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10 Best Places to Visit in Rome

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Roman Forum in Italy

Rome, Italy

The 10 best places to visit in Rome capture the spirit and essence of a city that stands as the icon of antiquity and the center of the Christian world, and you can experience it all during your Italy tour.

Explore the ancient ambiance of an amphitheater where gladiators entertained. Visit the historic city center where the aromas of fresh pasta or sweet pastries sweep across the cobblestone streets. Discover ancient catacombs or uncover often-overlooked masterpieces of art and architecture as you travel the layered treasures of the unparalleled city.

From the popular to the unfamiliar, the legendary to the ethereal, you can embrace the best of Rome as you explore the history, culture, and heritage that define Italy’s capital.

Overview

  1. 1. Colosseum
  2. 2. Roman Forum
  3. 3. Vatican City
  4. 4. Pantheon
  5. 5. Baroque City Center
  6. 6. Capitoline Museums
  7. 7. Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum
  8. 8. Via Appia Antica
  9. 9. Diocletian Baths
  10. 10. Church of San Luigi dei Francesi
  11. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Rome

1. Colosseum

Roman Colosseum in Italy

Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is the embodiment of Rome’s imperial history and the image that strikes visions of gladiators and battles into the minds of visitors from around the world. The city’s iconic venue captures ancient layers and peels back the past’s power to reveal how Rome continues to use its history in contemporary settings.

From finding the maze beneath the stage where gladiators practiced to witnessing modern concerts emphasized by the preserved engineering, the Colosseum is a marvel that demonstrates historical ingenuity and imperial grandeur.

2. Roman Forum

Roman Forum in Italy

Rome, Italy

The sprawl of ancient ruins that collectively create the Roman Forum demonstrates the ancient capital city with layers dating back to the 7th century BC. Each noticeable lane provides a fantastical ambiance as you follow in the footsteps of figures like Julius Caesar and Emperor Octavius.

View the standing columns of ancient temples and explore the edges of the historic marketplace to experience where political and civil life, commerce and social theater blended into the daily existence of the bustling center of the Roman world.

3. Vatican City

St. Peter's Basilica interior in Vatican City, Rome

Rome, Italy

Technically its own independent state, Vatican City is an emblem of art and culture crowned by the massive dome atop St. Peter's Basilica.

Discover classic collections and the apartments of past popes, embrace the colorful gardens and traverse galleries that display millennia of Mediterranean history.

From the wonders of the Sistine Chapel to the collection of Egyptian artifacts, the frescoes by Raphael to Michelangelo's Pieta, wandering through Vatican City is an exploration of Western history.

4. Pantheon

The  Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

After more than 2,000 years, the Pantheon displays the best-preserved monument of Roman antiquity in the world. The architecture emanates prestige and engineering prowess, with an open dome that provides the structure’s only light source. The distinctive design has harmonious dimensions established as a dedication to the gods.

With elements of pagan history and time as a sanctified burial ground, the porch contains massive granite columns, while the interior includes the resting places of Italian kings and famous citizens, such as Renaissance painter Raphael and 16th-century architect Flaminio Vacca.

5. Baroque City Center

Piazza di Spagna at sunset in Rome

Rome, Italy

The charms of the city center drift from a collection of Baroque designs, with cobbled avenues that connect the renowned artistic plazas, art, and decorations. The Spanish Steps connect Piazza di Spagna and the Trinita dei Monti with a flight of 135 contoured landings that provide a great view over the cityscape and a connection to the luxury shopping boulevard of Via Condotti.

The legendary Trevi Fountain shimmers, immortalizing the Oceanus as the waters spill over into the rippling pool. Piazza Navona brims with activity around Bernini's famous Fountain of the Four Rivers that features allegorical figures representing the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata.

6. Capitoline Museums

Antique Tiber river god sculpture in the Capitoline Museums in Rome

Rome, Italy

The history of the Capitoline Museums dates back to the 15th century and the galleries are often overlooked for more famous ones in the city.

However, the exceptional collection of artifacts reflects the remarkable history of Rome and the connected civilizations around the Mediterranean, demonstrated in works of art like the infamous Dying Gaul and the sculpture of Amor and Psyche.

The palace on the opposite side of the piazza was constructed based on Michelangelo’s original designs and features fragments of a colossal statue, which only adds to the mystique and wonder of the ancient world.

7. Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum

Castel Sant’Angelo National Museum in Rome

Rome, Italy

The foundations of Castel Sant’Angelo date back millennia as a mausoleum turned fortress. A centuries-old passage connects the stronghold to the Vatican Palace and the contemporary museum galleries provide access to 58 rooms, each providing a unique sense of local history.

From weapons to magnificent murals, ornate chapels to an opulent treasury, the interior allure is only matched by the drama of the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge, where 10 angel figures line the walkway that leads to the original three central piers at the entrance.

8. Via Appia Antica

Mausoleo di Cecelia Metella inside in  Via Appia Antica

Rome, Italy

The ancient Roman way of Appia Antica connects to several extensive catacombs that can feel like palaces set beneath the ground.

The intricate layers of passageways lead to hidden chambers carved into the soft tufa landscape, with sacramental chapels that date back to the 3rd century. Find early Christian wall paintings and ancient Greek text that extols religious inscriptions. Once major pilgrimage sites, the catacombs retain painted tombs and legends of martyrs, as well as a 2nd-century fresco that depicts the Last Supper.

9. Diocletian Baths

Ruins of  Diocletian Baths in Rome

Rome, Italy

The Diocletian Baths are a national museum that encase ancient Roman architecture, Michelangelo designs, a Planetarium, and a Carthusian monastery in a single place.

The official museum galleries hold the most extensive collection of ancient art in the city after the Vatican Museums, where collections of mosaics, stucco work, frescoes, and wall paintings provide a glimpse into life during the empire.

The church reflects the designs of the renowned architect and artist who incorporated aspects of the remaining tepidarium into the overall aesthetic. Each step through the Diocletian Baths provides a shifting perspective of time in the great city.

10. Church of San Luigi dei Francesi

Interior view of Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome

Rome, Italy

The captivating Church of San Luigi dei Francesi displays a trio of works by Caravaggio.

The canvases of The Calling of Saint Matthew, The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, and Saint Matthew and the Angel stand beside the main altar, dominating the open space with respectable realism shaped by a bold contrast of light and dark.

The Franciscan garden provides an escape from the bustling streets of Rome with an immersive serenity accentuated by the blossoms in spring and summer.

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome

Rome, Italy

Rome is a capital city that can feel like a small town, with hidden pockets that maintain the essential charisma of Italy’s La Dolce Vita.

Whether wandering into the depths of the Colosseum or standing beneath the elaborate brushstrokes of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Rome possesses elegance, charm, and grandeur across the distinctive neighborhoods.

Feel inspired for your Italy trip with our sample Rome Tours & Vacations.

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