Myriad neighborhoods dot every one of Rome’s seven fabled hills (Capitoline, Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal) and more besides. Focus on one or two neighborhoods each day if you have the time; if you have only 24-48 hours, take in the Colosseum and Vatican City’s highlights.
Capitoline Hill/ColosseumAll that’s left of Rome’s faded imperial glory: ruins, ruins everywhere, and not just that famed stage for gladiatorial fights, but also the Roman Forum, the emperor’s palace at Palatine Hill, and the Capitoline museums, which host a bonanza of ancient sculpture.
Vatican/PratoSee the glories of St. Peter’s Cathedral as well as the treasure trove of art that popes have collected for centuries. Oh, yeah, and a pretty cool ceiling painted by some guy named Michelangelo.
Piazza Navona/PantheonThe winding streets around the piazza are among the city’s most picturesque. Two churches nearby, the Pantheon and San Luigi dei Francesi, are not to be missed.
Piazza di Spagna/TreviEvery tourist in Rome has a picture taken while sitting on the Spanish Steps. If you’re looking for designer clothes, the streets nearby are the place to go. And if you want to return to Rome, simply toss a coin in Trevi Fountain.
TrastevereThis once-bohemian enclave of artists and working class Romans has become gentrified by wealthy expatriates and tourists, but the beauty of the neighborhood hasn’t been diminished. At night, the streets are packed with the young and the edgy, flowing from bar to bar.
Campo de Fiori/Jewish GhettoThe Campo is also a happening nightspot for bar crawling, while the old ghetto has some of Rome’s best eating options as well as Rome’s main synagogue, unique in the city for its square-shaped dome.
San LorenzoGenerally it’s a good idea to keep away from the train station, especially at night. However, the student quarter of San Lorenzo buzzes with some of Rome’s trendiest and best restaurants and bars.
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Alex Schechter Assistant Editor
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