Top 7 Things to See in the Italian Capital

May 4, 2024

Join me on a mesmerizing tour of Rome's iconic landmarks.
From the Colosseum to Piazza Navona, experience the Eternal City's allure.

Hey there, travellers! Welcome to ‘Vagabond Shorts’ on The Radio Vagabond, where I bring you quick travel tips and insights. Perfect little snack between my regular travel episodes.

My name is Palle Bo, and we are about to go on an adventure as we count down the seven things you can’t miss … when in Rome.

We’re going to be strolling through history, with an espresso in one hand and your camera in the other, in the shadows of ancient ruins, or tossing a coin into a fountain with the promise of a return to the Eternal City

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, or as I like to call it, the ancient social network of Rome, is where the magic of the Roman Empire still whispers through the ruins. It’s an ancient historical playground where history is etched in every stone. The ruins tell tales of gladiators, senators, and emperors strutting their stuff. Broken columns and crumbling temples create a dramatic backdrop against the Roman sky.

Walk the worn cobblestones, and you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon the ultimate archaeological scavenger hunt. It’s a maze of marble, an open-air museum where each step is a stride through time.

Don’t forget your shades and wear sunscreen – the Roman sun likes to play hide-and-seek among the ancient pillars. And keep an eye out for the playful Roman squirrels who may just join you in your archaeological exploration. Those little acrobats add a touch of whimsy to your journey, reminding you that even in the grandeur of the past, nature’s tricks are never far away.

Why should it be on your must-see list? Because it’s the closest thing to a time machine we’ve got.

Spanish Steps

Take a breather at the Spanish Steps, Rome’s grand staircase that’s more than just a climb. A perfect spot to sit, sip an espresso, and people-watch. If you’ve got the stamina, climb the 135 steps leading to the Trinità dei Monti church – a stairway to an architectural marvel, and a panoramic reward.

The lively atmosphere is like a Roman street party, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the vibrant ambiance. But if you’re more of a “sit back and enjoy the view” kind of traveller, fear not – those steps aren’t going anywhere. It’s a slice of Roman life, where each step feels like a relaxing stroll through an open-air museum. And don’t be surprised if you spot a friendly Italian pigeon or two, joining you on your step-by-step adventure – after all, they know a good view when they see one.

Piazza Navona

Next stop is the Piazza Navona – a lively square like a never-ending festival surrounded by cafes, fountains, and street performers. This scenic square is where art, architecture, and Roman daily life dance together in a display of timeless elegance. At its heart, Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers dazzles with its intricate sculptures, each representing the major rivers of the continents known in the 17th century.

The air is filled with laughter, the chatter of locals, and the occasional street musician serenading the crowd. In the middle of the festive atmosphere, with a gelato in your hand, find a prime people-watching spot, and let the pulsating energy of Piazza Navona seep into your soul.

It’s a living canvas, where each moment is a stroke of Roman brilliance. Oh, and keep an eye out for the gelato – it might just be the cherry on top of your Roman adventure, turning each bite into a masterpiece.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain, or as I like to think of it, the superstar of Roman fountains. It’s where dreams and legends pool together under the watchful eyes of Neptune and his chariot.

And then it’s time to make a wish at the fountain. Toss a coin over your shoulder, and watch it dance into the pool – it’s your ticket to a guaranteed return to Rome.

The fountain’s intricate details come to life as you get closer; sea gods, tritons, and the winged horse Pegasus tell a mythological story in stone. In the evening, as the lights play on the water, Trevi transforms into a magical oasis. It’s a theatrical performance in the heart of Rome so, practice your coin-flipping skills. Trust me; it’s a small price to pay for a return ticket to this magical city.

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The Pantheon

Now, let’s talk architecture – the Pantheon – 2000-year-old marvel. As you step through its massive bronze doors, your eyes meet the heavens – literally. The oculus, a hole in the dome, showers the Pantheon with a spotlight from the gods. Sunlight filters through and lights up the ancient marble floor.

Being inside the Pantheon is like stepping into a giant hug from history itself. It’s huge and awe-inspiring, kind of like walking into a scene from a storybook where the heroes of ancient times might just be around the corner. The building’s been standing for ages, and as you look up at the dome and the light streaming through the oculus, it’s easy to feel a bit of magic in the air.

It makes you appreciate the clever folks who built it way back when. Without even realizing it, you might catch yourself whispering a little “thanks” to them for leaving us such a breathtaking spot to enjoy.

Fun fact: the Pantheon’s dome, a masterpiece of mathematical proportion, inspired Michelangelo in designing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Colosseum

The granddaddy of them all – the Colosseum, and a well-deserved number 2 on our list. The place where ancient tales echo through time. Standing in the middle of colossal arches, feeling the rough texture of the ancient stones beneath your fingertips. It’s like a stadium-sized history lesson, where gladiator ghosts still cheer in the stands.

As the sun sets, the Colosseum turns into a golden giant, casting long shadows on the ground. With the whispers of history, the Colosseum’s acoustics might just make your laughter bounce off the ancient walls, creating a symphony of joy that even Caesar would envy.

So, strike a pose, capture that moment, and let the Colosseum be your time-traveling ticket to a selfie sensation. It’s the ultimate selfie spot. History meets Instagram – a win-win.

The Vatican City

Finally, we’re heading to the ultimate must-see in Rome. Yes, you’ve guessed it: The Vatican City. It’s like a VIP section for art lovers. The moment you set foot inside, you’re surrounded by the hallowed halls of the Vatican Museums.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is the crown jewel – a heavenly masterpiece that’ll have you craning your neck in sheer wonder. The air is thick with respect as you walk through the Vatican’s grandeur.

The whisper of prayers, the hush of admiration – it’s a spiritual journey, wrapped in the aroma of ancient manuscripts.

Standing in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica is like stepping into a grand chapter of history and spirituality. This architectural masterpiece is a monumental symbol of faith that reaches skyward with its iconic dome. Inside, the beauty and scale of the place can make you feel both humbled and awestruck.

And who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of the Pope, the ultimate cameo in your Vatican adventure.

And that’s it. Remember that all roads lead to Rome, it wasn’t built in a day, and it’s absolutely not seen in a day. In fact, I could have made this list much longer, so I’m sure you have some of your own favourite spots. And I’d like to hear about them, so drop me a line in the comments below.

And with that, our Roman adventure draws to a close. History, art, gelato, and the occasional coin toss – Rome has it all.

If you found this episode as delightful as a bowl of Roman pasta, don’t be shy to share it with your travel buddies.

Until next time, my name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.


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