ROME IN A DAY: TOP THINGS TO DO AND SEE!
There are many ways to explore Rome but a walking tour is highly recommended if you want to enjoy the top sights and discover the hidden gems when you visit the historic center (also my favorite city in the world!).
I’ve lived in Rome for more than 3 years and saying that I love it is an understatement! I had the possibility to discover a lot about this marvelous city. But what if you only have 1 day to visit Rome? What can’t you absolutely miss?
In this case, I highly recommend you to choose a good tour experience in the Eternal City. I actually tried a few ones (when I had friends visiting and I couldn’t bother to find a parking spot in the center (go there by car and you’ll know what I mean!!)
The one I liked the most was Segway Rome Tours, a team of local experts that organize different itineraries on segway including the most popular spots and the unsung treasures. I mean, how cool is that? Super fun!
I definitely prefer these tours compared to travel guide books, because I like to talk with locals, and I highly recommend you try it too. With one warning: I’m Italian so I’m used to my people but Romans are…how can I put i, very colorful and expressive and loud! But , trust me on that, once you overcome the initial “shock” they will be the best part of your experience!
According to the writer Anatole Broyard, “Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city”, so I planned a route devoted to the most evocative places easily reachable on foot.
The iconic Trevi Fountain was restored in 2015 and is a bright jewel that attracts millions of people every year. Do you know that here rises Palazzo Poli, seat of National Chalcography Institute for Graphics.
Here you can see temporary exhibitions and admire the collection of prints, engraving tools, machinery and ancient presses. A few people know Palazzo Poli, the backdrop to the Trevi Fountain: this palace was designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, the most prominent architect of XVIII century in Italy.
During the tour, I discovered a very interesting fact: visitors to Rome throw approximately 2,300 Euro worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain every day!
The highest spot in Rome
The top of St. Peter’s Basilica is the highest point in Rome and no building can be higher than it. Despite that, there is an exception: Villa Medici, built at the half of XVI century on Pincio hill, has the same height of St. Peter’s Basilica.
I visited Villa Medici, seat of the French Academy, buying a ticket that includes a guided tour of its enchanting gardens and its elegant rooms. Recently its public gardens were elected the most beautiful in Italy, according to the contest “Il Parco Più Bello d’Italia”.
From the top of Villa Medici, I enjoyed the panoramic view of the entire city, a skyline that left a lasting impression on my heart. When I’m on holiday I like to taste new dishes and sip nice drinks: at Villa Medici has just been opened Colbert bistro, which offers breakfast and lunch from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
This bistro owes its name to Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Minister under the rule of King Louis XIV in the XVII century.
Forum Boarium and Temple of Portunus
The Forum Boarium was the cattle “forum venalium” of Ancient Rome and was the site of the original docks of the city.
I suggest seeing the Temple of Portunus to all those want to discover one of the best-preserved temples of the Roman age. Located at Piazza della Bocca della Verità, once the seat of Forum Boarium, this temple is an unsung gem, was built between 120 and 80 B.C. then converted into a church in 872.
In 1916, 100 years ago, the temple was restored but, at the moment, is close to the public. For more info about archaeological sites in Rome, I suggest checking this website.
If you are in this area on Saturday or Sunday, don’t forget to shop at the Campagna Amica market on Via di San Teodoro, when you can meet local producers and buy the best food delicacies in Rome.
A Caravaggio’s masterpiece in a small church
Probably you already know Navona square (Piazza Navona): within walking distance from this big square, there is a small church, the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, situated in the piazza of the same name. This church was built during the Renaissance and hosts two masterpieces: the fresco of the Prophet Isaiah by Raphael and the Madonna di Loreto by Caravaggio.
This is a precious Baroque painting and I think it’s very amazing to find works of art hidden in the heart of the historic center.
The Caravaggio’s painting depicts a moment where everyday common man encounters the divine, just as the miracle of beauty that appears in Rome streets!
The Eternal City is the land of astonishment, are you ready to be caught by its charm?