Italy’s capital, Rome, is coined the “Eternal City” for its timeless appeal. With family founded and operated restaurants, classical Renaissance art, and some of the most famous pieces of ancient architecture in the world, Rome is like walking through history itself.
Rome boasts a deep appreciation and mastery of the arts, food, wine, music, and history. There is truly so much culture to indulge in. Between the pizza, pasta, wine and wandering through the ancient streets, it can be easy to get caught up in the indulgence and skip the sights. However, there are many things to see, do and explore in Rome that will change your perspective of Italy, and civilization as a whole and give you a new appreciation and wonder for the city. Here are my top 5 recommendations for places to visit when in Rome.
- The Coliseum
The Coliseum is perhaps one of the most famous landmarks in Rome. Carve out a few hours or a full day to explore this part of the city, and take a tour in one of the most prominent historical landmarks in human history. The Coliseum was completed in 80 A.D. and held about 50,000 spectators who would gather for the bloody Gladiator games and other circus events. Not only is the Coliseum considered to be an engineering wonder, but a cultural pride of Rome filled with many stories and rich histories.
I recommend booking a tour to get the full appreciation and context of the site, and giving yourself a full day to explore, and going later in the day to avoid the long queue.
2. St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is centered in Vatican City, and is the center of Roman Catholicism. Of all of the sights to see in Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica is the one that will leave you in most awe-struck wonder at seeing the supreme influence of religion on the city. St. Peter’s Basilica is a major attraction in Rome, so be sure to give yourself a full day in peak season to wait in line to walk through the doors. I recommend grabbing some gelato, cover your knees and shoulders for the dress code, and enjoy the sights while you wait. To take the experiences to the next level, opt in for the 323 steps trek to the top of the dome, the view of the city is worth the extra effort.
Bear in mind that St. Peter’s Basilica is an active church with daily Mass services, and is closed on Wednesday mornings for pope appearances. Hiring a tour guide for an additional knowledgeable experience can help you appreciate the sights even more.
3. Trevi Fountain
Completed in the mid-1700’s, and redone in 2015, the Trevi Fountain has held its place as a pride of Rome for centuries. The Trevi Fountain is a historical landmark in Rome, famous for attracting many travelers year-round who want to gaze at the stunning baroque style design and to throw a coin in the fountain to make a wish. Many gather around to toss a coin in the fountain, believing that your wishes will be granted and you will surely return to Rome.
The Trevi Fountain is located in Corso di Spagna, neighbored by many other gelaterias, restaurants and street vendors. Check it out during the day for a full day in the square, or at night when the light illuminates the fountain for an even more magical view.
4. Roman Forum
Located near the Coliseum, the Roman Forum is a beautiful way to spend a few hours in Rome. Walk along ancient Ruins where kings and ancient civilizations once dwelled. The Roman Forum is beautifully preserved, leaving your imagination free to wander and imagine what life once was like.
The Roman Forum neighbors the Coliseum, so stroll over before or after your Coliseum tour. Consider hiring an audio guide for a more historically in-depth experience, or freely wander along, taking photos and taking in the sights.
5. The Spanish Steps
Take a stroll along the alluring Italian fashion shops, up into the Spanish Steps, a must-do for many travelers. In the Spring, the Steps boast beautiful blossoming azaleas, and the top features a beautiful view and place to people watch. The steps say are a great place to take a coffee, gelato, people-watch and enjoy the beauty of the bustling side of the modern day Roman culture. Visiting in the evening offers a more exclusive view, with fewer crowds and is a nice place to wander to when in Rome.