Rome is a metropolis with strata that date back many years. Ruins and breathtaking examples of classical or antique architecture are never far away. You may be walking past a contemporary structure one second and then stop to admire some Doric columns from the Roman Republic, a Michelangelo-designed palace from the Renaissance, or a plaza with a Bernini-designed Baroque fountain the next.
Some cities, like New York and London, have so many attractions to choose from that you can’t help but make a list to cross them off. There are other places, though, where you simply want to roam about and take in the atmosphere and beauty of it all.
Both are Rome.
Due to the abundance of museums, historical sites, and fantastic restaurants, it has a dual feeling of being a metropolitan metropolis and a venerable, wise town.
Of course, seeing everything in one trip is impossible. It is the result of having a three thousand year old metropolis with millions of inhabitants.
Which raises the issue: What should you do if you may not return? How do you make decisions?
Here is a list of my top things to do in Rome to help you make the most of your brief stay in this famous city:
I like going on walking excursions. They’re an excellent resource for learning more about a place. Rome’s Ultimate Free Walking Tour or New Rome Free Tours are excellent choices. They expose you to the city affordably and cover all the attractions. Just remember to give your guide a tip when you’re done.
Check out Take Walks if you’re searching for a paid guided tour that goes above and above. They provide one of the finest walking tours in Rome with knowledgeable guides who can take you inside the most popular sites. Like no other tour company, they can provide you access to behind-the-scenes experiences like early entry to the Sistine Chapel and skip-the-line Colosseum excursions.
One of Rome’s major attractions is this amphitheater from the first century, which is unquestionably one of the most iconic and breathtaking sites in the whole world. In this enormous arena, there were 80 entrances and exits: 76 for spectators, 2 for competitors (i.e., gladiators), and 2 for the emperor. The Colosseum could accommodate a stunning 50,000 people at one time, so even while it may sound like a lot, getting them in and out needed to happen swiftly.
Purchase your admission tickets via the Via San Gregorio 30 gate on Palatine Hill, which is close by and has a significantly shorter queue, or online (your ticket grants access to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum).
If you desire a tour with Walks of Italy, you may reserve one as well.
The Roman Forum
Ancient structures and historical remains may be seen at the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy.
The Roman Forum, which was once the heart of the known world, is one of the town’s most eerie locations even if it is now just made up of marble stumps and partially standing temples. It may take a little imagination, but this expanse of mud and marble was once lively, dotted with stores, outdoor markets, and temples.
The Forum’s principal thoroughfare, the Via Sacra, is where all routes in the empire either started or ended. The Forum was used as a pasture for farm animals when the empire was destroyed; in the Middle Ages, it was called Campo Vaccino, or Cow Field. Much of the marble was stolen throughout the years, and as Rome’s geographic center changed, the region was finally submerged. Archaeologists just started exploring and rediscovering the Forum in the 19th century.
Visit the Vatican Museums.
The Vatican Museums, which hold one of the greatest art collections in the world and are home to the famed Sistine Chapel, span four kilometers of chambers and passageways. There are several chambers decorated with frescoes by Raphael, paintings by Da Vinci, Titian, Caravaggio, and Fra Angelico, as well as hallways filled with ancient Greek and Roman statues, Egyptian mummies, and Etruscan artifacts, in addition to the Michelangelo masterwork on the chapel’s ceiling.
TIP: Refrain from standing in the morning’s mile-long queue with everyone else. Instead, go after lunch when there is almost no wait and you can walk straight in.
The Basilica and St. Peter’s Square
The two column-filled arms that encircle the square were constructed by Bernini, Bramante came up with an early plan for the basilica, and Michelangelo added the dome. Together, they produced St. Peter’s, the largest cathedral in the Catholic world. The church was ultimately dedicated in 1626, 120 years after construction started. It stands where a church from the fourth century formerly stood and above the place where St. Peter was martyred. His remains are still down there, among the ruins of an old necropolis.
The basilica is filled with plus-sized marble statues of saints, popes, and Biblical characters, as well as towering domes with angels and cherubs joyously floating around a partially clouded sky. You may ascend the 551 steps to the summit of Michelangelo’s dome for 8 EUR. You may use the elevator for an additional 2 euros.
Campo de’ Fiori
The morning fruit and vegetable market is located in this important plaza, which has one of Rome’s most natural-feeling names, “field of flowers.” Giordano Bruno was burnt here when he offended the pope by questioning the Church, and his statue stands on a pedestal in the middle of the plaza. When the Italian state and the Catholic Church were at conflict, the sculpture was built in the late 19th century. The sculpture’s solemn face is pointed in the direction of the Vatican for a reason.
Travel to Santa Maria del Popolo
This chapel in one of Rome’s loveliest squares is said to be situated where Emperor Nero’s tomb once stood. The pope had a church erected there to put an end to the haunting since stories of ghosts and ghouls haunting the location a century after his death persisted. It succeeded.
The cathedral has undergone several renovations throughout the years, including the Bramante-designed apse and Pinturicchio’s paintings in some of the chapels. The two breathtakingly beautiful Caravaggio paintings on exhibit in the chapel, close to the left of the altar, are what really attract people in. The Chigi chapel, which was built by Bernini after being conceived by Raphael, is also worth seeing even though most visitors come for these.
Check out Piazza Navona
Beautiful Bernini fountain in Rome, Italy’s Piazza Navona
Rome’s most well-known square was formerly an old circus, as shown by its circular shape, where horse racing and other athletic events were held. Today, people mostly engage in the activity of drinking coffee outside while staring at both residents and visitors. Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Bernini’s greatest fountain, is located in the middle of the plaza (Fountain of the Four Rivers). It’s purely dramatic and immutable.
A former working-class district, Testaccio is situated south of the enormous city center. Since there have long been a lot of clubs snuggling up against Monte Testaccio, the ancient hill that the area is built upon, younger Romans may identify it with nightlife and partying.
Because the area had housed the city’s largest slaughterhouse in the 19th century, older Romans would likely identify it with food. The “fifth quarter,” which included the tail, intestines, and stomach, was given to slaughterhouse employees as part of their salary in the form of a bag of raw flesh to take home. Workers would sometimes take their “fifth quarter” to a nearby restaurant and have it prepared there instead of coming home. As a consequence, this developed into the de facto regional cuisine, and the area gave rise to some of Rome’s most well-known dishes.
The Borghese Gardens and Villa Borghese
The Villa Borghese property, a patch of lush grass interspersed with umbrella pines northeast of the ancient center, is Rome’s second-largest parkland at 60 hectares (148 acres). The region was once referred to as the Garden of Lucullus before becoming a sizable vineyard. But Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s patron and the nephew of Pope Paul V, transformed the area into a park in 1605. The green area had a renovation in the 19th century, becoming more English in appearance.
The area is dotted with temples and monuments that had all undergone extensive restorations in preparation for the 1911 World’s Fair, and its railing provides one of the greatest views of Rome. However, the Galleria Borghese, which is home to one of the largest art collections in the city, serves as the park’s focal point (including works by Bernini, Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio).
Take in Santa Maria della Concezione’s beauty (I Cappuccini)
This church is a very unremarkable 17th-century building that is located between the upscale Via Veneto and the congested Piazza Barberini. The chapel of St. Michael the Archangel has a striking altarpiece created by the Baroque artist Guido Reni, but that is not the only reason you should visit.
The crypt, which is accessed from the church’s street-level side, has the answer. It is known simply as I Capuccini, and it is one of the most ghastly sights in all of Europe. The walls of the long, narrow chamber with five chapels are covered with the bones of 4,000 friars, many of whom are still in full skeleton form and many of them are still wearing their brown habits. Other bones were fashioned into beautiful items, such as chandeliers made of shinbones that dangle from the ceiling and an hourglass-like structure made of pelvic bones. A somber, though rather fitting, reminder is provided by an inscription in the last chapel: “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you will be.”