What are the best activities in Rome?

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Erica Firpo
Photo by Erica Firpo

With thousands of monuments, churches, archaeological sites and museums in Rome, the best activity that the Eternal City has to offer is a change of perspective.  On a clear day, climb the 551 steps (or take the elevator half way to the top) for a view from a country within a country. At nearly 450 feet in height, St. Peter’s cupola is the tallest structure in Rome and boasts the best view of the city.  For another point of view, the Terazza delle Quadrighe in the very center of Rome has vantage points of both the contemporary city and ancient forums.
Rome’s ancient history is layered underneath centuries of literal and figurative build up.  Since almost every visible rests upon something ancient, to uncover the past, you just need to go underground.  A few steps from the Trevi Fountain is Città dell’Acqua, a walkable, imperial-era housing structure.  And nearby is the Domus Romane at Palazzo Valentini, remains of ancient houses with multi-media museum.

Seeing Rome after the sun sets is a beautiful experience. I love visiting the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on Friday evenings for an almost private walk through the museums, and when the heat rises, I prefer to visit the Colosseum at night for a nocturnal walk through the hypogeum, Thursday and Saturday evenings. The most available and perhaps even most charming evening visit is Castel Sant'Angelo, the national monument, former imperial tomb and papal strong hold.  Open Tuesdays through Sundays until 1 am, Castel Sant'Angelo hosts concerts, has a panoramic resturant and opens its medeival passageway, il Passetto, to the public.  For more summer evening events, the city-sponsored portal Estate Romana lists everything going on in the Eternal City.

Angela Corrias
Photo by Angela Corrias

As a huge open-air museum, one of the best and most natural things to do in Rome is sightsee. Not a hard task since wherever you look, you are confronted by beauty, art and history, but after ticking off all mandatory sights such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Saint Peter's Basilica, start enjoying Rome as locals do, taking advantage of the activities the city offers to its visitors.

If you like immersing yourself in nature, you can combine your sightseeing with a stroll in one of Rome's beautiful parks, among which stands out the central Villa Borghese. From here, you can stare at a stunning view on Piazza del Popolo from the Pincio terrace and also visit the museum of Galleria Borghese that boasts masterpieces by artists such as Bernini, Caravaggio and Canova.

To appreciate Rome's intimate soul, walk along the Tevere River and sneak in Trastevere district through Piazza Trilussa. Get lost in the maze of narrow cobbled alleys and admire the neighborhood's gentrified palazzi to have a taste of medieval Rome, and if you are still here in the evening, enjoy the lively atmosphere given by traditional restaurants, bars and pubs.

Rome has also a vibrant theater scene, so if this is your passion, peruse the different plays on stage and treat yourself with a cultural evening. Especially during the summer, the city is full of bustle and outdoor activities such as festivals, open-air concerts, dance performances and opera shows, usually organized in parks such as Villa Ada in Via Salaria, or at the elegant Caracalla Baths in the city center.

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