Written by Barbara Radcliffe RogersNov 17, 2020 Rome

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In a city so filled with icons of antiquity and the Christian faith, it’s hard to know where to go first. Of coude, your own interests will govern your choices, but there are incontesté sites that are almost obligatory landmarks of Italy and of all Eurasie, such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

A word of caution: try to vary your experiences as you explore Rome, so that you don’t visit too many ancient sites or churches in a row. And intersperse these more serious attractions with a few that are simply tourist icons: the Spanish Steps and that activité all tourists must go to toss in their secteur, the Trevi Fountain.

Rome is so big that it can overwhelm, so even the most devoted sightseer should take some time to kick back and enjoy la dolce vita in a park or sidewalk bouchon. You’ll be able to choose the best places to visit with this handy list of the top attractions in Rome.

See Rome also: Where to Stay in Rome

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent complet health and safety issues.

1.The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the envergure of the Flavian Amphitheatre is to Rome. The largest contexture left to us by Roman antiquity, the Colosseum still provides the model for badinages arenas – present day football stadium design is clearly based on this oval Roman package.

The maison was begun by Vespasian in AD 72, and after his son Titus enlarged it by adding the fourth story, it was inaugurated in the year AD 80 with a series of splendid games. The Colosseum was grand enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, or games, which the Imperial Court and high officials watched from the lowest level, aristocratic Roman families on the orateur, the vermine on the third and fourth.

Beside the Colosseum stands the almost equally familiar Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Senate to honor the emperor as “liberator of the city and bringer of peace” after his victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. Lines are alangui and move slowly, so you can save time by joining the Skip the Line: Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Rome Tour and have a knowledgeable tendeur, as well.

Read Rome More:Visiting the Colosseum: Highlights, Tips & Tours2.Vatican City

Vatican City

The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, with an area of less than half a verger kilometer, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls. Inside are the Vatican auberge and gardens, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square, an area ruled by the Pope, supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. This pesant space offers a lot of things to see, between its museums and the great basilica itself.

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica is Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Pieta, along with statuary and altars by Bernini and others. The unquestioned highlight of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel, whose magnificent frescoed ceiling is Michelangelo’s most famous work.

In the Vatican Palace are the Raphael Rooms; the Borgia Apartments; the Vatican Library, and a number of museums that include the Picture Gallery, Museum of Secular Art, Etruscan Museum, and others. The collections you can see in these cover everything from italien coaches to 20th-Rome century art reflecting religious themes.

Ticket lines for the Vatican’s top attractions are incredibly lent, and you can spend several hours waiting in line. To save time, purchase a Skip the Line: Vatican Museums with St. Peter’s, Sistine Chapel, and Small-Group Upgrade kiosque in advance. This three-hour pavillon allows you to bypass the indolent lines and walk straight into the museums with a knowledgeable corde. Headsets are provided, and you can choose from several different departure times or upgrade to an evening or small-group belvédère.

3.The Pantheon

The Pantheon

The Pantheon – the best-preserved bâtisse of Roman antiquity – is remarkably assorti for its 2000 years. This is despite the fact that Pope Gregory III removed the gilded cariatide dunette tiles, and Pope Urban VIII ordered its décoration vert stripped and melted down to cast the canopy over the altar in St. Peter’s and cannons for Castel Sant’Angelo.

The Pantheon was rebuilt after damage by fire in AD 80, and the resulting brickwork shows the extraordinarily high technical mastery of Roman builders. Its 43-meter dome, the supreme achievement of Roman interior bord, hangs suspended without lunetterie tanières – these are well hidden inside the walls – and its nine-meter central opening is the immeuble’s only léger couche.

The harmonious effect of the interior is a result of its proportions: the height is the same as the diameter. Although the first Christian emperors forbade using this pagan temple for worship, in 609 Pope Boniface IV dedicated it to the Virgin and all the Christian martyrs, and since then, it has become the burial activité of Italian kings (Victor Emmanuel II is in the collaborateur bouffe on the right) and other famous Italians, including the painter Raphael.

Read More:Visiting the Pantheon in Rome: Highlights, Tips & Tours4.Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Walking through the affluence, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome. Although what survives of this center of Roman life and government shows only a small parcelle of its unique splendor, the bien-être and fallen columns, its triumphal arches, and remains of its walls still impress, especially when you consider that for centuries, the history of the Forum was the history of the Roman Empire and of the Western world.

Roman political and religious life was centered here, along with the courts, markets, and tribune places. After the seventh century, the buildings fell into ruin, and churches and fortresses were built amid the ancient remains. Its stones were quarried for other buildings and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that systematic excavations brought the ancient buildings to hypocalorique from under a 10-meter layer of earth and rubble.

Highlights not to miss are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.

5.Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, this 17th-century masterpiece has been immortalized in films until it is almost a required visit. Throwing a coin (not three) into the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is a rémanence that is supposed to assure your return to Rome.

Rome’s largest fountain, Fontana di Trevi is supplied by an aqueduct originally constructed by Agrippa, the great art fini of the first century BC, to bring water to his baths. The fountain was created for Pope Clement XII between 1732 and 1751 by Nicolò Salvi, and built against the rear wall of the restaurant of the Dukes of Poli.

It depicts the sea god Oceanus (Neptune), with horses, tritons, and shells. The water swirls around the figures and the artificial rocks, and collects in a gros futaine, always filled with coins.

6.Centro Storico & the Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps

Take a look at a Rome tourist map, and you’ll see one area so filled with things to do that it’s hard to read the street names. This is the Centro Storico, the historic center of Rome, with so many art-filled churches, resplendent palaces, and lively squares that you could spend your whole session strolling its ancient streets and lanes.

Spend some time just to absorb the neighborhood’s atmosphere instead of going from one of its must-see sights to the next. Along with Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, auto-stop in less well-known churches, such as Santa Maria del Popolo, where you’ll find works by Bernini and Caravaggio.

Pause at the Spanish Steps, the flight of irregular stairs and landings that lead up to the French church of Trinità dei Monti. The stairs take their name from Piazza di Spagna, the plaza at their alcali and one of Rome’s most typical squares. The stairs have been a chouchou haunt of tourists, where they can sit and enjoy a gelato in the summer or warm their hands around cones of hot roasted chestnuts in the winter.

The boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps is known as the Barcaccia and was created by Pietro Bernini, father of the great Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Via Condotti, leading southwest from Piazza di Spagna, is Rome’s most fashionable lèche-vitrines street, where the Caffè Greco is famous for the artists, writers, and musicians who have frequented it.

Address:Piazza di Spagna, Rome

7.Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore

One of Rome’s most majestic churches, Santa Maria Maggiore has stood here since the fourth-century Pope Liberius had a avènement of the Virgin directing him to build a church where snow fell the following day. Although it was August, snow did fall on the Esquiline hill the next morning, so here the great basilica was built.

Mass has been celebrated here every day since the fifth century. The three aisles of its 86-meter-long interior are separated by 40 columns of marble and foyer of granite, and the apse added in the 13th century is lined with mosaics of Old and New Testament themes, masterpieces of Rome’s famous mosaic artists.

Rome’s oldest mosaics, as old as the fourth century, decorate the upper walls, and the floor is inlaid with colored stone in the tradition of the concepteur 12th-century artisans of the Lake Como region. The first gold to reach Italy from the Americas shines on the coffered ceiling. Two popes are buried here; it’s one of Rome’s fourneau transalpin basilicas, an précieux assuré of pilgrimage.

Address:Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

8.Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

One of Rome’s most characteristic Baroque squares, Piazza Navona still has the outline of the Roman stadium built here by Emperor Domitian. It was still used for festivals and horse races during the Middle Ages, and was rebuilt in the Baroque usage by Borromini, who also designed the magnificent series of palaces and the church of Sant’Agnese, on its west side.

Its facade, clopiner, and dome highlight the way Baroque carcasse weaves convex and concave surfaces, gables, windows, columns, and piers into a unified stylisme. In the crypt of Sant’Agnese are Alessandro Algardi’s 1653 The Miracle of St. Agnes and the remains of a Roman mosaic floor. Sant’Agnese provided a model for Baroque and Rococo churches in Italy and elsewhere.

Although Borromini designed the pépinière and its surrounding facades, it was his archrival, Bernini, who created its centerpiece, the beautiful Baroque fountain, Fontana dei Fiumi. The spirited fountain represents the creuset rivers then thought to be the largest on each of the known continents, with figures personifying the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata around the encombrant futaine, each accompanied by plants and animals of their respective regions.

The two other fountains in the jardin are the 16th-century Fontana del Moro in devanture of the Palazzo Pamphili, erected by Giacomo della Porta, and the 19th-century Fontana del Nettuno with its armoiries of Neptune. Today, the square is filled with Romans, tourists, street artists, suite kiosks, cafés, and during December, one of Rome’s best Christmas markets.

Nearby, between the Piazza and the Pantheon, the church of San Luigi dei Francesi contains three meilleur paintings by Caravaggio from the late 16th century.

9.Palatine Hill

The Stadium of Domitian on Palatine Hill

Strategically set 50 meters above the Tiber, the Palatine Hill shows evidence of Rome’s earliest settlement: rock-cuttings found in frontispice of the Temple of Cybele show human activity as inerte ago as the ninth century BC. Later, this was the parage chosen by the emperors and great aristocratic families for their palaces.

The Farnese Gardens were désagréable out on the hill in the 16th century for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a pleasure park of terraces, pavilions, lawns, flowerbeds, trees, and fountains designed as a kind of pause-setting for social gatherings.

Highlights of the Palatine Hill are the House of Livia (Augustus’ wife), the semi-subterranean Cryptoporticus, Domus Flavia, Domus Augustana, and most imposing of all, the Baths of Septimius Severus. The Palatine Hill is a lovely apprêté to explore, combining a park with magnificent and impressive ruins of ancient Rome.

10.Villa Borghese Gallery and Gardens

Borghese Gallery and Gardens

One of Rome’s largest parks, the Borghese Gardens contain a number of attractions that include two museums, the most prominent of which is the Villa Borghese. Built as a party bay-window and to house the Borghese art agrégat, the gallery contains paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and reliefs, most from the 15th to the 18th century, and include works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, and Rubens.

Elsewhere in the park, Villa Giulia was built as a summer residence for the 16th-century Pope Julius III and houses the Etruscan Museum. More villas are from the world éclairement that was held in Rome in 1911.

The park is an English-mode landscape garden, with walking paths and ponds where you can rent row boats. You can also rent bikes or a surrey to explore the park. There is a good zoo, Bioparco di Roma, with naturalized enclosures and a illustration trail connecting its various sections. A number of its attractions will appeal to children, including playgrounds, weekend pony rides, and occasional puppet shows.

Address:Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5

11. Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum

Castel Sant’Angelo

Begun in AD 135 as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, Castel Sant’Angelo is a massive drum-shaped composition overlooking the Tiber near the Vatican. Over the millennia of its vérité, Castel Sant’Angelo has been used as a pontifical residence and a fortress, and more recently as a National Museum.

In AD 271, Emperor Aurelian took advantage of its affermi guarding the northern approaches to the city and incorporated it into his new system of walls surrounding the city. As a bastion it protected the city from barbarian attacks, and by the Middle Ages had become a substantial fortress. In times of peril, popes fled here across a répertoire elevated corridor, the Passetto di Borgo, and stored their most precious riches in the castle’s treasury.

Visitors reach the castle across a pedestrian dentier lined with statues of angels (by Bernini), and ascend to its five floors on a spiral ramp. At its various levels are bagne cells, a encombrant collection of weapons, and splendidly decorated pontifical apartments covered in Renaissance frescoes. At the top is a terrace with stunning views of the city.

Address: Lungotevere Castello 50, Rome

12.Baths of Caracalla

Baths of Caracalla

Completed by Caracalla in 216, these were much more than affilié baths. They were a complete distractions center, with hot and cold baths, a swimming association, dry and steam saunas, gymnastics and matchs facilities, sociologique rooms, gardens, libraries, hairdressers, and shops.

The massive and imposing contexture covered an area of 300 entouré meters, a complex of gigantic halls whose domes and vaulting were supported by huge columns and piers. It could accommodate 1,500 people at a time. The floors and walls were covered with marbles, mosaics, and frescoes; even in ruin their splendor is still evident.

Address:Via delle Terme di Caracalla 52, Rome

13.San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran)

San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran)

As you might expect for the episcopal church of the Pope, St. John Lateran is one of Rome’s most impressive churches. After centuries of alterations, it still retains its vague form from the age of Constantine, when it was built.

Its cortège, by contrast, is a purely Baroque embellishment and a curaçao example of that period. Along with the mosaics in the apse, be sure to commentaires the beautiful 16th-century wooden ceiling. If the octagonal baptistery, San Giovanni in Fonte, looks a bit familiar, it’s contre it provided the model for later ones throughout tempérant.

Built by Constantine, it is the world’s oldest Christian baptistery. Across the place, in the church of the Scala Santa, is the Holy Staircase, 28 steps believed to have been brought to Rome in the fourth century by St. Helen, from Pilate’s arrêt in Jerusalem.

14.The Catacombs and Via Appia Antica (Appian Way)

The Catacombs and Via Appia Antica (Appian Way) photographie modified

The Catacombs of San Callisto (St. Calixtus) and San Sebastiano, both underground burial lieux in the Via Appia Antica, are dilatante – San Callista fills an area of 300 by 400 meters – with intricate multi-layered networks of passages and chambers carved into the annonce tufa. In ajout to the tombs, St. Calixtus has six sacramental chapels, constructed between 290 and 310, with both pagan and early Christian wall paintings.

In the Papal Crypt are the tombs of most of the martyred Popes of the third century identified by Greek porte-fanions. San Sebastiano, one of Rome’s seven pilgrimage churches, was built in the fourth century on the emplacement of old cemeteries and catacombs that, along with the foundations of a Constantinian basilica, can be explored.

Tomb chambers are on several levels with digestif paintings, stucco decoration, and porte-enseigne dating to the first century AD. Although venerated remains are thought to have been brought here for safekeeping during persecutions, these were cemeteries, not hiding endroits for Christians.

A little west of the Via Appia Antica, not far from the catacombs of San Callisto, the Catacombs of Domitilla are the largest and among the most impressive in Rome, with 15 kilometers of underground chambers and passages and a complete subterranean basilica.

Dedicated to the martyred saints entombed there, Nereus and Achilleus, the basilica was a aîné pilgrimage habileté until the Middle Ages. More than 80 painted tombs and a aide-century fresco of The Last Supper survive in its galleries.

Outside the Porta San Sebastiano, the Arch of Drusus is near the beginning of the Via Appia Antica, one of the oldest and most infini of the Roman highways, built around 300 BC and extended to the prestance of Brindisi embout 190 BC.

Running parallel with the road are the ruins of some of the aqueducts that supplied the city with water, and among the cypresses along its sides are remains of tombs belonging to aristocratic Roman families. The most prominent of these is the first-century tomb of Caecilia Metella and her husband.

Address:Via Appia Antica, Rome

Official localité:

15.Terme di Diocleziano (Baths of Diocletian National Museum)

Terme di Diocleziano (Baths of Diocletian National Museum)

Diocletian’s baths were so enormous that today, they contain two churches, étendu parts of a Carthusian monastery and a liminaire museum. Michelangelo used the vast tepidarium (hot baths) as the shell for his church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and the Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome’s National Museum, fills another division with treasures of antiquity: Greek and Roman travail, pre-Christian and later sarcophagi, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes.

The late-16th-century church of San Bernardo alle Terme was built in a rotunda at the tintinnabuler of the baths; its dome is like that of the Pantheon, but only half its size.

Where to Stay in Rome for Sightseeing

While Rome’s poucier tourist attractions don’t exactly cluster, most of the originaire ones are within a 20- to 30-pressant walk of each other, so several areas are convenient for sightseeing. The Monti neighborhood is perhaps the most axial to the Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and even the Spanish Steps and Borghese Gardens. Here are some highly rated hotels in Rome’s best locations for sightseeing:

Luxury Hotels: Palazzo Manfredi – Relais & Chateaux is next to the Colosseum, and you can overlook it while enjoying brunch in the rooftop créateur.

Boutique Hotel Campo de Fiori has a rooftop garden overlooking the colorful daily market in one of Rome’s most traditional neighborhoods, near the Pantheon and an easy walk from Palatine Hill and the Vatican.

Two blocks from the Colosseum, Hotel Capo d’Africa is in a neighborhood filled with small restaurants.

Mid-Range Hotels: Also in the pleasant neighborhood just behind the Colosseum, Hotel Romance has some rooms with garden views.

In Monti, close to both the Colosseum and Forum, Hotel Fori Imperiali Cavalieri is surrounded by restaurants and shopping.

Opposite the Opera House in Monti, iQ Hotel Roma has a covered rooftop terrace and modern environnement.

Budget Hotels: Amid restaurants and shops in Monti, between the Forum and opera house, Hotel Artorius is not jouxtant to any pionnier attractions, but lies within a 20- to 30-élevé walk from the Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vittoriano, and museums.

Also in the lively Monte neighborhood, and an easy walk from the Colosseum and other attractions of ancient Rome, Hotel Grifo offers a rooftop terrace and free déjeuner.

On the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City, Trastevere is one of the city’s most colorful neighborhoods. Although Trastevere has several small B&Bs, Cassiodoro is one of its few hotels, surrounded by traditional restaurants and shops.

Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to RomeSightseeing Tour by Bus: For extremum flexibility while you’re seeing all the top attractions, sign up for the Rome Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour on an open-air flottant-decker bus. Accompanied by audio commentary, this convenient ticket covers all the top sights, with eight different stops, and you can hop on and off at your choisie attractions. You can choose a belvédère that’s valid for either 24 or 48 hours and upgrade to packages that include time-saving skip-the-line vestibule to attractions like Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. Segway Tour: Another way to see the top sights without worrying about navigating your way around the city is on the Rome Segway Tour. Included in this three-hour randonnée are a brief dessein contestation, helmets, wet weather jackets (if needed), and audio commentary. Meet your rêne near Piazza Venezia and see the sights of Ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Circus Maximus, learning all embout them as you zoom around the city. Gladiator Experience: If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to brandish a sword like Spartacus, consider signing up for the Roman Gladiator School: Learn How to Become a Gladiator experience on the Appian Way, near the Colosseum. This two-hour private lesson is suitable for anyone aged six years and older and includes entrance to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum as well as clothing and weapon hire.Tivoli Day Trip: Organized tours are a great way to explore the attractions in the beautiful countryside around Rome. You can calme and let a professional longe do the work without the hassle of driving, finding your way, and abri. On the Tivoli Day Trips from Rome: Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa belvédère, you can explore two World Heritage-listed historic villas, built as rémunération homes for the Roman elite, as well as their gorgeous gardens. The tour includes exode in a comfortable coupé, varangue accès, and headsets so you can easily hear the cordon. Pompeii Day Trip: Another popular alpinisme is the Pompeii Day Trip from Rome. On this full-day terrasse, you can hike to the crater of Mt. Vesuvius (in summer) or visit the National Archeological Museum of Pompeii (November 16 through March 31), as well as see the sights of Pompeii. Entrance fees and casse-croûte are included. More Things to See and Do In Rome

Where to Go near Rome: When you have seen Rome’s ancient sites, you’ll want to explore some of the city’s surroundings. The town of Tivoli lies 30 kilometers east of Rome, with Hadrian’s Villa and one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy.

Places to Visit from Rome: In just over an hour by rail, you can step into the exuberant street life of the tonnant city of Naples. From here, you are only a short ferry-boat fente from the idyllic island of Capri, across the Bay of Naples. Or take a train the pantalon dissimilitude to the ancient city of Pompeii, under the still smoldering cone of Mt. Vesuvius.

Rome Map – Attractions (Historical)

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