Take a walk and enjoy Rome’s free-of-charge charms
To the untrained eye, Circus Maximus might just look like large green pasture – it was, however, once Rome’s most famous circus stadium, and is now its oldest. Once inside, visitors are sure to be filled with images of ancient Rome’s famed chariot races and spectator sports. If you happen to be visiting the area in spring, don’t miss a stop at the Rome Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale), located opposite the Circus, where the small but beautiful rose garden is only open during the flowers’ blooming period.
Wander onward to nearby Aventine Hill for a peaceful break from the bustle of the city center. Similar spots to enjoy a moment of Zen include the panoramic terrace at the Parco degli Aranci (park of the orange trees) and the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, featuring Egyptian and alchemical symbols.
From Aventine Hill, continue your walk along the Tiber River, until you come to the Bocca della Verità, the famous “mouth of truth.” Be brave in the face of legend and stick your hand inside – but only if you haven’t told any lies lately.
Continue to the Piazza Venezia and take the staircase leading to the Piazza del Campidoglio to visit the square designed by Michelangelo. Back in the Piazza Venezia, make a stop at the impressive and famous Pantheon, which houses the tombs of the kings of Italy.
Not far away are two must-see churches: the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, featuring Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saint Matthew, and the Church of Sant’Agostino, with the same artist’s Madonna of Loreto.
Make your final stop the Piazza Navona, a square that was built on the ruins of a Roman stadium. At the center of the square resides the Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the perfect place to take a well-earned rest.