When in Rome you must….see all there is to see. That means hokey touristy stuff that, in my opinion, aren’t that hokey, but very much incredible. Especially when you stop to think how long these structures and monuments have been around for. So when in Rome .. Go! Be a tourist!
Uh, oh…I said it, that word that a lot of travelers everywhere seem to hate. That ‘T” word, Tourist. So many can’t stand being seen as tourists and want to be seen as locals, but you’re not a local. You are visiting a new place, maybe for the first time. You’re going to stick out. Embrace the fact that you are a tourist. Embrace the fact that you are not from around there because then it wouldn’t look as magical. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see the Colosseum in Rome even though it is a huge tourist attraction. How often will you be there to see this ancient structure? So without further adieu my top touristy things to do when visiting Rome:
1. Throw A Coin In The Trevi Fountain
We started our touristy tour in Rome at the Trevi Fountain. I have always wanted to throw a coin into the Trevi fountain and was a little sad when I saw that it was under construction.
Then, we found that they still allowed tourists to throw their coins into the fountain and even had a small area with water. So I was able to complete my bucket list item of throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain after all!
2. Tour The Colosseum
The next attraction to add to your itinerary is the Colosseum. We paid the extra nine Euro for an English guided tour of the underground and third level of the Colosseum. The original twelve Euro admission doesn’t allow you access to these areas of the Colosseum and in my opinion the extra cost was well worth it.
We arrived at the Colosseum an hour before our guided tour so that we could explore the general admission areas.
Our tour guide started the tour by bringing us on the reconstructed stage. The original stage was made out of wood and has deteriorated over the years. The old wooden stage was covered with sand to soak up the blood and other fluids in order to keep the stage clean and to stop everything from dripping down below.
The guide pointed out the cross in the picture below and said that was where the Emperor sat when watching the gladiatorial shows.
After showing us the sights from the reconstruction stage our tour guide brought us under the stage to see the underground where the gladiators got ready for the shows.
After spending some time below we hiked up the steep stairs to the highest standing floor: the third floor. We had some amazing views of not only the Colosseum, but other old ruins. Originally, there used to be five levels, but due to earthquakes the other two floors no longer exist. Even though the shows were free admission, seating was set in a class system. The first floor seating was for the Emperor and government officials to sit. The second floor was for the VIPs such as dignitaries, generals, and other high ranking people. The third floor were for the upper middle class citizens and the aristocracy. The fourth floor were for lower middle class and the common people. Finally, the fifth floor was for the poor and women.
When walking through the ancient halls of the Colosseum look out for the Colosseum cat that lives there.
3. Piazza del Popolo
So, we chose the Piazza del Popolo just by pure chance. But, we suggest that you spend your time in any of the number of piazzas around the city. These squares are great places to take in monuments, architecture, and local culture. We stumbled on our fair share of piazzas in the city as we did our whole “get lost” routine and this one stuck out. There was a group of people hanging around a tub filled with soap. They had all sorts of bubble makers that they were selling, but they let everyone try them out for free! We loved watching the bubbles float around magically through the air as the kids danced around trying to pop them all.
Go find a plaza in Rome and …
4. Eat Gelato
This wouldn’t be a post about being a tourist if we didn’t tell you to go to the nearest Gelato shop and squeal with delight as you try every flavor. Gelato is the ultimate ice cream. It’s what every drop of milk and cream aspires to be. Find a shop, try some flavors, pick your favorite, and walk around the city. Done and done.
5. Visit The Pantheon
Not only is the Pantheon a two thousand year old structure, but it is free to of go inside and walk around. Who doesn’t love free? The square directly in front of the Pantheon is called the Piazza della Rotonda. Here you can enjoy one of the piazzas we discuss from number 3. Also, there is a delicious gelato shop in the piazza that we ate gelato at after we took our tour of the Pantheon.
6. Order A Cappuccino In A Cafe
This one really goes without saying. Italians are all about their coffee. The biggest thing you can do to stick out as a Tourist with a capital ‘T’ is to order a cappuccino. For some reason a delicious cappuccino makes you stand apart from the crowd. The locals are all drinking espresso. Cappuccinos are reserved for a particular time of day or for a particular event (as far as we can tell!). We’ve talked to a few native Italians and all of us tourists just can’t get enough of the frothy milk espresso!
Well, those were our absolute must see, cannot miss things to do when you find yourself in Rome. What did we miss? Have you ever been to Rome (or even Italy), what was your favorite part about being a tourist?