Unlike neighboring Rio Grande City, Roma has actively preserved its heritage, which dates back to the 1750s. The downtown, one block south of US 83, was designated a National Historic Landmark and is such a perfect representation of an early 1900s border town that the 1952 movie Viva Zapata was filmed here.
The small downtown dates to 1751 and you can still get a real sense of the past along a couple of blocks of Convent St. Historical plaques add context, and the National Park Service has prepared a fantastic background on the town's cultural relevance (search on 'Roma Heritage' at www.nps.gov).
For bird lovers, the Roma Bluffs observation deck is right downtown and overlooks 3 acres of lush nature preserve along the banks of the Rio Grande.