Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Once the capital of western civilization, Rome, also known as the "Eternal
City", is endowed with incredible antiquities,
gorgeous piazzas, stunning fountains, great food, and an exhilarating ambiance.
On the page below we present concise recommendations on the best
places to visit in Rome. If you want more information,
click for the ThereArePlaces
Travel Guide, where these and other attractions are described in
greater detail with links to official websites and additional
These details can be seen during a tour of the interior
of the Colosseum.
The profile of the Colosseum
is one of the most dramatic sights in Rome (especially at night), but
you need to tour its interior for a revealing look into the history of
this two-thousand year old venue. Designed to hold more than fifty
thousand spectators while the lions and gladiators did their work, the
arena once had a cover that could be extended to provide the spectators
relief from the sun on hot summer days.
The area beneath the floor of the Colosseum is a complex of cells,
holding areas and paths that were designed to allow animals,
gladiators and human sacrifices access to the arena, all without mixing
- For details on the history of the Colosseum and a variety of photos
of its features, see the
section of our Rome Travel Guide.
The Roman and Imperial Forums
Forums mark the historical center of the city and contain the ruins and
remnants of the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Excavations are still in
progress as these areas continue to expose their long hidden secrets.
are numerous sites to examine, but the best include the Forum of Caesar,
the Temple of Peace (Forum of Vespasian) and the Forum of Trajan (the
best preserved of all of the forums). Among the best temples are those of Saturn, Castor and Pollux,
and Venus and Roma.
The Palatine Hill, which looms above the Roman Forums on the west,
was where the elite lived during the height of the Roman Empire and it houses the ruins of
numerous palaces and
several interesting excavations.
- See our guides to the
Imperial Forums for
more details on the amazing monuments you will see while touring the two
The Capitoline Hill was a seat of power in ancient Rome and remains
a center of government even today. The Capitoline's Piazza Campidoglio,
is a good place to start your tour of Ancient Rome, as it provides a
panoramic view of the forums. The Piazza and its
buildings were either designed or modified based on plans created by Michelangelo.
Take the lower steps (the "Cordonatta") to the right of the Monument Vittorio Emmanuele II
(which dates from the mid-19th century ) up to the Piazza Campidoglio. The
Piazza reflects its mid -15th century architecture.
- The statues at the top of the stairs (Cordonatta) represent Castor and Pollux,
from Greek and Roman mythology who were reputed to have aided the
Romans in a historically significant battle.
- The stately building in the middle is the Palazzo
Senatorio and it features a famous double staircase designed by
- On the left is the Palazzo Nuovo (the site of the Capitoline
Museum) and to the right is the Palazzo dei Conservatori,
constructed according to plans developed by Michelangelo.
- All three buildings are now part of the Capitoline Museums and
contain artifacts from Rome's history, or from the era of the Roman
- Read our detailed guide to the
Capitoline Hill for
more information on and photos of the many attractions this area offers.
A tour of the Vatican is one of the most popular things to do on a
Peter's Basilica, the centerpiece of the Vatican, is one of the most stunning architectural
accomplishment in Rome. The grandeur of its interior is enhanced
by statues, art and installations created by such notable artists as Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini and others. Be sure to
examine the Basliica's magnificent dome, as it is one of the largest and highest in
the world. In addition, for a fee, you can ascend to the top of Saint Peter's and the view of the Vatican and Rome is well worth seeing.
The Vatican Museums hold some of the great
treasures of art and history. Be sure to see the glorious Sistine Chapel, Raphael's
rooms and the amazing collection of the Pinacoteca (the Vatican Art Gallery).
The Holy See is the center of the Roman Catholic faith and St.
Peter's Square, which is the entrance to the Vatican is well known as
the site where Catholics gather to hear the Pope pray, as well as to
watch for the white smoke signaling the election of a new pope upon the
death of the preceding pope.
Vatican section of our Rome Guide for
details on the attractions you can tour in this independent religious
state located within Rome.
Pantheon is one of the true glories of ancient Rome and one of the best
preserved monuments of the Roman Empire. The Temple of the Pantheon
is located where Agrippa built an earlier tribute to the
Roman Gods in the first century BC. The Pantheon was constructed by the
Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century, AD and his plans included the spectacular rotunda and its marvelous dome
that are regarded as architectural marvels.
- For more details on the history of the Pantheon and its amazing
architecture, see our detailed guide to the
Castel Sant'Angelo (Hadrian's Mausoleum)
The Castel Sant'Angelo offers panoramic views along the Tiber and is one of Rome's
outstanding architectural monuments. Originally created as the mausoleum
for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, the building has served Roman emperors
The Castel is still connected to the Vatican by a passageway) and once was
a bulwark of the defensive wall that once surrounded Rome.
was a plot focus in the Dan Brown novel "Angels and Demons" and the book
has increased the popularity of this monument, which also serves as a
- If you are interested in knowing more about its history, as
well as seeing additional photographs of this stunning attraction click
Castel Sant'Angelo to read about this monument in our detailed Rome
Originally the site of Emperor Domitian's Circus ( a stadium for chariot
racing), this lovely piazza is
surrounded by fine historic buildings of the Baroque style and includes some of the Eternal City's best
fountains. Major works include Bernini's la Fontana (Fountain of the Four Rivers),
as well at the equally famous Neptune Fountain and the intriguing Fountain of the Moor.
The Piazza is a great
place for people watching, trying a gelato, or having a drink at one of the many cafes
along its extent. If
you have time, visit the Church of Sant'Angese (across from la Fontana),
which has a beautiful interior.
- For more details on the Piazza, its fountains and monuments, as
well as numerous photographs, see our detailed guide to the
Piazza di Spagna
Perhaps the most famous meeting place in Rome, the Piazza de Spagna includes the
Spanish Steps (the Scalinata della Trinita' de Monti) which lead from
the piazza to the church Trinita dei Monte. It is a staple for
visitors to be photographed on the Spanish Steps and the area is usually
crowded until late at night.
The name "Spanish Steps" derives from the fact that the stairway was
originally built to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican and the
Embassy of Spain has remained in the square to this day.
Near the Spanish Steps, you will find the Keats-Shelley House commemorating
these famous authors who once resided on this square.
Of course, the Piazza di Spagna is a great area for
shopping, as are many of
the adjacent streets..
- For more details on the Spanish Steps and its many
attractions, click here
Fontana di Trevi
This world famous fountain, at the front of the
Palazzo Poli, is celebrated for its beauty and the legend that if you
toss a coin into its waters you will be guaranteed a return to Rome.
For details on the history of the fountain, as well as descriptions
of its statues and features, read our guide to the
This large central square is the hub of Rome. The Palazzo Venezia, the most impressive building on
the Piazza Venezia, is a museum world renowned for its collection of
medieval and Renaissance works, including an interesting section on
- A walk along the upscale shopping district surrounding
the adjacent Via Del Corso is a good way to while away an hour or two.
- Watch the traffic while attempting to cross the Palazzo, as the
intersection is very dangerous.
- Click here for more detailed information on the
Piazza Venezia and what there is to see and do, click for our
Rome has been gifted with a fine assortment of churches including
cathedrals, Papal basilicas, and neighborhood churches. While most
visitors will tour St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, there are many
houses of worship that are of historic interest, while others are
architectural masterpieces or include notable artwork.
We cover fifteen of the best churches and cathedrals in Rome in our
Rome Guide and suggest you read the section of our guide on
the topic appeals to you.
- We suggest that all visitors take time to see the churches below, as they are truly intriguing:
Santa Maria del Popolo is a masterpiece benefitting from
contributions by Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio, Bramante, Pinturicchio
and other famous Renaissance artists and artisans. Click the link
above for details on the highlights of this beautiful church.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is a unique Gothic style church that
houses the remains of St. Catherine of Siena, Fra Angelico and
several popes. It is near the Pantheon and fronted by an
amusing Bernini statue that includes an Egyptian obelisk
If you are a fan of Egyptian obelisks, there are a number
scattered throughout the city. We recommend the following:
- The Obelisk of Domitian in Piazza Navona dates from the
1st century and was incorporated into Bernini's Four Rivers fountain in the 17th
- The obelisk of Thutmose III, which is the tallest and best preserved
of the Egyptian obelisks in Rome, can be found in the Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano.
Basilica of San Giovanni (St. John Lateran), the official
cathedral of Rome, is the oldest of the basilicas in the city and has
a beautiful interior.
Piazza del Popolo, the obelisk of Rameses II was originally
part of the Circus Maximus, but was moved to this location in the
If you view our map using
the hybrid button, you can zoom the satellite image to see the location
of the obelisks mentioned here.
Catacombs of Saint Callixtus
Although touring catacombs is not for everyone, these are considered the best and
are important to those interested in the early
history of Christians in Rome. For information on visiting, see this
Baths of Caracalla
Caracalla contains the most impressive and largest of the famous
Roman Baths. The baths were a custom among the early Romans, as most
residences lacked running water.
- For more details on the history of the Caracalla Baths, as well as
photos of the exterior and some of the tile work, read our guide to the
Baths of Caracalla.
Column of Marcus Aurelius
In the Piazza Colonna, you will find a massive column in honor of the
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The amazing spiraling engravings on the column recount the history of the Emperor's military campaigns in
Europe. In a whim of history, the Column of Marcus Aurelius has been topped with a statue of Saint
Peter since the sixteenth century.
- For more details on this interesting monument, see this
section of our details guide to the best places to visit in Rome.
In addition, to this page, we also provide a more
detailed guide to the Best Places to Visit in Rome.
It features additional details of the attractions listed above, as well as descriptions of
in Rome that help make the Eternal City the most popular of the world's
cities with tourists.
Alternatively, if you don't want to page through the guide and just want to find
out about a specific attraction and know its name, look for it in our
Index to the best places to visit in
If you need information about another travel destination, try
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.
If you are looking for a particular attraction in Rome, try
looking for a link to it in the Index
of attractions in our Rome Travel
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