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Best Places To Visit in Rome

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Overview

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 Rome Travel Guide, where these and other attractions are described in greater detail with links to official websites and additional photographs of the best places to visit in Rome.

 

  • Colosseum

    The Colosseum is one of Rome's most popular attractionsThe 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 together.

  • These details can be seen during a tour of the interior of the Colosseum.

    • For details on the history of the Colosseum and a variety of photos of its features, see the Colosseum section of our Rome Travel Guide.

     

  • The Roman and Imperial Forums

    The Forums area, RomeThe 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.

    There 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 Roman and Imperial Forums for more details on the amazing monuments you will see while touring the two forums.

     

  • Piazza Campidoglio/Capitoline Hill  

    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, the twins 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 Michelangelo.
    • 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 Empire.
    • Read our detailed guide to the Capitoline Hill for more information on and photos of the many attractions this area offers.

     

  • The Vatican

    A tour of the Vatican is one of the most popular things to do on a vacation in  Rome . 

    St. Peter's Basilica and Square.St. 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.

    • See the Vatican section of our Rome Guide for details on the attractions you can tour in this independent religious state located within Rome.

     

  • The Pantheon 

    The glorious Pantheon is a popular attractionThe 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 Pantheon.

  • Castel Sant'Angelo (Hadrian's Mausoleum)  

    Castell Sant Angelo, RomeThe 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 and  several popes.

    The Castel is still connected to the Vatican by a passageway) and once was  a bulwark of the defensive wall that once surrounded Rome.

    The Castel 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 museum.

    •  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 Travel Guide.

  

 
  • Piazza Navona 

    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 Navona.

  • Piazza di Spagna 

    Perhaps the most famous meeting place in Rome, the Piazza de Spagna includes the famous 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 

    The Trevi Fountain in all of its glory.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 Trevi Fountain.


  • Piazza Venezia 

    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  textiles.

    •  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 guide

  • Rome's Churches

    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 churches if 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

  • Egyptian Obelisks 

    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 century. 


    • 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.
      • The 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.

    • In Piazza del Popolo, the obelisk of Rameses II was originally part of the Circus Maximus, but  was moved to this location in the 16th century.


    •  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 site .

  • 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.

More 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  additional locations 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 Rome.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index  or Googling ThereArePlaces.

 
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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 Guide  

 

 
Rome

Rome Travel Guide Introduction
Ancient Rome
Rome's Glorious Piazzas
Rome's Museums
Rome's Vatican City
Rome's Churches
Touring Tactics
Shopping
Day Trips

Best Places to Visit in Italy

 

 
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Rome

Rome Travel Guide Introduction
Ancient Rome
Rome's Glorious Piazzas
Rome's Museums
Rome's Vatican City
Rome's Churches
Touring Tactics
Shopping
Day Trips

Best Places to Visit in Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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