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The Perfect Day in Rome

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The precise formula for a perfect day in Rome is highly personal, but visitors hoping to make the most of a single day in the Italian capital should start with an early morning visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, followed by a peek inside the Pantheon on the way to the Forum and Colosseum. Rome is stunningly gorgeous at night, so use your last bit of energy to chase panoramic views and to soak in the atmosphere of the historical center's piazzas and fountains.
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00184 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
What else can you say, it's THE Colosseum. Impressive on every count. Long live Caesar.
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Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
of three roads (tre vie), the Trevi Fountain in Rome marks the terminal point of the Aqua Vergine, Aqua Virgo and one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the world.
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Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Pantheon is a spectacular structure, and one of the oldest and best preserved in Rome. The light changes throughout the day—this was taken about 12:30 p.m. in April. Be ready for big crowds, but looking at all the architectural details can...
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Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Piazza Navona was built on the foundations of a stadium constructed for Emperor Domitian in the 1st century C.E. Three grand fountains are the highlight of this elegant and impressive space: The main fountain in the center was designed by Bernini...
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Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
Licking the final scoop of my stracciatella, I stared up to look at the monumental façade of the ST. Peter’s Basilica and It blew my mind! I could not take my eyes off Michelangelo’s Dome of the Basilica with the statues of the Saints on the top...
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00120, Vatican City
No, you are still not allowed to take photographs of the Sistine Chapel while visiting Vatican City. Yes, I did it anyway just to try and capture the awesomeness of the accomplishment by good ol' Michelangelo. Like so many incredible artistic...
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Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II in Rome, nicknamed the Wedding Cake (and, alternately, the Typewriter) for its distinctive boxy shape, offers some of the most stunning panoramic views to be had of the Eternal City, in every direction. There is...
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Piazza del Campidoglio, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
I had my epiphany in the fall of 2012 when I spent five weeks in Rome. Before I departed, everyone inquired what I would "do" there, to which I replied "nothing". This generally had the effect of a curious expression and a blank stare. I just...
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Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
Many city parks offer green grass, fresh air, and open space (that's kind of their m.o.), but few include ancient Roman ruins! Villa Borghese is as breathtaking as it is vast, and it's the ideal place to lounge with a book or get in a quick run to...
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00186 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Against our middle child's protests that we were going in a ramp that stated “Exit Only,” we rambled into the Roman Forum area after hours. Which is why we found ourselves at the top of a hill, overlooking the city, with only two young...
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Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Once the haunt of expat artists, poets, and dreamers, Antico Caffè Greco, on Rome's glamorous Via Condotti, is a must. At this 18th-century caffè, you'll learn that Romans can be very particular about their coffee. Cappuccino is a...
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Via del Politeama, 23/25, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
A local landmark, Taverna Trilussa has been a Trastevere hangout for nearly a century. The ivy-covered entrance opens to a lively family-run trattoria where prosciutto and dried herbs decorate the walls alongside the usual trappings of vintage...
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Via degli Specchi, 6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This might be my favorite place in Rome. Beer, burgers, famed baker Gabriele Bonci—and those potato chips with homemade ketchup. Swoon. The beef used here is the slow food La Granda. The condiments are homemade, and the buns are by baked by Bonci....