753 Thinks To Do in Rome From Laura Siddall

I’m so excited to be racing CHALLENGEROMA 753 on 23rd July. The last time I was in Rome, was in 1990 as a 9 year old! Rome has such history and culture, which we are going to get to race around a lot of it, which is just amazing!

Not only do I think this race is going to be fantastic, but there is so much more to do in Rome. So in keeping with the Challenge Roma 753 theme, I’ve listed some of the things I’m keen to do “when in Rome”. Whilst I’m sure there are 753 top things to do in Rome…. that may take some time, so I’m just split it down into

sites to visit,

5 piazza’s I want to wander through, and

3 foods I want to taste in Rome

Maybe you can help by adding your top tips and any advice, particularly with the 3 foods!

Rome view (left column of Septimius Severus)

7 Sites to See:

  1. The Colosseum – The Colosseum is Rome’s great gladiatorial arena. The bike course goes right past The Colosseum! That’s going to be amazing. I remember racing in London in 2013 and we went past so many famous sights, and so I’m very excited that Challenge Roma takes us past the Colosseum. But I’m keen to go and visit this impressive stadium outside of racing as well.
  2. The Roman Forum – What was once the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman Empire, ancient Rome’s “showpiece centre”, so to speak, now seen as a sprawl of amazing ruins capturing the history.
  3. Peter’s Bascilica – Italy’s largest and most spectacular basilica. Probably best not to go in lycra for this visit though, as strictly no shorts, or bare shoulders allowed.
  4. Trevi Fountain – I want to go and toss a coin into the fountain, which apparently ensures I’ll return to Rome again one day. I assume I did this as a 9year old! Trevi refers to the tre vie (three roads) that converge at the fountain, where the water comes from the aqua virgo (the underground aqueduct). It depicts sea-god Oceanus in a shell-shaped chariot being led by Tritons with seahorses.
  5. Pantheon – The largest unreinforced concrete dome in existence! (Sorry I’m an Engineer.) Its diameter is exactly equal to the Pantheon’s interior height of 43.4m. It’s one of the best preserved of Rome’s ancient monuments.
  6. Sistine Chapel – The Michelangelo painted Sistine Chapel, has to be top of my list of things to visit in the Vatican City.
  7. The Palantino (Palatine Hill) – This was where Romulus supposedly founded the city in 753 BC and Rome’s emperors lived. However it now has some great views in an atmospheric area of majestic ruins and towering pine trees. Palatine Hill is the most central of Rome’s seven hills and was the ancient city’s most exclusive neighbourhood, due to its proximity to the Roman Forum.

Colosseo, Roma

5 Piazza’s to Peer at:

Roman life revolves around the piazzas, why wouldn’t you want to go and just watch the world go by. I want to walk through or sit and watch and preferably with a coffee, ice cream or pizza (see below), or wine and beer too (but that took it back to 5!)

  1. Piazza Navona – Flamboyant fountains, colourful casts of street artists, hawkers and tourists, what’s not going to be to love about Rome’s showcase square
  2. Campo de’ Fiori – Field of Flowers, filled in the day time with artisans and craftspeople with Rome’s oldest outdoor produce and flower market. In contrast to the solemn hooded figure that watches over the square.
  3. Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere –Apparently it’s easy to get lost in the narrow, winding streets of Trastevere, but hopefully I’ll be able to find my way to the Piazza.
  4. Piazza Mattei – This place sounds a bit like a secret find, hidden away, with a cheeky fountain in the middle of four smiling naked boys throwing turtles into the basin above., or perhaps catching them?
  5. Piazza di Spagna – OK so it’s not that I keep reading Piazza as pizza and Spagna reminds me of Spag bol! Actually I am putting Piazza di Spagna in here (instead of Piazza del Popolo and Piazza della Madonna dei Monti), because rising up from the Piazza di Spagna, are the 135 Spanish Steps.


3 Foods to Find and Feast on

I’m going to be in Italy, the home of ice cream and pizza and oh the coffee! I love my food and have been spoilt by coffee in Australia and New Zealand, and currently Spain, so I of course can’t wait to sit with a coffee, likely in one of the Piazza’s above, following my pizza and likely before my ice cream. Or maybe not necessarily in that order. Now I have no idea on the best places to go for my top 3 below, so maybe someone can respond and make some recommendations. Please!

  1. Coffee – home of the espresso! And being a triathlete we all know that cycling (triathlon) and coffee go hand! I’m likely to just make my way through this list – but if anyone can recommend a place, please let me know! The best 10 coffee shops in Rome!
  2. Pizza – OK so apparently the correct style of Italian Pizza is an argument that still goes on. As I’m in Rome, I’ll go with the Roman thin and crispy base, which actually I think would be my preference anyway, over the doughy, risen napoletana. Again though, with so many choices where do you start? I found this list, but again let me know if there’s anywhere anyone recommends? Best Pizza in Rome!
  3. Ice cream – Much like the coffee and pizza, am I really going to be able to narrow this down to one ice cream place, in the home of ice cream? I guess that also means that every place that has ice cream is going to be amazing, right? Perhaps I’ll start with this list, unless anyone of course can make a recommendation? Best ice cream in Rome!

So why not come and join the fun in Rome at CHALLENGEROMA 753 on 23rd July! If you are heading to Italy, you should also check out the great deals the Archeorunning has lined up to help you navigate some of the sights and sounds in Rome.