They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and when you get the chance to take a look around this historic city, you can fully appreciate the effort that was put in to create it! While I write about the famous Roman ruins in other articles, there are still many more important urban areas still somewhat intact for tourists to explore, and it is in these communal areas that you can also enjoy some amazing Italian food!
A central meeting place in Rome is Piazza Navona. Much like Trafalgar Square in London, Marienplatz in Munich, or Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Piazza Navona feels like the exact centre of the city, and has a lot of things going on in and around it throughout the day (and into the night).
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps that climb a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna and the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The monumental stairway of 135 steps was built in the early 18th century, and now provides a great area of the city to enjoy perusing a local flower market and taking in some of Rome’s top pizzerias!
Anywhere in Italy you can find delicious pizzas, but probably nowhere more so than Rome in terms of the sheer quantity available. Some of the best pizzerias in Italy are located here in the Italian capital, and some of them operate 24 hours per day – some even only open at night! How cool is that?!
When in Rome, eat as the Romans do (well, modern-day Romans). That means eating plenty of gelato, but luckily for us Rome is the home of literally hundreds of gelaterias, each of them serving up some of the most delectable Italian-style ice cream in the world! For me, Giolitti Gelateria is the best place and this has been in operation in the city for over 100 years, so it is a real Roman tradition! Check out my Gelato Pit Stop article for the other amazing places to eat gelato in Rome!
Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts from Italy – it has such a unique taste. There is a very famous dessert café in Rome called Pompi that sells the most delicious tiramisu. It is in most of the guidebooks for travelling in Rome, and I must also offer my own humble recommendation! Pompi also sells panna cotta and gelato, as well as other non-Italian sweet desserts. The classic tiramisu I ordered was given to me in a really neat takeaway box and I wish I could have kept it to take home with me!
Castel Sant’Angelo is a towering cylindrical building in Rome, that acts as Hadrian’s Tomb. It was actually commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by Popes as a fortress and is now a top-rated museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome and had great views across the city towards the Vatican.
The Catacomb of Callixtus is one of the best Catacombs of Rome, and is most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained tombs of several popes from the 2nd to the 4th centuries. At its peak, this fifteen hectare site would have held the remains of sixteen popes and fifty martyrs. Nine of those popes were buried in the Crypt of the Popes itself, to which Pope Damasus I built a staircase in the 4th century.
While many of Rome’s major tourist attractions are based around Roman ruins (i.e. the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum), some of the lesser-known sites are also worth visiting, and if you can find some traditional Italian cuisine while you’re there, then all the better!