This page overviews a few of the places I know and like in Rome (and those that I don’t). None of this is probably original advice but it’s nevertheless relevant.
Places You Must Visit/Do (our class isn’t going to these places as a group)
- Vatican museum. Simply the best museum in the world. The Sistine Chapel is a life-changer. Use the Rick Steve’s podcast audio guide. You cannot see the whole thing so you need a map and a plan. Rick Steves has both.
- San Pietro Cuppola. Get the ticket and walk up the 500+ stairs to the top of San Pietro. FABULOUS views of all of Rome and Vatican City. Go on a clear, sunny day.
- Castel Sant’Angelo. Weird multi-purpose facility (mausoleum for Hadrian, fortress for the Pope, and now part museum). The view from the top is great. Go on a clear, sunny day. Dusk is fantastic.
- See Rome EARLY in the morning. Before all the cars and traffic. Get up at 5 am once and bring your camera. I like to go for a run early in the morning before anyone is up.
- Walk around Rome. Best way to see the City. Hands down. Passeggiata’s are so fun. Dress up, walk around near dusk (5-7 pm).
- Borghese Gallery. Bernini sculptures and paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, etc. You need to make a reservation here IN ADVANCE. So some planning is required.
- National Museum of Rome. Best collection of Rome sculpture anywhere. This stuff used to be all over Rome. Now it’s in this museum.
- Catacombs. Super cool and a bit creepy.
- Good food. PLEASE, PLEASE try some good food in Rome and get away from the tourist dumps. There is plenty of excellent food to be had on the cheap. Look here:
- Katie Parla. An American ex-pat that makes a living talking/writing about food in Rome. She recommends many super-cheap places and has a kick-ass app for the iPhone.
- Elizabeth Minchilli. Another ex-pat with great food recommendations.