aperitivo

Top 10 Things to Do in Rome

 

With a history of over 2,000 years, the options of things to do (and see) in Rome are almost limitless. So our experts put together a list of Top 10 Things to Do in Rome, to make it a little easier for you. If you can’t get through all of them…you’ll just have to come back for another visit!

THE must-see destinations when in Rome:

1. Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Basilica – The most beloved places to visit in Rome, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica are a must-see for your itinerary. We’ll let the tour guides fill you in on the sites but can recommend a great place to grab a drink before or after your Vatican City visit. If you’re craving the pub-vibe, look no further. Literally just steps from the Vatican, Ris Café has a good mix of locals, students, expats and tourists. And one of the best burgers in town!

2. Colosseum & Ancient Forum – Explore one of the most remarkable places to visit in Rome. Avoid expensive tourist traps and make your way over to neighboring Monti after some historical sightseeing. There are a few restaurants with this name in Rome but there is only one La Carbonara. This real-deal, no frills spot has been serving inexpensive yet equally delicious Roman pasta since 1906.

3. The Pantheon – The most unique and impressive monument in Rome, the Pantheon is rich with history. But if you are in the mood for some rich gelato, go to nearby Della Palma where they offer about 150 delicious and distinctive flavors.

4. Trevi Fountain – Your Rome itinerary would not be complete without a visit to the grandiose Trevi Fountain – the largest and most famous fountain in Rome. We recommend you grab a quick bite as this area is heavily populated and foot traffic can be fast moving. Within walking distance of the crowds is Pane e Salame, offering a selection of breads and cured meats in a chic setting.

5. Piazza Navona – A square famous for its three fountains by Bernini, there are a ton of options to eat and drink. But this area can be quite expensive and oftentimes the quality of the meal does not match the price. There is one place in particular that is loved by locals and tourists alike – Armando Al Pantheon. This institution has been around since 1961 and tables are always in demand, so be sure to book a reservation well in advance!

6. Campo de’ Fiori – A square that is market by day, pub destination by night, Campo de’ Fiori has many different options for dining. If you want lunch or a snack on the go as you continue your sightseeing adventures around Rome, Il Forno is the best place for pizza bianca (extremely light and delicate bread that you can eat plain or as a sandwich).

7. Spanish Steps – No food recommendations here – this area is strictly for shopping. Gucci, Versace, Armani, Cavalli, just to name a few of the big guys. And newly reopened, you can now enjoy the beautiful view of the Spanish Steps and snag a seat if the weather is nice enough. But if you’re feeling fancy and didn’t spend TOO much money shopping, Babington’s Tea Room & Cafe (established in 1893) is worth a visit for some high tea.

8. Castel Sant’Angelo – Originally built in the Roman era but successfully converted into a Papal prison in the 14th century, Castel Sant’Angelo’s history is as impressive as its structure. This massive castle and the beautifully sculptured bridge leading up to it has been featured in movies like Roman Holiday and The Great Beauty, and was even the last scene in Puccini’s famous opera, Tosca. http://castelsantangelo.beniculturali.it/

9. Galleria Borghese & the Borghese Gardens –  This art gallery housed in the former Villa Borghese includes 20 rooms containing the most recognizable works of art from Caravaggio, Raphael and Bernini. And outside lies the third largest public park in Rome. Weather permitting, you can spend an entire day picnicking or walking around the beautiful park grounds. http://www.galleriaborghese.it/it/

10. Piazza del Popolo – One of the larger squares in Rome, it literally means the “People’s Square”. But historically, the piazza lies inside the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls, where you can still see part of the ancient door.  http://www.turismoroma.it/cosa-fare/piazza-del-popolo?lang=en

Like a Local: Aperitivo

While walking through the streets of Rome, you may see a variety of bars offering what is commonly referred to as aperitivo. But what does it mean? In this article we hope to share this distinctly Italian practice with you, as well as give you some of our recommendations for the best aperitivo in the city.

What is Aperitivo? 

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(cc: pinkpangea.com)

The word “aperitivo” comes from the latin word “aperire” – meaning to open and stimulate the appetite.  Although the practice can be traced to the northern regions of Italy, today aperitivo is served across the country and is seen as being an important part of socialization in Italian culture.

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(cc: pata.it)

Although aperitivo may be different depending on where you go, it can be simplified in one fundamental concept: a drink paired with small snacks that is meant to open the appetite and kickstart digestion before dinner. Some locations keep it simple with small snacks such as olives, mixed nuts and potato chips; while others offer a full buffet of pastas, sandwiches, cheeses, etc. It is also becoming more common to find aperitivo featuring international dishes like chicken curry and cous cous. You will usually find aperitivo being served between 18:00 – 21:00 and range from 5€ to 15€. 

Traditionally, an aperitivo drink is made with a bitter liquor such as Campari or Aperol.

Aperitivo in Rome: The Spritz 

Traditional Italian Spritz cocktail against lake Como, Italy

(cc: lifeinitaly.com)

Although there are a few drinks that are traditionally served with aperitivo, the Spritz is probably the most popular in Rome.  The Spritz can be traced back to the Venice region in the 1800s when soldiers of the Austrian Empire asked for their wine to have a small amount of water sprayed into it to make it lights.  In the 1900s carbonated water was substituted for still.  Later, bitter liquors (such as Campari or Aperol) were added.

5 Aperitivo Spots in Rome 

1. Gusto al 28

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(cc: gusto.it)

Gusto al 28 is  wine bar located near Piazza Popolo, just off of Via del Corso.  In addition to their industrial-chic decor, they offer an extensive wine list and cocktail menu.  Their aperitivo is excellent – including pastas, pizza, and a variety of fried snacks.

Where: Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 28 (Via del Corso)

Price: around 10

2. Salotto 42

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(cc: zero.eu)

Nestled in the perfect central location, Salotto 42 offers artisinal cocktails and a generous aperitivo buffet.  You can also sip you cocktail while enjoying the view of Hadrian’s temple. Salotto 42 is also located close to the Pantheon, making it the perfect stop after our walking tour of Rome at night.

Where: Piazza di Petra, 42

Price: around 10

3. Fluid

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(cc: fodors.com)

This ultra-modern cocktail bar is one of the the best aperitivo bars in the city. Despite its, well, interesting decor Fluid is known for its extensive selection of liquors and cocktails.  In addition to their drink selection, Fluid has a huge aperitivo that features both Italian and international options.  It is also located just down the street from Piazza Navona – perfect for a post Ancient Tour aperitivo!

Where: Via del Governo Vecchio, 46

Price: 10€ – 15€

4. Freni e Frizione

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(cc: spottedbylocals.com)

This trendy bar is located in one of Rome’s trendiest neighbourhoods – Trastevere. With expert mixologists manning the bar, its no surprise that Freni e Frizione is one of the best places to go for a cocktail.  They also feature an aperitivo bar in the evenings with pizza, pastas, and salads as well as an outdoor terrace between Piazza Trilussa and the Tiber. Check out aperitivo at Frene and Frizione after our walking tour of Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto. If you want to learn more about Trastevere, head over to our previous post where we explore the area and give you our highlights. 

Where: Via del Politeama, 4/6

Price: around 10

5. Panella

panella

(cc: prontoroma.com)

Although their cocktails may be a bit pricey, you don’t want to miss out on Panella’s aperitivo.  They offer a wide selection of gourmet breads, fried foods, bruschette, crostini, and more.  Located in the trendy Monti district, Panella is also the perfect place to go for a stroll and a bite to eat near the Colosseum.

Where: Via Merulana, 54

Price: 15€-20€


Where is your favourite place to go for aperitivo in Rome? Let us know in the comments!

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