Rome Travel Guide
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.
You’ll see fashionable people all over town—punky Japanese tourists to preppy Roman men—carrying these shopping bags.
Once farmacia to the 17th Century Papal court, this pharmacy is still run by Carmelite monks and remains adjacent to Trastavere's Santa Maria della Scala church. The classically designed space is worth a visit for the decor alone: a marble room decorated with murals of medicinal herbs.
It's been said that Janiculum Hill served as the center of the cult of the god Janus. Because of the hill’s advantageous position, the cult’s priests would use it as a lookout point for signs from the gods.
Coffee in Italy (and the culture that surrounds it) is a completely different animal than what you’re used to back home (e.g., Starbucks). When in Rome, stop in for caffè and cappuccino at as many different bars as you can.
Rome's hippest nightclubs are located among the reclaimed industrial buildings in Testaccio. As of late, this sleek dance club is the favorite of the clubbers that mingle around Via Galvani.
Gracchi looks spare—clinical even. But a just-delivered crate of wild strawberries fragrantly reassures you. So does Gracchi’s pistachio gelato, considered Rome’s best. It’s alive with the flavor of fresh-roasted Bronte nuts from the slopes of Mount Etna.
The Mercato di Testaccio is a real deal old-school indoor Roman market where locals come to pick up le spezie (the shopping). The market opens early, so shoppers can come for cappuccino and a pastry before browsing around.
Ferrari-philes will find all manner of merchandise here related to their favorite performance autos. The shop carries everything from logo-emblazoned key chains and T-shirts (starting at $45) to racy leather jackets to silver reproduction pistons from the 360 Modena Spider (about $850).
Overlooking the Tiber River is the Ara Pacis Museum, which houses the eponymous Altar of Peace. The altar was built in 9 B.C. to celebrate Emperor Augustus’s victories in Hispania and Gaul and the subsequent Pax Augusta (Augustan Peace).
Flocks of tourist visiting the Eternal City come to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain in the Campo Marzio neighborhood. This famous fountain was designed by Nicolo Salvi and completed in 1762; it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and is a supreme example of the style.
Built in 1504 and attached to the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Rome’s Centro Storico, Chiostro del Bramante was one of architect Donato Bramante’s first projects in the Eternal City.
This venerable chocolate company, founded in Turin in 1878, prides itself on its natural ingredients and artisanal origins. The shop sells beautifully packaged chocolates in a variety of forms (from bars to individually wrapped tartufi to cubotti—small blocks).