Najifa Hussain, ’25, is a Management Information Systems major studying at the American University of Rome this Fall 2022.
After having had the opportunity to live in Rome for almost three months now, I think I can say that I have a solid list of must see places and especially restaurants that I can recommend to anybody making the trip here.
The first spot in my list is going to be the neighborhood that our university had placed us in for housing. Turns out this neighborhood is full of locals and has many hidden gems. Just a 15 minute walk from where I am is Downtown Trastevere which is always bustling and full of endless restaurants. This spot has quickly become one of my favorites here in Rome simply because its a nice spot away from all the tourist landscapes and a spot where I can always find a new restaurant to sit in no matter how many times I go. Not only does the small neighborhood have restaurants but it’s all full of cafes, gelato spots, and fun little pubs and bars that many students around here frequent. There is even a square with live music where you can sit on the steps with snacks and drinks while singing along with strangers.
Moving onto the second spot on my list, I highly recommend experiencing the Campo dei Fiore Street Market. This market is known as one of the oldest markets in Rome and is in the heart of the city. Every morning, except for Sunday the square is filled with stalls in multiple rows where you can find a variety of items. From vegetables, fruits, pastries, and even more. Also another great way to truly feel like a Rome local.
Another great spot on my list is somewhere that is about a 5 minute walk from Campo dei Fiore. This spot is known as Piazza Navona and is the most beautiful and significant squares in Rome. All around the square are restaurants facing the square that has statues and fountains in the middle of the square that are works of great architecture and baroque work. During Christmas time, this Piazza is full of merry decorations and bursts with the magic of Christmas markets and is popular with both tourists and locals.
Another great landmark to see when visiting Rome, apart from the ones that are already well-known, I highly recommend making a trip to see Villa Borghese. This park is a gorgeous landscape in Rome, that almost reminds me of Central Park in New York City. The park is free to visit, while there is a fee to go into the galleries. The park itself is huge and you can go around with a bike or scooter, or if you are with a group of friends I recommend renting a four-wheeled bicycle and going around the park together to have as a great memory. Inside the park is also a small lake where you can rent canoes to go around the lake.
My last thing to see when you visit Rome is kind of a given but I do have some helpful tips on how to make the visit to this landmark even better. My last spot to see is the extremely popular and very beautiful Trevi Fountain. Every time I walk by this landmark, it never seems to get old. My biggest advice when visiting the Trevi Fountain is to go at least once to this place late-night when there isn’t as many tourists around. Around the time of 10 pm – 2 am, the fountain looks stunning at night with not as many people standing around. Before you go, make sure to make a stop at any of the rooftop bars nearby overlooking the fountain for drinks and overall a great experience. Best of all, don’t forget to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder with your back facing the fountain to guarantee a future trip back to Rome!