Before I tell you about the best places to kiss in Rome, you’ve got to really want to kiss and be kissed.
This is not the place for pecks on the cheek. This is where you go for the gusto. “Gusto” by the way is Italian for pleasure and taste. You have to want to taste your lover’s lips if you are going to kiss in Rome. Otherwise, you do not deserve to kiss in Rome.
While I have not tested out all of the following locations, I am a romantic especially when it comes to a deep love for this ancient city. Walking around all day—looking for ideas to write about, watching others discover Rome’s many diversions—I observe people and I notice locations. I imagine I look at this place as a film scout would, only I’m thinking, “Here is a great place to kiss and be kissed.”
I’ve seen lists mentioning some of the best places to kiss and I’ve probably even written a few myself. Today, let’s talk about some of the typical suggestions as well as a few others mentioned in a recent list that inspired this post.
This is a grand ellipse surrounded by ochre-hued buildings, a huge church, and a few embassies with three Baroque fountains dotted along its spine. Most of the day, Navona teems with tourists and vendors and has a sort of ever-present chaos reminiscent of Times Square. I agree there is something cinematic about kissing amidst a crowd, letting the world fall away, and this can be accomplished in Navona if that’s your style. No one will care. But really I find the area more romantic in the early morning, before anyone has arrived, when you can pretend that this place is yours.
The Spanish Steps
See Piazza Navona. In the morning light, before selfie-stick vendors and fashion store gawkers start to fill in like the tide, these steps are like a stage where you and the love of your life (or the love of this trip) can feel like stars.
John Keats, who lived at the base of these steps, wrote:
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
A typical tourist stay in Rome is three days. Make ‘em count.
Campo de’ Fiori
In younger years, the Campo held a sort of mystique for me. But today I wouldn’t recommend it for romance. Here is where you buy your vegetables by day and get tipsy at night. I do love Campo de’ Fiori for its central location and local appeal. However, the best thing about this square is that dozens of tiny cobbled streets and alleys radiate from here.
Meander down Via del Pellegrino and let the noisy square fade out behind you; there are a few archways along the road that lead to adjacent streets. Take them. Get lost. Push off down yet another lane to find the Palazzo Mattei di Giove where the Centro Studi Americani is housed. Here, dozens of statues look down on you in a courtyard giving you all the feeling of being an exhibitionist without any of the guilt or negative feedback. This spot always feels like a secret hideaway even though its been here since the 16th century.
Hell, yes. A long and wide Renaissance street set back from the river and somewhat away from the touristy parts of Rome will soothe your romantic soul. At one end, there’s an ivy-draped arch that makes you want to sing. If it doesn’t? Get out of town, buddy.
Hell, no. Get in and get out of Termini as fast as you can. This suggestion is only listed here as a response to the post that this one is riffing on.
Trains are indeed romantic, but only when you’re on them, in anticipation of your adventure. There is nothing romantic about Termini except for the giant Moleskine store. Buy a journal. Write your lover a poem on the front page and slip it into his or her luggage.
[Edit: Ok, the Mercato Centrale is also pretty cool but has yet to prove itself as romantic inspiration.]
Where Else to Kiss in Rome?
I could write many installments of this guide to Rome’s best kissing spots.
I haven’t even covered churches. Stealing a forbidden kiss in a dark chapel is romantic as, uh, hell.
There’s the Appia Antica park, where you can slip away into ruins almost unnoticed:
“Hey, what are you doing in there?”
“We’re just looking around!”
The Aventine and Gianicolo (Janiculum) Hills and the Pincio in the Villa Borghese, all have pretty views over the city. And, I’ve barely taken you over the Tiber to Trastevere or Prati or into the residential neighborhoods or parks where even more canoodling can and does happen.
I have more Rome kissing tips ranging from the obscure to the obvious. I’d love to tell you more. But right now I’ve got a date with my favorite city in the world. Time to do more scouting.
Know about a great kissing spot in Rome? Leave a comment below!
I originally wrote this post for Medium but now I’m stealing it back and adding to it when necessary.