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.
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.
The best women’s shoe stores in Rome are not the big-name boutiques on Via Condotti, but the mid-range, multilabel shops like this tiny store near the Vatican.
The Site: The piazza before St. Peter's is a perfect ellipse; stand on one of the foci (marked red circles between each fountain and the central obelisk) and you'll see the closest set of columns line up perfectly.
This church and convent in the Centro Storico neighborhood of Rome is not for the faint of heart. Although the 17th-century church contains a reputed Caravaggio painting, it’s the crypt that draws visitors, where there are bones and skulls of former friars and Roman poor uniquely arranged.
The Garden of Orange Trees (Giardino degli Aranci) by the Santa Sabina church pays homage to the namesake Spanish tree.
“Drink, eat, talk” is the motto of this ultra-stylish nightspot fashioned out of a former garage near Campo dei Fiori. Stake out one of the black and white leather 1960’s chairs in the front room when the aperitivo action starts around 6 p.m. with finger foods and Prosecco.
Rome's oldest herbalist sells a vast selection of teas stored in wooden drawers beneath its original coffered ceiling.
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.
Carmelite monks will guide you through the 17th-century pharmacy where medicines were once concocted for popes.