It doesn’t matter how long (or little) you stay in Rome. You MUST see these places!
We have ranked them in order of importance (or potential regret..) and they can even be seen in just one day.
Nearly all are in the city center and in short distance from one another. So, you really have no excuses!
An obvious number one. If you think of Rome, you think of it.
Recently, the upper tier has been re-opened to the public (after 40 years!) and the view from the top is extraordinary.
So, visit the outside, inside, go and check out the dungeons, arena and different tiers.
2.St.Peter’s Square and Basilica
Another must. Pay a visit to the Vatican City and the Holiest Shrine in the Christian World.
Admire the impressive square and famous Bernini fountains, then head inside the Basilica (cover shoulders and avoid shorts or skirts above the knee).
See the Pietà from Michelangelo, the magnificent Dome, the imposing Altar and the tomb of the First Pope, Peter, underneath.
After, climb to the roof for magnificent views of the little Vatican State and the rest of the city.
3.Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
54 museums, 1400 rooms and galleries, countless art masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, Raphael and many more great artists, which extend over 9 miles.
It’s one of the most visited art museums in the world and by far the largest collection: apparently, if you dedicate just one minute for each art piece, it will take you 4 years to see them all.
Last but not least, the stunning Sistine Chapel with its 12,000 sq ft of frescoes and paintings. Here for more than 600 years, each Pope was elected.
Beautiful. Unique. Romantic. Perhaps the most famous fountain in the world. Recently refurbished and constantly crowded, but tossing a coin inside will make your trip to Rome complete.
Try and visit after breakfast or at night time for a really magical experience and marvel at the Baroque creations of Travertine marble.
Do you know that an average of €3,000 is thrown inside the fountain every day? Money then gets collected very early in the morning and offered to a local charity.
The heart of ancient Roman social and economic life is the best place to get a good idea of what Rome looked like 2000 years ago.
Together with the Palatine Hill is probably the largest open-air site and a great testimony of Roman life at the doorsteps of the residencies of the greatest Roman Emperors. The first and probably most famous one, Julius Caesar, was cremated in a temple inside the Roman Forum and people still confuse this as his grave, leaving flowers and notes on the altar.
The former Roman pagan temple then turned church, then turned resting site for Italian kings and great artists is another great Rome attraction you simply can’t afford to miss. There is so much in such a little space and is located in one of the nicest spots in the Italian Capital. Its particular shape has inspired many future famous buildings like the US Capitol Building and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.
Our pick for the best Pantheon Tour: Rome in 1 Day Tour
7. Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo is the sort of place that can make many different visitors happy. Originally built by Romans as resting site for Emperor Hadrian, it was turned into a military fortress to protect the main gate to St.Peter’s in 401. Unfortunately, in the process, most of the original structure and its decorations went lost, and the Roman Mausoleum is recognizable only on the lowest part. It recently enjoyed popularity thanks to the Dan Brown’s saga Angels and Demons.
Speaking of angels, you will be wondering why it took that name and why there is a statue of one on top of the roof? That is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, who according to the legend, appeared on top of the Castle, ending the epidemy of the plague of 590.
The Roman Catacombs is the underground system created by the first Christians to escape persecution and bury their relatives. Despite there are nearly 60 of them around Rome and many and many kilometers of passageways under the streets of Rome, as of now, only a handful are open to the public. They are incredibly well preserved and they make a very interesting change to the usual touristic itinerary (unless you are not fond of small spaces and steep stairs). The passages in some catacombs were enlarged to make space for bigger chambers where altars for religious rites were created.
9. Piazza di Spagna / Spanish Steps
Originally built in 1725, the beautiful Spanish Steps are an icon of the city. Traditionally popular with artists, painters, poets and stylists, it is also a very popular destination for tourists. Many will take a break here after the visiting the main shopping streets nearby, or on the way to Villa Borghese at the top of the stairs.
Undoubtedly, Rome’s most beautiful square. It is so elegant with its stunning fountains, its baroque buildings, and the beautiful Sant’Agnese Church. It is also very lively, with plenty of restaurants, bars and artists all around it, making it popular with both locals and tourists. if you wonder about its oval shape, it is simply because it seats 4.5 meters on top of the former Stadium of Domitian (the famous Roman Emperor), which it can also be visited.