ROME

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Running along the Tiber River in Lazio, on the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, is Rome. Rome originally developed on seven hills— the Aventine Hill, the Caelian Hill, the Capitoline Hill, the Esquiline Hill, the Palatine Hill, the Quirinal Hill, and the Viminal Hill. With 2.8 million residents in nearly 500 square miles, Rome is Italy’s most populated city.

If you’re looking to explore the wondrous and ancient histories of Rome comfortably, spring and autumn are the best months to visit. Though, November is a rainier time, it’s still a bustling time for vacationers, while spring will offer travelers the best views of the Roman sun and natural landscapes of the Seven Hills.

Known more famously as Ancient Rome, the major center of Western Civilization, and today the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, Rome offers everything a vacationer could want— culture, art, history, architecture, nature, and of course, food and wine. As one of the most visited tourist destination in Europe, Rome is a place that should be on any Italian vacation itinerary. From coliseums to the Vatican one could spend days exploring and not see all there is to see in Rome.

The Colosseum

Colosseo

TOURS AND ACTIVITIES

Bicycling Tours: Rent a bicycle and tour the urban countryside.  Enjoy the sights of Porta Pinciana in Villa Borghese, or Villa Doria Pamphili, the largest park in Rome.

Horseback Riding Tours: If your vacation has the budget, take a ride on horseback through the Villa Borghese at the exclusive Il Galoppatoio Equestrian Club.

Music and Theater: Known for having a thriving music scene, Rome boasts many architectural sites that have been converted into venues for various music and theater events. If you’re looking for an experience in state-of-the-art facilities, check out the Auditorium Parco della Musica, which features three halls of varying sizes and a large outdoor amphitheater. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a ‘when in Rome’ experience, some of the most atmospheric summer venues for classical and contemporary music are held in ancient arenas like the Baths of Caracalla, the Teatro di Marcello, the Fori Imperiali, and the Terrazza del Pincio.

Soccer: One of Italy’s favorite pastime sports, Football (soccer) is closely followed by its fans in Rome. Home to two soccer clubs; enjoy the games at Stadio Olimpico.

Bath House: If you’re sore from foot-slogging from one monument to the next, reward yourself by escaping to the relaxing thermal springs mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. They’re near Viterbo, 90km (55mi) north of Rome.

Segway Tour: Looking to do something equally unusual and fun, take a segway tour through the city of Rome. On your segway tour, expect to learn important historical information, and hear ancient legends and stories, and spot hidden treasures.

Cooking Classes: Looking to expand your culinary skills, and impress your friends and family back home? Then you must take this cooking class. Located in a private apartment, just minutes from the Spanish Steps in the center of Rome, join the passionate hosts Fabio and Monica as they teach you Italian cooking techniques focused on making fresh pasta dishes.

Before class you will venture out on a walking tour of Rome’s food shops, ending at the famous outdoor food market, Campo de’ Fiori. Then proceed to class where you will be taught the necessary skills and techniques to cook different pastas dishes, as well as one meat dish (vegetarian options available on request). Finally, all students will get enjoy their dishes over wine and good conversation.

PLACES TO VISIT

Coliseum: Built in 75 A.D., visit the Coliseum, once home to the gruesome gladiator games, now Rome’s most ancient monument. Tour the four sections of the Coliseum, and enter the Emperor’s box, in the center of it all, where the fates of many men were decided with a simple hand gesture.

Galleria Borghese: If you’re interested in art, this is one of the best galleries to see. Started by the Borghese family in the 17th century, this gallery boasts one of the largest art collections in the world.
Here you will find many works of art by renowned painters and sculptors, including: Amor Sacro e Amor Profano by Tiziano, la Pietà by Rubens, Davide con la Testa di Golia by Caravaggio, Apollo e Dafne, and David and Pluto by Bernini, to name a few.

Capitoline Hill: Campidogli (Capitoline Hill), one of the Seven Hills of Rome, and once the Roman equivalent to the Greek Acropolis, is most known for the Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo in 1538 over the ancient ruins. The Palazzo dei Senatori, and two museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo, border three sides of this well-proportioned square.

Fontana di Trevi: In the center of Rome lies Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. According to the traditional legend if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are ensured a return to Rome. The fountain grosses over a million euros a year, with a large amount of the money being donated to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.

Scalinata di Spagna: Built in the 18th century, the Scalinata di Spagna (Spanish Steps) are the widest steps in Europe.  Despite being prohibited, the Spanish Steps are often peppered with travelers and locals enjoying lunch.

Piazza Navona: Piazza Novana is one of Rome’s city squares. Built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century A.D., following the form of the stadium, Piazza Novana is known for its fine example of Baroque architecture. Here you’ll find three magnificent fountains, Fontana del Moro (The Moor Fountain), Fontana del Nettuno (The Fountain of Neptune), and most notably the 17th century Bernini-built fountain, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (The Fountain of Four Rivers).

Castel Sant’ Angelo:  Sometimes referred to as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) was converted into a papal fortress in the 16th century. Today, Castel Sant’Angelo is a museum

The Vatican City: The Vatican City (the smallest sovereign country in the world) is located in the very heart of Rome. It is the epicenter of Catholic life. It attracts millions of pilgrims worldwide, who to gather in prayer and seek the blessing of the Pope. Also called the Holy See, the Vatican’s most popular sites include the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Additionally, the Pope often gives a public service at 11:00 a.m. every Wednesday, and you can request to attend the day before at the nearby Prefetura della Casa Pontifica.

The Vatican St. Peter’s Basilica: Opened in 326 A.D., this great shrine stands over the tomb of St. Peter, the founder of the Church of Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church on the globe, was designed by Bernini, while the dome was designed by Michelangelo.

The church contains a number of well-known works, including the Bernini canopy over the high altar, the gilt bronze Chair of St. Peter, the monument to Clement XIII by Canova, and Michelangelo’s famous marble sculpture Pietà.

The Vatican Museums:  Musei Vaticani (The Vatican Museums) are a group of palaces that house some of the most important art collections in the world. There are several exhibitions, including the Etruscan Museum, Raphael Rooms and Loggias, the Egyptian Museum, and the world-famous Sistine Chapel, which is probably the most important part of this vast museum complex.
Also worth a visit are Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael’s Rooms), a collection of rooms that were painted by Raphael as commissioned by Pope Julius II.

The Sistine Chapel: Built for Pope Sixtus IV in 1475, the Sistine Chapel is probably the Vatican’s ultimate building and crowning glory. As home to the Pope as well as the conclave, the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) is most notably known for its many frescos by Michelangelo, including : The Last Judgment, and The Creation of Adam.

Rome

The Vatican

FOOD SPECIALTIES

Saltimbocca alla Romana: This salty and savory dish is sure to please any meat lover. As a variation of Saltimbocca, this dish is made of veal cutlet wrapped in prosciutto (ham), sage, and cooked in Marsala wine and butter.

Pasta alla Carbonara:  A rich and creamy pasta dish, Pasta alla Carbonara (Carbonara) is a dish made with eggs, pancetta, or more commonly Guanciale, a salt-cured pork jowl bacon, and pecorino, a grated cheese, stronger than parmigiano. This dish is typically served with spaghetti, though other pastas have been known to be used.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana: This classic Roman sauce takes its spiciness from black pepper and dried chilies, with layers of robust flavor one can expect from guanciale. Combined with bucatini pasta, thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole in the center, this sauce is made with tomatoes with lightly fried bacon, oil and hot pepper, and served with a good sprinkle of grated pecorino cheese.

Pasta alla Gricia: Pasta alla Gricia is the least-known Roman pasta, but nonetheless a favorite among patrons of this dish. With a perfect balance of cured pork (guanciale) and cheese (pecorino), and that’s all, this simple Roman classic is sure to delight.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Roma-Europa Festival: Usually between September and October, the Roma-Europa Festival is a tribute to the arts. Since 1986 this festival boasts some of the best showcases of modern art, theatre, music and dance, in Italy.

Romics Festival: October marks the month of the annual Romics, the Roman equivalent to Comic Con of the United States. Romics is one of the largest international exhibition on comics, animation, games, and entertainment, with each year dedicated to a different historical comic hero/heroin.

Roma Jazz Festival: The Rome Jazz Festival celebrates the uniting affect of Jazz throughout the world. Celebrated annually in the October, the festival is dedicated to jazz music with artists from Italy, and around the world.

San Lorenzo Estate: Located in the heart of City Hall in the Roman Capital, this event keeps the summer alive for the locals and tourists alike. From June to September this event features entertainment, games and activities, and culture, with a beautiful backdrop of greenery and amazing food courts that are always open.

Donna Sotto le Stelle: Taking place in July on the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna is the Roman fashion event of the summer, Donna Sotto le Stelle. For any connoisseur of luxury high-fashion, this is the event for you, boasting some of the biggest names in fashion donning the runway.

Rome Masters (Tennis): Formally known as the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the Rome Masters is the most prestigious red clay tennis tournament in the world after the French Open. This tournament is held annually in the first two weeks of May.