Rome holiday itinerary, day 5: More things to do in Rome

As we were getting closer to the end of our Roman holiday, we had more time to spare for unplanned things.  And we ended up wondering what is there to do in Rome after all the places we had already been to.

So on Monday morning, we were back on the subway, heading to Ottaviano once again. When we visited the Vatican, we walked by Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience, and I promised Mathieu we’d go back to visit it before we go back home.

Museo Leonardo da Vinci Experience

In Rome, you’ll find more than one museum about Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions. After checking out some reviews, we considered this one was the best fit for us. It’s not very large, but it’s nice that you can play around with most of the replicas and see how they were supposed to work. You can see some of them in this photo collage:

We found it funny when the girl who gave us the tickets warned us these were replicas and not the real things. Apparently, some tourists got angry because these weren’t Leonardo Da Vinci’s original pieces. As if people would get to touch and play with real, valuable works of art! It’s like going to the Louvre and making a fuss because you can’t touch the paint on the Mona Lisa.

Anyway, for us the visit was fun and it was a nice opportunity for Mathieu to take on the role of the teacher, explaining and showing me how some stuff worked and why other stuff didn’t.

Walking to Piazza Cavour

corte suprema di cassazione in piazza dei tribunali of rome, italy
Corte Suprema di Cassazione in Piazza dei Tribunali

After exiting the Museum Leonardo Da Vinci Experience, we walked by Castel Sant’ Angelo again. We still didn’t go inside but spent some time in the park next to it. And there, we got lost while looking for a shorter way to exit it in order to reach Piazza Cavour. We eventually went back the same way we came and went around the small park.

We passed through Piazza dei Tribunali and admired the imposing building of the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione).

Then, we reached Piazza Cavour, which for some reason is one of my dad’s favorite places in Rome. (In all honesty, I find it nice, but not that nice.)

From Piazza Cavour we got on some buses which took us across town, to Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore.

basilica papale di santa maria maggiore in rome, italy

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore was built in 435 AD and it is the largest Catholic Marion church in Italy’s capital. Its combination of baroque, Romanesque and medieval architecture is truly impressive and a must-see when you visit Rome!

But, as luck has it, when we got to this grand basilica, it was surrounded by fences. We didn’t see anyone going in, so we didn’t make any effort in finding a less obvious possible entrance.

Instead, we went to take a walk on Via Urbana. (Hint: when you don’t know what is there to do in Rome, just walk and you’re sure to come across something beautiful! 🙂 )

Via Urbana

This street turned out to be a lovely surprise. Close to the northern end of Via Urbana, we came across Oratorio Santa Pudenziana, a lovely Catholic church. And all along the street, there were buildings with wooden blinders at the windows and lots of luscious, green ivy on the walls.

Lunch at Urbana 47

If you made it this far on this street, stop and have some delicious food at Urbana 47.  They have home-made meals, but with a personal twist. And the decorum is really nice and fitting for the area.

We had some wonderful lasagna, paired with a really good, dry, red wine. And, for dessert, we chose Tiramisu, of course. For me, this was the best Tiramisu I had during our trip.  (You’ll discover Mathieu’s in the next article from the Roman Holiday series. 😉 )

We also had some free entertainment during our lunch. The owner of the flat on the first floor of the opposite building was a big animal lover. Through the open window of one room, you could see lots of birdcages. And at another window, several beautiful large dogs were coming out to check out all the people passing on the street.

It was a really enjoyable break!

To Via del Boschetto!

We left Via Urbana and continued our walk on Via degli Zingari to reach Via del Boschetto.

Once again, here we found the hanging ivy, draping from the buildings and hanging from lamp posts. It was a gorgeous sight.

altare della patria in rome italy

Hopping back to Piazza Venezia

Mathieu and I went back to Piazza Venezia to finally see Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. But first, we looked for a place to have some coffee, and we found Via della Pilotta. It’s right next to Giardini di Montecavallo, and it’s covered by stone arches ever now and then.

We eventually decided on Le Lanterne, where the service was very good. And Mathieu thinks the lady who looked like the owner was French because she spoke to some French customers and her accent was too good to not be a native speaker. Anyway, from the name to the decorations, to the accent of the lady, it was all nice and French. 🙂

Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli

It was lucky we had a nice break before climbing all those steps to Santa Maria in Ara Coeli! It was beautiful not only for its majestic interior but also for the views it offers from the top of the staircase.

things to do in rome rione esquilino

Searching for food in Rione Esquilino

Dinner time was bound to come soon. I proposed to Mathieu to go by subway to Vittorio Emanuele, then walk to the restaurant I fell in love with during my previous trip.

Once we got out of the metro station, I was surprised to see how much the area had changed in ten years, and not really for the better. On my first trip to Rome, it looked amazing, this was actually where we stayed.

Anyway, we got to Vecchia Roma and… it was full! We had no reservation and no chance of getting a table even if we wanted to wait. But we managed to book a table for the next evening.

Pizza from La Cuccuma in Rione Esquilino of Rome

The huge, delicious pizza at La Cuccuma

I remember we walked a lot until we reached La Cuccuma. Our grumbling stomachs were so grateful when they had the pizza from this place! Mathieu had a really pretty pizza, which looked healthy, like a salad on some tasty crust. I, on the other hand, went for a Quattro Formagi. Less pretty, but it was so good!

And the waitress was really nice and friendly, she reminded me a lot of Ana, one of my best friends. (Even you know a bit about Ana: she took most of the pictures from the Balkan road trip series and is in lots of those travel stories.)

Stuffed and happy, we went back to our home away from home to get a good night’s rest. And we were already wondering what is there to do in Rome for the next day and a half, before our return flight.

11 Thoughts to “Rome holiday itinerary, day 5: More things to do in Rome”

  1. Great tips! I love getting out and about when I travel. We were just in Milan but went to Lake Como for a few days. Clearly I need to get back to Rome and the surrounding area.

  2. Wendy Pappas

    I plan on going to Rome in 2 years. Thank you for the hints on where to go . The DaVinci Experience tooks aweosme, getting to play with replicas of his inventions sounds like fun and the pizza looks great… Oh and your photos are amazing… Thank you for sharing…

  3. Rome is one of these ‘must visit at least once in your life’ destinations! Really loved checking out your itinerary. I guess 5 days should be enough to visit Rome… or would you recommend staying longer?

  4. Thanks for pointing us to Urbana 47. My husband usually looks for the best tiramisu everywhere! But you missed a lot by not going inside the Basilica Santa Maggiore.

    1. It seems like your husband and my boyfriend have something in common 🙂 I have seen the Basilica before, it’s Mathieu who didn’t get to see it. But he fell in love with Rome, too, so we’ll definitely return soon.

  5. Know exactly what you mean about walking in Rome – there is something amazing and beautiful to see round every corner! I love the idea of the da Vinci gallery where you can actually handle the exhibits, but grateful that these treasures are replicas – cannot imagine people thinking they would really get to handle the real thing!

  6. This brought back memories of my own trip to Rome a few years ago! Santa Maria Maggiore must have been under renovation or something because it was open when I was there. It’s gorgeous inside (like all of the churches in Rome), so I’m sorry you didn’t get to see it! Your comment about the tourists complaining at the Da Vinci museum made me laugh. People are so silly, and could use more common sense LOL

  7. I cannot wait to get back to Italy! Funny about the Leonardo replicas. I guess I wouldn’t be too happy if I didn’t know beforehand. What a great list of additional things to do in Rome!

  8. Wow! I saw that pizza and was amazed at all the lumps of goodies they put on there. I’ve never had a pizza like that. I also thought it was funny that people actually thought they were touching the real art pieces, cuz like you said, why would they let people touch the real thing??!?! I worry about those angry people, lol.

  9. I haven’t made it to Rome yet and liked reading about what you chose to do. I appreciate too that it wasn’t a whirlwind day of activities, as that is not how I like to travel. I love tiramisu, so I’d want to eat at Urban 47, and I like that the Da Vinci museum was so hands on. I can’t believe that people were upset that they did not have the real items!

  10. leah

    It’s nice to see what else Rome has to offer once you’ve done the major touristy things. The Leonardo Museum sounds incredible and of course, you have to have pizza when in Italy!

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