Start your day off in Monti, one of Rome’s trendiest neighborhoods, for a taste of small-town charm in the heart of the city. Order a cappuccino and cornetto at La Bottega del Caffè, a little café with outdoor seating that spills out into the neighborhood’s beloved ‘piazzetta’ and makes for wonderful people-watching. After a wander around the neighborhood, head down the street to take in the city’s most famous site.
The Colosseum is one of the main draws of Rome: the world’s largest amphitheater, it was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater because it was built during the Flavian dynasty between 70-80 AD. The Colosseum was a recreational and gathering space that was used for gladiatorial contests, public spectacles, historical re-enactments, theatrical performances and executions and it could accomodate around 65,000 spectators. Next, make your way down Via dei Fori Imperiali, past Piazza Venezia and wander into the Trevi district to see Rome’s most famous fountain.
The Baroque-style Trevi Fountain dates back to 1762 though a fountain had existed at this location since ancient times: it is located at the junction of three roads and at the ‘terminal point’ of the Acqua Vergine, one of the city’s most important aqueducts. Gian Lorenzo Bernini drew the initial sketches for the fountain but they weren’t carried out until a century later when Nicola Salvi took over the project. According to legend, tourists who want to return to Rome should toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain; an estimated €3,000 are thrown into the fountain each day. Next, walk up to see the Spanish Steps.
Another Baroque jewel in the city, the Spanish Steps are one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome. The monumental Baroque staircase was built between 1723-25 to link the imposing Trinità dei Monti church, under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, with Piazza di Spagna, property of the Bourbon Spanish Embassy. French diplomat Étienne Gueffier funded the 135 steps in his will and the urban project was carried out by architect Francesco de Sanctis. The Spanish Steps were popularized by the 1953 film Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Now it’s time for lunch!
Enoteca Corsi is a historic little restaurant that serves up classic Roman dishes near the Pantheon; it’s a favorite with suited businessmen enjoying a leisurely meal and the atmosphere is casual and friendly. This lunchtime-only eatery with rotating daily specials using seasonal ingredients and an extensive wine-list. The artichoke lasagna is divine and they serve gnocchi on Thursdays as per Italian tradition. After lunch, you’ll want a coffee to fuel your afternoon walking tour.
Located around the corner from the Pantheon, La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D’oro has been brewing coffee since 1944. The café sources its beans from Central and South America to make its blends, the most famous isregina dei caffé (queen of coffee), a blend exported worldwide. Its most famous concoction, however, is its potent granita di caffè, a highly caffeinated and extremely flavorful shaved iced coffee topped with luscious whipped cream. Take it outside and enjoy your coffee while you admire the majesty of the Pantheon.
The Pantheon is one of Rome’s best preserved ancient monuments and a testament to architectural skill and engineering. Emperor Hadrian built the Roman temple in 126 AD on the site of an earlier temple built during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It remained in continuous use through history and began to be used as a church in the 7th century. With its large circular domed ceiling, the temple was most likely intended to symbolise the heavenly sphere; and the word Pantheon in Greek means ‘all the gods’. From here, you’re just a short walk away from Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona is a focal point of Rome’s historic center and boasts a plethora of cultural sites and monuments, ornate fountains, shops and plenty of eateries in its vicinity. Built over the ancient circus of Domitian, it has maintained the original oval shape of the stadium and boasts three exemplary fountains, including Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. Piazza Navona is dominated by Sant’Agnese in Agone, a 17th-century church, and contains the overlooked but worthwhile Palazzo Braschi museum that catalogues the history of Rome with art from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. Cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele to visit nearby Campo de’ Fiori.
Campo de’ Fiori, another one of Rome’s famous piazzas, is a bustling square that dates back to the Middle Ages. The name translates to ‘Field of Flowers’ because the piazza was originally a meadow of flowers rather than a thriving commercial square. Today, Campo de’ Fiori hosts a daily market in the mornings, with local produce, flowers and Italian delicacies, and the square comes alive at night when throngs of young Romans gather here to drink at the many bars in the vicinity. Are you ready for some vino yet?
Unwind after your busy day of sightseeing with a wine tasting dinner at Rimessa Roscioli, a wine tasting room near Campo de’ Fiori. The team of sommeliers will guide you through a carefully prepared wine and food pairing where you’ll learn about the breadth of Italy’s enological history you taste a range of wines from different regions in Italy accompanied by artisanal meats and cheeses (plus a plate of pasta and dessert). The dinners are offered daily but reservations should be made in advance.