Rome is not only famous for being Italy’s capital but also popular for its Christian faith and must-see attractions spread out all over the beautiful city. When traveling, tourists prefer using their interests to decide where to go but below I have curated a list of the best places to go to when in Rome.
The Colosseum, located in the centre of Rome, is a must-see attraction when in Rome. This oval Roman plan is the biggest structure left behind by the ancient Romans. It’s the largest amphitheatre that was ever built and its no surprise its’s still the largest amphitheatre standing. Emperor Vespasian started the building in AD 72 and his son Titus, who was also his succesor and heir, made further modifications by adding the 4th story. Travertine limestone, tuff and brick-faced concrete were used for its construction and it could hold around 50,000 – 80,000 people. The Colosseum was used for festivals, circuses, theatrical performances and games.
The Pantheon is the best-preserved ancient building in Rome and it deserves a spot in your itinerary. This masterpiece of Roman architecture is cylindrical with a portico of huge granite Corinthian columns under a pediment. It was constructed in 126 AD to serve as a temple for the Roman gods. However, in the 7th century it started serving as a Christian church. When inside appreciate the beauty of the dome and the oculus, the opening of the dome, that gives it special lighting. Further, it’s the burial place of Italian kings and other famous Italians. Here you’ll see the tomb of Victor Emmanuel II and Raphael the famous artist.
3. Vatican City
Though the Vatican is the smallest independent world state, it’s drenched in christianity and history. Despite just having an area of half a square kilometre there’s plenty to see and do. The Pope, priests, nuns, a few dignitaries are the only people permitted to live in the city. As earlier mentioned, there’s so much to explore in the Vatican and its size means most of these attractions are just a walking distance from each other. Be sure to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican garden, Vatican necropolis, Vatican museum, Pinacoteca and Saint Peter’s Square.
4. St. Peter’s Basilica
This Renaissance-style church is located in Vatican City and is regarded as the center of Roman Catholicism. Pieta, Michelangelo’s sad but beautiful masterpiece is found inside the church. St Peter’s is not only the largest world church by measure of its interior, its also considered one of the holiest churches in the world. With this in mind, there’s a strict dress code in place. Though entry is free, short skirts, bare shoulders, hats, and shorts above the knee aren’t allowed. It’s believed that the church is also the burial site of Saint Peter who is said to be buried directly below the high altar of the basilica also called the Altar of the Confession.
5. Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain comprises of a Baroque masterpiece that showcases Oceanus (Neptune) the sea god along with tritons, horses, and shells. Beneath, the fountain’s water calmly swirls and collects in a big coin-filled basin. The fountain looks magical at night as the moonlight shines on the fountain’s basin and the streetlights make the angelic white marbles glow. Throwing coins into the fountain is a famous tradition for visiting tourists as it’s believed to guarantee them a return to Rome and increase their chances of finding love. Later, the coins thrown into the fountain are collected and used to support charities in the city.
6. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a collection of the most important structures of ancient Rome found between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills. Previously, it was the center for religious, political, public, and commercial life. The buildings started falling into ruins after the seventh century. Much of the area is in ruins but you can still be in awe of what remains of its past glory. Here you’ll see the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the House of the Vestal Virgins, the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, the Arch of Titus among many other fascinating ancient structures.
7. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is a beautiful large public square in Rome built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian constructed in the first century. This lovely square is adorned with 3 spectacular fountains, Fontana del Moro, Fontana di Nettuno and la Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Fontana dei Fiumi, designed by Bernini, is the largest and has 4 rivers that reperesent the major rivers in each continent. Nowadays, the public square is favored by large crowds who enjoy watching street performers and artists. A vast number of tourists love dining in the many restaurants in the area and shopping in the nearby city market.
8. Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps seen at the Piazza di Spagna, is a 135 step stairway nestled in the middle of the Trinità dei Monti church found at the top and the Barcaccia fountain sits beautifully at the foot of the steps. Over the years the steps have had mixed reviewed with some labelling it as underwhelling while others a must see site. The views at the top of the stairs make the climb worth it as you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding attractions. People typically prefer sitting at the steps and eating while people watching. However, many were not impressed by the large crowds.
9. Palatine Hill
The Palantine referred to as a green heaven, offers a new outlook of Rome and its history. It’s part of the seven hills of Rome and part of the great Roman mythology. It’s said that it’s where a wolf found twin boys Remus and Romulus and cared for them until they were rescued by a shepherd. Palantine hill has often been called the first nucleus of the Roman empire and has many ruins and pathways to explore. Some things to discover here are the House of Livia, Domus Flavia, Domus Augustana and the Baths of Septimius Severus.
10. Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is a huge drum-shaped fortress on the Tiber river that was begun in AD 135 initially designed by Emperor Hadrian to be used as a mausoleum for his own family. Over the years, it has had many functions but recently, it became a national museum. It’s divided into many impressive sections such as Passetto di Borgo, The Bastions, Hadrian’s Mausoleum, the Pope’s apartments and the courtyard, Grande Loggia and Giretto, and finally the top terrace. Guests get to the castle across a pedestrian bridge full statues of angels, and ascend to its five floors on a spiral ramp.