Ara Pacis

Richard Meier has left his mark on Rome with the museum surrounding the Ara Pacis. The first new structure to rise in the city center in seventy years, it is an essay in mediocrity (he had to compromise his plans over the course of the ten-year project). However, the monument it houses—the Emperor Augustus’s first century B.C. altar to peace, with its superb bas-relief carvings—is one of the great wonders of Rome. The contrast between the work of modern man and that of ancient days is remarkable.

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Auditorium Parco della Musica

Renzo Piano’s design for the city’s auditorium was just as fraught with controversy as Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis, but the final result was more successful. The building was scheduled to open in time for the Jubilee Year of 2000, but due to construction and political delays, the ground breaking finally took place in 2002. (One setback was the discovery of ruins just a few feet below.) The three concert halls seem to float, and have been compared to wood-clad scarabs. Piano said that his hope was to create a “cultural factory” for the city, and with programs that encompass film, theater, music and dance, even literary and science events, it seems to be fulfilling his vision. The curvilinear shapes are visible from afar, and their effect is as much an acoustic success as an aesthetic one. The best way to see it is to attend one of the almost nightly concerts in the three scarab-shaped halls.

Exterior View-Sant’Agostino ,Rome, Italy

Basilica di Sant’Agostino

Not far from the Piazza Navona, this is one of the first Roman Renaissance churches. While its exterior is simple—architect Giacomo di Pietrasanta built the façade with marble taken from the Coliseum church contains the Madonna di Loreto (“Madonna of the Pilgrims”), one of Caravaggio’s most important and influential canvases as well as work from other Renaissance artists.

Baths of Caracalla

Located a short distance from the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, which were built in the early 3rd century AD, were among the Empire’s largest public bathing complexes. The surviving brick walls, some measuring 90 feet in height, were clad in marble, granite and frescoes—fitting surfaces for an opulent public project. The baths were a social destination for Romans of all classes and featured hot, lukewarm and cold rooms, each visited in a ritual order to guarantee hygiene and maximum relaxation. Abandoned in the 6th century AD, the baths fell into ruin and were looted over successive centuries, a fact that does not diminish their grandeur. Today, their hulking walls form the backdrop for the Rome Opera’s summer season.

Buco della serratura dell’Ordine di Malta

Past the Garden of the Orange Trees and the churches and Santa Sabina and San Alessio, you’ll find the Villa del Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta. At the entrance gate is the Buco della Serratura, a keyhole with a perfectly framed view of St. Peter’s basilica. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

Campo de' Fiori

South of Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori is a square with the most famous market in Rome. Mornings here include the daily fresh flower market with fruits and vegetables, and evenings see locals and travelers enjoying cocktails on terraces and bars around the square. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

Castel Gandolfo

Southeast of Rome, Castel Gandolfo is a rural escape with gorgeous views of Lake Albano. Here, you’ll find the summer home of the pope, complete with a villa and ornate gardens that are open to the public. Get here easily from Rome by train or car, and spend a lazy afternoon strolling the city center with its narrow streets and lively squares.

Aerial View-Castel Sant’Angelo ,Rome, Italy

Castel Sant’Angelo

The Castel Sant’Angelo, otherwise known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, was originally constructed as a tomb for the Roman emperor and his family. After years of looting and pillaging by the Goths, the structure was rebuilt in the 14th century to serve as a Papal fortress and residence—Pope Clement VII sought refuge here during the Sack of Rome (1527)—as well as a prison. The Passetto di Borgo, or fortified corridor connecting the castle to St. Peter’s Basilica, was most recently made famous for its appearance in Dan Brown’s 2000 novel (and the 2009 movie) Angels and Demons. Don’t miss the castle’s underground prison, which displays ancient torture devices that are sure to amuse the kids.

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Chiesa Nuova

Between Piazza Navona and Campo dei Fiori, don’t miss this Baroque church, housing Barocci’s stunning painting Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. Adjacent, Casa dei Filippini includes an oratory designed by Francesco Borromini.

Chiostro del Bramante

Housed in an Italian Renaissance building dating to circa 1500, Chiostro del Bramante is an exhibition space and cultural center with a rotating calendar of shows highlighting major international artists as well as fascinating topics. Previous exhibitions have highlighted Banksy, Stanley Kubrick, Julius Caesar, Andy Warhol, Antoni Gaudí, Roy Lichtenstein and more. There’s a bistro and bookshop on site. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

rome colosseum


Constructed between 70 and 80 AD, the Colosseum is one of the most magnificent ancient structures still-standing in Europe and an iconic symbol of imperial Rome and its breakthrough achievements in architecture and engineering. With seating capacity of close to 50,000, the Colosseum was once used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles, including executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramatic theater.

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Day Trip: Beaches

Recommends Indagare insider Alberto Moncada, the owner of boutique hotels Margutta 54 and Babuino 181:

The beach at Fregene is about a 45-minute drive from Rome’s center and very showy, with lots of beautiful people and cars. I like to go to Mastino (39-06-6656-3880), get a cabana, a few lounge chairs and have a beautiful lunch. My favorite dishes there are the pasta alle vongole and crostini alle vongole. In fact, it’s also nice to come here between February and April just for lunch. During the summer I never go on the weekends, as it's too crowded.

The beach at Maccarese is a bit less of a scene than Fregene and about ten miles further north. It’s a quicker drive, though, because the roads are better. Lunch at Lo Scoglio (Via Monti dall’Ara; 39-06-667-1238) is a must.

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Day Trip: FICO World Eataly

A train ride away from Rome, Eataly World is a foodie heaven with food stalls, cooking workshops, pastures that contain home-grown produce and more.

De La Ville Spa

Irene Forte Spa combines a Mediterranean salt room, sauna, steam room, ice fountain, foot baths, pools, and a relaxation area with infrared loungers. As expected, treatments use Irene Forte skincare products. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

Domus Aurea

The Domus Aurea, or Golden House, was Emperor Nero’s luxury residence inside the Parco del Colle Oppio. It was built after a fire destroyed a large section of Rome in 64 AD, and today is a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Nero. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola

Dating to the early 1600s, Fontanone del Gianicolo is a picturesque marble and granite fountain with five arches and a large attic built by architects Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Fontana. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

rome trevi fountain

Fontana di Trevi

This massive Baroque fountain, which rises higher than 85 feet, has been featured in many films and draws crowds of tourists. Reportedly some €3,000 worth of coins are tossed into its turquoise water every day (if you come early in the morning, you can observe city workers fishing out the loot).

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Galleria Anna Marra

Galleria Anna Marra is a mecca for contemporary art within Rome’s ancient Jewish ghetto. Marra, who was born in Rome and had a lengthy career as an economist before opening the gallery, is dedicated to emerging artists, both Italian and foreign.

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Exterior View-Galleria Borghese , Rome, Italy

Galleria Borghese

Most of Rome may seem filled with private palaces and villas whose doors remained closed to visitors, but the Galleria Borghese gives access to the city’s finest collection of Baroque art. Built in 1613, the gallery was designed to house Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s outstanding art collection. After closing in 1983 for a fifteen-year restoration, it reopened in 1997. The rooms, adorned with frescoes and gilt carvings, are the perfect showcase for some of the sculptor Bernini’s most dramatic works. Other artworks include paintings by Raphael, Canova and Caravaggio. In an effort to preserve this historic setting, the number of visitors is strictly limited, so booking is mandatory.

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Painting at Galleria Doria Pamphilj ,Rome, Italy

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

While many of Rome’s palaces have been turned into public museums, Galleria Doria Pamphilj remained private, and Prince Jonathon Doria, who lives there, graciously receives visitors. His private museum, which includes two works by Caravaggio and Velasquez’s famous portrait of Pope Innocent X, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The price of admission includes a fabulous audio guide narrated by the prince.

Galleria Sciarra

Near Via del Corso and the Trevi Fountain, Galleria Sciarra is a four-story, Art Nouveau-era courtyard. Its glass ceiling lets sunlight spew in to illuminate gorgeous, frescoed walls. Recommended by an Indagare insider.


The highest of the city’s hills offers fabulous views. Active types can tackle a walk that kicks off in Trastevere, snakes up Via Garibaldi and through Piazza Garibaldi before descending towards the Vatican, with spectacular views along the way. Make your way past the Garibaldi Monument and follow Passeggiata del Gianicolo, which eventually turns into Via del Gianicolo. The path lets out at Piazza della Rovere and takes an hour and a half.

Alternatively, you can go by taxi a half hour before sunset to the Fontanone, a monumental fountain overlooking the city. The terraced area in front of this magnificent late-17th-century fountain has one of the most romantic vistas in the world. Afterwards, dine at Antico Arco.

Gladiator School for Kids

Nothing brings Roman history to life like this school, which lets kids experience the life of a gladiator. Private trainers share the secrets of imperial Rome’s gladiator games, and there are lessons in hand-to-hand combat, taught on the ancient Appian Way. Says Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, whose own children loved the program during her last trip to Rome: “It was interactive and fun for the kids, but they also learned a lot about ancient Rome, making history class back home more interesting as well.” Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team for help arranging a class.

MACRO Testaccio

Located in a former slaughterhouse, in the neighborhood of Testaccio, this outpost of Rome’s contemporary art museum houses temporary exhibitions that include everything from installation, video art, photography and sculpture. It’s particularly fun to visit during opening night vernisage when the neighborhood’s nightlife scene meets the art scene and the whole thing turns into a big party.

Exterior View-Maxxi , Rome, Italy


Zaha Hadid’s contemporary art museum was years in the making and opened in the Flaminio district north of the center in 2009. It’s a destination for serious art and architecture aficionados (and/or repeat visitors), as it requires a fifteen-minute taxi ride from Piazza del Popolo. Check the museum’s website for special exhibitions.

Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali

As part of the Imperial Fora, Trajan’s Market was once the administrative center for the Imperial Fora. It’s gone through multiple changes throughout its history—a noble residence, a military fortress, convent and barracks. Today, it provides a look at Rome’s literal layers of time, including shops and apartments with marble flooring and remnants of a library. Recommended by an Indagare insider.

Monte Porzio Catone, Italy

Monte Porzio Catone

Escape the crowds of Rome and head for the countryside to Monte Porzio Catone, a smaller town known as a wine city for its vineyards and numerous wine cellars and bars. It’s also known as the City of Orchids, and every year, travelers from across the globe come for the Orchids of the World show. Walk through Barco Borghese, an archeological complex dating to the Renaissance era, and grab a glass of wine on a patio and take in expansive views of Rome and the surrounding forest.


Indagare employees walking up stiars

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