Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick Guide to Rome

During my last few days in Rome I put together this list of the top sights, neighborhoods, and restaurants based on my personal favorites as well as some favorites from other students who traveled through Rome. There are so many things about Rome that I loved that I did not include in my previous posts, so I wanted to make sure I mentioned everything here. It’s a long list but worth reading, especially if you plan to go to Rome!

Top Attractions

The Vatican
·                               Book your tickets to the museum in advance!
·                               Expect a long line in the sun even with tickets
·                               Remember to cover your shoulders so you can enter the Sistine Chapel

·                            No tickets needed
·                           Can purchase an audio tour if you want but I don’t think it is necessary

Borghese Gardens
 The prettiest gardens/park in the city
 Grab some sandwiches and wine and have a picnic before or after visiting the Borghese Gallery
 You can rent bikes
 Beautiful view of the city from the overlook that is above Piazza del Popolo

    Tickets are 12 euros and get you in to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine hill, so make sure you have enough time to at least do the Forum and Colosseum
    More details in previous post

Spanish Steps
    Walk to the top and enjoy the view
    Surrounding area is filled with designer shopping

Trevi Fountain
    Walking distance from the Spanish Steps
    Very packed but everyone must go and throw a coin into the fountain
    Beautiful at night

Capitoline Hill
    Designed by Michelangelo
    Location of the worlds first museum – the Capitoline Museum
    Walk to the top of the stairs and then to the back right to get the best view of the Roman Forum and Colosseum

Neighborhoods, Piazzas and Streets

Trastevere and Jewish Ghetto neighborhoods
    Two of the oldest neighborhoods
    Good shopping, but just great to wander around
    Trastevere is filled with bars and is packed with young people at night

    Beautiful and old neighborhood
    Great shopping with lots of vintage boutiques

Via del Corso
    Huge street with tons of chain retail stores mixed with a few boutiques
    Everyone walks right down to shop
    Start at Piazza del Popolo and walk until you reach Piazza Venezia

Quarinale Hill
    This is where the president lives and it was the old summer home of the Pope
    Near the Trevi Fountain
     If you make it to the top, walk down the street towards the two churches by the greatest Roman architects, Bernini and Borromini

Piazza del Popolo
    Big square at the top of the three shopping roads, Corso, Ripetta, and Bubino
    Was the original “entrance to Rome”

Piazza Navona
    One of my favorite squares, mentioned in previous posts
     A lot of great restaurants and shops near by
    It was the old track of Rome, but you can’t run around it anymore


*Note that most churches close for lunch from 1-3pm
*Shoulders and knees should be covered for entrance and some churches are stricter than others

St. Peter’s Basilica
    Within the Vatican walls but has a separate entrance from the Vatican Museum
    One of the largest churches in the world and the holiest Catholic church
    Michelangelo’s Pieta
    Can climb to the top of the dome
    Go to St. Peter’s Square Sunday at noon to see the Pope give the blessing from his window

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

Santa Maria del Popolo
          Houses two of the most significant works of the Baroque period
          Incredible works by Caravaggio and Carracci

San Luigi dei Francesi
          Three Caravaggio’s that are striking

Church of the Gesù
          Incredible ceiling work

           Amazing illusionistic dome and ceiling

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza
          Interior open only on Sundays but worth seeing the outside courtyard

Santa Maria della Vittoria
          Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Santa Maria in Trastevere
          One of Rome’s first churches

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria sopra Minerva
          Very Close to the Pantheon
          Michelangelo's Cristo della Minerva


*It is hard not to fall for the tourist trap restaurants that sell mediocre food at a high price. I put this list together with one of my foodie friends who was great at knowing the difference between authentic and imitation.

There are three pasta dishes that are most popular in Rome
           Amatriciana – slightly spicy red sauce with pork
          Carbonara – white sauce made from egg with bacon
          Cacio e pepe – cheesey creamy parmesan sauce with pepper

La Buca Di Ripetta
           Via di Ripetta
          Good for lunch
          Pastas moderately priced had the homemade ravioli with red chicory and gorgonzola

Dal Bolognese
          Popular and great location near Piazza del Popolo
                   Food of the Bologna region

          10 Euro brunch buffet that is incredible

Forno Campo di Fiori
           One of the most famous pizza by the slice places
           Try the bresola and arugula sandwich
                      Located right on Campo di Fiori, Vicolo del Gallo, 14

Mercato Wine Bar
          Great places to get an aperitiv and drinks

Forno Rosciolli
          A grab and go kind of a place
          Lots of baked breads, prepared dishes, and amazing pizza
          They also have a dinner location next door
          Located at 34, via del Chiavari

          More expensive but delicious

Soro Margerita
          Best meatballs ever!
          The epitome of hole in the wall, handwritten menus, moms/grandmas cooking
           In Trastevere
Dar Poeta
          Top two pizza places in Rome
          Good for lunch or dinner

Da i due ciccioni
          Hard to find but worth the search
          25 euro for four courses and bottomless wine
          Very inviting 

Cul de Sac
          One of my favorites
           Love it for lunch or dinner
          Long wait for dinner
                  Right off of Piazza Navona 

Da Tonino
          Via del Governo Vecchio, 18
          Mentioned in previous post
          Super cheap and delicious

          You know its great when everyone eating there is speaking Italian
           Right near the Cipro metro stop, close to the Vatican
          A little expensive but worth the splurge
          Creative toppings you wont find in America

Colline Emiliane
          Make a reservation
          Food of the northern region, Emilia-Romagna, rich and delicious
          Stuffed pastas, parmesan cheeses


Bar del Fico

Freni e Frizioni

La Maison
          Small club but very fun
          Doesn’t open until 11:30pm and doesn’t get crowded until 12:30-1am


On The Rocks


Scholars Lounge
          Large bar filled with international students and tourists
          Good place to watch the American sports you’re missing at home
          Caryoke and live music


Old Bridge
           Mentioned in previous post
          Best by far for price and taste
          Next to the Vatican

          Right on Governo Vecchio near piazza Navona

           Near the Vatican museum

          Near the Pantheon

San Crispino
           Near the Trevi Fountain

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