La Dolce Vita, eternal city, lots of sights and great shopping - this is Rome. With its many different facets, it is the ideal place for artists, fashionistas and the culture hungry. The classic sights of Italy’s capital, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain, are just a few of the many highlights that Rome has to offer. Even an extended shopping tour in Rome is not to be scorned – thanks to Italian designers. If all this does not attract you to Rome, perhaps its very special flair will: La Dolce Vita. End the evening off on the Spanish Steps or at one of the beautiful piazzas. Pamper yourself with traditional Italian food or wholesome snacks like pizza or pasta. Cool clubs, hip bars and the bustle of the streets until early in the morning will also take the party-goers and nightlife visitors under the spell of Rome. But be careful: whoever has been to Rome, will want to return as soon as possible.
Rome at a glance: The most important areas
Rom © Residenza di Ripetta
Quirinale / Trevi: Trevi Fountain, tourists, ice cream parlors
The district fascinates in a contradictory way: Here, on the one hand, tourists cavort around the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), on the other hand, ice cream parlors, cozy cafes and wine bars invite you to stay and linger. Good starting point to attractions such as the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Roman Forum and Colosseum.
Sightseeing & Government District: Symbolizing the Quirinale / Trevi district, the Baroque Trevi Fountain (Palazzo Poli) is surrounded by tall palaces. No less fascinating is the Quirinal Palace, the residence of the Italian President with the obelisk in front of it and the adjoining Italian Constitutional Court.
Art and culture: A collection of paintings that once belonged to the powerful noble family Collona is housed in the Galleria Collona (Piazza SS. Apostoli). Art lovers will be particularly impressed by the striking gallery space. The rush of visitors is kept within limits throughout the year, which ensures ideal viewing conditions. Also magnificent is the National Gallery Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica with outstanding works of art - not just Baroque paintings.
Ice cream parlors & celebrities: Quirinale / Trevi is overrun by ice cream vendors and ice cream establishments, such as San Crispino, which offers a gigantic selection of fancy varieties (such as lemon liquorice). It is frequented by Italy’s political celebrities. In the evening, the area transforms into a lively pub district.
Bustling markets & elegant boutiques: Local favorite and popular market on Via Principe Amedeo: Fresh vegetables and fragrant spices attract a diverse crowd. Elegant boutiques such as those by Fausto Santini, where dream shoes and designer models from previous collections can be snatched up at significantly reduced prices. No bargains to be had at Maurizio Denisi’s boutique, but furniture and decoration accessories from the ‘40s as a consolation. The who’s who of international celebrities buy treasures from renowned designers at degli effeti.
Trastevere: lively, hip, original & multicultural
The name Trastevere, meaning "beyond the Tiber, " says it all: the abundance of sights worth seeing in the west and famous Roman classics connected to the historic center by a bridge. Old charming residential buildings, narrow streets, classic photo opportunities and plenty of gastronomic highlights.
Church Sightseeing: At the center of the "village, " Trastevere is the Piazza St. Maria di Trastevere, the basilica here is one of the oldest churches in Rome. Other important churches are the Santa Cecilia and the San Francesco a Ripa. Also worth seeing are the many fountains and the equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi in Piazzale Garibaldi with magnificent views of Rome. Trastevere also boasts idyllic parks, an ancient amphitheater and the monastery of Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo, with its connecting museum.
Multicultural, young & original: Trastevere was once a settlement area for workers, sailors, fishermen, migrants and Jews. It has remained an international district to this day and is therefore very popular with young and athletic people. Due to its seclusion without being too far from the city center, the district attracts locals and tourists alike, especially in the evenings.
Flea Markets & Multicultural Markets: The flea market, Porta Portese is an institution in the city for residents and tourists alike. It takes place every Sunday from early morning until about 2pm. The multicultural market in the Piazza di Testaccio, east of the Tiber is, except for Sundays, a daily event, open until 1pm. Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat products and trendy shoes (cheap brand shoes) are available here year-round. Students and collectors love the smorgasbord of DVDs and books available at the Liberia del cinema on the Via Fienaroli.
Hip Nightlife: On the east side in Testaccio, there are countless bars and discos that are barely noticeable during the day. The L’Alibi is a LGBTQ-friendly pub but frequented by everyone in the summer. The nightlife is also active in the west, but it is not as loud. Here, the hip crowd prefers sipping cocktails at Bartuga, or going to the Bluesnight at Big Mama - or just hanging out in one of the many nice, cozy bars.
Colosseum: Cosmopolitan, centrally located and off the beaten track
Roman Forum and Capitol are united by architectural masterpieces, remains of imperial villas, romantic gardens and scenic viewpoints. The Palatine Hill, the most well-known hill, enthrones the Forum, and whoever climbs it, is rewarded with fantastic views of Rome, especially in the evening.
Culture: Impressive monuments are traditionally known to be the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. But the true birthplace of Rome is the Palatine hill (Palace ruins), which dominates the Forum. But although this area is a historical and cultural central point, the many secluded places to relax are just as captivating.
Traditional Cuisine: The Colosseum district welcomes you whole-heartedly and invites you to have a bite to eat. Traditional Roman cuisine is served at the famous Taverna Romana on Via Madonna di Monti. If you enjoy unusual cuisine, you should stop by at Isidore. The district’s number one meeting place is I Buoni Amici - for over 15 years it has been in the talented, loving hands of two brothers.
Cosmopolitan Nightlife: As far as bars and pubs are concerned, it’s cooler and less classic here, and for that reason all the more wacky and not only for a young crowd. If you’re a student, you should go to Shamrock - an Irish joint with a small stage for occasional live performances. The Oppio Caffé surprises with stylish steel and glass interiors behind old walls and a dreamlike night view of the illuminated Colosseum. “I’m coming out” is the name of the game, but it is not only a gay bar.
Creative shopping: This region is also more colorful in terms of shopping. The usual hawkers sell their wares around the sightseeing classics, but there are also unknown designers and labels; you might even catch a glimpse of them sewing. A trip to Sannio Market (Mercato Via Sannio) with their new and used “junk, " between November and April, is a must.
Borgo & Prati: Vatican & traditional cafes
Borgo is considered one of the oldest parts of Rome (the area between the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo). A district with medieval charm, narrow streets and partly hidden cafes, restaurants and small but lovely tourist shops. The general public includes the "young at heart" who quite literally want to be where the party, and the Pope, is.
Vatican & Sightseeing: Borgo & Prati: Between Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican. True to the saying: "If you didn’t visit St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo then you haven’t been to Rome, " the two magnificent buildings of antiquity should not be missed. Another classic of the district is St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican with the corresponding St. Peter’s Basilica. Also a must: the bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo, where there are always hordes of tourists despite countless art students who go to the bridge to sketch the impressive angels there. Notable must-see churches of Borgo include Santa Maria in Traspontina and Santo Spirito in Sassia.
Souvenir shops & insider tips: You’ll find everything that you need on the main streets, like post offices, souvenir shops and pharmacies, but off the beaten track are hidden gems for collectors and connoisseurs: behind the Castel Sant’Angelo, there is a very well-stocked wine cellar (Enoteca Costantini) and on the Via Germanico a well sorted factory outlet (Cose Di Maglia) with reduced goods by various international fashion designers.
Pubs & live music: Although the first impression of the Via della Conciliazione suggests otherwise - to the left and right of St. Peter’s main thoroughfare in Rome’s historic center are small alleyways with pubs offering live music. Due to the wide range of jazz, rock / pop or blues you will find a colorful audience that knows how to have fun. There are numerous small, traditional cafes, bars and clubs, where you can enjoy a coffee during the day and dance or drink the night away.
Parioli / Borghese: Expensive residential area, luxury & green
Paroli / Borghese is considered the most expensive residential area of Rome. Luxury boutiques, magnificent houses, parks and green spaces dominate the neighborhood. There are also major sporting and cultural sites here, in the northern center of Rome, such as the Spanish Steps, as well as upmarket boutiques and chic cafés.
Relaxation in the park: In the green lungs of Rome, the park of Villa Borghese, old and young alike relax. It is an oasis for recreational activities on the lake, such as rowing, in the midst of impressive architectural monuments. Museums, venerable sports venues or impressive art exhibitions come together in the park.
Luxury Mile & Architecture: The views that Pinicio hill offer could not be more impressive. From the top of the hill, Rome lies at your feet in all its glory. At the bustling Piazza Spagna, you will find typical urban architecture and the most famous steps in Rome: the picturesque Spanish Steps up to the Trinità Monti church - and all the way around it, you can catch glimpses of magnificent facades and luxury shops.
Theaters & open-air concerts: To the north of the city is the Auditorium Parco della Musica. Together, the three concert halls comprise about 5000 seats and operate around an open-air stage.
Luxury shopping: Piazza del Popolo is connected to Piazza Venezia through Rome’s main shopping street, Via del Corso. This is the place to see and be seen. It is also a shoe lover’s paradise offering sandals, sneakers and pumps, shoes for trendsetters: elegant and expensive. The Spanish Steps lead directly into Via dei Condotti and straight to shops selling haut couture.
Culinary & Gourmet: Where the visual highlights are, culinary trends are set. Upscale gastronomy in high-end restaurants with gorgeous chandeliers can be found here as well as traditional pizzerias, vegetarian gourmet oases and creative cuisine (Via del Corso).
Centro Storico: Historic center, jumble sales, lively
Magnificent palaces, wacky but contemplative places that inspire culture fans during the day and invite you to chat and enjoy good music at night. You can also take a tour of Rome’s underworld in the old town.
Baroque flair & street performers: The center of the vibrant old town is the Piazza Navona with its four-stream fountain and the masterly Baroque grouping of palaces and churches. Cozy cafe bars line the square. Street artists from all over the world can get on stage here and test their popularity. The Pantheon, the only complete domed building from antiquity and architectural, historical wonder is located in Centro Storico.
Colorful bustle vs. Café society: There is a hustle and bustle of activity around Piazza Navona all day long. By day and night, it is the ideal setting to cool off at the famous water fountain and to chat over coffee or a glass of wine. It is much quieter to the east of the piazza, where many small, tranquil cafes can be found, the perfect setting for a contemplative break.
Ice Cream Parlors & Trend Bars: While Piazza Navona shines with pomp and splendor, the Campo de’ Fiori is more modest, but no less lively. In the historic center of Palazzo Montecitorio, the most famous ice cream parlor in Rome, the Giolotti, offers more than 100 types of ice cream. John Travolta and Sharon Stone have enjoyed ice cream here in the past. In the picturesque square with an unpeaceful past, there is a lush market during the day, beloved by the locals, and relaxed nightlife at night. The numerous trendy bars and pubs offer a colorful music program.
Second-hand & Jumble sales: The selection, the service, the ambiance - it’s somehow different, the small business that has become an institution: Luna e l’altra. Plus, it’s iconic. The young at heart appreciate the flair of shopping in this district. Fashion, odds and ends, junk or jewelry, sometimes hidden, but always found. In addition to the colorful market, the leather factory on Via dei Chiavari should be part of your shopping tour.
Rome – good to know:
Shopping in Rome: In Rome, there are no department stores or supermarkets, where virtually "everything" can be found. Instead, you have to go from shop to shop. In the center, the shops are largely geared towards fashion and food is quite expensive, so it is worth your while to leave the city center. Simply incomprehensible: meat is available at the butcher, fruits and vegetables at the market, but everything else is "discretionary." So there may be eggs for sale at the local wine store and shaving cream at the greengrocer’s.
Road Traffic & Directions: Rome’s streets are chaotic, parking is not available: rules are not followed according to universal standards. Traffic lights are only for orientation, no cars stop at crosswalks if nobody is crossing there. So, just wait for a gap and start walking. It is best to arrive by plane or train (Termini Station) and use Rome’s well-developed public road network. You cannot purchase tickets on the buses; instead tickets (day ticket) can be bought at the Termini, tobacco shops and newspaper stands.
Rome rules: Italians eat with gusto and are very strict regarding the smoking ban in restaurants. A violation can cost you 250 euros. Surprisingly, there are so-called "Nasonis" (small wells with drinking water) located throughout the whole city - make sure to pay attention, because the water at the Schmuckbrunnen is not for drinking. Lunch is usually between 1pm and 3pm and dinner from 8pm until midnight. From 9pm, it gets very busy and everything is extremely packed.
Sightseeing buses: Rome is best seen by foot. But if you are not so quick on your feet and still want to be flexible, you should try the numerous hop-on-hop-off bus tours with the double-decker buses: Book a ticket and explore Rome at your own pace. The bus stops at the most popular places and attractions, and it can be boarded or disembarked at your own discretion. Information about the sites is available via audio headphones.