We landed in Rome on Friday the 3rd of October.
The weather is nice and I am already smelling coffee and cornetti-a sweeter version of the french croissant.
After leaving our belongings at the airbnb in Testaccio, we go down the road to grab that coffee and cornetti at Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice.
With caffeine and sugar in our veins, let's discover the beauty.
Within the Tiber river this small island is placed.
It is a piece of the Rome's history dedicated in Roman times to the God of medicine Aesculapius; in fact there is still a hospital today.
It is a beautiful walk by the river, surrounded by greenery and Italians enjoying the good weather.
Why should you have a gelato in Rome?
For Italians, Gelato is more than a sweet treat. It’s a moment for them to get together.
Gelato is not ice-cream. Gelato is not made the way traditional ice cream is made. It is similar to ice cream, but has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs ,in some cases no eggs at all. And it is made out fresh ingredients.
My advice, eat all the gelato you can! If you are lactose free the sorbets are awesome too.
By the way, look for real gelato, since some places around the touristic areas offer gelato that is basically ice cream. How to know it? The color. When you see bright and intense colors that isn't real.
Bocca della Verita
La Bocca della Verita (The Mouth of Truth) may not be grandiose like the Colosseum or the Pantheon but don’t be surprised to still see a line here.
It was actually made popular when it featured in the film ‘Roman Holiday’ in 1953 starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
Here Gregory tells Audrey that, according to tradition, if one was lying and slipped a hand into the mouth, the mouth would swallow it. Legend or not, it is not worth taking the risk of lying in front of this monument! During the shooting of the film, Hepburn was the victim of a joke: Gregory pretends to get his hand stuck in the jaws of the monument. It seems that the beautiful actress got actually really scared, which helped make this scene particularly spontaneous and realistic.
Would you put your hand in it? I did it and my hand remains in place!
The Aventine hill is one of the seven hills in Rome, but this one is special because it keeps a secret.
An ordinary keyhole on an unmarked door located in a piazza on Aventine Hill can offer one of the most picturesque and mysterious views in Rome.
The green door with the famous keyhole is actually the doorway to Villa del Priorato di Malta. The view from the keyhole presents two nation-states and one country: The Italian nation, The Vatican nation and the Sovereign order of Malta; with the dome of St. Peter’s perfectly situated in the center.
Enjoy the hill and walk the gardens, sit and admire the view of the city and get lost in the vibe with the live music that most of the time is being played by the street musicians.
And if you are as lucky as I was get to enjoy a traditional wedding!
What is the Sovereign order of Malta? It is an independent international entity whose sovereignty allows it to print its own stamps and issue passports, and even grant Maltese nationality. Curiously, its location is no longer in Malta, but in this villa located within Rome.
Il Vittoriano, Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, or Altare della Patria is one of the most distinctive and controversial monuments in Rome- some say it is too big and it does not blend with Rome.
It is a large neoclassical, big white building towering above Piazza Venezia, in Rome city center, and one you are unlikely to miss when visiting Rome. It was born as a celebratory monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first King of Italy, and stands a symbol of patriotic sentiment and pride.
Rome isn't only the famous monuments and food but it is a whole vibe! Wander the streets with gelato in hand and marvel yourself!
Known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Roman Colosseum is one of the capital's most remarkable monuments.
You can visit the Colosseum for free on specific dates. For many years the visit to Roman Colosseum was free every 1st Sunday of every month. From 2019 the Colosseum is free to visit on selected days.
Some people avoid entering the Colosseum, but in my opinion this is one of the most amazing places to visit. You will feel and almost see the gladiators fighting on the arena, and 2000 years of history will bring you back in time to discover the way of life in the Roman Empire.
We visited right before they were about to close and it was very empty.
Before we get into the history and how beautiful this place is I am going to tell you my best advice: Book your tickets in advance! We did not do it and spent a whole morning in line. Totally worth it but you can avoid it.
At just 0.17 square miles, Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, but this isn't enough to call for your attention then head to Vatican City for incredible architecture, perfectly manicured gardens and stunning views over the surrounding area and Rome.
St Peter’s Basilica is one of the biggest churches ever built and one of the holiest sites in Christianity. With its large façade and imposing Dome, it is a key component of the Roman skyline.
The Vatican Museums have been around since the 16th century so it has a collection of over 70,000 object of art and antiquity.
The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatincan Museums, and it is known for its painted ceiling - a work of art completed in the 16th century by famous Italian painter Michelangelo.
St Peter’s Square is the giant piazza that leads up to St Peter’s Basilica. It is where big events such as public mass, and the Pope’s public speeches take place.
Connected to the Vatican City by an underground tunnel is the Castel Sant'Angelo. Located on the banks of the River Tiber, a short walk from both Piazza Navona and the Vatican.
Crowned by a majestic statue of the Archangel Saint Michael. This building, from the Roman imperial era.
The castle was originally not a castle but the tomb of Emperor Hadrian, who died in 138 AD.
But in 271 Emperor Aurelianus included the mausoleum into the new walls around Rome and effectively turned it into a fortified structure to protect the city.
Since then, the ‘castle’ has known several incarnations: it has been used as a fortress, as a prison, as the Pope residence, as solders barrack and finally has now become a National museum.
This 135 step staircase was opened in 1735 to link the Spanish Embassy near the bottom of the steps to the Trinita dei Monti staircase at the top, and are today a popular spot to stop, eat Gelato, and watch the people go by. They were made particularly popular in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn.
I just got to know that as of August 2019, it’s no longer permitted to sit on the Spanish Steps as they have been classified as a monument.
You still can go upstairs and enjoy a wonderful sunset.
One of the must-visit Rome highlights, the Trevi Fountain. This is the world’s largest Baroque fountain. It is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to Rome.
When I think of Rome I cannot help it but to think in La Dolce Vita. That moment when Anita walks into La Fontana di Trevi and says: Marcello, came here!
That iconic moment made my friends and I to call Marcello when visiting the Fontana.
Unfortunately, Marcello did not come to us, but we had so much fun.
A little walk from the Trevi Fountain will lead you to the incredible Pantheon. This building, which has been standing for almost 2,000 years, is the best preserved Ancient Roman monument in Rome, and I dare you not to be impressed by it’s incredible dome, which even today, two thousand years since it was built, holds the record as the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The Piazza is a fun place to be, and often features street performers and markets.
With incredible pieces from Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio, to name but a few, this museum is truly a must visit.
This is a small gallery where you need a reservation to get in. Tickets here
In my opinion this is the finest art collection in Rome. I could say it was my favorite place.
Piazza del Popolo
Once you’re done with the Borghese Gallery, head over the west side of the Gardens, towards the Piazza del Popolo to get beautiful views to the city.
Trastevere is one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Rome with its narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings dripping with ivy, and balconies enlivened with geraniums.
Romans and tourists go to Trastevere to enjoy its lively nightlife. Trattorias fill to bursting point with eager diners, and groups gather in the streets smoking and chatting.