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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

The Holy Year of Mercy and the Holy Doors of Rome

What is Jubilee/the Holy Year? 

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(cc: giubileopapafrancesco.it)

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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(cc: giubileopapafrancesco.it)

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)

(cc: yahoo.com/news)

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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(cc: telegraph.co.uk)

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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(cc: telegraph.co.uk)

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