Rome Travel Guide – Interesting Things To Do If You’re In Rome For the First Time

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Marleny Hucks
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

Rome is magnificent. There’s no doubt about that. The city is packed full of stunning architecture from a wide variety of eras, insane food, museums stuffed with more great works of art than you knew existed, whimsical fountains and piazzas, mesmerizing religious monuments and constructions, as well as a culture built around loving life. The following will explore a few things you might want to check out if you’re visiting Rome for the first time.

Get Realistic About Your Time

Rome is the sort of city that, even if you’ve lived in it for years, you wouldn’t be able to see everything it has to offer. So first and foremost, get comfortable with the idea that you cannot do it all. This will help reduce the massive amounts of FOMO that tend to hit newcomers on their first trip. Once that’s done, get clear on how much time you have. Rome has a magical way of making you want to meander or simply sit and watch the pigeons gather around a building that’s so beautiful you feel like crying. When scheduling out your time, be sure to leave lots of buffer room for these ineffable moments. If you’re at all artistically inclined, it’s a great idea to bring a sketchbook or notebook with you so that you can jot down ideas you have or capture the moments you stumble upon.

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Vatican City

Within Rome is an entire country. Vatican City is the home of the Catholic Church and holds some of the world’s most opulent sights, including the extravaganza that is the Sistine Chapel. This is a great location to visit first thing in the morning as it tends to get packed by midday. If you’re super lucky and get there right when it opens, you might even catch a glimpse of some of the artwork with the cleaning lights on. These lights are quickly turned off once cleaning is done as too much bright light causes paintings to age faster than they need to. 

The Colosseum

One of the seven wonders of the world and famed for the gladiatorial combat it held, the colosseum in Rome is a classic must-see spot within the city center. This giant construction is a work of engineering genius when you realize it’s the biggest amphitheater ever built, and it’s been standing since 80 AD. Nothing quite compares to the energy of a space that was used for so long to showcase warriors, executions, and other violent performances. The lines tend to get really long, so you might want to buy your tickets for the Roman Colosseum at ahead of time. This will allow you to skip the lines for people buying tickets and head straight to the site. 

The Catacombs

Among the major sights to see in Rome, the Catacombs don’t come up as much as the others in popular culture, and this might be because they’re not central in a major American blockbuster film (yet). Believe it or not, Rome is built atop subterranean passageways that were used to bury people for several centuries. You can find Jewish, pagan, and early Christian Roman citizens in the catacombs. You’ll find walls of skulls, beautiful paintings and mosaics, early Christian art, frescoes, and, of course, crypts. Major catacombs include the nearly 12-mile-long St. Callixtus catacombs (where nine different popes are buried), and the St. Sebastian catacombs (which contain some of the earliest Christian graffiti ever found), and the St. Domitilla catacombs dating to the 4th century.

The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain has been made famous by numerous films, including the classic La Dolce Vita by Fellini (if you haven’t watched it before going to Rome, you should). The fountain was built in 1762 and is part of a very particular myth regarding travellers to Rome. Many people believe that anyone who tosses a coin into the water of the trevi Fountain will one day return to Rome. If you find yourself in love with the city, why not stop by and toss a penny in? You never know, right?

The above list should give you an idea of a few of the major locations you want to visit while in Rome. Of course, this list is nowhere near exhaustive. Rome is huge and filled to the brim with magical venues and encounters. Make sure to leave some time to wander aimlessly as this activity is what will bring you closer to the heart of the city than anything else.

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