Things to do when you visit Rome: some fun ideas via Instagram

Instagram is one of my favourite social media platforms as a travel blogger. I really enjoy sharing the highlights of my trips and engaging with other amazing Instagrammers from all over the world. Most of the pictures on my feed however aren’t captured while I’m on the road – but are inevitably taken in my adoptive city of Rome. I feel very lucky to live in such a photogenic metropolis and never get tired of trying to show its beauty in a single frame. But to get any sense of Rome, you really have to examine it from all angles to get the whole picture (did you see what I did there!) So, without further ado, here are 15 of my favourite Instagram images from recent times which I hope will inspire you to visit Rome this year.

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15 Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome

1. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: Testaccio

I couldn’t start this post without sharing a picture of my neighbourhood in Rome, the gorgeous Testaccio district. Just a couple of miles from the city centre, it has a real village atmosphere despite being right on the edge of Rome’s bustling historical heart. Distinguished by early 20th century buildings and built around a former slaughterhouse, it’s a great alternative area for dining and shopping, with some excellent street food options. Definitely a must when you visit Rome and one of the more unusual things to do in Rome. Did I mention that we also have the most adorable sunsets at the height of the summer?

2. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: gardens of Ninfa

One of my favourite day-trips from Rome would have be a trip to the incredible gardens of Ninfa, in south Lazio. It’s just over an hour away by car and is well worth the visit. This fairytale realm was created out of an abandoned medieval hamlet by an English princess and it has to be seen to be believed. One of my favourite things to do when you visit Rome. Full story here!

3. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: Castelli Romani

To get a really good sense of rural food traditions around Rome you don’t have to go very far at all: about 20 miles out lies a cluster of hilltop towns perching above volcanic lakes, known better as the Castelli Romani. Here you can soak up amazing views and sample some robust local cuisine, including the famous roast pork as well as some typical Frascati wine. This photo from last summer was reposted by the Fodor’s travel account, I was so happy! If you’re interested in visiting the area and want to find out more, have a look at a blog post I wrote earlier on the best places to have lunch in this area. A highly recommended day-trip from Rome and one of the tastiest things to do when you visit Rome!

4. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: Vespa life

You often hear them before you see them: that insistent buzz, like a bee or a wasp, is a quintessentially Italian sound that lets you know a scooter is approaching! The original and iconic motorino, branded Vespa (which literally means wasp) can be spotted all over Rome, which has a balmy enough climate to enable motorists to drive them all year round (I love mine). If you’ve ever fancied driving a Vespa but were too scared, have a look at some of my tips right here! Definitely an unforgettable thing to do when you visit Rome.

5. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: food markets

One of the greatest pleasures waiting for you when you visit Rome is food shopping. There are so many adorable markets here which just inspire you to cook and eat wonderfully seasonal food. They’re also excellent for people watching and taking some great photos! For a short guide to one of my favourite food markets in Rome – which lies off the beaten track – have a look here.

6. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: sweet treats

I love sharing great locals-only secrets on the blog, and this photo was taken at one of my favourite coffee bars and confectioners, Pasticceria Barberini, which happily lies about five minutes from my home in Rome’s Testaccio district. Another fun and tasty thing to do when you visit Rome. With a creamy cappuccino only costing €1 and lots of other handmade goodies at reasonable prices, it’s a steal!

7. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: a cooking class

If you’ve ever fancied taking a cooking class when you visit Rome, I have a great recommendation for you. This photo was taken during a very pleasant afternoon spent learning how to whip up some delicious fish recipes with Sandra in Garbatella. Click here for more information and full contact details! Cooking classes are one of the most fun things to do in Rome, and really help you get closer to the food culture.

8. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: Garbatella

Garbatella is one of those neighbourhoods in Rome which doesn’t get many tourists. Yet the architecture is incredible and an afternoon spent here gives you the opportunity to peer into a really Roman world. If that’s not tempting enough, it’s also home to the biggest branch of Eataly in town! I love this place and I recommend it as a shopping and dining resource when visiting the city. Don’t forget to patronise small stores and local markets as well. For more tips on visiting Garbatella, a fun, alternative thing to do in Rome, click here.

9. Rome has some incredibly atmospheric graveyards, and the non-Catholic cemetery, in the Piramide part of town, would have to be one of my favourites. Actually, it’s one of my favourite destinations in Rome full stop! Apart from providing wonderful photo opportunities, it’s also a haven of tranquility and home to a cat sanctuary.  A really unusual thing to do when visiting Rome. What’s not to like?

10. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: the cemeteries

Another really interesting thing to do in Rome is visiting the Commonwealth War Cemetery, also in Testaccio. The dead from two World Wars are buried here and it’s a special place for non-Italians to pay their respects. I took this photo at the annual Remembrance Day service in November. A really special moment that I felt privileged to witness.

11. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: the Colosseum

This was my most liked photo on Instagram in 2016 and I hope that you, like me, will see the funny side. I spend a lot of time on the blog sourcing off-the-beaten-track recommendations and sharing locals-only secrets. But at the end of the day, it seems, you can’t beat a pic of the Colosseum! It does look gorgeous and in Rome’s unbeatable autumnal light it managed to brood and demand attention. Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a bad picture of the Colosseum! This is another Roman site that you need to put on your must-see list when visiting the city. Amongst popular things to do when you visit Rome, it’s probably number one.

12. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: great tours

Leading on from the last picture, I was lucky enough to take part in a brilliant new tour run by LivItaly Tours last year featuring virtual reality. You literally get to see what Rome’s most famous monuments might have looked like in their heyday, whilst standing in their ruins – really one of the best Rome tours I’ve ever taken. All thanks to a brilliant app which goes on your phone at the start of the tour. Their guides are also brilliant at bringing things to life. Highly recommended when you next visit Rome! For more details, click here.

13. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: cocktails

Another of my favourite Rome tours last year was the chance to check out some of Rome’s best bars and monuments by night on the Roman Guy’s Cocktail Bars in Rome Evening Walking Tour. I took some great pics that night and got slightly tipsy! Can you think of a better way to spend an evening? While we’re on the subject of the best food tours in Rome, I also tried out The Roman Guy’s Trastevere Locals Food Tour last year which was also a blast. Full story here!

14. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: the Pantheon

This year started in pretty chilly mode. Even some of Rome’s fountains were freezing! Others just looked like their teeth were chattering (I’m sure I heard something, but my fingers were fusing to the camera, so I didn’t stick around). Whether in winter, spring or summer, the Pantheon is one of Rome’s most photogenic and atmospheric sites. Definitely an essential thing to do when you visit Rome. Visit it by day by all means, but don’t forget to come back at night! It’s one of the prettiest spots in the world!

Let these 15 Instagram images of Rome, Italy from Rome blogger Isobel Lee of Testaccina inspire you to visit Rome in 2017! The best Instagram posts of Rome.

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15. Instagram images to inspire you to visit Rome: off the beaten track

For me the new year is about hitting the streets and discovering new stories. I love exploring districts over and over again, like an archaeologist coming back to dust off another layer of dirt. Edgy Piazza Vittorio is on the verge of a renaissance at the moment, and I recently discovered a hip, new coffee bar and bistro there called Gatsby Café which is very much setting the tone for 2018. So if you like exploring Rome’s neighbourhoods, check that out too!

While Rome is incredibly satisfying as a traveller, it’s also one of those gifts that keep on giving when you spend an extended amount of time here. In this post, I’ve tried to share some local tips and suggest some of the best things to do in Rome. Have I whet your appetite yet for a Rome trip? Happy travels this year and hope to see you soon in the Eternal City!

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© Rome blogger Isobel Lee

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