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Plan Your Trip to Rome: Best of Rome Tourism

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Rome, Italy

It’s easy to see why Rome’s one of the most-visited places on the planet: There’s history everywhere (the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the list goes on), sculptural masterpieces in almost every piazza, and—of course—ridiculously good food. Every trip could feel like a whirlwind, but slow down and you’ll discover lots of surprises. Spend a Sunday morning in Trastevere and hunt for vintage finds at Porta Portese flea market. Or hit San Lorenzo—a student neighbourhood with an edgy-but-charming vibe—for trendy shops, galleries, and street art. Dinner’s not ‘til late here, so grab an aperitivo in Prati—it’s walkable from the Vatican and packed with quirky sidestreet bars.Yes, the energy’s next-level, so if you need a break, head for the hills (literally) and check out Aventine Hill, a leafy-green suburb with peaceful gardens and some of the best views of the city. There’s always something to do and we’ve got more recs, below.

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Essential Rome

How to spend 3 days in Rome

Masterpiece art, incredible eats, and the Colosseum
Read on

Exploring Rome’s underground

A funny thing happened when I brought my teenage son to Rome for the first time: he convinced me to go below ground. Exploring beneath the city’s surface revealed a world of fascinating crypts, catacombs, and subterranean sights I had missed on previous visits. Plus, they all offered delightful natural cooling on sweltering Rome days—another highlight of the Eternal City’s hidden underground.
  • Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Small Group - 6 People Max
    3,621
    On this Colosseum tour, we learned all about the lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!) that were held in the cellar—a space you can only access on a tour. (Tours are also the only way to skip the entry line that typically stretches beyond Palatine Hill.) Our guide also told enthralling stories of gladiators battling wild animals and the “special effects” launched from the basement, like flooding the stadium for boat battles.
  • Museum and Crypt of Capuchins
    2,614
    A word of warning: If you’re at all squeamish about seeing bones (lots and lots of bones), this is one to skip. But children, I discovered, tend to find these underground rooms—filled with the artfully arranged remains of 4,000 capuchin monks—more fascinating than frightful. There is a method to the macabre here: you’ll see mosaics, altars, and more, created from skeletal pieces dating from the 1500s to the 1800s.
  • Catacombe San Sebastiano
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    Take the 118 city bus from the Colosseum to these catacombs (a route formerly known as the Appian Way and the origin of the saying “all roads lead to Rome”) to see the ancient underground grave where Saint Sebastian was buried in 350 A.D., along with many of Rome’s wealthy Christian families. It’s a fascinating combination of art and archaeology, with mosaic walls and marble sculptures preserved in a sunless space.
  • Catacombe di Santa Domitilla
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    If you’re hesitant about seeing more crypts, I hear you. I felt the same way at this point in our explorations. But this catacomb close to San Sebastiano is actually an underground basilica dating back to 120 A.D., which still, amazingly, has its original frescoes. There are also tombs—15,000 of them to be exact, sprawled across four layers and 10 criss-crossing miles. If you venture down, bring a jacket; it can get chilly.
  • Vicus Caprarius – the City of Water
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    Talk about under the radar. In the 1990s, an entire apartment complex, dating to the first century, and a still-working aqueduct were discovered beneath the neighbourhood surrounding the Trevi Fountain. The site, now known as Vicus Caprarius (City of Water), can be enjoyed on a guided tour, but we found it easy enough to visit the small, below-ground museum on our own (then head back to street level to toss a coin in the fountain).