Rome is an incredible city and to visit all the famous places you would need to stay there probably for a month or more. If you, unfortunately, don't have a whole month to visit Rome, this is the list you were looking for. Here are all the most stunning and famous places to see in Rome.
That's why I listed all the best and unmissable places here for you.
They could look like many (I mean, they are 27 after all) but they are all in the city centre, so you will probably need just a few days, maximum a week, to see them.
Then, of course, pick up what is more interesting for you and add it to your list of sights you wish to see in Rome.
Make sure to have enough time to visit some museums, enjoy just walking around the city and of course, do some shopping!
So get your pen and paper and start to write down some notes.
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Historical Sights in Rome
1. The Colosseum:
The Colosseum, called initially Amphitheatrum Flavium (in Italian: Anfiteatro Flaviano or simply as Anfiteatro), is located in the centre of the city of Rome and it is the largest amphitheatre in the world.
The theatre was built in the Flavian era on an area at the eastern limit of the Roman Forum, and it took five years to be completed.
The idea of the Roman Emperor Vespasian was to return to the Roman people what had been tyrannically taken from them by Nerone.
The Colosseum is the symbol of Rome and Italy. It was called this way in medieval times because of a massive statue of Nerone on its side, the Colossus.
The Colosseum was an arena where fights between gladiators and ferocious animals were the best show for the Romans. (Have you ever seen the movie The Gladiator? If the answer is no, I suggest you watch it because it is worth it).
The Colosseum could accommodate more than 50,000 spectators and be equipped with 80 escape routes, numerous fountains, and a large curtain protected from the sun.
All the Roman people had free access to the shows, including slaves.
You can purchase the entrance ticket to the Colosseum, which also includes Palatine Hill and Roman Forum on the spot at the ticket office, but keep in mind that the queue to visit the Colosseum can be hours long.
When I visited it, I purchase them in advance and this gave me the chance to skip the queue and save hours of time.
Opening Times: Every day from 10 am to 7 pm. (it is free every 1st Sunday of the month from 8.30 am to closing time, but the queue will be very long, so be prepared to stay in a line for hours or go there at 7 am).
2. Il Palatino:
Palatine Hill, the centre of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most antique parts left in Rome. Located between the Roman Forum and the Circo Massimo, it is one of the most visited places in Rome. Click here to get your ticket, skip the queue, and save money and time.
This is where Romulus apparently founded the city in 753. Look out for the Stadio (stadium), the ruins of the Domus Flavia (imperial palace), and views over the Roman Forum from the Orti Farnesiani.
Opening Times: Every day from 10 am to 7 pm.
3. I Fori Imperiali:
The Imperial Forums of Rome are a unique architectural complex and collect a series of monumental squares built between 46 BC. and 113 A.D.
They are considered the centre of political activity in ancient Rome, a place that has been enriched with structures and buildings over the centuries.
Opening Time: Every day from 10.30 am to 7.15 pm.
4. Arco di Costantino:
Built in 315 AD, it is a triumphal arch of three arches, one central larger than the others, and four Corinthian columns set on the walls which celCConstantine'svictoryvictory over Maxentius, which occurred three years earlier in the battle of Ponte Milvio.
The arch of Constantine is located between the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus, along the road travelled to celebrate the triumphs of ancient Rome.
The monument was dedicated by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine's victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge against Maxentius.
5. La Colonna Traiana:
This column is a memorial built in Rome to celebrate the conquest of Dacia (Romania) by emperor Trajan.
It remembers all the remarkable moments of that territorial extension. Behind the column stood the Basilica Ulpia, while in front stood the Temple of the Divine Trajan.
Opening Times: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.
6. La Bocca della Verita'
It is incredible how this sculpture has become one of the monuments of Rome where tourists love to be photographed, even paying 2 euros.
The Mouth of Truth, in fact, is nothing more than a large marble mask.
This large bearded male face whose eyes, nose and mouth are pierced was probably a manufactured cover of the Cloaca Massima, one of the most extensive sewers in all of Rome.
The sculpture dates back to the first century, and the mask is very well known. It is assumed that this is the object mentioned in the early Mirabilia Urbis Romae, a medieval guide for pilgrims, where the mouth is assigned the power to formulate oracles.
Opening Times: 9.30 am- 5.30 pm.
7. Augusto's House:
The House of Augustus, located on the southwestern side of the Palatine Hill, was the result of several republican houses (including perhaps those of the great orator Quinto Ortensio Ortalo and the consul Caio Lutazio Catulo), which Octavian Augustus gathered in one on the return to Rome from Sicily after the victory against Pompeo's son Sesto in 36 BC.
The choice of Augustus to live on the Palatine Hill, also in consideration of the fact that he was born there, will condition the history of the hill because even the subsequent emperors elected it to their home until it transformed the hill into a single, immense imperial building.
Opening Times: From Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 2 pm.
8. National Roman Museum, Baths of Diocletian:
Built during the mandate of Diocletian, in 305 AD, the Baths of Diocletian were the largest thermal complex in Ancient Rome.
The Baths of Diocletian could accommodate 3,000 people inside, with a capacity greater than twice that of the famous Baths of Caracalla. It took 30 years for the restoration works.
Currently, you can visit one of the few surviving parts of the impressive building, where you can imagine the large size of these spectacular spas and where you can walk inside a cloister with gardens, where about 400 works are exhibited, such as statues, sarcophagi and reliefs.
Opening Times: every day from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm.
9. Le Terme di Caracalla:
The Thermae Antonianae, one of the most significant and best-preserved examples of an antique spa complex, was built under the rule of Emperor Caracalla in the southern part of Rome.
The building was finished in 216 A.D. At that time, a spa was not only an area dedicated to bathing, sport and health. It was also a place of study and for relaxing.
The spa of Caracalla is one of those rare old models in which it is possible to reconstruct something of the internal decoration.
Written manuscripts indicate colossal marble columns, flooring made of coloured marble, mosaics of glass and marble on the walls, painted stuccos and hundreds of statues.
The water system was made possible by the construction of a special duct from the main aqueduct called the Aqua Antoniana.
The spa was reconstructed several times before closing in 537 A.D.
Opening Times: every day from 9 am to 6 pm. (free every 1st Sunday).
10. Il Circo Massimo:
The Circus Maximus is the most extensive construction for the spectacle of antiquity and one of the largest of all time.
With theatres and amphitheatres, Roman circuses were the most important places of entertainment in Ancient Rome.
They were extended enclosures where recreative activities took place, such as chariot races.
Located between the Aventine Hill and the Palatine Hill, the Circus Maximus of Rome was a stadium with a capacity for 300,000 spectators. Its sandy track, 600 meters long and 225 meters wide made the Circus Maximus the largest stadium in Rome, more spacious than the Circus Flaminio and the Circus of Maxentius.
Every day from 9.30 am to 7 pm in summer and winter till 4.30 pm.
11. Le Catacombe di Roma:
Another interesting activity to do in Rome is to explore the Catacombs of Rome where, first, the pagans and then the Christians buried their dead.
It can be an interesting activity for the curious who, through the discovery of galleries and tunnels, can explore the uses, customs and traditions of the ancient Romans.
Around Rome, there are more than 60 catacombs and thousands of tombs. There were also six Jewish catacombs: four have disappeared, and the other 2 are closed.
The Roman catacombs were built along the consular roads, such as the Via Appia, the Via Ostiense, the Via Labicana, the Via Tiburtina, and the Via Nomentana.
In our days, only five of the Roman catacombs are open to the public: they are those of San Callisto, San Sebastiano and Santa Domitilla in the area of the ancient Appian Way and those of Priscilla and S.Agnese in the Nomentano-Salario area.
Basilicas, Cathedrals and Churches
12. The Vatican:
Many people when they think of the Vatican, see it as a large building, forgetting that the Vatican is a city-state, in the heart of Rome.
Vatican City is known worldwide for being the nerve centre of the Catholic Church. To give you an idea of the size of the Vatican, you must first know that it is the smallest state in Europe.
It has only 0.44 square kilometres and less than 1,000 people live within its walls. There is the Pope's residence in such a limited space, a palace surrounded by gardens that can be visited by reservation.
The independence of the Holy See from Italy was sanctioned on 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Pacts.
Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. (It is free the last Sunday of the month from 9 am to 2 pm. Last entry at 12.30 pm. But be prepared because it will be very crowded and the queue is longer than usual, and you could queue for hours, so be there at 7 am).
13. The Sistine Chapel:
The Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) is the main papal chapel of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, named after its founder Pope Sixtus IV.
The fabric is from the 15th century.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most important treasures of the Vatican, Rome, and the world.
It is famous for its frescoes but also because it is where the Popes are elected.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the aspect of her Assumption.
Please do not confuse it with the Cappella Sistina at Santa Maria Maggiore.
To visit the Sistine Chapel, you first need to visit the Vatican Museums.
The Sistine Chapel is inside the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City and accessible via the Vatican Museums.
If you plan on doing a self-guided tour of the Vatican Museums, there are plenty of signs to help you find the Sistine Chapel.
From Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 6 pm, last entry at 4 pm. (It is free the last Sunday of the month from 9 am to 2 pm. Last admission at 12.30 pm. But be prepared because it will be very crowded and the queue is longer than usual so be there at 7 am).
14. La Basilica di San Pietro:
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the most significant buildings globally and is the largest of the papal basilicas.
This basilica has been considered an architectural work of great importance both for the facade's size and the quality of its work. It annually receives people from everywhere in the world that go there the most beautiful sculptures of all time and appreciates a job that took centuries of construction.
Opening Times: Winter from 7 am to 6.30 pm. Summer from 7 am to 7 pm. Free Entry.
Tip: During summertime, carry with you a scarf to cover your shoulder and wear trousers or a skirt that covers your knees, or you won't be allowed to enter the Basilica.
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15. The Pantheon:
The Pantheon (Italian Pantenone) is an ancient Roman building built as a temple dedicated to the divinities of all religions.
Pantheon is a Greek loan that the Italian language has maintained through Latin. The Pantheon was erected in Rome und"emperor Hadrian (c. 118-128). It is the best-preserved and most imposing of all Roman buildings.
It exercised an enormous influence on all western architecture.
The Pantheon declares in a pompous and thoughtful way the principle of the clear volumetric definition of the internal space. This principle will become dominant in all subsequent Roman architecture.
Opening Times: from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm, Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. Italian Bank Holidays from 9 am to 1 pm. Free Entry.
Tip: It is usually empty before closing time.
16. Castel Sant'Angelo, Mausoleum of Hadrian:
Castel Sant'Angelo was built during the 2nd century as a mausoleum by Hadrian's emperor. In 590, Pope Gregory 1st saw archangel Michael on top of the mausoleum as a signal of the end of the plague pandemic.
Pope Pius the 2nd built a chapel where the archangel has been seen.
I highly recommend you to visit Castel Sant'Angelo, it is fascinating inside, and the view from the top terrace is fantastic.
On the top, there is also a bar and restaurant where to enjoy a delicious Roman meal while looking at the stunning view.
After 7 pm, tickets are sold at a reduced price but it can get pretty crowded.
Opening Times: Every day from 9 am to 7.30 pm.
Roman Squares and Their Buildings
17. Piazza Venezia e l'Altare della Patria:
One of the most visible monuments in all of Rome is the Vittoriano, in Piazza Venezia, also called the Altare Della Patria. In reality, the latter is only a part of the complex, added later to the original project.
The Altare Della Patria is not only one of the most famous and photographed monuments in the city but it is also one of the most important for what concerns the history of Italy, the Risorgimento and the Savoy monarchy.
It contains a large number of symbols and references both to national unity and to Christianity and represents Italy in all its facets.
Opening Times: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm for Altare della Patria and the cripta del milite ignoto.
Till 3 pm the Flags Museum.
If you want to go to the top of the palace to enjoy the view, the ticket costs 2 euros for 18-25 yrs old and 10 euros for +25 yrs old.
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18. Piazza Navona e la Fontana del Bernini:
Described during the fifteenth century, the Baroque-style Piazza Navona is one of the most fascinating and attractive squares in Rome.
The square is circled by restaurants giving Piazza Navona a vital and charming atmosphere during the day.
Here, you can enjoy performances by street artists like magicians and dancers.
The most majestic buildings in this square are Sant'Agnese in Agone Church, Stadium of Domitian and Palazzo Pamphilj.
The most wonderful parts of Piazza Navona are its three fountains, designed during the papacy of Gregory XIII:
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi,
Fontana del Moro,
Fontana del Nettuno
Until the mid-nineteenth century, every summer the drains of the three fountains were obstructed and the centre of the square was flooded.
It was hugely appreciated by the locals.
19. Mercato Campo De Fiori:
Located in the south of Piazza Navona, it is certainly one of the oldest markets, if not the oldest ever in the city since 1869. Campo de Fiori where all the ladies came every day from the countryside with their herbs and their vegetables and often cleaned them directly in the square.
At the beginning of its history, the Campo de Fiori market was a place of almost exclusive trade in fruit and vegetables, then over time, the stalls of meat, flowers and fish were added.
Opening Times: every day from 7 am to 2 pm.
20. La Fontana di Trevi:
The famous Trevi Fountain is the largest fountain in Rome. The name of Trevi derives from the "Tre Vie", and indicates the point where the three roads that join the square converge.
According to the legend, the soldiers of Marco Vipsanio Agrippa were far from the city and while they were going back home they were very thirsty.
At that moment, a virgin appeared to them, indicating where the water was found.
In the same Trevi Fountain, the legend is remembered in a bas-relief that can be seen on the right.
It is said that if you throw a coin behind you by throwing it on your left shoulder, you will return to Rome. If you throw two coins you will find the love of your life, if you throw three of them there will be many possibilities to get married.
This is one of the busiest places in Rome. If you are looking to take a stunning picture I advise you to go there between 6 and 8 in the morning, when all the tourists are still in their accommodations.
21. Piazza di Spagna e la Scalinata:
Piazza di Spagna and the staircase in Rome are a place you cannot miss visiting. It is one of the symbolic places of the Capitoline city and represents one of the most symbolic and historical places in Rome.
Together with the church, Piazza di Spagna in Rome remains impressed by its monumental 136-step staircase which was commissioned by the French cardinal, Pierre Guerin de Tencin, and was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1725.
The staircase, as a great part of that side of the square, was built thanks to French investments starting from 1721 with the aim of creating a link between the Spanish embassy and the Church of Trinità dei Monti.
The design was entrusted to Alessandro Specchi and Francesco De Sanctis.
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22. Piazza San Pietro:
Piazza San Pietro is certainly the most famous square in the world, for artistic and religious reasons and visitors can admire it for about 350 years.
You can start admiring the majesty of San Pietro from Castel Sant'Angelo, looking down the majestic Via Della Conciliazione. St Peter's Square is famous for its colonnade which makes this place recognised by anyone for being in the city of Rome.
Probably the obelisk of St Peter's Square is one of the most famous in the world, and it was already transported from the time of Caligula from Heliopolis to Egypt.
23. Piazza del Popolo e le Chiese Gemelle:
All tourists pass there at least once during their vacation. It is one of the most famous squares in Rome. It is said that Nero, the Emperor famous for his follies, killed himself, or rather he was killed by a servant because he did not have the courage to do it by himself, right near the square, and was buried here.
A walnut tree was planted on his grave, which soon became a favourite place for ghosts, including his own, and witches and demons who also infested a nearby poplar forest.
They say that to exorcise the square, Pope Pasquale II decided to cut down the walnut and burnt the bones of the " and instead of his burial, he consecrated a chapel, destined over the centuries to grow and become the famous church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
Another interesting fact about this square is the two apparently identical churches.
They are Santa Maria in Monte Santo, on the left, and Santa Maria dei Miracoli, on the right.
Pope Alexander VII built them in the 17th century. Initially, they should have been symmetrical, but on the left, the available space was smaller, and therefore, the one on the right was larger.
If you look closely, you can see that the church on the right has an octagonal dome, while the one on the left has a dodecagonal one, whose particular shape has allowed the architect to crush it in the available space.
Another symbol of Piazza del Popolo is the obelisk in the centre of the square.
It is the second oldest in Rome and was transported up to the tenth century by Eliopoli after the battle of Anzio to decorate the Circus Maximus.
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24. Il Campidoglio:
The Campidoglio is the smallest of the famous seven Roman hills and the most important. Here arose the first nucleus of the city, surrounded by a system of defensive walls, built to protect itself from the tribes of the surrounding hills.
In the Piazza del Campidoglio, there are several buildings. The Capitoline Museums, the oldest in the world, where there is a vibrant collection of finds from ancient Rome. The equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the remains of the Colossus of Constantine, mosaics from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli.
And also the statue of the Capitoline Venus, the Hall of the Emperors.
Do not miss the statue of the Dying Galata, the bronze statue of the Capitoline Wolf, a bronze sculpture depicting a scene from the legend of the founding of Rome.
The sculpture shows a she-wolf suckling the mythical twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
25. Villa Borghese e la Terrazza del Pincio:
Il Pincio is one of the most romantic and picturesque places in the Capital.
You cannot miss it at least once during your stay in Rome, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Piazza del Popolo and the city.
It is a part of Villa Borghese inside the Aurelian Walls and goes from the terrace on Piazza del Popolo to Villa Medici.
The name "Pincio" comes from one of these families who had settled on the hill: the Pincii and the current "Muro Torto" are part of their villa's foundations. It was the first public garden in Rome. It is one of the most famous places and the most popular historical walk by the Romans.
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26. Il Colle dell' Aventino:
The Aventine is one of the seven hills on which Rome, the most southerly, was founded. It is connected to another small hill, called "Piccolo Aventino" to the east.
In the foundation myth, Remo chose this hill to spot birds in flight during the famous dispute with his brother Romolo to select the place to build the new city.
Then Romulus won and killed his brother and built Rome on the Palatine Hill, just the hill facing the Aventine.
On the top of the hill, you will find the villa of the Grand Priory of Malta.
History and myth intertwine in the square of the Knights of Malta, decorated and embellished with obelisks, inscriptions and numerous symbols with a mysterious character.
Once there, do not forget to peek through the famous keyhole of the villa's door to admire the dome of San Pietro from a spectacular point of view.
Furthermore, at this precise point, it is possible to admire three different states simultaneously, Italy, the priory of Malta and the Vatican.
It is a magical and enchanted place that reaches its peak during May: more than 1,100 species of roses from all over the world bloom in an explosion of colours at the same time.
27. La Terrazza del Gianicolo:
It is one of the best spots to enjoy a stunning view of Rome so plan some times to go there and relax, bring something good to drink and relax after all the walking you are doing exploring this magical city. You won't regret it.
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