“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
Finding action in Rome is easy, because it's been in the same place for millennia: Centro Storico (historic center). Kids drag parents past performance art protests outside the ancient Pantheon to backstreet artisan gelato boutiques. Politicians plot overthrows over killer espresso at Caff Sant'Eustachio. Caravaggio scandalizes crowds with censored paintings of Roman hustlers posing as saints inside San Luigi dei Francesi church. Tourists who crowd the touristy cafs and caricaturists of Piazza Navona are missing out on the vibrant local scene at nearby Campo de' Fiori, where the central farmers' market is ringed by well-priced osterie and raucous bars. Retreat from the hubbub under the starry ceilings of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the seat of the Inquisition built atop a pagan temple. Explore the frescoed salons of Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the private palace of Rome's most influential family. Except for daredevil scooter drivers, the Centro Storico is mostly off-limits to traffic.