Most people choose summer for their holiday adventures. But when it comes to Rome, a winter trip, when the city rests from its clammy, exhausting heat, is even more advisable. Sightseeing is calm and leisurely, and an evening in one of local cafes, like Tazza d'Oro by the Pantheon, is even more pleasant.
Having read a couple of guides on Rome you may feel a bit confused: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Saint Peter's Square … Experienced travelers say that excursions around main attractions, when you see them one by one in the order they are mentioned in travel guides, are useless. Leisurely idle walks – that is the best way to make friends with Rome.
First thing a tourist is advised to do in Rome is to get the city map and find the nearest stop for traams 3 and 8, which go around the city demonstrating a great amount of attractions. They will of course take you to the Colosseum. It may sometimes be difficult to get inside, but after your visit you can go further to Via dei Fori Imperiali – a road rich in archaeological and historic attractions: the ancient market, Forum of Trajan, Basilica Ulpia etc. Various events often take place here.
You are then free to go anywhere you want – Rome is rich in churches, fountains, squares, museums, cozy streets and shops. On your way from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona (by the way, the famous Fountain of the four Rivers is located here) you will encounter a modern house standing on piles right above the ancient ruins. This is what true Rome is – full understanding between the ancient history and modern life.
Squares are almost at every turn in Rome. The best known of them, like Piazza di Spagna, Campo de 'Fiori, Piazza Venezia and Piazza Navona, are always crowded with people. However, there are also spots that are rarely mentioned in standard guides. Piazza Mincio in the Quartiere Coppede is one of those – fountains, arches and art-nouveau roofs are absolutely worth seeing.
A historic district centered around Campo de 'Fiori also describes one's attention. The place is full of narrow lanes, endless stores selling various goods, small shops selling vintage clothes standing side by side with Renaissance palaces and ancient ruins. Another district (or "rione" like they call them here) pleasant to walk around is the bohemian Trastevere, which greatly differs from other Roman districts. Time runs more slowly, and colors are unlike anywhere else in the city. Trastevere has some churches (basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere) and museums (Museo di Roma). The district is rich in cafés and restaurants serving wine and food. Trastevere still keeps its historic traditions.
As for spiritual traditions, one place that will remind you of those is the Vatican City. However, to enter it you will have to join a guided tour. And do not forget to observe Rome from the Janiculum Hill and Piazzale Garibaldi. An unmounted trip is the best way to get there – on your way you will see some beautiful homes and fountains. On the hilltop there is a green park. One of the most important local landmarks is the monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi
For the romantic persons I would recommend seeing the sunset from Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus), when the sun throws rays of light on the opposite Palatine.