The main problem for first-time visitors to Rome is how to see the most beautiful attractions of the Eternal City without haste: every time I come to Rome I realize that it would take ten lives to visit everything! So, I think it is better to choose activities that allow you to go sightseeing with the help of expert guides, enjoying Rome as Romans do. This is a brief guide for those who want to explore the historic center and other amazing spots, such as the Vatican and Villa Borghese gardens:
Visit All The Main Squares Of Rome In A Couple Of Hours
The fist guided tour I suggest, is by segway, an eco-friendly vehicle powered by electricity.
Ride a segway, it is easier than riding a bike, thus do not worry about it: before starting a tour the expert guides explain in detail how this vehicle works and you can practice for 10-15 minutes or more.
The segway tours in Rome are a nice opportunity to see monuments, squares, and streets from a different perspective, avoiding queues and traffic in the historic center.
The tour I booked started from Piazza del Popolo, where there are, among the other attractions, the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the obelisk of Ramesses II in the center of the square and the Fountain of Neptune.
I really appreciated the tradition related to Santa Maria in Montesanto, also known as the Church of the Artists. There is a mass held every Sunday with a reading by an artist and a live concert.
The guided tour includes stops at Pantheon, Navona Square, and Castel Sant’Angelo, spots that are usually crowded by tourists. At each stop, a guide tells you something you probably do not know about the most popular monuments of Rome, for example the Fountain of Four Rivers in Navona square.
Did you know that each animal and plant depicted in the fountain (designed by Bernini) carries allegories and metaphors with it? Furthermore, according to the legend, Bernini positioned the Rio de la Plata sculpture, as if it was fearing the facade of the church of Sant’Agnese, designed by his rival Borromini.
I loved to see Colosseum, Imperial Fora, and Spanish Steps in a couple of hours, discovering funny facts that only a truly passionate of Rome’s history can know.
Borghese Gallery And The Most Stunning Gardens In Rome
Rome is a city of very big public parks. Villa Borghese (the third largest public garden) is the most popular and it is easy to reach, because it is next to Pincian Hill and close to Piazza del Popolo. Inside Villa Borghese, there is a lot to see: elegant villas, a zoological garden, cafes, two cinemas, a replica of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, three museums, a hydro-chronometer and, of course, a large space where to relax yourself under a tree.
The main museum in Villa Borghese is the Borghese Gallery, one of the most important art collections in the world, since includes Caravaggio paintings, Bernini sculptures, classical antiquities of the I-III centuries AD, Raphael’s Entombment of Christ, and many more.
Advance booking is required to visit Galleria Borghese, for this reason I relied on Villa Borghese Tours services, specialized in guided tours inside the art gallery and outside in the gardens.
Do not forget to see the romantic lake (called by Romans “laghetto”) inside the Villa, where you can admire the small Temple of Aesculapius (dating back to XVIII Century and built as a landscape feature), take advantage of the warm weather of Rome to do a picnic or go boating, it will be an unforgettable day!
Visit Vatican Museums Skipping The Lines
St. Peter’s basilica and Vatican Museums are must-sees, so it is useful to avoid lines and enjoy your visit in the best way. As you know, St. Peter’s Basilica is located in the Vatican State, it is considered the largest church in the world, but it is not the Cathedral Church of the Roman diocese.In fact, the Cathedral Church of Rome is St. John Lateran Basilica.
I chose Maya Tours in Rome to experience all the best of these places, thanks to guided tours, scheduled even outside of standard hours. For example, it is possible to explore Vatican on Friday evening (such a great way to start weekend!) or in the early morning (one hour before opening time).
Saint Peter’s Basilica has collected many works of art over the centuries, from Michelangelo’s Pietà to the mosaic by Giotto, above the main entrance, called the Navicella. The dome was completed by Giacomo della Porta on Michelangelo’s drawings.
About Vatican Museums, I think it is better to book a semi-private guided tour (for small groups of maximum 13 people) or if you prefer a more exclusive experience, a private tour (a visit with your own personal guide).
The visit of all the galleries (these Museums are 7 km long) takes several hours, moreover, the Vatican Museums are currently amongst the ten world’s most popular museums, so there are long lines in every period of the year. Have a look at the official website of the Museums for opening hours, ticket cost and calendar events: www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani.
My holiday in Rome, focused on sightseeing, has been a kind of daydream and I wish you to live a special travel experience like this!