updated on May 6th, 2018
Rome is the capital of Italy with 2.8 million residents. Roman mythology dates Rome to roughly 753 BCE, but inhabitants have been in the area much earlier, making it the 23rd oldest occupied site in Europe. Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire and regarded as the birthplace of Western civilization. Currently, it is the most popular tourist destination in Italy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Below, you can find the top things to see in Rome. Be sure to check out the best places to take photos in Rome, as well.
Top Things To See In Rome
The largest amphitheater ever built, the Colosseum is arguably the most iconic symbol of Rome. Construction was started in AD 72, and while time has destroyed parts of the Colosseum, there is still plenty to see and do here. Your trip to Rome isn’t complete without a visit.
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world, and the biggest fountain in the city. Although you’ll have to elbow your way to the front of the crowds, it makes for a great photo spot. Fun fact: around 3,000 Euro are thrown into the fountain each day! The city makes use of this money by funding a discounted grocery store for the poor.
Can’t get enough Roman ruins? The Roman Forum is a plaza surrounded by ancient buildings at the city center of Rome. A ticket to the Forum also gains you admission to nearby Palatine Hill, one of the oldest parts of Rome.
In the heart of Vatican City you will find the Vatican Museum, home to about 70,000 works of art from renowned artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Caravaggio. Tip: The last Sunday of every month is free to the public, and lines can be several hours long. Avoid these days unless you want to wait in a very long line, or you really want to save money. Every other day of the month you can book a ticket online and get in much more quickly.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is a huge highlight in Vatican City. It is thought to be the burial place of the first pope, St. Peter, and hosts a huge pilgrimage of Catholics every year. The art on the walls, floors, and ceilings are world-renowned. Don’t miss the climb to the top of the dome, with sweeping views of Rome in 360 degrees.
History is everywhere in Rome, and The Pantheon is no exception. This building was once a Roman temple and now a modern-day church in the heart of Rome. It is considered one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world.
The Piazza Navona is a large plaza with a beautiful fountain in the center. This is a great place to find restaurants, souvenirs, and live music. As with much of Rome, it was originally designated in the first century AD and continues to be a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
When you visit the Sistine Chapel, don’t forget to look up. Michelangelo painted the ceiling and here you will find some of the most recognizable artwork in the world- including the painting “The Creation of Adam.” The famous artwork in the Sistine Chapel draws thousands of tourists every day.
For some newer history, check out the Spanish Steps. They were finished in the year 1725- recent history for Rome standards. The steps connect the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom with the Trinità dei Monti church rising at the top- all worth a visit.
Originally built as a tomb for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family, and eventually turned to a castle, the Castel Sant-Angelo has a storied past. Over time it was a fortress for the Pope in wartime, a residence for the Pope in times of peace, a prison, and now a museum.
This hill was originally dedicated to the Roman God of Saturn. In true Roman fashion, a temple was erected on Capitoline Hill, followed by a church and a piazza. Michelangelo left his mark by helping design the present piazza. This area is a photographer’s paradise, with beautiful architecture everywhere you turn.