This area is probably the cutest and most atmospheric in Rome. It has narrow cobbled streets, lots of excellent street restaurants and cafes, and is a great place to go for an aperitivo. Don’t miss the beautiful Santa Maria in Trastevere church in the piazza, with its amazing mosaics. It is the oldest place of worship dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the only Byzantine church still standing in Rome.
The Galleria: Borghese
The Cardinal Scipione Borghese and his family were art lovers in the extreme; they would get both painters and sculptors thrown into jail so that they could confiscate their work. The Galleria Borghese houses an unbelievable selection of Bernini statues as well as paintings by Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael. It’s an absolute must for visitors. You can also go rollerblading and boating, as well as take a ride on a little train, in the park surrounding the gallery.
This has to be one of the prettiest public spaces ever built, and was designed by Michelangelo. He also designed the two palaces on either side of the square, which are full of wonderful busts and sculptures, including the famous she-wolf with Romulus and Remus.
Make sure you read up about the Forum, the engine of the Roman Empire, before coming here. Without knowing the wonderful history and all the stories this place has to offer, the power of this place is lost.
The Romans made a sport out of human sacrifice at the Colosseum. This stadium could seat up to 73,000 spectators, who piled in through 80 entrances. It is a spectacular site.
This is the only pagan temple to survive the arrival of Christianity intact, but only because the Christians made it into a church! It is the best preserved ancient building in Rome. It is also geographically the lowest point in Rome, to the extent that it looks like it was built in a ditch, showing how much rubble has raised Rome over the centuries.
Keats Shelley Memorial House
Just next to the Spanish steps, you can learn everything there is to know about some of the most important and famous poets of all time. This is where Keats stayed when in Rome, and is now a really beautifully kept museum. Upstairs is an apartment you can rent out from the Landmark Trust. It is without doubt, one of the most centrally located ‘places to stay’ in Rome with an amazing view, but is according to the guest book, rather noisy!
For details, contact the Landmark Trust on 00 44 (0) 628 825 925 or the Memorial house on (Tel: 00 39 06 678 4235).