It’s certainly great to have a guide to show you around archeological sites and museums, but what you really should not miss, is having a guide show you the real thing, the city, its people, its atmosphere, its life. On this tour, we are going to discover the sights Rome is so famous for, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, but also a number of places and hidden corners you wouldn’t know existed without a tour.
I love to start from Piazza del Popolo (“the people’s square”), where the northern city gate is located, because this is the way all travelers entered the city in bygone days: Michelangelo, Martin Luther, even James Joyce had their first encounter with the Eternal City right here.
From this superb piazza, let’s walk up to the Pincio Terrace, a viewpoint that allows you to take in the whole city laid down at your feet. A short walk alongside the Villa Medici Gardens takes us to the Spanish Steps, where we’ll immerse ourselves in the glamourous atmosphere of Italian fashion. We’ll window-shop on Via Condotti, the top end address in the fashion system, and learn about the designers who have sponsored the restoration of Rome’s monuments.
At the Trevi Fountain, we’ll admire the dazzling beauty of this freshly restored world-famous landmark: and of course, you’ll want to toss a coin into the fountain, to secure your return to Rome in the future.
The flamboyant Baroque style we have admired so far walking through this part of the city reaches its peak in the church of St. Ignatius, run by the Jesuit order anddedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. Marvel at the stunning frescoes on the ceiling, and discover the secret of the magic dome of the church!
As we bump into some ancient Roman monuments such as the Column of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, the many egyptian obelisks dotting the city, or the Temple of Hadrian, we’ll talk about how the city is a living organism that has kept on transforming itself through the centuries. And the best place to grasp this quintessential Roman character is the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient Roman temple in the world, and a splendid testimony to the construction skills of the Romans. The Pantheon has been a place of worship for about 2000 years, transforming from temple to church, and adapting to a changing world.
This is also the area within the city with the highest number of delicious coffee-places, so this is where we can dive into a crash course about caffè macchiato, cappuccino and granita di caffè!
Our final stop is Piazza Navona, a former ancient Roman stadium that has retained its original shape, even though houses, two churches and 3 fountains have been built on top of the Roman ruins! Hear about the two rival masters of the Baroque age, Bernini and Borromini, reluctantly rubbing elbows when they were working on the construction of the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the church of St. Agnes, all the time loathing each other.
After this full immersion into Rome’s beauty, you’ll be ready to top things off with a mouth-watering meal at one of the many restaurants nearby – or with a gelato at my favourite gelateria!