Whereas the streets of Paris are laced with an open-air elegance, the streets of Rome are quaint and narrow, capped with shadows that shroud each street with its own charming secrets. Rome is made to be discovered on foot, on walks around Rome, weaving through crowds, processing the cacophony of noises and uncovering new surprises around every bend.
The bustling capital city can be overwhelming to navigate. Lucky for me I was with my dear friend Alessandra, a native of Milan and an excellent tour guide. Alessandra and I met in 2010 when we were roommates in Australia, living in Melbourne and studying at a local university as exchange students. I had long dreamed of visiting her in Italy and Rome was an excellent place for her to show me more about her country and culture.
Walks Around Rome
From the Colosseum head to the Piazza Venezia for a look at Altare della Patria, built in honor of the first king of unified Italy. The site is also home to a museum on the unification of Italy.
Next walk to Piazza Navona, a city square that dates back to the days of ancient Rome. In olden times, the piazza was home to games. These days it is full of beautiful fountains, local vendors and eateries.
Wander through small streets to the Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda. One of the best preserved buildings from Ancient Rome, the building was constructed in 27 BC as a temple and has been in use for varying purposes continually.
Not far from the Pantheon is the famous Fontana di Trevi. Movies make this fountain seem romantic and peaceful, but in reality it serves as the definition of “overrun with tourists.”
Expect many random strangers to be in your photos and to have to do a lot of pushing to work your way down to throw a coin in the fountain and seal your fate of returning to Rome.
Continue on to Piazza di Spagna to climb the Spanish steps, all 135 of them. These too are overrun with tourists, so instead of trying to take your picture and stand out amongst it can be fun to take a “Where’s Waldo” shot and make your friends try and spot you. Can you find me?
From here it is a step, but short hike to the Pincio Gardens. Located atop a hill, the terrace at these gardens is an excellent place to take in the sunset. After the last rays leave the sky head back down the hill and treat yourself to some delicious gelatto. You deserve it!