EuropeFood & Drink

Travel Rome: Top Attractions...and Where to Find the Best Gelato

By , May 21st, 2013

Rome, the second stop in the 80-day trivago WorldTrip, is one of the most scenic cities in the world, a photographer’s dream.  As one of the oldest cities in Europe, Rome has an abundance of impressive and well-preserved historical sites, many that can be viewed for free.  Walking around Rome can feel like wandering through one large, open-air museum. However, there is so much more to this magnificent city than just its ancient sites.  Rome is also  well-known for its religious monuments, cultural institutions, vibrant dining and nightlife scene, and its shopping.  There are more than enough activities to fill a  week-long  stay in Rome, which is how long the trivago WorldTrip winners will have to roam around Rome.

The city’s historic center is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.  There are so many great historical sites to visit, where should one start?  The Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Imperial Fora, and the Pantheon are classics that all travelers must see, and fortunately these sites can be seen by foot.

[caption id="attachment_1526" align="alignnone" width="6386"]Imperial Fora Imperial Fora. photo credit: Zuffe[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1527" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The Pantheon The Pantheon[/caption]

Walking around Rome, you will inevitably come across several open public squares, or piazze in Italian.  The piazza is often described as the center of life,  with most of them featuring historic fountains or statues, churches, and cafes and restaurants.   Without a doubt, the piazze are great places to rest your feet and people watch.  Visit the Piazza Navona and its beautiful Fountain of Four Rivers, Piazza di Spagna, located by the Spanish Steps, and Campo dei Fiori, which is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike.

There are several other layers to Rome other than its historical sites.  Rome is equally well-known for its religious institutions, and of course no visit to Rome is complete without visiting Vatican City.  If you happen to visit the Vatican on a Wednesday when the pope is in residence, you can join the general audience, which is held in the Audience Hall or in St. Peter’s Square.  Non-religious visitors can delight in Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, which house some of the world’s most famous pieces of art.  The museums are closed Sundays and holidays except the last Sunday of the month when they are free.  Make sure you plan your visit ahead of time as tens of thousands of tourists visit the Vatican every day.

[caption id="attachment_1523" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Vatican Museum Vatican Museum[/caption]
First time visitors and repeat visitors interested in visiting multiple museums and archaelogical sites should consider buying a Roma Pass.  The pass allows free entry to the first 2 museums and/or archaeological sites you visit as well as several other free admissions and discounts.  It also includes use of Rome’s public transportation.
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Gelato.  Just thinking about the gelato in Rome puts me in a great mood.  Gelato is one of the best-tasting treats in Italy.  After burning so many calories sightseeing, you can indulge just a little bit.  Be forewarned that once you taste authentic, handmade gelato, it will be difficult not to give into gelato cravings multiple times a day.  The best gelato can be found at Gelateria Giolitti.  This popular institution has even served First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters.  One of its two locations is situated near the Pantheon, so make sure to stop by either before or after your visit.
[caption id="attachment_1547" align="alignnone" width="440"]Gelateria Giolitti Gelateria Giolitti[/caption]
Sweet tooth not satisfied?  Stop by Bar Pompi for the perfect tiramisu.
Tiramisu at Bar Pompi
Looking to explore the more modern side of  Rome?  Like any major city, Rome has a wide variety of shopping and entertainment options.   The Italians are known for their sense of style, so naturally, Rome has many shopping areas.  Our picks for the best shopping streets are Via del Corso, Via Condotti, and Via del Babuino.  Once you have had your fill of shopping, head over to the popular Trastevere area to find great restaurants and bars.  Additionally, there are lively bars in Campo dei Fiori and Vicolo delle Vacche, and if you are still looking to party, some of Rome’s hottest nightclubs can be found in the Testaccio area as well as on Via Libetta.

After walking for hours and exploring this magnificent city, visitors to Rome will need a good night’s rest.  There are certainly no shortage of hotels in Rome, but one that we particularly love is Hotel dei Mellini, a 4-star superior luxury hotel.  We are happy to present the winners of the trivago WorldTrip a weeklong stay at this beautiful and comfortable hotel.

Hotel dei Mellini is a superb reflection of Italian glamour and style.   Design enthusiasts should take note that Harry Gregory, the famous British architect, designed the hotel and that the hotel is actually created from two historic private residences from the era of Italy’s King Umberto I.  Each of the 80 rooms are decorated in a modern and contemporary motif inspired by Art Deco.  Another reason we love this hotel is its location.  Hotel dei Mellini is in a great location just two blocks from the Tiber River and a 15-minute walk from both Vatican City and the Spanish Steps. 

[caption id="attachment_1503" align="aligncenter" width="345"]Hotel dei Mellini Room Hotel dei Mellini Room[/caption]

Hotel guests can enjoy the extensive facilities, including the lush roof garden, serene solarium and the state of the art gym.  Hotel services such as the tour guide, massage services, and limousine service will provide you with the VIP experience that you deserve.

[caption id="attachment_1507" align="aligncenter" width="345"]Hotel dei Mellini Solarium Hotel dei Mellini Solarium[/caption]

After a good night’s rest in the comfortable beds, Hotel dei Mellini offers a delicious buffet breakfast which can be enjoyed in the cafeteria or on the patio.

[caption id="attachment_1501" align="aligncenter" width="345"]Hotel dei Mellini Cafeteria Hotel dei Mellini Cafeteria[/caption]

Can’t get enough of this magnificent city?  If you wish to visit Rome again, head over to the Trevi Fountain and toss a coin into the fountain.  As legend has it, visitors who throw a coin into the fountain are ensured a return trip.  La dolce vita!

[caption id="attachment_1522" align="alignnone" width="683"]Trevi Fountain Trevi Fountain[/caption]