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The Best Birthday Ideas Rome Has to Offer

We’ve taken away the hassle of planning a Roman birthday by doing it all for you. You’re welcome

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The Colosseum, Rome

Ahh bella Roma, the eternal city. If you absolutely insist on continuing to get old, this is possibly the best place to usher in another year. The wine flows abundantly and the spaghetti is al dente. Culture seems to inhabit the very air you breathe here and thanks to the buildings being positively ancient, you can get by feeling relatively young (at least until you try to get out of your Plum Guide bed tomorrow with that hangover). Thanks to these expertly curated birthday ideas, Rome will certainly be the perfect setting for a celebration. And we here at Plum Guide have done the extensive research that your special day deserves, so if you follow our expert guide on how to celebrate in the Italian capital, then you're guaranteed to have a trip to remember. Here is how to celebrate your birthday in Rome.

  1. Start the day with a coffee at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè
  2. Treat yourself to some presents from Piazza di Spagna
  3. Soak up unique Roman culture at the Keats–Shelley Memorial House
  4. Wander round the Villa Borghese gardens
  5. Order a pasta dish at Trattoria Trilussa
  6. Take a trip to the Colosseum
  7. Make a birthday wish at the Trevi Fountain
  8. Marvel at the Alter of the Fatherland
  9. Explore the Roman Pantheon
  10. Enjoy a show at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

1. Start the day with a coffee at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè

Espresso is the main part of a quintessential Italian breakfast

Espresso is the main part of a quintessential Italian breakfast

Buongiorno e buon compleanno (or for those who didn’t pay attention in Italian class, good morning and happy birthday). Drink an espresso at your Plum Guide penthouse as you take in the scenery before heading out for a traditional Italian breakfast. Your first stop of the day is the world-famous Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè. Known for the best coffee in Rome - home-roasted beans, blended with water from an ancient aqueduct - this tiny neighbourhood cafe has been open since 1938. Dunk your preferred pastry in your cappuccino or try their house special ‘gran caffè speciale’. You’ll be incredibly well caffeinated and ready for the rest of today’s celebrations.

Bodhi Leaf, Plum Guide home in Rome

Bodhi Leaf, Plum Guide home in Rome

2. Treat yourself to some presents from Piazza di Spagna

If there’s anything adulthood has taught you, it’s that self presents are the best presents, so make the short stroll to Piazza di Spagna and get your credit card ready because we’re going shopping and we’re not playing around. Practically every designer boutique in Rome is based just off the square on the Via Condotti so don’t rush your year-older self - you deserve this. And in case you need another coffee to get you in serious shopper mode, try Antico Caffè Greco, an 18th-century cafe where Keats and Byron are said to have enjoyed their coffee back in the day. If you’re feeling like a more traditionally Roman type of shopping, try Campo dei Fiori, which translates as field of flowers. You’ll find fruit, vegetables, pasta, cheese, pottery, mementos and of course, flowers galore at this bustling open-air market.

Trove Heights, Plum Guide home in Rome

Trove Heights, Plum Guide home in Rome

3. Soak up unique Roman culture at the Keats–Shelley Memorial House

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, Rome

No list of birthday ideas in Rome could possibly exclude some sort of museum or cultural excursion, but we want your birthday to be special - just like you - so we’re going to avoid the tourist traps obvious ones. Are you a literature buff? Wander back to the Piazza di Spagna and visit the Keats–Shelley Memorial House, once the Roman residence of Romantic poet John Keats. The apartment commemorates Keats as well as his friend and fellow writer Percy Bysshe Shelley and will take you on a poetic journey to the 1800s. Consider visiting the Protestant Cemetery or cimitero acattolico in the Testaccio neighbourhood next. Both Keats and Shelley are buried there and it’s a hauntingly beautiful spot to spend an afternoon (it’s probably about time you start getting comfortable in a cemetery - you did just turn a year older after all). If you consider yourself a foodie and want to indulge in a true culinary tour of Rome, Testaccio is the neighbourhood for you.

If modern art is more your cup of tea, try the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation, also on the Piazza di Spagna. Housed in the flat and adjoining studio occupied by the surrealist painter Giorgio and his wife from the age of 60 until his death, the foundation is home to 600 works by the artist including paintings, sculptures, drawings, watercolours, lithographs and theatre costumes. Tours through the museum are very small so you’ll feel like the VIP you deserve to be today (and everyday if you ask us). Don’t worry history fans, we haven’t left you out of our birthday ideas in Rome. Your curated cultural activity is to walk along the Appian Way or Via Appia Antica, one of the oldest and most essential roads of Ancient Roma. Attractions to check out along the walk include the Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano, as well as innumerable tombs and basilicas.

Reef Knot, Plum Guide home in Rome

Reef Knot, Plum Guide home in Rome

4. Wander round the Villa Borghese gardens

Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy

Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy

It’s your birthday and hail Caesar, you deserve some rest and relaxation so next on the Rome birthday ideas agenda is a quiet stroll or cycle (you can rent them on-site) through the Villa Borghese gardens. The Villa Borghese is a breathtakingly beautiful landscaped garden dating back to 1605. It is also home to a museum, the Galleria Borghese (which yes, you’re allowed to skip if you want to - it is your birthday after all). Walking through the park you’ll come across ancient sculptures and temples, majestic fountains, quiet ponds and of course glorious flora. Refreshments of all types - including gelato, of course - are scattered throughout the park so spend a few hours taking in the scenery of a most idyllic setting.

The Waves, Plum Guide home in Rome

The Waves, Plum Guide home in Rome

5. Order a pasta dish at Trattoria Trilussa

We all know you didn’t come to Rome for your birthday to skimp on the food. It’s a new year for you now so start as you mean to go on with an all-out birthday dinner. Indulge in an actual pan-full of pasta at Trattoria Trilussa (they famously serve most of their pasta dishes in a skillet). This restaurant is located in the charming Trastevere area so if you choose to have dinner there, head to Niji for drinks afterwards. This intimate speakeasy-style bar requires you to sign up for a membership card before entering so people watch to your heart’s content while drinking enough creative cocktails to forget you’re officially one year older. If steak is your birthday meal of choice, book a table at Ristorante Nino, where Tuscan food reigns supreme and the wine - straight from the owner’s vineyard - will keep flowing as long as you (and tomorrow's sore head) can handle it.

6. Take a trip to the Colosseum

A view of the preserved ruins of the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

A view of the preserved ruins of the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The only surprise about this being on the list, is that we didn’t place it higher up. It’s an obvious choice, but it’s obvious for a very good reason - it’s simply unmissable. One of the most famous monuments on the planet, the Colosseum really does transport you back in time to the days long before modern civilisation was even a thought (we know you’ve just turned another year older, but even you aren’t quite that old). You can take a look at the impressive amphitheatre from the inside to really appreciate its stature, and imagine yourself in one of the gladiator tournaments that used to be held here. You’ve got your helmet, right? Ancient, historic, and mostly well-preserved (no, we’re not talking about you), this landmark really is one to remember. There are few better places in the world to celebrate your special day.

7. Make a birthday wish at the Trevi Fountain

If you aren’t familiar with the Trevi fountain (where have you been?), you’ll soon know what all the fuss is about. It’s become somewhat of a global tradition to visit the iconic fountain and throw coins into the water to try and encourage some good luck, so join in the fun and part with some inconvenient change. If you mention it’s your birthday, perhaps the fountain will even be more inclined to give you some luck… or perhaps not. Who knows - that’s the fun of it. Admire the remarkable statues that adorn the fountain, each telling its own story. It wouldn’t be too difficult to spend hours just staring at the sculptures, and while that isn’t necessarily what we’re suggesting, we’re definitely not going to discourage you either. This is your day, after all.

8. Marvel at the Alter of the Fatherland

Another hugely impressive monument, the Alter of the Fatherland will have you feeling slightly smaller than the 5 foot something you were when you embarked on this trip. The sheer size of it is incredible to behold, and the story is just as interesting to discover. It was built as a tribute to King Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of unified Italy, and celebrates the freedom and unity of the ‘new’ unified country. Again, a large appeal is the myriad of sculptures, with incredible precision really allowing thought-provoking statues to catch the eye. The monument also lights up at night, so pop by in the evening to see the impressive site in a slightly different light. It definitely makes for one of the better post-pizza walks.

9. Explore the Roman Pantheon

The Roman Pantheon behind a large fountain in Rome, Italy

The Roman Pantheon behind a large fountain in Rome, Italy

Similarly to the Colosseum, this could easily be at the top of this list, but that would be too generic, wouldn’t it? Even so, there’s no way we could leave it off the list completely - it’s just too impressive. One of the best-preserved monuments in Rome, the Pantheon has actually been an active church since the 7th century. It’s famous beams and world-renowned dome have a reputation for a reason, and even if you’ve never visited before, the chances are you’ve seen pictures of this unmissable architecture somewhere. What better way to celebrate your birthday than by reminding yourself that you’re actually not that old? The Pantheon is thought to have been built in around 128 AD, so it’s got a few years on you.

10. Enjoy a show at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

Rounding off this expert guide to the very best birthday ideas in Rome, we have the opera. You may have expected this one, given Italy’s connection to the art, and here it is. You’re welcome. Like the previous handful of suggestions on this list, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is an old building with fascinating heritage. It was only built in 1880, which is actually brand new compared to others we’ve mentioned, but it’s older than you, so we’ll take that. With Italy being widely regarded as the home of Opera, it would be amiss to visit its capital and fail to see a show. Be blown away by the next Pavarotti, and find yourself becoming emotional despite not knowing any of the words. Once the performance is over, head to a nearby restaurant for some traditional Italian cuisine to really round off the stereotypical trip to Rome. The Colosseum, opera, and pizza. Did you even need this guide after all?

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