Rome's Must-Do List

From marveling at the Sistine Chapel to strolling through the Villa Borghese gardens, here are the top things to do in the Eternal City.

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Castel Sant'Angelo was originally designed by Emperor Hadrian to be used as a mausoleum for his own family. 960 1280

  

Even though it's located in Rome, Vatican City has been an independent state since 1929. 960 1280

  

In ancient Rome, the Forum was the center of city life, playing host to festivals, funerals and rituals. 960 1280

  

Take a seat on the Spanish Steps, and watch the city go by. 960 1280

  

The Capuchin Crypt celebrates the life of the religious order of the Capuchin friars. 960 1280

Photo by PirateAlice through the Flickr Creative Commons license  

The first bloody fight took place at the Colosseum in A.D. 82, starting a tradition of battles between men and beasts. 960 1280

  

Inside the Galleria Borghese, you'll find Bernini sculptures including Apollo and Daphne. 960 1280

  

The Pantheon's architecture has inspired copycats around the globe. 960 1280

  

The largest and most memorable of the 3 fountains in Piazza Navona is Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers. 960 1280

  

Throw 3 coins into Trevi Fountain, and you'll be assured a return trip to Rome. Or so the legend goes. 960 1280

  

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Biscotti

Biscotti

Whether you’re drinking a cappuccino, an espresso, a latte or a macchiato -- a biscotti is the perfect accompaniment. 960 1280

Hayward Gaude  

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

Start your Italian feast off right with a plate of bruschetta -- crostini topped with fresh tomatoes and basil, then drizzled with olive oil 960 1280

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Gnocchi

Gnocchi

Gnocchi, soft (but dense) Italian dumplings, are often made with potato -- and are sure to fill you up. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cannolis

Cannolis

If you’re craving dessert -- or even just a snack -- you can’t go wrong with a cannoli. The Sicilian pastry is often made with ricotta cheese, and is best washed down with a “digestivo” such as sambuca or grappa. 960 1280

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Red wine

Red wine

No Italian meal is complete without a bottle of red wine. 960 1280

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Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

It may be simple, but few things are more delicious than a traditional Neapolitan margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita when she was served a pizza made with the Italian flag’s colors on a visit to Naples in 1889. 960 1280

iStock  

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Tiramisu, which appropriately translates as “pick me up,” is made of layers of ladyfingers soaked in espresso, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder and liqueur. 960 1280

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Salami

Salami

Salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, capicola, soppressata … oh my! Italians love their cured meats, and they make for a great antipasto. 960 1280

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Fresh pasta

Fresh pasta

Nothing beats homemade, fresh pasta. 960 1280

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Olives

Olives

The Italians love their olives, whether they are served as an antipasto or used to make olive oil. 960 1280

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Pesto

Pesto

A northern Italian specialty, pesto is made from garlic, plenty of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmigiano-reggiano. 960 1280

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Aperativo

Aperativo

A popular “aperitivo” in Italy, a negroni is made of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Many restaurants and bars in Italy serve a buffet of free food to snack on while you enjoy a predinner cocktail. 960 1280

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Risotto

Risotto

A bowl of silky-creamy risotto. Typically served as a “primo,” or first course, risotto preparation is an art: al dente, but cooked enough that the starch from the rice creates a smooth and creamy consistency 960 1280

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Caprese

Caprese

A caprese salad in the US can hardly compare with the same simple dish in Italy: the red, juicy and ripe Roma tomatoes layered with thick slices of bufala mozzarella will put all other caprese salads you’ve had to shame. 960 1280

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Spaghetti

Spaghetti

Who could forget spaghetti? The iconic, long, round noodles are just one variety of over 300 different types of Italian pasta. 960 1280

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Sicilian

Sicilian

A classic Sicilian pasta dish, pasta alla norma is made with eggplant in a tomato sauce and ricotta salata. Southern Italian cuisine relies heavily on tomatoes, peppers, olives, artichokes, eggplants, fish and capers, while northern Italian cuisine uses less tomato sauce and more herbs and white sauce. 960 1280

little blue hen, flickr  

Polenta

Polenta

Polenta, made from maize meal, is a typical northern Italian dish. Once cooked into a creamy, thick paste, it can be served with vegetables, fish or meat, or shaped into patties and then fried, baked or grilled. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

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Spiral Staircase in Vatican Museum

Spiral Staircase in Vatican Museum

The Vatican museum's double-helix staircase, with its spectacular handrail, was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. The double-helix design allows traffic to flow unimpeded as visitors ascend on one set of stairs and descend on the other. 960 1280

Eric VANDEVILLE, Getty Images  

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter's Square

While it's normally uncrowded, Saint Peter's Square can be filled to capacity on special occasions, such as the Holy Mass and canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 960 1280

VINCENZO PINTO, AFP, Getty Images  

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

The Galleria Doria Pamphilj houses a grand collection of paintings, furniture and statuary. It's one of the largest private art collections in Rome. 960 1280

photogolfer, Shutterstock.com  

Campo de Fiori

Campo de Fiori

Shop for clothes, produce and more in the plaza at Campo de Fiori. 960 1280

Christian Mueller, Shutterstock.com  

Procession of Madonna in Trastevere

Procession of Madonna in Trastevere

During Trastevere's annual 'Festa de Noantri,' a statue of the Madonna Fiumarola is carried through the streets. 960 1280

Stefano Montesi, Getty Images  

Caffe Greco

Caffe Greco

Enjoy a wonderful cappuccino from Rome's famous Caffe Greco at Via Condotti. 960 1280

Franco Origlia, Getty Images  

Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs

Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri - the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs. 960 1280

Tupungato, Shutterstock.com  

Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven

Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli (Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven) features a gilded ceiling as well as religious artwork and artifacts. 960 1280

TTstudio, Shutterstock.com  

Vatican's Swiss Guards

Vatican's Swiss Guards

The Vatican's Swiss Guards are an elite group of soldiers entrusted with the protection of the city. 960 1280

Riccardo De Luca, Anadolu Agency, Getty Images  

Pantheon in Rome

Pantheon in Rome

A ray of sunlight illuminates the central door of the Pantheon through the dome, which is open to the heavens. 960 1280

Andreas Solaro, Getty Images  

Rome's Spanish Steps

Rome's Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are one of Rome's most popular meeting places. 960 1280

Giorgio Cosulich, Getty Images  

Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Altemps

The inner courtyard of the Palazzo Altemps, seat of the National Museum of Rome, features a number of impressive sculptures. 960 1280

DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI, Getty Images  

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