome nearby, or vise versa. While admiring the architecture by oneself is rewarding enough, getting an audio guide of the church is not a bad idea for art and history lovers.
One of my most treasured experience in Rome was when we visited the Pantheon, an ad hoc choir performance happened inside the church, the music was heavenly. Even if you are not a believer or frequent the church, I’d recommend check out the special event schedule to see if you can run into one of them for some unique experience.
The best place to take photo of the Pantheon is by the fontain across, not only you can avoid the big crowds but also, the view is more interesting wit the fountain & step as your foreground.
Pantheon is within 10-min walk from Piazza Navona, and another must-see sight of Rome, Fontana di Trevi, is less than 10 minutes walk further east, the three can make a perfect stop-n-go day. One of the things I didn’t get to do this time around is visiting the Trevi Fontain at night when it is well lit, definitely worth the stop if you will be in the area in the evening.
the only piazza in Rome without a church, this would tell you that Campo De’Fiori is as laid-back as you can imagine. It is all about gastronomy here, in the morning the piazza is home to a large open-air market that sells mostly fresh produce but also a few souvenirs. Later in the afternoon, it is a mellow place for people-watching and music and later at night, it turns into a bustling hang-out joint for the young and restless with all the bars around.
How to Maximize:
We didn’t get to Campo De’Fiori until later in the afternoon so we missed the market scene, but I will be visit Rome again, I’d join a food tour to help navigate all the gastronomy options in the area. After the tour, checking out some of the shops around the piazza would be lovely, too.
My first impression of Rome was the Spanish Steps from the movie Roman Holiday. In reality, it is not as grand as I’d imagined but I think that is probably because the steps were covered by people. That is also what makes it fun, however, the steps are great for resting after shopping, having a snack and drink, and watching people all around. The street leads up to the steps is lined with designer boutiques for the fashion lovers.
How to Maximize:
If luxury shopping and picture-taking is on your agenda, I’d come to the Spanish Steps in the morning. Take the pictures first when there is much less crowded, then do the shopping (most boutiques open at 10am daily). Lunch break at one of the open-air restaurants atop the steps would be nice, too. While I was shopping, my boys had a great time at the McDonald’s near by, it has to be one of the fanciest MacDonalds I’ve seen, it serves gelato by the scoop and real iced latte (just in case you have a craving for it). 😀
General Travel Tips in Rome:
– Get skip-the-line tickets at the Vatican Museum
– A guided tour to the Colosseum and Roman Forum is worth the money
– Cab service is efficient and friendly in Rome, you can go pretty much go to all the main attractions around town for less than 15 euros, that is a better deal for family of four.
- – Tips are not expected in the restaurants but the cab drives do expect about 10%.
– The public drinking fountain is better than any bottled water and it is free!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you find these insights helpful for your own trip planning. See you in my next post!
J Crew printed pajama shirt <similar, on sale>;
Zara embroidered chino pants;
Zara wicker basket bag;
Chanel slingback pumps;