Rome

Things to do in Rome

Even if you just stick with the iconic sights— such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Vatican—you wouldn’t have any problem figuring out things to do in Rome. And there are also plenty of other things to do in Rome underneath the city—seeing the ancient tombs, bones, catacombs and other archeological treasures. An outstanding private collection of the noble Borghese family went public when they lost their fortune in the late 1800’s; today it’s the world’s most perfect small art museum. The works at Borghese Museum & Gallery are immediately impressive and provocative, from ancient Roman mosaics of gory amphitheater scenes to the topless statue of Pauline Bonaparte by Canova. Annibale Gammarelli is a tiny boutique in Old Rome has been an official tailor of papal Cossacks since 1792, but today Roman dandies flock to this Sartoria per Ecclesiastici in search of knee-high socks in cardinal red, bishop purple, or sober black. Rumor has it that a leading fashion designer or two has also been seen in the shop, buying up yards of clerical brocade and silk damask. Cufflinks and gloves are among a selection of ecclesiastic accessories that are popular with fashion-forward types.
As the oldest paper producer in Europe (founded in 1264), Fabriano Boutique not only invented the watermark, but also supplied artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Goya. Today, the company’s chain of boutiques still stocks exquisite handmade stationery and cards, as well as leather-bound notebooks, desk accessories, and art supplies. What to do in Rome with kids? Treat them to plenty of gelatos. Gelateria dei Gracchi may look spare, but its fruit flavors deliciously follow the seasons and, grownups will love their chocolate-and-rum frozen sensation, which uses pure fondant rather than the usual cocoa powder.

One of Rome’s premier destinations for bargain hunting, MAS (Magazzino allo Statuto) is a five-story shop on the north side of Piazza Vittorio.

Gabriella Bolero’s flagship opened in November selling the designer’s signature women’s clothes.

San Crispino gelato—considered by many locals to be the best in Rome—is made and served under exacting conditions.

Carmelite monks will guide you through the 17th-century pharmacy where medicines were once concocted for popes.

Part of a European chain, this blue-walled express spa is great if you need a quick beauty fix.

Pope Innocent VIII began construction of the first modern garden at the Vatican in the 15th century. Two-hour tours are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Make reservations at least one month in advance by sending a fax or e-mail to the Vatican’s Guided Tours Office.

You’ll see fashionable people all over town—punky Japanese tourists to preppy Roman men—carrying these shopping bags.

Roman dandies flock to this Sartoria per Ecclesiastici in search of knee-high socks in cardinal red, bishop purple, or sober black; the fine-knits make them perfect for wearing under Gucci loafers.

This 17th century villa stakes claim in the largest landscaped public park in Rome. Situated just outside Porta San Pancrazio, it was known as Bel Respiro, or “beautiful breath,” for its panoramic views of the city.

Originally built in the fifth century, Santa Maria Maggiore contains one of the best preserved Byzantine interiors in Rome. Along the tall, wide nave, fifth-century mosaics feature some of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary in existence.

A peek in the window reveals light pink walls, soft lighting, and minimal decor because at Josephine de Huertas & Co., it’s all about the clothes, accessories, and shoes, of course. This is where Romans get their fix of designers like Chloé, Missoni, Alberta Ferretti, and Anya Hindmarch.

For a healthy pick-me-up, head to My Juice in the MyChef food court at Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport in Rome. The focus here is on acentrifugato — a blended fresh mixed fruit or vegetable smoothie.