Saturday, 24 October 2015

Claire's Top 10: Rome

Having been drawn back to the ancient streets of the eternal city 3 times over the past few years, I've had plenty of time to explore the big attractions and the lesser known corners of Rome.

Whilst there's always something new and beautiful behind every corner, there are some places that draw me back time and time again!

Here are my top ten Rome experiences! 

1. The Colosseum and Palatine Hill

If there's one thing you see in Rome, make sure it's the Colosseum. Yes it's filled with tourists, but it's well worth the crowds. For a more relaxed experience, visit in the early evening and enjoy the view from one of the nearby bars at sunset. Palatine hill is often forgotten but offers a quiet setting and beautiful views of the city.

2. St Peters and the Vatican

Even if you aren't religious there's something about being in St Peters Square for Sunday mass. Enjoy listening the the Popes speech then visit the basilica, not forgetting the catacombs and the Vatican Museums.

3. Campo de' Fiori 

Mingle with the Iocals at this bustling market which runs daily. Fresh fruit, produce and flowers will fill your senses and it's great fun to buy bruschetta mix and see which country the vendor thinks you are from (I got Spanish, and was so flattered!) 

4. Villa Borghese 

Sunny afternoons are best spent inVilla Borghese away from the crowds. There are plenty of shady spots around and undoubtedly a man strumming a guitar. Grab a bottle of wine and some fresh bread and ham and make a picnic of it!

5. Mouth of truth

Re-live the classic Roman Holiday scene with a trip to the Mouth of Truth. There's usually a queue but it moves quickly, is free to visit and is the perfect place to start a walk along the river. 

6. Piazza della Rontula

This is my favourite square in Rome, and is watched over by the historic Pantheon. Horse drawn cartridges combine with suited business men and women in stilettos (on those cobbles!) giving this small square a unique atmosphere. Most tourists only pass through on their way to the Pantheon or Piazza Navona. Sit back, relax and watch the world go by. 

7. Trastrevere

The city's up and coming neighbourhood is where all the locals hangout. Nip over for dinner and drinks at one of the amazing wine bars and enjoy a street performance in the square. 

8. Trevi Fountain 

Dreams of Rome are made as you round the corner and are quite frankly confronted by the awesome and imposing Trevi Fountain, the city's most dramatic and powerful fountain. Toss a few coins and make a wish! 

9. The Tiber

The tree lined paths of the Tiber are great for a morning stroll and the bridges afford amazing views of St Peters basilica especially from the Ponte Umberto not far from Piazza Navona on the east and Piazza Cavour on the west. 

10. Villa D'Este

Hop the train from Termini to Tivoli (30 mins) and pay a visit to Villa D'Este. This beautiful Renaissance villa features some impressive rooms and a stunning garden filled with fountains of all shapes and sizes.

What's your favourite things to do or see in Rome?