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.
In a city full of classical architecture, Renzo Piano's über-modern classical music hall, shaped a bit like three computer mouses, has become wildly popular with Romans.
This sustainable retail effort is fueled by designer Ilaria Venturini Fendi of the famed fashion family.
The city of Rome has two teams, Roma and Lazio, that compete in Italy’s series A, and stadium theatrics—the fans’ and the players’—make for some unforgettable real-life drama. During the low tourist season, attending a game is also one of the best ways to absorb local flavor.
This outpost of the popular Roman florist is a perfect place to pick up a bouquet or bonsai plant for your host (or jet-lagged arriving friend). Open daily 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Housed in the restored 16th-century orangery of Villa Borghese, the Museo Carlo Bilotti features a 22-piece collection donated by the eponymous cosmetics magnate and art collector.
Vintage aficionados gravitate to Le Gallinelle, which sells a very broad selection of vintage clothing, including antique kimonos, seventies evening gowns, and fifties and sixties costume jewelry in a turquoise chest of drawers.
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.
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 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.