In academic circles, there have been debates about just who can be attributed to inventing pasta. One story has Marco Polo bringing it back from China. Another has Arabs sharing it with Sicilians in the ninth century. Regardless of who takes credit, all roads do lead to Rome with regard to the best uses of pasta. Amazing culinary dishes aren’t the only things we can thank Romans for inventing. They also perfected the aqueduct which delivered water to the city, roads that delivered everything else and concrete which is why so much of Ancient Rome is still standing. Before heading out to discover the rest of Italy, here’s what you need to discover in Rome.
As ancient buildings go, they don’t get more iconic than the Roman Colosseum. Back in the day, the Colosseum held up to 50,000 rabid fans of gladiator gore. This was 72 AD when feeding Christians to the lions was all the rage. Thankfully, that tradition quickly died out. As Rome moved away from these pagan battles, it embrace the very thing it once eschewed. Through it all, the Colosseum stood strong and weathered earthquakes, fires, invading hordes, Caesars, and tramping tourists. This is just one of those things you have to take in. It would be like going to New York and not stopping in Times Square.
You don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate the beauty and splendor of the Vatican. This is one of those places where you can get a walking tour to fill you in on all the history. A better option is just to stroll around and take it all in. If you happen to be in Rome on a Sunday when the Pope is in town, then you can join in with the faithful for a noontime service. It will be hard not to be moved.
The Ponte Sisto
Like many cities in Europe, Rome will have its fair share of other visitors just like you. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with those crowds. Make friends with the locals and ask them where you should eat and shop. You could start at the Ponte Sisto. This is a beautiful bridge spanning the Tiber that will carry you into the Trastevere neighborhood. Here you’ll be overwhelmed by Italian charm of small cafes, flower boxes and laundry hanging between buildings.
The Galleria Borghese
Let’s pretend you’ve opted out of the Angels and Demons Path of the Illuminati Tour and instead have only time for one museum. That should be the Galleria Borghese. This collection is housed in 20 rooms of a 17th-century villa. Not a lot of walking but plenty of Italian art, sculpture, and history.
When it comes to dining out, travelers will often gravitate towards the familiar. That is why you’ll find McDonald’s in Rome. Nothing wrong with Mickey D’s but you’re in Rome. You can’t find a bad meal if you tried. Again, ask the locals. They won’t steer you wrong. If you make friends and score an invite to an Italian family Sunday dinner, then absolutely go for it! Get ready to make some amazing Roman memories.