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Category: Italy

12 Fantastic Things To Do in Calabria

Calabria is usually not the first place that tourists head to in Italy, but it’s one of the country’s most fascinating regions. If you’re looking to do something more adventurous…

Calabria is usually not the first place that tourists head to in Italy, but it’s one of the country’s most fascinating regions.

If you’re looking to do something more adventurous and visit this beautiful region in Italy, check our recommendations on the things to do in Calabria.

12 Fantastic Things To Do In Calabria

See The Castello Aragonese

The Aragonese castle is one of the most notable landmarks of Calabria.

Although referred to as Aragonese, its origins date to a much older date.

It is believed that the castle has already existed in 536, on a place of the preexisting Roman stronghold.

However, thanks to Ferdinand I of Aragon, in 1458 the castle was expanded to its largest size ever.

Nowadays it’s mostly used for art exhibitions.

Walk Along The Lungomare Falcomata

One of Reggie’s highlights is walking along this promenade filled with shops, restaurants, and benches along the way. The views of Sicily and Etna are terrific.

Calabria has some of the cleanest air in Europe, so you’ll enjoy the fresh breeze while walking along this promenade. There are also a lot of tropical trees and monuments lined along it.

Gabriele D’Annunzio, an Italian writer, poet, and journalist called Lungomare Falcomata “the most beautiful kilometer of Italy”.

There’s a Greek theater, known as the Arena of the Strait, which hosts cultural events during the Summer months.

When you’re starting to feel tired, get ice-cream in one of many gelateria shops, sit on a bench and enjoy the lovely views.

See Art at the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia

This is one of the best museums in the Calabria region.

It’s well known for housing a collection from sites in Magna Grecia – a description given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy.

The museum has a rich collection of jewelry, coins, medals, and the bronze tables.

A marble head of Appolo from Ciro and the Head of the Philosopher from Porticello are the most popular exhibits.

Relax at Beaches

If you’re looking for an off the beaten path summer destination, Calabria is the place to go.

With many amazing beaches, beautiful villages and fantastic food, there’s no wonder why Calabria is becoming a popular place for holiday seekers.

Some of the best beaches are:

CAMINIA– Surrounded by cliffs, this pebbled sand beach is one of Calabria’s hidden gems.  It’s ideal for relaxing and swimming in the pristine waters.

PRAIA A MARE– This beach lies on the Tyrrhenian coast and is famous for Dino Island – a World Heritage site, known for its six sea caves.  It’s a fantastic place for swimming and scuba diving.

If you get tired of the water (if that’s even possible ;)) you can go trekking in the nearby Pollino National Park.

CAPO RIZZUTO– Famous for its red sand beaches, Capo Rizzuto is another fascinating place to visit in Calabria.

SCILLA– Scilla is one of Calabria’s most popular beaches, which is buzzing with tourists during Summer months.

There’s a castle above the beach, which offers amazing views of the Sicilian Coast.

TROPEA– You might mistake this beach for the Caribbean, thanks to its spectacular white-sand beaches and turquoise blue water.

What makes this beach even more beautiful are the dramatic cliffs that rise above it.

See the Reggio Calabria Cathedral

This Roman Catholic Cathedral was a former archiepiscopal seat of the Archdiocese of Reggio Calabria.

It was damaged by an earthquake in 1908 and rebuilt in modern Gothic and Romanesque styles.

The interior of the cathedral houses many beautiful art pieces, done by the artists from South Italy.

Do Some Shopping At Corso Garibaldi

Corso Garibaldi is a famous pedestrian street in Reggio Calabria.

It’s a beautiful area with traditional architecture and a number of different shops which are worth exploring.

Here you can stock up on designer clothes, books, shoes and more!

Eat Gelato

No trip to Italy would be complete without trying gelato.

One of the best places to try gelato in Calabria is Da Cesare in Reggio Calabria.

Explore Pentedattilo

Pentedattilo is a ghost town which used to be a separate commune until 1811.

The town dates back to 640 BC, and it was founded by the Chalcis.

Nowadays, it’s one of the most picturesque towns in Calabria.

If you love off the beaten path destinations, you shouldn’t miss Pentedatillo.

The town was completely abandoned in the 60’s, while in the 80’s it started to attract volunteers from a number of European countries.

Eat Pizza

When in Calabria, you have to try Calabrian pizza.

What makes it different than other types is the minimal amount of cheese which is in the crust and not on top.

This pizza is also characterized by multiple toppings such as mushrooms, olives, onions etc.

Visit the Aspromonte National Park

Aspromonte National Park is one of the most important natural attractions in Calabria.

It lies along the sea and it has mountain peaks with more than 2,000 meters in height.

It is most famous for its biodiversity and wildlife.

The wolf, wild boar, and dormouse are typical inhabitants of Aspromonte’s forests.

The park has several nature trails which are suitable for hiking and mountain biking.

Explore the Scilla Village

This little fisherman village is known as the Venice of Calabria.

Visitors have a couple of options here – relaxing on the beach, discovering the old settlement or seeing the castle Ruffo.

The village is proud of its fishing heritage and one of the most popular dishes in Scilla’s restaurants is swordfish.

Drink Wine in Ciro Village

This small village is famous for the production of wine, oil, and citruses.

The wines from this region are mostly red and they consist of at least 95% of the Gaglioppo grape.

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7 Fantastic Day Trips From Rome

Why would anyone want to take day trips from Rome? Rome is a beautiful city with many hidden layers. But no matter how exciting Rome is, one can’t deny that…

Why would anyone want to take day trips from Rome? Rome is a beautiful city with many hidden layers.

But no matter how exciting Rome is, one can’t deny that its charming chaos, can also get very tiring.

Italy is more than Rome, and in order not to miss out, I compiled a list of day trips from Rome.

So book your train ticket and treat yourself with a fancy retreat or perhaps with a stay in luxury homes of Italy.

Here are 7 day trips from Rome;

1. Naples

Naples stands for phenomenal food, architectural gems and is home to some of the most stunning art!

The city boasts of having one of the best archaeological museums in the world. The majority of the sculptures, mosaics and frescoes from the ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum are safely regarded at this museum. The city itself is an archaeological find – or what lies underneath that is.

Naples is built on a soft, volcanic stone. From the ancient times, residents have dug chambers and passages beneath the city. You can find remnants of every era, from the aqueducts of the ancient Greeks to pagan burial chambers.

Before you leave your one day trip adventure, stop by the Capodimonte museum. I am a big fan of Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Titian.

Feeling hungry? Remember you’re in Naples, opting out for anything other than pizza to eat is equal to blasphemy. Pizza was invented in Napoli.

2. Pompeii

Pompeii

Photo: Pompeii (CC 2.0) by Paul Kelley

So you decided to continue your route from Naples instead of heading back to Rome? Finally an adventurer! Pompeii is only half an hour away from Naples!

Pompeii was a lively city that was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the AD 79. As a result of the tragic incident, the whole city was kept within a natural capsule made out of ash and sediment. While many other Roman cities fell into ruin – Pompeii to this day is the most preserved and one of world’s greatest records of ancient Roman history.

Pompeii has a lot to offer and I wouldn’t suggest just breezing through the city. If you’re short on time and want to do Naples and another city in one day – then instead of focusing on Pompeii – I’d suggest you focus on Herculaneum.

3. Pisa

When you get to Pisa, like everyone else you’re going to visit the La Torre Pendente, the tower of Pisa. They laid the foundation of the leaning tower as early as the 12th century. It is one of the most photographed buildings in the world.

Nice thing about Pisa is that you can see the main tourist sites within an hour. Which leaves you to enjoy the beautiful town, breathe in the Tuscan air and do some light shopping.

Also don’t forget to check out the Cathedral and the Baptistery.

4. Tivoli

Doors in Tivoli, Italy

Photo: Doors in Tivoli by Klaus Berdiin Jensen

The town of Tivoli is located 30 kilometers from Rome. The nobles during the Roman era preferred Tivoli as their favorite resort.

Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli is one of the Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Emperor Hadrian wanted to reproduce some of the places and buildings he had seen on some his many travels. The influence of Greece and Egypt is especially strong. He was a big admirer of Greek sculptures. Thankfully for us, he accomplished in having them reproduced, as many of the Greek originals have disappeared over time.

UNESCO described the Hadrian’s Villa as combining “the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the form of an ‘ideal city’.”

Landscape architects turn to Villa d’Este for guidance. The Italianate gardens of Villa d’Estate have been a source of inspiration for gardens round the world. As I mentioned, the estate is quite sizeable and it will take a while to go through. If you enjoy nature like I do, then you’ll enjoy your time there. There is so much to see, the water play, grottos, terraces with fantastic panoramas and beautiful series of gardens.

5. Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica is the closest location to Rome, only half an hour away. It’s a beautiful, ancient town with forum, charming bars and restaurants.

6. Florence

Florence, Italy

Photo: Florence (CC 2.o) by Alejandro

You’re in the epicenter of art. Many artists from all over the world flock to Florence, to gaze upon the works of their idols in Galleria degli Uffizi. One of the richest and most famous art galleries is housed in what was originally built as the Medici Whitehall. They have an impressive collection (and rumor has it even more impressive works stay hidden in their vaults) but some of my favorites are Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus.

Also make sure to visit Duomo and Battistero. The cathedral is known for the amazing frescoes inside and also, it’s the biggest masonry dome in the world.

7. Sorrento

You can’t miss out on Sorrento! Even though it does not have the most famous attractions, the city itself is well worth the visit. The beaches, sea breeze and a slow pace of living – will be everything you need to rest from the bustle of Rome.

When you look at the architecture of the town you may notice discontinuity and a mixture of various influences. The variety is largely owed to the fact that during its arduous history Sorrento has been ruled by many. There were Greeks, Romans, French, Spanish, Byzantines and Turks!

Italy is one of those countries where even the tiniest villages are packed with history and beauty. If you’re lucky enough to be already well acquainted with Rome – then take as many day trips from Rome  and go explore! Italy awaits you!

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Seven Hidden Gems of Rome

Rome has many fantastic sites that are often overlooked by visitors. Especially by those who come here for a city break. If you don’t wanna be just an average visitor…

Rome has many fantastic sites that are often overlooked by visitors. Especially by those who come here for a city break. If you don’t wanna be just an average visitor to the Italian capital consider exploring these seven hidden gems of Rome.

Jewish Ghetto

Rome’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in Europe. The Jewish Ghetto has some wonderful dining options as this area is famous for Roman-Jewish cooking and its deep fried food. Local specialty are artichokes. They are flattened out to form a kind of flower shape and then are salted and deep fried. The best time to eat these are from February to May as that’s their season. You could also visit the Jewish Museum of Rome which is located in the city’s synagogue. Jewish ghetto is also home to Teatro Marcello (The Theatre of Marcellus) which is an ancient open-air theatre in Rome.

Jewish Museum of Rome - hidden gems of Rome

Appian Way

Appian Way is a famous ancient road that used to connect Rome to Brindisi (540 km) – a port on the Adriatic sea. Romans used to call it the regina viarum (the queen of roads). It’s located outside the city so many travelers skip this lovely green area. This long cobbled road is a great place for a walk or cycle. It’s also home to the city’s most exclusive private villas. But, there’s another side of the story, not a very positive one. This is also a place where Christians buried their dead in the catacombs. Three major catacombs: San Callisto, San Sebastiano and Santa Domitilla are located here and are open for guided exploration. The bikes can be hired at the Appia Antica Regional Park Information Point.

Appian Way

Park of the Aqueducts

Another great place in Rome which is far away from the crowds. You will be able to see the aqueducts – one of the Ancient Romans best invention. The most famous one is Pont du Gard in France but even this one will make your jaw drop. You can walk along the aqueducts or sit and relax in a beautiful park. Whatever you decided to do – jog, cycle, have a picnic, it’s a relaxing place to be. It’s a pity but many tourists never get to see this amazing historical sight.

Park of the Aqueducts Rome - hidden gems of Rome

Giannicolo Hill

Giannicolo offers some of the best (and free) views of the city. This green area with embassies and fine architecture can easily be reached from Trastevere. One of its best secrets are the Botanical Gardens.

View from the Gianicollo hill

The baths of Caracalla

These are the 3rd century baths that included an Olympic-sized swimming pool and were able to accommodate 6000 people. Another fantastic sight to visit that’s not too crowded. Unfortunately it’s another sight in Rome that’s not well labeled and that provides little info so you may want to join a group tour or at least buy a guide.

The baths of Caracalla

Circus Maximus

One of the attractions that takes you back in time. Circus Maximus used to be a place where chariot races were held. It was also the largest stadium in Ancient Rome that could host 250,000 people. There’s a very little of it left so you’ll need to use your imagination. Nowadays it’s also a popular place for joggers.

Circus Maximus park view

Pyramid

Yes, Rome has its own pyramid too. It was built for Gaius Cestius, a 1st century BC magistrate and it stands in the Aurelian wall. There’s also a Protestant cemetery next door where famous poets like John Keats and Shelley were buried. Worth a stop if you are in the area. The metro station is also called the Pyramid.

Pyramid of Cestius

It’s difficult to visit all of these sites by yourself if you are short on time so going on a tour could be a good idea. Walks of Italy offers fantastic “Rome as a local tour” which covers all of the mentioned sights. It’s lead by a local expert and the tour also includes luxury vehicle for moving around.

What are your hidden gems of Rome? Let us know in the comments below.

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Travel Guide to Trastevere, Rome’s Trendiest District

Trastevere is one of Rome’s liveliest neighborhoods. Locals and travelers love to stroll through its narrow and cobbled streets with gelato on the go. At night it becomes a prime…

Trastevere is one of Rome’s liveliest neighborhoods. Locals and travelers love to stroll through its narrow and cobbled streets with gelato on the go. At night it becomes a prime spot for entertainment and nightlife. The neighborhood also has great restaurants making it an ideal spot for foodies. And of course, some lovely attractions are based here making Trastevere one of the best stationary options while in Rome.

Travel Guide to Trastevere

Attractions

Trastevere is famous for its churches and artwork. But the most memorable experience will be exploring this neighborhood by walk as the atmosphere is amazing.

Santa Maria de Trastevere Church

This is the oldest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The legend says that it’s constructed on a place where a fountain of oil sprang from the ground. The church is most famous for its 12th century golden mosaics. It’s located in the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, the main square of  the neighborhood. It’s always full of locals, students and travelers at both day and night.

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Gianicollo Hill

One of the best viewpoints in the city. And the best of all – it’s free of charge. Gianicollo is also a  green area with embassies and fine architecture that deserves to be explored. One of its best secrets are the Botanical Gardens.

View from the Gianicollo hill - travel guide to Trastevere

Villa Farnesina

This classic Renaissance villa was built in the 16th century. It’s famous for Raphael’s and Sebastiano del Piombo’s frescoes. If you are an art lover it’s worth paying a visit. The entrance fee is 5 EUR.

Villa Farnesina

Botanical Gardens

This was one of my favorites places in Rome! Don’t skip it. It’s oasis of peace and beauty and there are hardly any tourists here! The gardens are located on the slopes of Gianicollo and contain about 8000 species including Japanese gardens and bamboo. Also a hardly known fact is that the gardens offer beautiful views of Rome. With no tourists around. The entrance is 8 EUR but it’s so worth it!

Botanical Gardens Rome

Passeggiata

Passeggiata is also known as the early evening stroll and it’s an important part of Roman life. The streets get busy in the night, especially in Trastevere, and the locals like to opt for an ice cream on the go. Besides the atmosphere this is also a way of showing off. People like to get dressed nicely and check each other out.

Fire show 6

Where to stay

I’ve stayed in a nice studio which was booked through the Flat in Rome. It’s a famous rental accommodation site in Rome that offers apartments with no commission. Of course, they also offer apartments in other city districts but if you plan to station yourself in Trastevere this might be a good choice. The apartment can host 4 people and is ideal for group of friends.

The studio has kitchen with oven, microwave, fridge and a bathroom with washing machine. Air condition and WiFi are also free of charge.

The apartment is located just opposite the Isola Tiberina (the island on the Tiber river) and it’s close to major attractions such as Vatican and the Colosseum. If you love spending your evenings outside, exploring bars and restaurants this is a great area.

Flat in Rome was also picked as one of the best rental accommodation sites by the Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Check out their offical website or their Booking.com profile for more info.

Eating & Drinking

Trastevere is foodie heaven. The neighborhood has so many restaurants, trattorias and cafes. Many restaurants offer promotions so it’s ideal for those on a budget. For example, for just 10 EUR you could get a starter, main course, second course, dessert and a drink. Trastevere is city’s most popular area to drink and party so it might not be for everyone’s taste. It can also get bit loud during the night, depending on the area where you stay. But, if you are a foodie type and you love discovering bars it’s a great stationary area while in Rome.

Transportation

Tram 3 – Viale di Trastevere – Colosseum

Bus H – Viale di Trastevere – Termini

Don’t forget to check the travel guide to the Vatican City and the travel guide to the Ancient Rome neighborhood too.

What is your favorite neighborhood in Rome? Do you have any specific tips to share about Trastevere? Feel free to comment below.

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Traveler’s Guide to Vatican City

Vatican is the smallest country in the world, both in size and the population. It’s also one of the richest in a cultural sense as some of the world’s most…

Vatican is the smallest country in the world, both in size and the population. It’s also one of the richest in a cultural sense as some of the world’s most celebrated works are located here.

The Vatican City is home to the St. Peter’s basilica and the Vatican Museums – the most famous attractions of the country. However, the vicinity of Vatican is the best stationary option. I recommend Borgo Pio neighborhood which is the closest to the Vatican and has great dining options.

Check out this traveler’s guide to Vatican City

Attractions

Vatican Museums

As a first time visitor you will need around 4-5 hours to explore the Vatican Museums. They are home to some of the world’s best art collections and your visit will surely be unforgettable. Come in the morning (around 9am is the best) as crowds are the worst between 11am to 2pm.

Vatican Museum stairs

Here are some tips for your visit;

If you decide to join a tour group you can pass directly from the Sistine Chapel through to the St. Peter’s Basilica. This is not possible if you are an individual visitor so you’ll have to approach the basilica from the St. Peter’s Square.

Don’t buy tickets offered to you outside the Vatican Museums. Many of these guides are not authorized and they sell tickets that are more expensive than the museum’s official tickets.

Traveler's Guide to Vatican city

The statue of Laocoön and His Sons

Book your ticket online to avoid the waiting lines. The reservation fee for online booking is 4 EUR but that’s nothing considering that many people wait 2-3 hours to enter. I’ve bought an online ticket and the whole process took just 10 minutes. The security will scan your ticket and you’re ready to go. Just don’t forget to print your email confirmation. The full price ticket is 16 EUR and the reduced one is 8 EUR. Reduced price is for students up to 25 years old. Admission is free on last Sunday of month.

Arrive early, around 9am is good time.

The Collection of Modern Religious Art - Vatican Museums

The Collection of Modern Religious Art

Come with a guide. Vatican is crowded with tourists and some exhibitions are not very well labeled. I’ve used Lonely Planet’s Rome guide but you can also buy a guide at Vatican’s official shops as few are spread over the museum.

The Vatican Museums exhibition

You can also visit the Vatican gardens but you will need to join a guided tour.

St. Peter’s Basilica

The center of Catholic world this church is one of the most grandiose in Italy. It also displays some magnificent works of art such as Pieta by Michelangelo and Bernini’s baldachin. The original basilica was located beneath the current one and commissioned by the emperor Constantine in 349. You can climb the dome and enjoy the stunning rooftop views of Rome.

The St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican Grottoes (a burial place for popes) can also be visited for free and they are located beneath the basilica.

And here’s an interesting fact… Did you know that the world’s largest church is not the St. Peter’s Basilica but the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast? Take a look at how they compare.

West Ponente - St. Peter's Square

West Ponente is relief by Bernini also known as the Breath of God.

Castel Sant’Angelo

This fortress was built as the mausoleum for the Hadrian’s family but in the 6th century it was converted into papal fortress. Today it serves as a museum and has a collection of paintings, sculpture and military weapons. You can get to the top of the castle that offers great views over Rome.

Castel Sant’Angelo Rome

Where to stay

I’ve stayed in the Trianon Borgo Pio apartments which are located in the Borgo Pio neighborhood – the one closest to the Vatican. It’s just a five minutes walk from the Vatican Museums and the St. Peter’s basilica. It’s also on the metro line so the location is wonderful.

Trianon Borgo Pio apartments

Trianon Borgo Pio has 45 comfortable apartments tailored to meet the needs and budget of every traveler. They have studio and 1-bedroom apartments if you are on a budget but deluxe apartments as well. You can take a look at their full offer. The rooms are beautiful and spacious and the kitchen is well equipped so you can prepare delicious meals after busy time spent sightseeing. There’s a microwave, kettle, fridge, oven and other appliances. Rooms also have WiFi which is very important to me.

Trianon Borgo Pio apartments room

Trianon Borgo Pio apartments kitchen

Trianon Borgo Pio also offers a living room, internet room, library and fitness gym! Laundry service is also available and the building has two elevators. It’s almost like a hotel.

Trianon Borgo Pio apartments living room

Trianon Borgo Pio apartments fitness gym

Hosts are amazing and always ready to help! You can ask them anything and the luggage room is always available for guests.

With such close location to the Vatican, modern equipment and great hosts I genuinely recommend this facility if you plan to station yourself nearby Vatican.

You can also check out their profile page on Booking.com

Eating & Drinking

If you are on a budget Borgo has excellent takeaways and you can always opt for a pizza by the slice and gelato. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area to eat. Vatican Museums also has several cafes as well. The one that’s before the entrance to the Sistine Chapel has a good selection of sandwiches, desserts and coffee. It’s a great stop to make before entering the Sistine Chapel.

Roman Pizza

The area around Vatican is quiet and you won’t find many interesting bars or clubs so better head to Trastevere area. However one of Italy’s best jazz bars is located in Prati area around Vatican and it’s called Alexanderplatz.

In general there are a lot of excellent shops and restaurants here, but it’s not the best area for nightlife.

Transportation

Rome only has two metro lines and buses are more often your best bet for moving around. If you decide to use metro you’ll need A line which goes to Ottaviano-San Pietro station. Bus 40 is the best option if you’re going to Vatican from Termini station.

Don’t forget to check out EuroTribe’s travel guide to the Ancient Rome neighborhood and the travel guide to Trastevere area.

Do you have any travel tips for the Vatican area? Feel free to comment below.

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Travel Guide to the Ancient Rome Neighborhood

The Ancient Rome neighborhood is one of the best places to stay while in the Italian capital. The other two are Vatican and its vicinity and Trastevere – currently the…

The Ancient Rome neighborhood is one of the best places to stay while in the Italian capital. The other two are Vatican and its vicinity and Trastevere – currently the most hip place in Rome. Separate guides on these two areas will be published soon as well.

The Ancient Rome area is filled by tourists during the day but quiet during the night which makes it ideal for discovering eating and drinking options. And of course, this is the area where everything started – where by legend, Romulus killed Remus and founded the new city called Rome.

Some of the best attractions are located here so if you are coming to Rome for a city break it’s a wise choice to choose this area. That’s because all the attractions are within walking distance from each other. Colosseum, The Roman Forum, Palatino, Piazza Venezia are all located here.

Travel guide to the Ancient Rome neighborhood

Attractions

To explore the area start from the Colosseum as from here you can easily go to Roman Forum and the Palatino. The best times to visit these attractions are in the morning (around 9am) or late afternoon. The crowds are the worst from 11am to 2pm.

Colosseum

The most popular Ancient sight of Rome and maybe the whole world, Colosseum amazes with its size and history. When the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD, Titus who was Vespasian’s successor decided to mark this event by staging games that would last 100 days and nights. It’s here where the gladiators fought off wild beasts and where more than 5000 animals were slaughtered.

Rome Colosseum

Tip #1 : If you are coming as an individual visitor either buy an audio guide or come with your own. There’s not enough text inside the Colosseum for individual visitors so you may feel a bit lost. Definitely invest in a guide. I used Lonely Planet’s Rome guide. I love their guides and I use them often on my travels. You can also buy various guides at the Colosseum and Roman Forum bookshops.

Colosseum from the inside

Tip #2: You can buy the ticket for Colosseum online which I recommend so you can skip the waiting lines. For 12 EUR you can buy the combined ticket for Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine. The reservation fee for online purchase is just 2 EUR. If you are between 18 and 25 years old and you come from an EU country you can get a reduced ticket which costs 7.50 EUR.

Colosseum from the inside 2

Palatino

One of Rome’s seven hills, Palatino is a place where Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC. Visit the Museo Palatino while you are here. It showcases a collection of finds from this area. Buy the ticket online.

Palatino Rome

Roman Forum

Nowadays Roman Forum is a place of impressive ruins- basilicas, temples, public spaces etc. It’s here where you will feel like you’re back in a far faaar history. In the past everything was happening here. It was the location of Senate, religious complexes and market places.

Roman Forum

Tip #1 – Roman Forum is another badly labeled place unfortunately. What I’ve said for Colosseum also applies here. Get a guide.

Tip #2 – The best views of the Roman Forum are from Palatino hill.

Roman Forum 2

Capitoline Museums

These are ones of the world’s oldest national museums. Their focus is on ancient sculpture but there’s also a picture gallery with some wonderful works of Italian artists. Capitoline Wolf and Bernini’s Medusa are the most famous works.

Medusa

Il Vittoriano

This massive white marble monument can be seen almost from any point in the city. Yet, locals don’t like it because it doesn’t fit nicely with the environment. Indeed, the building looks like an interloper compared to the other buildings that surround it. It hosts the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and inside there’s a free museum documenting Italian unification called Museo Centrale del Risorgiment. Outside the building there’s a lift that can take you to the top of the monument for Rome’s 360-degree views. Ticket costs 7 EUR. The queue is long so I wasn’t bothered to wait as there are also other great viewing points like Gianicolo Hill (free).

Il Vittoriano Rome

Tip #1 – Just next to the Aracoeli staircase (at the Piazza Venezia) are the ruins of the Roman insula (apartment block). They can be easy to miss but these ruins are very interesting as they provide an insight into the conditions in which the Romans lived.

Detail from the Roman Insula

Bocca della Verita

If you’ve watched a movie called Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn you might remember a scene in front of Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth). Legend says that if you put your hand in the carved mouth and say a lie, that it will bite your hand off. Bocca della Verita is located in one of Rome’s most beautiful medieval churches called Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin.

La famosa boca de la verdad

Circo Massimo

A place where chariot races were held Circo Massimo used to be the largest stadium in Ancient Rome that could host 250,000 people. Nowadays is a popular space for joggers.

Circus Maximus park view

Imperial Forums

Imperial Forums were constructed between 42 BC and AD 112 and they represent a series of public squares that were the center of the Roman Empire. Don’t miss the Trajan’s Column which depicts the victory over the Dacians.

Imerial Forums Rome

Where to stay

Marco Aurelio 49 Apartments is one of the best places I’ve stayed in Europe, mainly because of its modern design. I like when a place pays special attention to this. They were also extremely organized and well stocked so I doubt you’ll find anything missing here. Kitchen is equipped with trendy appliances so you can enjoy preparing your meals after long sightseeing and the bedrooms are spacious and modern.

Marco Aurelio apartments Hiroshige suite

Hiroshite suite Marco Aurelio

Location is superb, just five minutes from the Colosseum and even though this area is full of tourists during the day, the apartment is still located in a quiet residential area.

I’ve stayed in Hiroshige suite that also has a balcony with a lovely view of Rome. This suite can host up to 4 people so it’s ideal for families or group of friends.

Hiroshite suite Marco Aurelio Rome

Facility also provides free wifi which is extremely important for me, iPad (yes!), nespress machine (George Clooney’s edition) with coffee pods etc. In short – they paid so much attention to the details which I loved. The people at the front desk and the cleaners were also extremely helpful.

Hiroshite suite Marco Aurelio

Hiroshite suite Marco Aurelio Rome

It’s also one of the rare places that really looks exactly like it’s shown on the photos.

Overall, it’s one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in Europe in terms of decor and hospitality and I genuinely recommend Marco Aurelio. You can check their official website here or their Booking.com profile.

Eating & Drinking

This area gets really quiet during the night and restaurants tend to be touristy and overpriced so I recommend self-catering. There’s a Carrefour supermarket close to the Colosseum where you can also get quick grabs like pizza or sandwiches. There’s nothing specially interesting here in terms of nightlife so if you are into bar hopping go to Trastevere.

margherita D.O.C.

Ice Cream

No visit to Rome is complete without eating ice cream and a great place to try it in this neighborhood is at Olive Dolci. It’s a vegan ice cream shop with a few tables and chairs inside so you can also have a seat. Olive Dolci offers many interesting flavors. I tried the pomegranate and baobab but if you are not in the mood for weird or new flavors you can always opt for the classy ones such as hazelnut or chocolate. They even have olive oil, figs, licorice and others. Don’t miss it!

LGBT

This area is home to ‘The Gay Street’ which is designed as an LGBT friendly neighborhood. It’s located just next to the Colosseum and is filled with bars, restaurants and accommodation options. The street even has its official website that you can visit here. It’s probably the best to sit outside as the atmosphere inside the bars looks too clubby and you can watch the Colosseum in all its glory.

Transportation

Rome only has two metro lines so using it is not the best option as it doesn’t go through the city center. However the line B has a stop at the Colosseum and there are many buses that stop at Piazza Venezia so this is your best bet for moving around. Again, everything’s within walking distance but if you are going a bit further definitely take a bus.

Don’t forget to check out EuroTribe’s travel guide to the Vatican City and the travel guide to Trastevere area.

Do you have any specific recommendations or tips for this area? Feel free to comment below.

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