rome

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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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

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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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The Holy Year of Mercy and the Holy Doors of Rome

What is Jubilee/the Holy Year? 

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The practice of celebrating the Holy Year has ancient roots and can be traced back to the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament.  The year-long celebration normally occurs every 25 years and feature special events, pilgrimages, and sacraments centered around the forgiveness of God, but the Pope also has the ability to proclaim extraordinary Holy Year if he so chooses.  During each Jubilee, the Holy Doors are opened and those who pass through are said to be absolved of all previous sin.

The first Holy Year or Jubilee occurred in 1300 after many – who had been experienced war and immense suffering – flocked to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. Since then, there have been  27 Holy Years including 3 that were extraordinary.  Extraordinary Jubilees (such as this year) are not previously planned and are called on by the Pope in order to emphasize a particular theme or event.  For example, the last extraordinary Jubilee was held in 1983 under Pope John Paul II to mark the 1950th anniversary of Jesus’ death.

What is the Holy Year of Mercy? 

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Pope Francis declared that December 8th 2015 – November 20th 2016 would be the 27th Holy Year and that it would focus on the concept of mercy.  According to interviews given by the Pope, this was done is response to “the world’s need for a revolution of tenderness”.  In other words, the Pope aimed to highlight the suffering, marginalization, and poverty that has permeated society in recent years and connect the suffering with those dedicated to providing support.  The Pope declared the official theme of the 2015 Jubilee would be “Merciful Like the Father”.

Why are the Holy Doors Significant? 

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Holy Doors are significant in the Catholic church as they are only opened during Jubilee years.  Each Holy Door is an entrance to a major Papal basilica and they are normally sealed from the inside using brick or cement. As previously mentioned, during Holy Years people are able to walk through these doors and receive what is said to be absolute forgiveness for their past sins.

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The most prominent Holy Door is located at St. Peter’s Basilica, however there are 3 other Holy Doors located in Papal basilicas in Rome – St. John Laternan’s, St. Mary Major’s, and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.

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There are also many other doors that have been given this status all over the world.  Check out this interactive map to see where they are located. 

Jubilee 2016: The Holy Year of Mercy

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Pope Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy will officially come to an end this Sunday when the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica are closed and resealed.  The pontiff’s Jubilee of Mercy including a variety of events that aimed to highlight “works of mercy” such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, etc.  It is estimated that over 20 million people made the pilgrimage to Rome over the course of the year to walk through the Holy Doors and St. Peter’s.

It is also estimated that over 1 billion people participated in the Year of Mercy worldwide.

Here are some of the highlights:

Pope Francis opens the holy door of the Bangui cathedral, Central African Republic, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. Pope Francis is in Africa for a six-day visit that is taking him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. (Giuseppe Cacace/Pool photo via AP)

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Pope Francis unofficially began this year’s Jubilee by opening the Holy Doors at a cathedral in the Central Republic of Africa

The Holy Year of Mercy officially commenced on the morning of December 8th, 2015 when the Pope opened the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Fiat Lux: Illuminating Our Common Home also took place on December 8th and featured images of our “shared natural world” being projected onto St. Peter’s.  The aim of the event was to inspire change regarding the current climate crisis across generations, cultures, languages, etc.

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The Holy Doors at St. John Lateran’s were opened on December 13th, 2015. The doors at St. Mary Major followed on the 1st of January, as well as the doors at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls on January 26th, 2017.

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Over the course of the Holy Year of Mercy, the Pope including various events dedicated to prisoners, the homeless, and disabled persons.  For example, closing events have including Pope Francis inviting prisoners and homeless persons into St. Peter’s Basilica for Holy Mass.


What was your favourite event of Jubilee 2016? Let us know in the comments! 

The Holy Doors may be closing tomorrow morning, however you can still experience St. Peter’s Basilica with Enjoy Rome.  Click here to book!

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By |November 19th, 2016|Best places in Rome, Events in Rome|0 Comments

Mercato Mondays: The New Testaccio Market

Although it has formed the reputation as being the hub of Rome’s nightlife, Testaccio has also been recognized as the original foodie dimercatomondaysstrict in Rome
where you can find both authentic cuisine and modern twists on classic dishes. The New Testaccio Market is
located in the heart of the Testaccio neighbourhood – a working class neighbourhood tucked away from the bustling centre of Rome.  The original market was located in the main piazza and was one of the oldest markets in the city.  In 2012, however, the New Testaccio Market was officially opened with 103 stands where vendors offer local products to buy and to taste.

The market offers an authentic local market experience in a quintessentially Roman distict;

That is why we chose the New Testaccio Market for this week’s Mercato Monday.

Where: Entrances from Via Aldo Manuzio, Via Galvani, and Via Franklin.  You can take Metro Line B, Piramide, Bus #23, or Tram #8 to get there.

When: Monday-Saturday, 7:00 to 15:30

Entrance: Free entry


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The market itself is located inside a modern building strewn with skylights that keep the natural sunlight pouring in. This market is the place to go to get basically everything you need under one roof.  From fresh produce, to high quality meats/cheeses, to cannolo, to wine –  Mercato Testaccio has it all.  There are even some vendors selling kitchenware, clothing, and other home goods.  It is the perfect place to go to experience a slice of local life. Here are some of our highlights:

Mordi e Vai is a must try at Testaccio market.  This Roman deli offers authentic Roman stuffed sandwiches.  The shop owner and chef Sergio has transformed traditional cucina Romana into an assortment of savoury sandwiches including tripe, meatballs, braised beef, and sausage – all served on freshly baked bread.

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La Prosciutteria di Enzo e Lina is the place to go for meats and cheeses.  The shop owner prides himself on high quality products and will tell you all about it if you ask.  Here you can choose from a wide selection of meats and cheeses from Norcia – the headliner is definitely the prosciutto.

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Tucked away in the centre of the market you will find Le Mani in Pasta where you have the opportunity to purchase fresh noodles and fully prepared pasta dishes to take home or indulge in their dishes on site.  Options include classic Roman dishes such as carbonara and cacio e pepe with truffles. All of their pastas are made from organic products and are hand-made in front of your eyes.

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On the outskirts of the market you will also find a vino sfuso.  Vino sfuso is traditionally known as wine that comes from grapes that are not good enough to be bottled.  Nowadays, vino sfuso locations can be found all over the centres of Italy’s major cities offering a wide selection of prosecco and wines for incredibly low prices and the quality will suprise you! At Mercato Testaccio’s vino sfuso you can grab a glass of wine or prosecco for 2€ and enjoy it while to explore the rest of the market.

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While strolling through the market you will also find a variety of fruit/vegetable vendors selling the fresh seasonal produce and artisanal products such as sauces, spreads, etc.

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Last but not least is Strit Fud, just on the edge of the courtyard.  Although this place may not be the most traditional in practice, it is worth drawing some attention to.  Strit Fud offers take-away meals that have been heavily influenced by classic Roman recipes. However, the chef has used his creative license to create modern versions of cucina Romana – such as his take on pizza.

One of the great things about Mercato Testaccio is that it is so much more than just a place to buy food.  It truly is an authentic cultural space where you can partake in Rome’s version of la dolce vita.


Whose your favourite vendor at Mercato Testaccio? Let us know in the comments! 

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Mercato Mondays: Mercato Centrale, Termini

In 2014, Mercato Centrale opened in the heart of Florence and it was a huge success. Thanks to the same team, Rome now has a Mercato Cemercatomondaysntrale of its own inside Termini Station.  Although this market does not exactly convey the traditional Italian market experience, it does bring together some of the region’s best food producers.  That is why we chose to explore the new Mercato Central Roma for Enjoy Rome’s first Mercato Monday.

Where: Termini Station – accessible from Via Golitti, 36

When: 7:oo – 00:00 daily


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Termini station is Rome’s main hub for public transportation as well as trains outside of the city.  The building itself was inaugurated in 1950 and takes its name from the nearby Baths of Diocletian (thermae in latin).  The newest addtion to Termini (Mercato Centrale Roma) officially opened on October 5th – transforming the station into a new cultural and culinary centre.

The first floor of the market houses 15 vendors offering some of Italy’s culinary classics as well as some modern twists.  Don’t let the food court-style seating fool you, each vendor prides themselves on the quality and authenticity of their food. There is an abundance of choices to satisfy any craving, but here are some of our highlights:

Baker Gabriele Bonci has brought his famous pizza al taglio (Roman pizza by the slice), foccacia, and cakes to the market.

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For an authentic selection of meats and charchuterie, Mercato Centrale has recruited renowed butcher Roberto Liberati. 

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Beppe e i Suoi Formaggi – one of Rome’s best wine and cheese bars – can also be found in the market and offers an impressive selection of cheeses from Piemonte and Sardinia.

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It is hard not to notice the enourmous marble chimney at the centre of the market. Composed of Portuguese marble, this chimney was designed by Angiolo Mazzoni in the 1930s and acts as a focal point for the market.

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On the second floor you will find additional dining space, a pantry-like grocer, as well as a small coffeeshop.  However, the gem of the second floor is Michelin star chef Oliver Glowig‘s restaurant.

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The third floor houses space for cultural events and seminars – both private and public.

There is no denying the chaos and somewhat daunting nature of Termini Station, but the new Mercato Centrale is changing that by providing a welcoming environment for both tourists and locals alike.

 

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5 Must-Try Gelaterias in Rome

No trip to Italy is complete without a cup (or 3) of gelato, but the number of Roman gelaterias can make it difficult to know which to choose. Below are 5 gelato shops – recommended by our staff –  you don’t want to miss! Each shop is also easily accessible from one of our tours. There’s no better way to end an afternoon of touring the Vatican or the Colosseum than with a serving of this delicious Italian treat!

1. Gelateria Frigidarium 

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Don’t let the line steer you away, it is definitely worth the wait! Located just a short walk from Piazza Navona, Frigidarium offers seasonal flavours and aritisanal craftsmanship. For all the chocolate lovers out there, Frigidarium also gives you the option of dipping your cone in freshly melted chocolate – think Dairy Queen dipped cone but 1000 times better.

Where to find it: Via del Governo Vecchio, 112 (3 minutes walking from Piazza Navona)

Our recommendation: Lemon and Raspberry

2. Gelateria Della Palma 

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This centrally located shop offers more than 150 flavours to choose from! Need we say more?

Where to find it: Via Della Maddalena, 19-23 (5 minutes walking from Pantheon)

Our recommendation: stracchietella & pistacchio
3. Gelateria Fassi 

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Operating since 1880, Gelateria Fassi is the place to go for a traditional gelato experience. This family run establishment is known for its artisanal flavour choices that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Hint hint: they are also known for their tiramisu.

Where to find it: Via Principe Eugenio, 65 (not far from Termini Station)

Our recommendation: Fiore di Latte
4. Gelateria dei Gracchi

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Just a short walk from the Vatican, this charming shop is your go-to for organic and gluten free ingredients.

Where to find it: Via dei Gracchi, 272

Our reccomendation: Banana and hazelnut
5. I Caruso 

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Also located near Termini station, I Caruso is the place to go for simple, fresh and artisanal flavours. Their hand whipped panna will also leave you dreaming.

Where to find it: Via Collina, 13

Our recommendation: anything with panna on top, also be sure to try their coffee!

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Do you have any gelato favourites in the city? Leave a comment and let us know! 

 

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