The Italian capital city is one of the biggest in Europe and has been for centuries. With 7 million tourists per year, it’s the 7th most popular European capital in terms of tourism with the Vatican City in 15th place. This is due to just how many things there are to visit in Rome.
Rome is a city whose history spans millennia. Visiting Rome and its different neighbourhoods is a way to time travel. Each neighbourhood has a different reason to visit it, from Roman ruins to an amazing nightlife.
In this article, we’re looking at the different parts of Rome so that you know where to go and what there is to visit when you do. Discover the best places to go, where to stay, and what to do.
With the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, the ruins of Ancient Rome are fairly well conserved and every tourist in Rome should visit the area. You can get the metro there and experience millennia of history from the Palantine Hill and Capitoline Hill.
With temples, statues, and other tourist attractions, this area is never quiet and tourists from all over Europe and around the world regularly visit it. The Roman Forum is the perfect place for any history lover and a timeless experience.
Similarly, you can visit the Colosseum and find yourself in the middle of this monumental architecture. These are both essential attractions in Rome so don’t miss them!
“The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it's the sand of the Colosseum.”
The North of the City Centre
The northern parts of Rome are home to baroque architecture. This area is also home to many luxury boutiques and stores. It’s not uncommon to find Italians looking like they’ve come straight from Fashion Week here.
Here are some of the best things to visit towards the northern parts of the city centre.
- The Spanish Steps
- Trinità dei Monti
- Villa Borghese
- The Borghese Gallery and Museum
- Villa Giulia
- The Museum of Modern Art
- Piazza del Popolo
- Pincian Hill
- MAXXI Museum
If you’re interested in culture, this is the neighbourhood you have to visit. This is also where you’ll find the Rome Termini train station next to the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica.
The Vatican City
The world’s smallest sovereign nation is also home to the Pope and the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It’s a must-see in Rome as there are several impressive monuments including St Peter's Basilica which offers an amazing view of Rome from the dome.
The Vatican Museum is also one of the most popular sites and is home to plenty of works of art that have been collected by the church over the years including archaeological wonders, statues, and breathtaking paintings.
You can also enjoy the Castel Sant’Angelo and the gardens (Giardini Vaticani) as part of a guided tour.
Trastevere didn’t use to be a popular neighbourhood for tourists but it’s now starting to draw in more and more people. This is to the west of the historic centre and can be easily accessed by Via Garibaldi.
The area includes the Piazza Santa Maria de Trastevere, the Santa Maria Basilica, which has been around for nearly 1,800 years, and trendy stores and bars. You can also visit the Villa Farnesina which is home to works by the famous painter Raphael. There’s also an impressive botanical garden on the Janiculum Hill.
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These neighbourhoods can be found on and around the Aventine Hill, which the Romans considered cursed for many years. Remus wanted to found Rome on this hill whereas Romulus preferred the Palantine Hill. You know the rest; Romulus won and Remus died.
Fortunately, Emperor Claudius had a good idea of including it in Rome. There are plenty of things to discover:
- The Aventine Rose Garden
- The Orange Garden
- The Basilica of Saint Sabina
- The Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio
- The Pyramid of Caius Cestius
- The Protestant Cemetery
- Lots of street art.
This is one of the greenest and nicest areas of Rome so don’t hesitate to walk around.
The Historic Centre
It’s hard to know exactly which period you’re in when you walk around Rome’s historic centre. Renaissance, Medieval, and Baroque architectural styles are all present in this timeless place. There are also remnants of Imperial Rome such as the Pantheon and the Palazzo Altemps, both of which are essential visits.
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You can also discover the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, the main artery running through the neighbourhood, and visit the Piazza Navona with its fountain, the Piazza Farnese or the Campo de’Fiori, where there’s a large flower market.
You can then head to the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the Portico of Octavia, the Marcello Theatre, and the Largo di Torre Argentina, which is full of cats!
Nomentano includes many interesting neighbourhoods such as San Lorenzo, the student area and home to young Romans and a relaxed and festive atmosphere. You can visit the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, which has been well conserved despite the events of the Second World War.
Just a few steps from the Aurelian Walls, you can enjoy a drink on a terrace or enjoy a night out. Unsurprisingly, this neighbourhood is also home to the Sapienza University of Rome, museums, and plenty of bars and restaurants.
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Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR)
The EUR area is the result of the fascist dictator Mussolini. It was built for the World’s Fair in 1942 but World War II meant that it never happened. Anyway, let’s look at the positives.
Now, it’s home to ministers, administrative buildings, and museums. There are several great things you can visit here:
- The Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum) or Museo della Civiltà Romana (Roman Culture Museum)
- The Church of Saints Peter and Paul
- INA and INPS palace
- Office palace
- Palazzo dei Ricevimenti e dei Congressi
- Museo Nazionale dell'Alto Medioevo (National Museum of the Middle Age)
- Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorin (Prehistoric Ethnographic Museum)
Don’t hesitate to visit this out-of-the-ordinary area.
Rome’s Modern Centre
Rome’s Modern Centre is around the Termini station. It’s quite touristy due to the Trevi Fountain and you’ll find tourists throwing in plenty of coins hoping that it’ll bring them good fortune. If you go, don’t get ripped off by street sellers who are looking to flog you overpriced tat.
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Aside from that, you can also find museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, the Palazzo Massimo, the Palazzo Barberini, the National Museum, and the Quirinal Palace. You can also enjoy the Baths of Diocletian, which date back to the 3rd century.
This area is easy to get to using Rome’s metro.
Now you know a bit more about the different areas in Rome and will be able to enjoy the dolce vita when you go for your next holidays. If you want to learn more about Rome, don’t hesitate to check out our other articles on it. You could also get private Italian lessons from a private tutor on Superprof!
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