1. The Trevi Fountain
'Legend says that if you flip a coin into the fountain backwards, you’re sure to return to Rome. Needless to say, it’s quite popular thing to do amongst visitors – and quite a wealthy fountain!'
The Trevi Fountain is a magnificent piece of Baroque architecture, made from enchantingly worn cream travertine and imposing statues of horses and titanic men, intricately carved from Carrera marble. Standing at an impressive height of 85ft by 160ft, it’s the largest fountain in the city – and one of the most beautiful too.
What’s interesting about this fountain is that, upon closer inspection, there’s so much more to see and so much more thought, psychological and historical concept that went into designing the architecture. It’s all about balance and harmony, with allusions to mythological figures such as Agrippa (who commands the aqueducts construction); the Virgin (who informs the soldiers of the waters location); Ocean; Health; and Abundance (with her horn of plenty representing the abundance of fruits), who together represent the important influence of rain on the earth’s fertility and the four major components of life that depend on water. If you enjoy visiting art galleries, historical buildings and museums, this is definitely for you.
The area can become very crowded so you might have to climb higher to get a good photo (or some breathing room!); however, when you see the fabulously intricate white marble carvings of the wall and the aqua blue waters of the fountain glistening in the sunlight, you can’t help but be enchanted.
‘The fountain is in the center of Rome, close to all of the shops and restaurants so, luckily, you don’t have to make a separate trip to get there. You just need to be map savvy!’
2. The Coliseum and the Roman Forum Ruins
The Coliseum is a must see when visiting Rome. Standing proud, with so much of its iconic silhouette and impressive stone carvings still intact, you can’t help but be taken away by the magnificence of its vast and violent history. It really is a sight to behold.
Although the Roman Forum Ruins might not be something you’d usually think to visit, as you walk past them to arrive at the coliseum, you’ll be pleasantly taken away by how interesting and beautiful they are. Full of history, interesting worn stone architecture and carvings, and surrounded by the stunning greenery, it’s a really lovely place to stop off and let your mind wander; imagining the history and daily lives of the Romans who once lived there. There are also lots of interesting little fact plates attached to the wall so it’s a great educational place to visit with children.
‘Regarding the Coliseum, you can pay to look inside but, actually, the outside is stunning in its own right so, personally, I wouldn’t recommend paying as you won’t see much more than you can for free and, for €25 / adult, there are many other places you can enjoy too.’
3. Vatican City and the Basilica Di San Pietro
Vatican City is incredible. Full of magnificent architecture; exquisitely hand carved sculptures; history and stunning paintings, you can’t help but be impressed. Many people believe that The Vatican is purely a religious place to visit and forget how much more there is to see but that couldn’t be further from the truth so, in all honestly, they’re really missing out. Not only does the Pope reside there but, inside, there are many museums filled with historical treasures – everything from centuries old literature to St. Peter’s Tomb; Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, The Raphael Rooms and religious secrets of the ages. It’s also home to the world-renowned Vatican gardens, with their beautiful landscaped gardens, fountains and animals; and fabulous squares where visitors can sit and enjoy the good weather (when it arrives!) with some Italian pistachio and strawberry gelato!
We wouldn’t recommend visiting in peak season as the large queues to enter along with the busy atmosphere can be off-putting. Instead, visit during off-peak times of year (especially if it’s cold as that reduces queuing time substantially!), early in the morning or late in the day as it’s much calmer so the best time to go.
‘Even the walk up to the square with views of the Vatican and Basilica Di San Pietro is stunning so if you don’t fancy a trip inside or waiting in the long queues to enter, we still recommend taking a walk up there. There are many reasonably priced cafes, with deliciously fresh coffee so it’s a lovely thing to do in the morning.’
4. Shopping on the Via Dei Condotti
For those of you who enjoy shopping, Via Dei Condotti is a fabulous place to visit. Designer stores including Chanel, Prada and Dior; high street stores including Accessorize and Sephora… but what I love most about this area is the beautiful subtle orange and lemon colours of the buildings; the beautifully carved fountains scattered around the area; and, most of all – it might surprise you – the street signs. With so much visual stimulation and Google Map available for directions, most people don’t notice them but they’re so full of character and, really, one of the most enchanting and authentic sights the city has to offer. Don’t forget to look up!
and the best thing…
5. Just Wander and Explore
Walk around up and down the beautiful staircases and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city from the skyline. Walk around the winding streets and wonder at the eclectic architecture that Rome has to offer, new buildings designed sensitively to the natural history for the city… you never know what you’ll see… the special line marked in the pavement to show where the city of Rome used to be encapsulated; ancient architectural pillars sensitively incorporated into the design of new buildings…. delicious trattorias, filled with the aromas of freshly stone-baked pizzas…
Visiting the Spanish Steps
The impressive baroque staircase was built in 1723 and is situated on a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Tinità di Monti. It’s a fantastic place to sit and watch the world pass by. Plus, once you arrive at the top, you’ll be treated to fascinating views overlooking Rome, it’s skyline and beautiful rooftops, and all of the people strolling and enjoying the many pleasures that Rome has to offer below.
The steps have long been a source of inspirations for artists, painters, film directors and poets alike. You may recall seeing them in iconic films such as ‘Roman Holiday’ (starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck); ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’; and in the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece.’