From historic tours through ancient Rome (Colosseum, Roman Forum), to Sunday morning shopping at the Porta Portese flea market, to climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, this city is bursting with things to do. Let’s discover together the best attractions in Rome.
1. Admire Ancient Ruins at the Roman Forum
One of the most important ruins in Italy, the Roman Forum, is an archeological site that consist of many ruins that were the center of Roman civilization and political life. This structures stands today as a proof of history and civilization of the past. Make sure you bought entry tickets in advance, for both Forum and the Colosseum and allow ample time to explore the ruins and learn about the history.
Tickets can be bought for both the Forum and the Colosseum and it is advised to allow ample time to properly explore the ruins and learn about the history of this place.
2. Palatine Hill
Another archeological site is Palatine Hill – one of the most ancient areas in modern Rome. Standing 40 metres above the historical Roman Forum, it provides a fantastic viewing position and from here you can see the expanse of Rome laid out before your eyes.
In Roman mythology, this is the location where the legendary Romulus and Remus were supposedly found, who then went on to build the city of Rome.
3. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica may be the most recognisable and celebrated religious building in the world. This majestic building stands as a pilgrimage site for Catholics, but even non-believers can appreciate the church’s architectural majesty. The front facade of the Basilica is crowned with statues of the Apostles and Jesus. Both Michelangelo and Bernini contributed to the design and you can see their creation in the immense dome and stunning Gloria sculpture.
For an aerial view of St. Peter’s Square, you can climb to the top of the dome!
4. Visit the Colosseum
This is an iconic landmark of Italy and a vacation to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Colosseum. This building was used to hold gladiator fights, public executions and other forms of entertainment and would regularly be attended by the Roman Emperors. Marvel at this famous building from all angles, and ensure that you step inside to truly appreciate the enormity of this ancient place of celebration.
Located to the south west of the main terminus train station, the Colosseum is easily accessible and has a metro station in close proximity.
5. Climb the Spanish Steps
Located in Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Trinita dei Monti, these famous steps were constructed in 1725 to span the gap between these two popular squares. Climb the famous steps leading to the Trinità dei Monti church, to admire the piazza and Bernini’s ship-shaped fountain from above. At the bottom of the steps, the Piazza di Spagna is spacious and contains a variety of shops and cafes.
6. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
Any trip to Rome would be incomplete without a visit to the Trevi Fountain. The legend has it that anyone who throws a coin in the fountain will return to Rome. There are not many other fountains in the world as generously decorated and sculptured as the Trevi fountain, so make sure you admire this work of art in your vacation to Rome.
7. Get lost in the centro storico
Lose yourself on the cobblestone streets in Centro Storico (Historic Center) from Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum. Exploring countless streets where you’ll find churches with Baroque art, boutiques selling everything, from carved wooden figurines to precious jewellery, private courtyards where the wealthiest Romans live, cafés, restaurants and tempting gelaterias.
As the proverb says: do as the Romans do – this is what la dolce vita is all about.
8. Wandering at Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican museum complex and one of the most renowned religious chapels in the world. The Sistine Chapel is particularly famous for its extensive and detailed decorations including the Last Judgement fresco by Michelangelo and the ceiling artwork.
Make sure you take your time to visit this astonishing structure and the wonders held within.
9. Gaze at the architectural marvel that is the Pantheon
This temple was built between 118 and 129 A.D. Though the name refers to a temple for all the gods, the Pantheon is actually the burial place of Rome’s kings and other prominent figures, including Raphael. It has been called the world’s only architecturally perfect building and is the best-preserved monument of Imperial Rome. You must walk inside and look up—the oculus in the dome is open to the sky, letting sunlight filter in.
10. Visit the Vatican and its museums
Take a day and explore the area around Vatican. Start your tour from Piazza di San Pietro, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which contain Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Other highlights include the Raphael Rooms, old master paintings and antique sculptures.
11. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is another popular attraction in Rome. Located in close proximity to the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain, the square is a great place to visit whilst walking through the city centre.
This large square is usually full of artists and street vendors and the surrounding buildings frame the open space perfectly.
12. Admire masterpieces in Galleria Borghese and stroll through Villa Borghese
Located within the Borghese Villa complex, the gardens of the same name are a true triumph and provide a welcomed respite from the abundance of historical architecture found in Rome. Nowhere in Rome—or possibly in the world—will you find such an impressive collection of Baroque art.
Moreover, you can also find various paths and trails that lead through the extensive arrangement of plant life and trees and landscaped areas of garden with flower arrangements, fountains and beautiful bodies of water.
13. Take a day trip to the Sea
If you have an extra day to escape the city, the Mediterranean is not so far away. You can make a trip out to one of the seaside towns surrounding Rome. Popular spots include Ostia Antica, Cerveteri and Fregene.
14. Ponte Sant’Angelo
The bridge of Saint Angelo leads to the Castel Sant’Angelo and the near side of the river. Open from the front of the castle, this bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Rome. Decorated with travertine marble, Ponte Sant’Angelo crosses the famous Tiber river and offers some fantastic photographic opportunities.
Festivals and Events in Rome
Having a Roman holiday this summer? Lucky you. The Eternal City has a fiery mix of new summer events, from opera and jazz concerts to after-hours access to the Colosseum.
Vatican Music Fridays
Imagine yourself visiting the Vatican Museums while you listen to the melodies of Beethoven and Bach. Make sure you book a late reservation – the Museums are open until midnight- and you can wander the halls without the crowd during the day.
After Hours at the Colosseum
If you want to make a tour at the Colosseum in the moonlight, this is your chance. In the summertime, visitors have afterhours access to the ancient amphitheater on Thursdays and Saturdays. Make sure you make an early booking!
Chamber Music Festival
From July 12th through August 8th, the International Ensemble Chamber Music Festival takes place. The courtyard in front of Francesco Borromini’s famous baroque church will host jazz ensembles, orchestra concerts and dance performances.
Roma Food & Wine Festival
From 17-19th of May, Rome hosts the annual Food & Wine Festival. If you are a food lover, you should not miss this event where Italian chefs gather, as well as foreign chefs, that will prepare delicious dishes. Pair your tastings with Italian fine wines and you create a treat for the senses.
The beauty in each corner, in each restaurant, in each street, will make you never forget why you have chosen Rome for your holidays. Take the opportunity to make that memorable photo for your collection, admire the beauty in every corner of the Eternal City and follow the traces of Roman Empire history. If you are a lover of art, music or food, Rome is the perfect place to find all this and even more. If Rome is on your list as a holiday destination, stop thinking and book a ticket now and, if it’s not, you should think about it.