“Rome will exist as long as the Coliseum does;
when the Coliseum falls, so will Rome;
when Rome falls, so will the world.”
Rome: the Eternal City; 3,000 years of history, art, architecture… most importantly, immortalized by Hilary Duff in the Lizzie McGuire Movie! I’m only partially kidding, for my love of Lizzie McGuire runs deep and was one of my (many) reasons for visiting this city. Rome is a city known for La Dolce Vita, the good life, and, in Rome, life is truly good. Between wandering these historic streets with gelato dribbling onto my fingers and admiring the infamous sights, I was completely awe-struck with wonder and completely understood why Elizabeth Gilbert uprooted her entire life and spent four months here. Haunted by dreams of wine and gelato at night, I have compiled a list of my favorite things to do in the Eternal City. As Dean Martin so cleverly asked in 1959, “but in Rome do as the Romans do, will you on an evening in Roma?” Will you do as the Romans do?
La Dolce Vita… or Eating
I am a firm believer that tasting the local delicacies in each country adds up to living the good life. Especially when in Roma. Just looking at these photos is causing my stomach to rumble. My favorite gelateria in Rome is Gelateria del Teatro located on lovely Via dei Coronari, just off the Piazza Navona; this gelateria uses only the freshest ingredients, and you can even watch them make the gelato through the window! If you asked me where to grab my favorite coffee, wine, or pasta in Rome, I honestly couldn’t tell you because I ate so much. Be sure to pack your stretchiest pants!
Largo di Torre Argentina
Packed with history- and cats!- the Largo di Torre Argentina was, perhaps, one of my favorite spots visited in Rome. The square holds the remains of four Roman Republican temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre, where Julius Caesar was rumored to be assassinated. In February 2019, the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, announced that by 2021 walkways would be installed for visitors to tour the ruins for the first time- looks like I know when I’ll be returning to Rome! As well as the ruins, the square is home to Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter with volunteers who sterilize and rehabilitate the stray cats. And these stray kitties are quite adorable!
The Piazza Navona was built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD; it follows the same form the stadium once had and once was the location of a competition arena, where Romans would go to watch agones. It is currently home to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, with the ancient Roman obelisk to copy those of the Egyptian’s, and Fontana del Neptune. Gian Lorenzo Bernini created the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and is perhaps one of my favorite artists; he created my two favorite sculptures: Apollo and Daphne and The Rape of Proserpina (both located in the Galleria Borghese, mentioned below).
Fontana di Trevi
Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini, the Fontana di Trevi stands at 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide and is one of the most famous fountains in the world. Many tourists flock here to throw their coins into the fountain based on two reasons: coins thrown using the right hand over the left shoulder are meant guarantee your return to Rome, the second requires three coins thrown into the fountain: the first coin guarantees your return to Rome, the second will ensure a new romance, and the third will ensure marriage. If we all have seen the Lizzie McGuire film, she only throws one coin into the fountain and is taken on a romantic adventure in Rome with popstar Paolo. I was not, in fact, taken on an adventure by an Italian popstar like my childhood-idol, but what can a girl do but wish?
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. The date of construction is uncertain, because Augustus’ temple burned down, and the Pantheon was commissioned by the emperor Hadrian, who chose to inscribe it with Augustus’ temple’s date; historians believe it may have been finished around 126 AD. It is one of the most well-preserved ancient Roman buildings, mostly because it has been continuously used throughout its history.
The center and heart of Rome: the Colosseum. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built and construction began in 72 AD and completed in 80 AD. The Colosseum is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and in modern days stands as a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment.
Probably one of my favorite art galleries in the world, the Galleria Borghese houses a large part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Scipione Borghese was an early supporter of Bernini and avid collector of Caravaggio. Be sure to book your tickets for the Galleria Borghese as early as you can, for tickets go fast and this is a location you seriously do not want to miss!
What are some of your favorite spots in Rome? Do you disagree with some of my choices? I’d love to hear your opinions, so pop a comment below!