- 1. The Colosseum
- 2. The Ruins of the Roman Forum
- 3. Palatine Hill
- 4. Public Baths of Caracalla
- 5. The Pantheon
- 6. The Sistine Chapel
- 7. The Trevi Fountain
- 8. Piazza Navona
- 9. Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps
- 10. The Catacombs of Rome
- 11. The Vatican Museum
- 12. Villa Borghese
- 13. The Capitoline Museums
- 14. St. Peter's Square and Basilica
- 15. The Appian Way
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
Italy’s capital city, aptly nicknamed the Eternal City, is one of the most popular European cities for tourists. This is because it’s home to history, culture, archaeological sites, Roman and Etruscan ruins, Renaissance and Baroque architecture, historic monuments, museums, and plenty of other things to visit.
After Paris and London, it’s the third most popular city in Europe with 9.7million foreign tourists visiting in 2017. The cradle for European civilisation and the Latin language, Rome is now home to 2.87 million inhabitants.
Are you going to visit Rome?
Here are the attractions you have to visit!
1. The Colosseum
The Colosseum, a large amphitheatre from the Roman Empire, is one of the most famous monuments in Rome.
Its construction was ordered by Emperor Vespasian (9-79) and finished under Titus (39-81). It could hold up to 50,000 spectators and hosted gladiatorial combats and blood sports. It was used for nearly 500 years with its last games taking place in the 6th century. It’s among the most popular Roman ruins in the city.
It’s 86 metres long, 54 metres wide, 4 stories high, and has over 80 entrances. It’s a testimony to Roman construction and a symbol of Rome’s Imperial power.
2. The Ruins of the Roman Forum
This archaeological site retraces the history of Rome and is one of the oldest remaining in the city. It’s oldest ruins date back to the 7th century BC under the Roman Kingdom (which existed between 753 and 509BC).
This was the main square in Rome under the monarchy and the Republic until the fall of the Empire in 476AD.
It includes the Temple of Romulus, the Arch of August, the Temple of Caesar, the Basilica Aemilia, the Argiletum, the Temple of Concord, the Temple of Saturn, and the Arch of Septimius Severus.
3. Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill is one of the seven main hills of Rome and an open-air museum. It was the centre of Ancient Rome and overlooks the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus. It was the residence of the emperors.
It’s an interesting place if you like Roman ruins and the Villa of Livia, Flavian Palace, Stadium of Domitian, Farnese Gardens.
4. Public Baths of Caracalla
Inaugurated under Caracalla (188-217) in 216, the public baths of Caracalla were the largest and most luxurious ever constructed in Rome.
They cover 11 hectares, 64 cisterns, 80,000 litres of water, and accommodate 1,600 bathers. This is a great way to learn how the wealthy Romans lived!
5. The Pantheon
Built in the 1st century between 27 and 125CE, the Pantheon in Rome is one of the best kept Roman buildings in the city. The temple is dedicated to Roman gods but became a church in 608.
The Pantheon is home to graves of Italian kings and the artist Raphael. The building includes a magnificent facade, circular interior wall, and a 43-metre-diametre dome.
To visit the Pantheon, without having to wait for ages, you might want a queue-jump ticket that you can get combined with the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona, for example.
6. The Sistine Chapel
Built between 1475 and 1481, this majestic religious building in the Vatican was designed for the cardinals to meet when electing new popes.
With its great frescoes by Michaelangelo, the walls and ceiling of the chapel portray Genesis, the Creation of Man, the Original Sin, the Flood, and Judgement Day.
It includes a rectangular room that is 40 metres long, 13 metres wide, and 21 metres high, the golden ratio. The room includes 12 windows.
7. The Trevi Fountain
You can’t visit Rome without visiting the Trevi Fountain. There are around 2,000 fountains in Rome and this one is the largest in all of Rome.
It was built between 1732 and 1762 and is a fine example of 18th-century Roman baroque style.
It represents the benefits of water and includes the God of the Ocean, Neptune. Thousands of tourists visit and throw a coin into it to bring them good luck.
8. Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona is the most touristy square in all of Rome.
It’s built on the ruins from the 1st century and the houses and businesses are sitting on top of the ancient Rome. The buildings and their Baroque style reflect the Italian Renaissance of the 17th and 18th centuries. You’ll find the Fiumi Fountain and the Fountain of Neptune.
9. Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna are one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions. You can find it in one of Rome’s trendier neighbourhood. There are 135 steps and it’s a great meeting place for Romans.
Find out more about the different neighbourhoods in Rome.
10. The Catacombs of Rome
What about visiting Rome’s underground?
This is a different way to see Rome and head off the beaten path to enjoy another side of the Eternal City’s history. A lot of tourists don’t know about Rome’s underground. However, it includes the catacombs and underground galleries. The Romans buried their dead here. There are frescoes and graves.
Under the vestiges of ancient Rome, you can find:
- Piazza Navona: the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian
- The ruins of Vicus Caprarius
- The Ruins of the Temple of Hadrian
- Auditorium Di Mecenate
- Colombario di Pomponio Hylas (where the poor and slaves were buried)
- Mussolini’s bunkers
- Domus Aurea: a palace built by emperor Nero.
- The Catacombs of St. Callixtus: 500,000 people were buried there including the popes from the 3rd century. These are the oldest catacombs on the Appian Way.
- The Domus of the Palazzo Valentini.
Anyone claustrophobic should stay away!
11. The Vatican Museum
Anyone visiting Rome has to visit the world’s smallest country, Vatican City.
While you should try to avoid it during the high season, you have to visit the Vatican Musem. There’s a huge collection of works collected by different popes from ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the modern era.
You should also visit the Sistine Chapel with its double helix staircase, the map room, and Raphael’s room.
12. Villa Borghese
Would you like to escape the chaos of Rome’s city centre?
Are you done with mosaics, fountains, ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and temples?
This municipal park covers 80 hectares and includes museums. The gardens of the Villa Borghese are a wonderful green space in the Italian capital.
Find out how long you should visit Rome for.
13. The Capitoline Museums
Another unmissable site that you can visit with the Roma Pass or a “Hop On Hop Off” bus trip are the museums of the Capitoline Hill, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo.
You can pass from one museum to another via the Lapidary Gallery, an underground gangway where you can see works by Caravaggio, Titian, and Rubens.
The Palazzo Nuovo has sculptures including a replica of the statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, one of the Empire’s most famous.
14. St. Peter's Square and Basilica
The symbolic monument of the Catholic Church, St Peter’s Basilica attracts thousands of tourists.
Catholics from all over the world gather here.
It overlooks St Peter’s Square and its Egyptian obelisk which was brought to Rome by Caligula in the 1st century.
Find out more about budgeting for a trip to Rome.
15. The Appian Way
After you finish visiting Rome, consider heading along the Appian Way, a Roman road that’s nearly 500km long. From Rome, it runs along the Tyrrhenian coast, crosses Campania, and heads to Apulia in the southeast of Italy.
Construction began in 312BCE and it’s a popular route for walkers. Some sections date back to the Roman era. Imagine how long journeys took in the age of the Romans!
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