First Time in Rome – The Perfect Rome Travel Guide

by Vilislav
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La Citta Eterna – The Eternal City! I don’t think there is anyone who would associate this synonym with any other city than Rome. The Italian capital is definitely among the most ancient cities in Europe as well as in the world. Settled 2800 years ago, which has preserved the history of the most powerful empire in history – the Roman one, the city today is a kind of open-air museum. To be honest, Rome is one of my favorite European cities because of its beautiful architecture, its mix of cultures and, of course, its unique and incomparable cuisine. Anyone who has visited Rome even once, cannot remain indifferent to it.

From the moment our plane started descending to Ciampino Airport, I knew it was going to be a special trip, not just a trip. Fortunately, the plane flew over the entire city and we had the opportunity to start the day with a unique panoramic view of the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon and all those landmarks Rome is known for all over the world.

If you’re visiting Rome for the first time, you might be wondering which places to visit from the long sightseeing list. The short answer is “All of them!”, but unless you have a whole week, you’ll have to choose wisely. Well, I’ve been there three times already and I can say that I could manage to go from point A to point B without GPS, but I’m always exited as it’s my first time there. I will try to make you a list of the 10 most interesting sights, including some non-standard and less popular places that I am sure most of you have never heard of.

1. The Colosseum

You haven’t been in Rome if you haven’t saw the Colosseum! It is the largest and best preserved amphitheater of the Roman Empire. Its capacity was 80,000 people and was used mainly for gladiator battles. During the Middle Ages, the site was used as a cemetery, some of the dungeons were rented, and many of the marble blocks were used for the construction of palaces. Today, 2000 years later, despite the time damages, the Colosseum is one of the most impressive buildings of the Antique World. There is no better known Rome symbol and it is must in your list, especially if you are coming for the first time. The ticket is € 16, and includes a visit to the Roman Forum, located a few meters from the entrance of the Colosseum.

2. The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill

Once you have completed your tour of the Colosseum, your walk between the ruins of ancient Rome continues in the Roman Forum. Rome is known as the “City of the Seven Hills” and Palatine is the hill where the ancient city was first settled. It housed the most important political buildings whose remains you can see. The Roman Forum is a huge square, located at the foot of the hill and for centuries the center of life in the Empire. There is almost nothing left of the former buildings, but for me the place itself was impressive enough, as was the fact how much history is layered there.

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The Roman Forum

3. The Vatican City

In fact, for those of you who don’t know, the Vatican City is the smallest city in the world. It is located on the Vatican Hill and is surrounded entirely by the Italian capital Rome. If I tell you that the queues here are the longest and you can wait even an hour to get in, I won’t lie to you. It actually depends on the season, as well as what time of day you are there. I recommend getting a Skip the line ticket so you don’t wait that long. Besides the Basilica of St. Peter, you should also visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Even if you are not so interested in art, this is where some of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance are exhibited, and it’s worth seeing. You will see the invaluable works of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael and many other luminaries of that era.

I recommend you to enter the Basilica of St. Peter, the largest church in the world where is the tomb of St. Peter – one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. There is a bronze statue of a saint inside the basilica, considered to be a miracle. My advice when visiting the Vatican is not to rush. Enjoy your time because it’s one of the main attractions in Rome and worth every minute spent there.

4. Sant’Angelo Castle

It was originally built for a mausoleum of Emperor Adrian, nearly 2000 years ago, on the coast of the Tiber River near the Vatican. Over the centuries it has changed its function – it was rebuilt from a tomb into a military fortress, later became a castle, and today it is a museum open for visitors. This is probably the place with the most unique view of the Vatican. You have the opportunity to climb to the top of the castle and take amazing pictures. I recommend you to go by foot, the distances are not that great, and so you get to know the city and enjoy your time there. As I told you before, the castle is located on the coast of the Tiber River, where you can take a walk or have a dinner.

5. Piazza di Spagna

One of the most beautiful places to rest while wandering in Rome are the Spanish Stairs, which you probably have seen on Instagram. They are located in the heart of the city, on Piazza di Spagna. Whenever you go, there will always be people sitting on the 135 stairs. The place is attractive for a lot of musicians, artists, photographers, so you definitely won’t be bored. Also, the square itself is next to the shopping area of ​​Rome. In all the narrow streets there are a stores of world famous Italian brands such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and many others. So, if your credit card is with you, use it as wisely. An advice! There is a gelateria in the square – Venchi, one of the oldest in Rome. Make sure you get ice cream from there, I highly recommend it, you won’t find tastier. Italy is known for its ice cream, so no matter the season (even in winter), gelato is a must in your menu.

6. Di Trevi Fountain

Rome is known for its many squares, fountains and churches. But one thing is for sure – there is no more beautiful fountain in city than this one. Yes, this is one of the most iconic and crowded tourist places, but you can’t go home without throwing a coin into Di Trevi Fountain and making a wish. According to the local superstitions, you should turn your back on the fountain and throw your coin with your right hand back. The first time I was there, I thought, “God, there must be a few thousand euros in the fountain” and I was right. Nearly € 3,000 is collected daily from coins in the fountain and the money is donated to non-governmental organizations that buy food for the homeless in Rome. To be honest, Rome, like any capital city, has its problems. The streets are full of homeless people and beggars, so watch your bags if you don’t want to come back without a wallet.

7. Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia is not the most beautiful square in Rome, but it is the most central one. You will certainly go through it during your city tour, and probably not only once. It is literally next to the Roman Forum, and the square itself is surrounded by museums, embassies, ancient ruins and cafes. The staircase in front of the large white building, which is the Palazzo Venezia Museum, is an ideal place for photos.

8. Villa Borghese

If the paintings in the Sistine Chapel were not enough for you, I recommend you to visit the Borghese Galleries. We actually got there by accident, but still decided to go in. We were walking in a huge park that took us to a small palace – Villa Borghese. There is one of the richest private collections located on the first two floors of the villa. Even if you don’t want to go into the galleries, I recommend you take a walk in the gardens – a very peaceful place, away from the tourist crowds.

9. The Orange gardens

Another place we found by accident, but I recommend it. We decided to go to the Pyramid of Cestius, one of the sights around, and on the way back obviously took the wrong way but found ourselves in one of the most picturesque places in Rome. The Orange Gardens is a very small park located on one of the hills around central Rome. They call it that because many orange trees were once grown there, and now they are no more than 10, but the view is important. From here you have a view of the Vatican, the Tiber River, Venice Square and the Palatine Hill.

10. The lock

Really the most beautiful things happen unexpectedly and by accident. After we left the Orange Gardens, we saw several people looking through the lock of a huge iron door and taking pictures. Naturally, it became interesting to us and we went to check what they were shooting. It turns out that when you look through the lock, on the other side, you see a truly amazing view. Through a tunnel of tall and well-shaped boxwoods, you can see the impressive dome of St. Basil. Peter. Whether it is pure coincidence or a sought-after effect in the construction of the mansion is unknown, but bearing in mind the building is owned by a knight order, it is probably the second option.

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