In our last blog post, we discussed some of the best sites to see in Rome, Italy: the Roman Colosseum, Arch of Constantine and the Roman Forum. And in a post earlier this month, we listed our top picks for churches and cathedrals to see in Rome as well. Today, we quickly go through some of the other best spots to visit in the “Eternal City” and the capital of Italy.
The Trevi Fountain is located in a busy part of Rome, surrounded by hotels, shopping, street-vendors and nightlife. But it wasn’t always that way. The fountain was built in the mid-1700s, noted for its baroque design and the mythological character of Neptune, the god of the sea, riding in a shell-shaped chariot led by seahorses.
Roman lore instructs patrons to throw one, two or three coins into the Trevi, using your right hand to toss the coins over your left shoulder. The coins supposedly ensure you’ll return to Rome, you’ll fall in love with an attractive Roman, and marry them! On the bright side, if this doesn’t come true, the coins all go to charity; nearly $3,500 is collected each day and used to support food programs for the city’s poor. The fountain underwent a $2.4 million restoration before reopening in November 2015, and it’s best viewed at night when lights illuminate the fountain.
The Spanish Steps are the longest and widest staircase in all of Europe. A great spot for people watching, the steps are near the Piazza di Spagna. A Barcaccia fountain bubbles at the foot of the famed steps, and the Trinità dei Monti church sits at the top of the steps. The views from the top are worth the climb.
Another large, beautiful and charming public square, Piazza Navona is lined with restaurants and open-air cafes. Dating back to the end of the 15th century, it was once the site of sporting events at Domitian’s stadium in A.D. 89. The piazza contains three fountains, including Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, whose four statues represent a river from different continents.
This half-villa, half-museum contains many famous pieces, including he Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculptures of Apollo and Daphne, as well as a young David preparing to take on Goliath, and Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Venus Victrix. However, tickets to see these masterpieces are hard to get; the museum admits only 360 visitors every 2 hours, so make reservations in advance.
Located under Our Lady of the Conception, this macabre display of bones and skulls celebrates the life of the religious order of the Capuchin friars. The creations tell the story of life, death and resurrection through a unique interpretation of the Catholic church’s teachings of good, evil and eternity.