Insideat takes you to discover the capital, with a perfect itinerary for a full immersion.
For some, a lifetime is not enough to see all of Rome. What does all of Rome mean? The Roman municipality extends for over 1200 km², in which you can find over 25,000 points of archaeological interest registered by the Quality Charter.
Scrolling quickly through the site of the Capitoline cultural heritage, there are about ten archaeological areas, over 20 museums, hundreds of works including monuments, fountains, sacred shrines and architectural heritage. And again, villas, historical parks and nature reserves.
Speaking of the historic center alone, we are referring to an area of about 14 km², with such a concentration of culture, charm and beauty that it has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Aurelian walls (to the left of the Tiber) and the Gianicolense walls (to the right of the Tiber), surround the 22 districts that give life to the historic center: the oldest, Monti, Trevi, Colonna, Campo Marzio, Ponte, Parione, Regola, Sant'Eustachio, Pigna, Campitelli, Sant'Angelo, Ripa; Trastevere and Borgo, dating back to the period from the 14th to the 16th century; and finally the more modern Esquilino, Ludovisi, Sallustiano, Castro Pretorio, Celio, Testaccio, San Saba, Prati, the latter the most recent, built in the twentieth century.
If a truly complete tour of the Eternal City seems impossible, let's start visiting Rome through an itinerary that is almost obligatory if you only have little time available.
Let's suppose that the tour begins in the only place where it makes sense to stop and sleep if we have little time available: near a metro station. We take the subway and reach Flaminio, on the line A.
Leaving the station you will be greeted by Piazza del Popolo, in the center of which stands the Flaminian Obelisk, originally belonging to the Circus Maximus.
During the imperial times, Piazza del Popolo was the entrance to Rome and it is still today a fundamental crossroads of the city, where via del Babbuino, via di Ripetta and the very famous via del Corso meet. Two temples and three churches overlook the square, including the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo which houses various Renaissance works, including magnificent works by Raffello and Caravaggio.
Climbing the staircase that opens to the east, we arrive at the Pincio, one of the most spectacular terraces in Rome, from which to enjoy a breathtaking view. Not only; immersing ourselves in the green space behind us and crossing via delle Magnolie, but we would also reach Villa Borghese, of which we have already written (HERE).
We continue quickly and go down the path that runs along the square and the narrow streets of the center, towards Trinità dei Monti, one of the five French-speaking Catholic churches of Rome, dating back to the sixteenth century. We are preparing to descend again, this time along the 135 steps of the Spanish Steps, built in the 18th century by the Roman architect Francesco De Sanctis.
The scenography is amazing: on the slopes of the Pincio, the church behind, Piazza di Spagna which opens up in front of us. We are in one of the most famous Roman squares, and it is no coincidence.
With its eclectic and elegant appearance, for centuries it has been a meeting place for artists, writers and philanthropists. Among these, John Keats, an English poet whose house-museum can be admired, immersing oneself in a nineteenth-century fairy tale. We are inevitably captured by the splendid Fontana della Barcaccia, a Baroque work created by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1629.
From Piazza di Spagna, a short walk is enough to reach the famous Trevi Fountain: immense, romantic, with infinite details to get lost in and to be influenced by.
After the usual photos and after a 5-minute walk, we arrive at Piazza di Pietra, dominated by the Temple of Hadrian. Generally uncrowded, but of rare beauty ...
We make another 500 meters and we arrive in one of the most magical places in Rome: Piazza della Rotonda, a pretty little square where the Phanteon stands majestic. Here you can breathe a unique atmosphere in the world, and we feel enveloped by the thousand legends that accompany this place. Our favourite? It is said that Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome, was grabbed by an eagle right here on his deathbed and taken in flight by the gods.
What do you say, do we deserve a break? Well, then let's continue on foot for 2 minutes and arrive at Caffè Sant’Eustacchio, a Roman institution since 1938 for all lovers of traditional coffee and "as good as it once was".
Refreshed by this short break, we leave for Piazza Navona: we just need 3 minutes walking among small shops and enchanting views. Here appears the symbolic place of Baroque Rome, large and sumptuous, originally born as a stadium. The protagonist of the square is the Fountain of the Four Rivers of Bernini. The Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio della Plata.
In front of them stands the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, designed by Borromini.
But wait... Don't you feel something?
There you go! We are hungry now!
Two steps are enough to get to Campo de 'Fiori, we cross this cheerful crossroads of students, tourists and traders.
In a moment we are at Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina, practically Disneyland of food lovers!
Whether a piece of pizza to go or an amatriciana sitting at a table, it's worth stopping by.
With the belly full, we set off again, next stop Galleria Spada.
It is not a must-see museum, but we choose only to enter to observe Borromini's famous false perspective (is free)… Impressive and perfect for Instagram!
We have reached the river, continuing for a few hundred meters we arrive at Ponte Sisto, which imposingly announces the entrance to Trastevere and from which we admire the Tiber Island. For those who want to walk and stretch a little, it is possible to reach the island from Ponte Cestio, passing in front of the Synagogue and the entrance to the Jewish Ghetto.
When we enter Trastevere we arrive in an enchanted area of Rome. Frozen in time. A time we have not lived but with the feeling that it was just seductive without being refined, popular but not rough, so a synthesis of Romanism. Let go of the map and the clock for a moment, relax and get lost ... walking by walking, the scent takes us to via di S. Francesco a Ripa. We can't resist stopping for a supplì. We have already talked about Venanzio (HERE)
With the spirit of Trastevere in our soul, we walk along the Lungotevere keeping the river to the right and head towards the Mausoleum of Hadrian, better known as Castel Sant’Angelo. With almost 2000 years of history, this imposing building crosses the history of Rome in lots of different ways: funeral monument, a military outpost, prison, elegant Renaissance residence.
We walk along the walls, in the park below and along the bridge that frames it, reading the stories of this exceptional work ...
But if you want to visit it, here is the necessary information:
In ten minutes, via della Conciliazione takes us to St. Peter's Basilica. Regardless of the profound religious value of this place, we are faced with a spectacular building, framed by a colonnade of over 300 meters and 140 statues, in a square that leaves anyone amazed.
If you have been quick during the day you can enter and be captivated by the beauty of San Pietro. If it is too late but you do not want to give up the visit, we advise you to wake up early in the morning dedicating a whole day to the Basilica, the Dome, the Vatican Museums and Gardens, the Sistine Chapel.
At the end of the day, we head to the Prati district to have dinner, a stone's throw from the metro that will take us back to home base. The place of the heart of Insideat is PummaRe, on the terrace of the Mercato Trionfale (via Andrea Doria 41 / m). Finally seated, we enjoy an exceptional pizza!
Well Insideaters, the first day is over. In the next article: a crazy second day awaits us, immersed in the most authentic Rome, where history, culture, a little traffic and urban art coexist. Are you ready?