Destinations,  Europe,  Italy

A Walk Around Rome

Arriving in Rome is starting to feel familiar, like a homecoming. After spending a full week here in 2008 and again in 2009, and at least three other previous visits, there is a comfort level that comes with spending enough time in one place. I love that I can now find my way around the centro storico without a map.

While I no longer feel obligated to go inside St Peter’s, the Colosseum, or the Forum on every trip, I still like to reacquaint myself with a walk around the center of Rome to see the old favorites. Of course, there are things which have not changed in 2000 years, but there’s also always something new to see. On this trip we’re staying in an apartment (to be detailed in a later post) between the Tiber and Piazza Navona. We have three days to enjoy some sights new to us, but after checking in and having a lovely, long anticipated meal at La Fiametta, we set out on an amble around the neighborhood to see those more familiar places first. Future posts will cover some lesser known sights which we saw for the first time like Trajan’s Market and Santa Cecilia church in Trastevere. But first, let me take you on this quick tour around some my favorite sights in Rome.

Walking into the Piazza Navona late in the afternoon, I was happy to see the fountains unencumbered by scaffolding (often there, at least on previous trips, for cleaning and renovations).

Piazza Navona
Bernini's Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi in the center of the Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona Sign
Wouldn't it be lovely to have this balcony overlooking the Piazza Navona?
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona
Part of the Fontana del Moro in the Piazza Navona.

I’ve passed by the small hidden church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza dozens of times and I’ve yet to ever see the church doors open. This baroque church built by Borromini in the mid 1600’s sits at the back of a courtyard building on Corso del Rinascimento (#40) and you can see it from the gates to the courtyard at the street. The building was the home to the University of Rome from the 15th century to 1935. According to the Rome DK Eyewitness guidebook, it’s only open Saturdays from 10am-1pm and Sundays 11am-12:30pm. Next time…

Church Sapienza
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza

One of my favorite buildings anywhere is the Pantheon and I must see it, at least from the outside, every time I’m in Rome. Go here if you want to see my photos from inside the Pantheon.


On our last day in Rome we took the metro to the Colosseo stop and discovered thousands of people in the streets. On Sundays the Via dei Foro Imperiali is closed to car traffic and since it was a beautiful day, packed with people. It was a bit surreal to be able to walk down the middle of the wide street which is usually packed with cars and buses.

Via de Fori Imperiali


Some of the Forum can be seen from the street and I’ve never noticed this part before. Anyone know what those basins were used for? Tannery? Or were they some sort of oven/cooker? (see photo below). I didn’t see any people in there so I don’t know if it’s accessible or not either.


On our way back from visiting Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, we crossed the Ponte Palatino, right at the bottom of the Isola Tiberina. I love this “bridge to nowhere”.

Bridge to nowhere

Emblem on ancient bridge
Detail from the bridge.

Bridge to nowhere

isola Tiberna

The Castel St Angelo is worth a visit inside if you haven’t been before and if you time it right, the view from the top is amazing when the sun sets right behind St. Peters.

Castel St Angelo
Castel St Angelo

Even though we did not go inside St. Peter’s this trip, seeing the distinctive dome is possible from almost anywhere in central Rome.

St Peter's Basilica
St Peter's Basilica


  • walkingon travels

    Thanks for the wander back down memory lane. I just finished a travel memoir about Rome and through your photos I was able to relive my own trip back in 2007. Can’t wait to go back one day soon. Had the best pesto linguine of my life there!

  • sharon Miro

    OH, my…just this brief tour-logue made me remember what a fine time we had..I so love Rome too, and am looking forward to being there in just about a month! I will miss you tho!

  • Elizabeth Minchilli

    So glad I discovered your site. What gorgeous photos! That week (right before Easter, right?) was just amazing in Rome. Even though it was super crowded, the light was so incredible and sky so blue. You caught it all perfectly. Brava!!

    • wired2theworld

      Elizabeth, thanks for the nice comments. I’m a big fan of your blog too! Actually, these photos, as well as the posts about Naples and Paestum and a few upcoming posts about Rome were from October last year. I’m behind in my writing, LOL. We’ve been in Rome the week before Easter (in 2008) and I think it’s a magical time to be there. This year for Easter week we were in Istanbul and were blessed with great weather, probably similar to what you had in Rome.

  • Dave

    Great to see put up so many photos of Rome. No idea what those basins are. Though I don’t think they are a tannery as the smell usually deems them to be left outside. Maybe the Romans found a way to contain the smell?

    Always enjoy seeing your photos as you seem to go off the beaten tour path quite a bit and come back with the type of photos most people walk by. In other words with your photos people get to see parts of Rome that really makes you feel like you’re taking a walk around yourself.! Good stuff.

    • wired2theworld

      Dave, I think you are right about it probably not being a tannery because of the smell. As of yet, we’ve been unable to determine what they are. Glad you liked the photos. I actually debated putting them up, wondering if the world really need more pic of the Pantheon etc., so thanks!

  • Heidi19

    I love Rome and how i wish i could visit this wonderful place someday. Thanks for sharing this lovely photos with us and i’m looking forward to read more from you. Have fun!

  • Scott

    Explore the seven hills, stop for an espresso by the Spanish Steps, sip a Chianti in a hidden piazza. The many charms of Rome await. Oh it’s too cool!

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