Quando a Roma

by Tessa Loftus

Rome is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the entire world. It also attracts millions of tourists every year. While the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain are also a must see, it’s important to highlight some maybe lesser-known attractions. Many people do not have the time to travel for extensive periods, nor do they have the luxury of traveling extravagantly. For those of you traveling on a budget, getting to see the best of Rome is completely doable.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona. Photo by Ignacio Garcia

Whether you are a study abroad student or someone just looking to get away, touring Rome can be overwhelming. In order to really get a feel for the city and all it has to offer, here are the Top Five Places to see in Rome before you leave.

1. Campo di Fiori

Literally translated, Campo di Fiori means “Field of Flowers”. At one point in history it was, but now it has been transformed into a lovely public square enclosed by restaurants. During the day, the area serves as a giant farmers market that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. Campo di Fiori has a very lively nightlife, with great bar deals and hundreds of people enjoying a late dinner, or crossing over the bridge from Trastevere. Campo di Fiori is full of people night and day, and it is without a doubt an unforgettable experience. If you are looking to get your fill of pizza on your trip, Campo di Fiori has a pizzeria called Forno, which is highly recommended. If you are looking to go to Campo di Fiori at night, there is a hookah lounge called Sciam. Decorated and a very tranquil Moroccan theme, you can get unlimited hookah and a complimentary drink for 7 euros each.

2. Trastevere

Across the bridge is the equally lively Trastevere. Trastevere attracts many study abroad students as well as younger Italians. While walking through Trastevere during the day, you’ll find plenty of unique boutiques and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets. At night, even more people flood the streets and hang out with friends enjoying the Roman nightlife. 

3. The Villa Borghese

Also a must see when traveling to Rome. The Borghese Gardens are comparative to Central Park in New York City and its beautiful scenery only enhances your Roman experience. The Borghese family was a noble family who rose to fame in the 16th century. Within the Villa, there are all sorts of attractions. There is a terrace that overlooks the whole city, several walkways and lake to walk around. The Villa Borghese is also home to several museums like the Galleria Borghese and the Galleria Nazionale d’arte Moderna. For Renaissance and Baroque art lovers, the Galleria Borghese houses Bernini sculptures and Titian’s paintings. The Galleria Nazionale d’arte Moderna currently has a Duchamp exhibit and features artists like van Gogh, Klimt, Gauguin and many more. Many priceless artifacts and artworks and found all over Rome, and taking advantage of these opportunities only enhances your experience.

4. Ostia Antica

For those of you who don’t have the time to make it to Napoli or Pompei, Ostia Antica is a great alternative. Accessible by train and only 45 minutes from the Termini Station, Ostia Antica used to be a harbor city and the main seaport to Rome. Ostia Antica is also extremely well-preserved and for only 10 euros, you have access to the entire town and can walk around and look at the frescos and mosaics. The town is also massive and visiting would take up a good chunk of the day. 

5. Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a city square just north of Campo di Fiori and right near the Pantheon. In the center of the square, there is the famous Fountain of Four Rivers, with one of Rome’s many Egyptian obelisks in the middle. This Roman landmark is great to walk through, as it also has a huge market for selling artwork. Many people come here during the day just to hang around and enjoy the typically beautiful weather. 

The above list does not even begin to cover the bulk of Rome’s attractions. There is always so much to see and do and eat in Rome, so don’t settle for just visiting the Colosseum, Pantheon and Vatican (although if you are near the Vatican, highly recommended dessert places include Old Road Gelato and the 24 hour bakery called Dolce Maniera). While those are considered staples of touring Rome, they aren’t the only landmarks that capture the unique beauty and quirky aspects of life in Rome. Try to venture past the tourist areas to enjoy the cobblestone streets, the hectic traffic and the laidback nature of the Italians. After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!