Walking Tours of Rome
Begin at the Pantheon, Rome’s best preserved ancient building. Check out the beautiful interior of colorful marble and marvel at the Oculum, which allows daylight to flood the interior.
Walk from the Piazza della Rotonda south along the left (as you look at the Pantheon) side of the building to the Piazza della Minerva. Admire Bernini’s Elephant sculpture and briefly check out the interior of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva Church, then continue south on the Via de Cestari. Turn left onto the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II which becomes Via del Plebescito before it empties into the Piazza Venezia.
Take a right as you enter the very busy square and head directly for the “Wedding Cake,” the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument. He is famous for uniting the various city-states into a single country.
Stay to the right of the monument and climb the second set of stairs (ramp) to the famous Michelangelo-designed Campidoglio. Surrounding the square are buildings of the Capitoline Museum (worth a visit) and Rome’s City Hall.
Continue past the square (stay to the left) to the entrance to the Roman Forum. Pick up an audio guide or a map of the area and wander the center of Ancient Rome for an hour or two. It is difficult not to be in awe while walking on the same marble streets that Julius Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, and other famous Romans walked.
End your tour of the Forum at the eastern end and marvel at the remarkably well-preserved Arch of Constantine. Then head beyond it to the iconic and incredible architecture of the Colosseum, Rome’s amphitheater built in 79 AD. Tour the arena (order tickets in advance to avoid the long lines), lamenting the loss of almost all of its beautiful white marble, but remaining astonished that so much has been preserved.
From the Colosseum, walk to the northeast to visit the Domus Aureus, Nero’s famous “golden house,” then backtrack and travel northwest along the Via del Fori Imperiali to see Caesar’s Forum, about ½ mile on left and Trajan’s Forum, further along on the right.
Continuing in the same direction brings you back to the Piazza Venezia.
A Walk to the Vatican
From the Piazza della Rotonda (in front of the Pantheon), walk west along the Via Salvatore Giustiani which ends at the Corso Rinasimento. Cross the street, take a left then a right through the first alleyway into the fabulous Piazza Navona. This oval square once held chariot races.Check out the beautiful fountains and be sure to spend some time at an outdoor café, people-watching and soaking up the ambience of the Eternal City.
Exit to the south (at the open end of the piazza) and soon cross the major thoroughfare, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Continue southward several blocks to the Campo dei Fiori, Rome’s old flower market where locals still shop for various foods and sundries.
Turn right and follow the Via del Pellegrino, then turn right on Via Dei Bianchi which changes names several times and crosses the Corso V Emanuele II on its way toward the Tiber River.
Cross the Ponte Sant Angelo to Hadrian’s Tomb (Castel Sant Angelo). After a brief visit, head west along the regal Via della Conciliazione which leads to the Piazza San Pietro and Saint Peter’s Cathedral, in Vatican City.
Visit the Vatican Museum first – entrance can be reached by turning right at the Piazza and following the line of people (be sure to get tickets online prior to arrival to avoid a long wait), then check the incredible cathedral whose dome was also designed by Michelangelo.
Fountains, Steps, and Parks
Beginning at the Piazza della Rotonda (in front of the Pantheon), walk eastward along the Via Seminario to Rome’s premier shopping street, the Via del Corso. Take a left, then a right onto the Via della Muratte which empties at the most famous fountain in Rome, the Trevi Fountain. After throwing your coins and taking the obligatory photos, return to Via del Corso and turn right. Continue north to Via Condotti, famous for its expensive designer shops. Turn right and run the gauntlet past these enticing shops to the Piazza di Spagna, which contains the Spanish Steps, one of Rome’s most popular gathering places.
Climb the steps and emerge on the Viale della Trinita dei Monti, take a right, then left on Via Francesco Crispi, which leads to the entrance to the Villa Borghese. Check out the museum and wander the huge park before returning to your hotel.