Visit the Vatican
The walled enclave of the Vatican is the world’s smallest state, and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican Obelisk is the square’s centrepiece, with the world’s largest church, the resplendent St Peter’s Basilica, only steps away. St Peter’s Square is the symbol of the Vatican, thanks to its stunning architecture.
Exploring the labyrinth of the Vatican’s 54 museums is a highlight. Here, thousands of pieces of artwork and sculptures fill the halls, with revered masterpieces seemingly at every turn. This includes Michelangelo’s frescoed ceiling artwork in the iconic Sistine Chapel.
While you can explore the Vatican Museums on your own, you’ll need to book a tour to walk the expansive Vatican Gardens, where enchanting fountains, streams, grottoes, and temples fill the lush grounds.
When in Rome, eat as the Romans do
As much as ancient monuments, cultural masterpieces, and esteemed landmarks are part of your Rome itinerary, so too are the city’s culinary delights. From first light to way past dark, Rome has a glut of cafes, restaurants, gelaterias, and bars to entice. Simplicity is key in many of Rome’s regional dishes, though that does not mean flavourless, quite the opposite!
Start the day with a famous espresso o cornetto – a coffee and a croissant. Pick a café with outdoor seating to people-watch as the caffeine energises you. For a quintessentially Rome lunch break, pick up a hearty, doughy square of pizza al taglio – pizza by the slice.
If you’d like to picnic at the famed Villa Borghese grounds (after exploring the mesmerising Borghese Museum and Gallery), collect supplies from Rome’s ancient fornai (bakeries) and botteghe (delis). Enjoy your simple feast amid the garden’s landscaped beauty.
For your evening meal, sample cacio e pepe, one of the region’s oldest meals. This black pepper and sheep cheese pasta dish is delicious for its simplicity. Pasta carbonara is another Rome staple, as is coda alla vaccinara (ox-tail stew) and trippa alla Romana (Roman tripe, it’s surprisingly delicious).
While you may not need an excuse to visit the Eternal City’s countless gelato shops, “when in Rome” is a handy phrase for taste-testing the countless flavours available. Opened in 1880, Fassi Gelateria is Rome, and possibly Italy’s, oldest known gelato store.