Top Ten Things to Do
1. Go to the Colosseum
A trip to Rome simply isn’t complete without a visit to the Colosseum. Whilst some travellers like to go inside, others prefer to admire from the outside. Whichever you choose, do not omit this world famous Amphitheatre from your itinerary. But beware in peak seasons; queues can be extremely long so be sure to book your place online. Advance bookings will allow you to jump the queues.
2. The Roman Forum and Pantheon
The Roman Forum and Pantheon is a must for anyone who is interested in Rome’s beautiful ruins. Get up close to some of the city’s most striking historical remains, which are conveniently located just down the road from the Colosseum.
3. See the Trevi Fountain at Night
Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain and throw a coin into the water. Throwing a coin over your shoulder into this aqueduct-fed Rococo fountain (designed by Nicola Salvi) is believed to bring you good luck in life – and make sure you see the fountain both in the day and at night. When it is lit up in the evening, the atmosphere is electrifying.
4. The Sistine Chapel
One of Rome’s biggest features is the Vatican Museum, and within the museum lives one of the most wonderful creations of art ever made by man. The Sistine Chapel – named after Pope Sixtus IV who restored it between 1477-80 – is famous around the world for its ceiling frescos. Painted by a team of artists including Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Roselli, this is one of the most iconic works of art, one that every art lover must see. For first time visitors to the Vatican, please be aware that it can get extremely busy and queues can be up to 4 hours long in peak periods. To avoid queuing, book tickets online.
5. Explore the Monti Neighbourhood
If you’re looking for the coolest, hippest part of Rome and The Lazio, Monti is not to be missed. In many parts of Rome, it can be pretty difficult to escape the busy tourist crowds. But for somewhere lesser known by mainstream travellers, head to this formerly seedy slice of the city for alternative shopping and a hip restaurant scene loved by the young, the creative, and the stylish.
6. Circeo National Park
For the most breath-taking views, Circeo National Park is highly recommended. Just a 40 minute drive south of Rome, every traveller can easily escape the chaos of the city for a complete contrast in scenery and atmosphere. Circeo National Park sits along the coastal strip between Anzio and Terracina, giving you stunning views of the sea. Combined with lush green forest, coastal dunes and grottos, the experience is paradisiacal to say the least.
7. Go Swimming in Lake Bolsena
Set in the bowl of a volcanic crater, Lake Bolsena is a jewel in the heart of Italy. Very few tourists know about Lake Bolsena, making it an ideal resort for swimming and bathing if you’re looking to escape the tourist crowds. A few days out here could help you press that long-awaited ‘reset’ button and it provides travellers with a fantastic alternative to staying in Rome. Bordering Tuscany, Lake Bolsena makes a great base for exploring the neighbouring region.
8. Discover Beautiful Rieti
Overlooked by the stunning Monte Terminillo, Rieti is a peaceful city with the most incredible postcard backdrop. Rieti itself is full of history and you can begin your historical tour at Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II where the Fountain of Dolphins is a fantastic meeting point for locals. For a relaxed, moderate uphill walk go to Leonessa and discover Lazio’s natural beauty. The area is also suitable for mountain bikers.
9. Have dinner in Trastevere
As well as Monti, Trastevere is another fantastic place to find food in the city of Rome. Once very much separated from the rest of the city, Trastevere has been spared the duty of modernisation; it’s one of Rome’s last surviving pockets that resonates Medieval times. Filled with cool, hip bars and unpretentious restaurants (all reasonably priced), this neighbourhood is definitely worth exploring.
10. Il Bagnaccio hot spring
Il Bagnaccio hot spring near Viterbo is wonderful in springtime when the bright red poppy fields can be seen in the distance. This fantastic spring heated by the earth’s core is a bubbling delight for the locals. Even the most jaded traveller will find solace here and the shallow bathing pools make it ideal for families with children too.