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did you know?
...that in Rome live
17.418 Filippinos
10.873 Americans
8.244 Poles
7.863 Spaniards
6.372 Britons
6.368 Indians?
(Source: City Council)
   
 
Things to Do in Rome

SEVEN HILLS

The starting point of this new itinerary is a scooter rental (you can find several scooter rentals addresses in the category Transport Essentials). You should try to avoid rain because it doesn't really go well with a scooter ride. Once you have your scooter you are ready to go on the "seven-hills-bike-ride".

Perhaps the thought of the Roman traffic is a bit much and scooters aren't quite your thing...then how about zipping around the pavements on a modern Segway. Great fun and perfect for families with kids, this is a great way to see lots of Rome in comfort. Check out this Best of Rome Segway Tour for more details.

If travelling by 2 wheels isn't your thing, there are plenty of walking tours available - but be careful to find mother tongue English speaking guides - for a start you can understand what they say much better, but as an added bonus they tend to be considerably cheaper than the larger, Italian tour companies, being freelance and fancy free, for Cheap Rome Hotels click here.

Looking for children’s books in rome? The be sure to visit: The Little Reader

If you're looking for fun things to do at night, try one of the several Pub Crawls around the centre! Ideal for young people looking to connect, the Pub Crawls offer a unique diversion to what you imagine Rome to be like!

The seven hills of Rome, in anti-clockwise order, are: the Capitoline, the Palatine, the Aventine, the Caelium, the Esquiline, the Viminal and the Quirinal.

The aim of this itinerary is to go on top of each single hill. Let's start from the Capitoline. Unfortunately is not possible to get to the top of the Capitoline by scooter.
The best way to get to the top of the Capitoline is via a ramp of steps called the cordonata (designed by Michelangelo - as was the elegant Piazza del Campidoglio on top the hill).

The palace facing you from the top of the steps is Rome's city hall. On the your left and on your right you have the Capitoline Museums. The statue you see today in the middle of the square is a copy of an incredible second-century equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The original is in the ground floor of the Capitoline Museums. The roof garden on top of the Capitoline Museums hosts the best located bar in town - although quite expensive, the view is magnificent.

Now you need to get going if you want to visit the other six hills. The next one in line is the Palatine. Again your scooter will be pretty useless here as you can only enter the Palatine from the Forum. This was the Beverly Hills of Ancient Rome. The pavilion at the top of the hill is 17th century, with a good view over the Forum. There is too much to say about the Palatine, if you are very interested make sure you bring with you a good guide.

Now is when you need your scooter - you're off to the Aventine!

The Aventine hill has Rome highest property prices and hosts, among other things, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta. In the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta you will find the only keyhole in the world through which is possible to see three sovereign states: Italy, the Vatican and the Maltese Embassy.

And on to the Caelium! From here St. Augustine was dispatched to convert the pagan hordes of far-off Britain. This hill hosts a small but beautiful park and a number of old churches such as San Clemente, Santi Quattro Coronati and Santo Stefano Rotondo.

If you still have some petrol left it's time to head towards the Esquiline, the biggest of Rome's seven hills. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele at the top of this hill is where Rome's Indian, Korean and Chinese restaurants, markets and supermarkets are based. If you are interested in Roman archeology you can't miss the Baths of Diocletian, the Palazzo Massimo and Trajan's Markets, while on the other hand you might want to visit some stunning early churches: San Pietro in Vincoli, Santa Prassede and San Martino ai Monti, as well as Rome's two main basilica cathedrals, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano.

The nearby Monti area has quite a few good pubs and it gets pretty lively. If you are feeling Kafkaesque take a look at the Ministry of Interior on Piazza del Viminale (our sixth hill), the secret police headquarters on Via Lanza, the Teatro dell'Opera in Via Firenze or the Bank of Italy headquarters on Via Nazionale.

The Quirinal hill, the end of our trip, hosts the presidential palace on Piazza del Quirinale, from where the view over the city is spectacular, particularly at sunset.

A PERFECT DAY

First thing to do is to check the weather forecast to make sure clouds and rain (however rare) won't spoil your day.

The best days to pick are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday most shops, bars and venues are closed. From Monday to Wednesday Romans pretend to have an occupation. These are the days of the week when people think that their aim in life is to get rich, to become someone. Fortunately it doesn't last for long, by Thursday many realize that:

Firstly, they are never going to go as far as they dream.
Secondly, there is much more to life than just money and a career.
Thirdly, the weather is too nice.

So let's say you've chosen a Friday. Comfortable and light clothes are a must if it's spring, summer or autumn. You should have roughly 50 euros in your wallet and you should expect to do some serious walking.

A good time to start your day is about 10 am, - un cappuccino e un cornetto will do - if you're hungry try one of the pastries. I'd suggest un cannolo siciliano - a delicious pastry filled with ricotta (soft cheese), chocolate and candies.

Once your morning's appetite is satisfied (and after un cannolo I bet it will be), you should be ready to walk. Only take with you what is strictly necessary, ideal would be your wallet and a pocket map only.

Start on Via Nazionale. The street is a bit noisy, but it's all downhill and it's the quickest way to get to the heart of Rome. Don't worry too much about the pretty buildings and the churches you will see during your day, everything in Rome is of some historical or cultural relevance and you would need a lifetime to learn about it all. I will write a few essential things about the most important monuments:

If you are looking for a more intellectual approach to the city you should stay in Rome for at least a couple of weeks, otherwise you will be subjected to a stressful marathon from one museum to another, completely missing the essence of Rome, a city built over the centuries for the needs of its lazy citizens and not for the needs of stressed out tourists!

Where were we?Oh yeah, Via Nazionale. Walk slowly down Via Nazionale, until you get to Largo Magnanapoli. Go down Via IV Novembre untill you reach Piazza Venezia. On your left you have a big white ugly building called il Vittoriano. Its main function is to serve as the 'nation's altar'. There are two soldiers on the top of the steps guarding the grave of the unknown soldier. To the left of the typewriter you can see the Colosseum.

Now, you want to get the hell out of Piazza Venezia, keep on going straight on Via del Plebiscito and then turn right on Via Gatta. Now you are in a supposedly pedestrian area. Enjoy the little alleys and roads and head in the general direction of the Pantheon. Once you've reached the Pantheon try to get in if it's not too crowded, otherwise walk around or sit by the fountain in Piazza della Rotonda.

The Pantheon was built by the Romans as the 'temple of all gods' and was later turned into a church where kings and artists are buried. When you've had enough of the Pantheon, head towards Piazza Navona, again choose your own way. Don't worry about getting lost - it's part of the fun and it's very difficult to end up in a ugly place! Relax, walk, drink some water or read.

Now you are heading towards Campo de' Fiori. I hope you are not hungry yet as there are still a few things to see before eating!. Find your way to Campo de' Fiori. You will probably find an open food market there if you get there early enough. During the evening it turns into the trendiest place in town, where young Romans show off their new clothes and talk about their latest vacanze (holidays), sipping a glass of red or a nice cold beer. You will also find down to earth and friendly people.

If you are tired and wish to take a break before lunch, sit down at one of the wine bars around the square and have an aperitivo - generally a glass of light sparkling white wine and something salty with it. If you don't drink alchool, you can order un analcolico or any soft drink you might like. By now you have probably realised what incredible posers Romans can be. Sitting outside and watching people is a national sport.

It's time for lunch. If you can walk ten more minutes you will be rewarded. You want to get to Trastevere, another trendy part of town and the ideal place for eating out. In order to get to Trastevere you'll have to cross the river Tiber via Ponte Sisto, a pedestrian bridge which links the historical centre to Trastevere.

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