by Stephanie Cole
In a city so beautiful and historically rich, it’s not uncommon for tourists to be clueless as to where to start looking. It’s also a regular occurrence for people to spend a lot of time narrowing down the list of what to do in Rome. With so many choices, doing this would probably take half a day at least, at that’s not including the equally gorgeous cities outside the capital.
Really, there are just too many options to choose from – a scenic sightseeing tour, or just going where your feet take you? Museums, or natural historic landmarks? Religious sites, or the best restaurants in town? Go to all the famous tourist spots, or only where the locals like to go? Surely, a few days in the city will never be enough to discover it all.
For the museum buffs, they’ll be in heaven in Rome. With such a vast range of choices, it doesn’t matter what artistic style they prefer. The Vatican Museums and the Museo e Galleria Borghese may be more suitable for those who like paintings, but the Capitoline Museums caters to those more inclined towards sculptures. The Museo Nazionale Romano: Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, however, is a combination of both art styles.
As a matter of fact, the famous landmarks around the city boast of enough culture and history to be a museum on its own. The Colosseum, for example, holds an enthralling history and a certain beauty in its ruin. Some other examples of beautiful ruins are the Roman Forum and the Palatino, where Romulus is said to have founded Rome.
Many tourists also visit Rome for religious purposes. After all, it does the city-state of Vatican City which is basically the center of the Roman Catholic religion. This would explain the abundance of basilicas scattered throughout the city. The most famous one, of course, is St. Peter’s Basilica, situated inside Vatican City itself. Another must-see church is the Pantheon, which was formerly a temple.
The culture in Rome goes beyond the architecture, art, and history, however. In keeping with the modern times, there are annual events across the city that highlight its class and modernity as well. There are theatre performances and film festivals, jazz concerts, and even a festival that honors the growing hip-hop culture. Some museums hold art exhibits (tip: their prices go up during this time) and to commemorate the Roman Catholic Epiphany, there is even a toy fair in January for kids and adults alike.
For the foodies out there, most would suggest looking for a real taste of the city by going to the places that the tourists don’t know about. Farine is recommended for authentic Italian pizza – run by a husband-wife duo that was trained in the National School of Pizza. There’s also a place for the past lovers: La Carbonara dal 1906. The handmade pasta and Italian graffiti is an experience that shouldn’t be passed up.
Walking around the city without a guided tour gives you freedom over your own time, if there’s time to spare. However, it’s also an option to seek out a guided sightseeing tour – whether it’s within Rome or to some of the neighboring cities. It’s even possible to go gastronomic and enjoy the various food tours available, so just take your pick!
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