Coming to Rome for a weekend and unsure how to spend your valuable time in the Ancient city? This quick guide will tell you all the must-see historical sites, places to eat and authentic neighborhoods in Rome. The iconic Spanish Steps, designed by the great Francesco de Santis were brought to life in the famous 1953 film ‘Roman Holiday’ and provide a breathtaking view of Via Condotti and it’s elegant designer stores. That is not all Via Condotti has to offer, it is also home to the famous Caffe Greco, a 250-year-old restaurant which features original art from the 17th century depicting the grandeur of Ancient Rome and it’s triumphs. Caffe Greco was a popular meeting place for 18th century aristocracy, not to mention it was a favored spot for the likes of Mozart and Keats. Another character often spotted at the restaurant was Giacomo Casanova, the famous ladies man who, according to his biography, was arrested on the Pope’s orders for supposedly flirting with the wife of the grand duke of Venice. On the left side of the foot of the steps you will find Valentino’s Palace, situated behind the column of Immaculate Conception, a statue that depicts the Virgin Mary and the four doctors of the Catholic Church.
From Piazza di Spagna you can walk north towards the Trevi Fountain. If you are getting hungry at this point you can stop en route and enjoy some of the best pizza in Rome at a beautiful family-owned restaurant SUGO. The owners claim to be the direct descendants of the Pope Clementh 11th (also known as Papa Albani) who reigned from 1700-1721. After only a short walk, you will arrive at one of the most famous monuments in Rome, the Trevi Fountain, designed by Bernini and Salvi. It is a popular tradition to throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish. The origins of this custom date back to the Augustine period when Roman Legionnaires would throw a coin in the fountain in the hope that they would soon return home from external military campaigns. There was a fortune-teller close by that would predict the fate of the soldiers after they had thrown the coin in the water.
For a typical and authentic look at Roman nightlife, look no further than Salotto 42, a chic cocktail bar situated along a charming cobblestone street, which leads directly from the Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the oldest and most well-preserved buildings in Rome, dating back to 25BC, the Pagan Temple built by Marco Agrippa is one the most majestic and captivating monuments in the world. Close by the Pantheon, you can visit Caffe Sant’Eustachio for a coffee and a quick break before moving onto one of Rome’s many beautiful Churches, St. Luigi dei Francesi, home to three of Caravaggio’s most famous paintings.
After this, you must visit Piazza Navona, the largest and most prestigious Piazza in Rome. Here you will find Bernini’s fountain of four rivers and a number of elegant cafes and restaurants. Campo dei Fiori is only a short walk from Navona and is also host to numerous restaurants and bars. The centerpiece features a statue of Giordano Bruno, a Dominican monk. By day, it is home to the oldest market in Rome selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to various cheeses and wines. By night, Campo dei Fiori transforms into an atmospheric place to spend time with friends, relax and have a glass of wine or an aperol spritz. Piazza Farnese is another must-see spot. Pope Farnese commissioned the building of Palazzo Farnese (The French Embassy) at the height of the renaissance period to be designed by Michelangelo. The ceiling was decorated by the Caracci brothers.
The next stop is the Jewish ghetto, situated across the river Tiber, one of the most historically significant neighborhoods in Rome because of two very important moments in History. The first was during the counter-reformation when the Jews were segregated from the rest of society and the second was in 1943 during Mussolini’s reign. The neighborhood remains today the central meeting place of the Jewish community and it features shops selling traditional Jewish foods and a synagogue built in the 1870s. The Portico of Octavio is an important ancient roman monument of the Augustine period found in this neighborhood.
Finally, for an authentic roman meal, look no further than Trastevere (which literally translated to ‘across the river Tiber.’) Here you will find a lively and friendly neighborhood, complete with charming rooftop gardens and cobbled streets. One of the most beautiful churches in Rome, Santa Maria in Trastevere is situated in the main piazza of this area. Inside will find art spanning several eras such as medieval, renaissance and baroque along with a series of columns supposedly taken from an 11th century bath house situated close to the Colosseum. It also contains beautiful mosaics created by Cavallini. The last jewel of Rome is Villa Farnesina in the heart of Trastevere, it is one of the most celebrated achievements of the Italian Renaissance. It was commissioned by Agostino chigi Baldassare Peruzzi , and includes paintings inspired by classical myths by Rafeal, Sebastiano Del piombo , Giovanni Bazzi said Sodoma and Giulio Romano