A simple step by step guide on what to do in Rome. There is a famous saying that goes this way – When in Rome, do as the Romans do. While the proverb teaches us to mingle well with the surrounding in which we live, it also raises the curiosity in our minds, what to do in Rome actually, when we ever get to go there. Here, we have specified the top 10 things to do in Rome that you cannot afford to miss when you to visit the “City of Seven Hills”.
Where to Stay in Rome
How to Get To Rome
Before we dive on what to do in Rome, here is a simple guide on the best way to get to the Eternal City. If you are travelling by plane, you have two airports Fiumicino for international flights and Ciampino for domestic flights. The best and most economical way is by bus with Terranova at €5 per person and with the SIT Bus Company click here for info €6 per person. From Fiumicino you can also take the Leonardo Express to Roma Termini. Or you can get a taxi from €50-55 one way, book a taxi here
If you arriving by train you can get to Rome Termini from anywhere in Italy with the fast trains of Freccia Rossa or Italo.
Located right in the middle of Rome, the Colosseum is a must-visit place in the Italian capital. It is not surprising to know that the Colosseum is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Constructed from stone and concrete, the Colosseum was constructed as early as 80AD to host many games, events and functions.
During the early years, the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, could accommodate 80000 people at a time. With a massive 80 entrances, it wasn’t surprising to note that the events held here had the famous Roman emperors in attendance. Take a tour around the architectural remnants and sink in the brilliance of the Colosseum.
St. Peter’s Basilica and Square
Rome is the city that has the smallest country, Vatican City, inside it. Vatican City is considered as one of the top pilgrimage sites by Christians across the globe. At St. Peter’s Square, thousands of people get together on important occasions to witness the speech delivered by the Pope.
At the other end of St. Peter’s Square, you will find the beautiful and majestic St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the most important tourist landmarks in Rome. If you are a lover of historic buildings with brilliant architectural design and intricate carvings, you will never want to take your eyes off this holy shrine. The Gloria style of architecture, inspired by designs from Michelangelo and Bernini along with the intricately created statues of Jesus & Apostles, attracts millions of tourists all through the year.
If you haven’t taken a picture of yourself on the Spanish Steps, your trip to Rome is deemed incomplete. Constructed in the year 1725, the Spanish Steps are a series of 135 steps built to bridge the gap between the famous Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinita dei Monti Squares. Right at the top of the stairs, you will find the Trinita dei Monti Church, while the Spagna at the bottom of the stairs is a beautiful and spectacular tourist spot. Each of these steps has many historical inscriptions carved on them, which makes them look grander than they already are.
You must have been living under the rocks if you aren’t familiar with the rich history of Rome. The best place to get a taste of the rich history and culture of Rome is the Roman Forum. Yes, it is a place that consists of architectural remnants, but that only adds to the charm of the place. The best part of the Roman Forum is that it is located quite close to yet another historic landmark in Rome, the Colosseum.
As you look around the brilliance of the Roman Forum, you will find a lot of traces of the rich political history of the city. This was the very place that was once the venue of the temples of ancient Gods such as Saturn, Vesta and Titus. There are several tourist passes available for both the Colosseum & Roman Forum together. What could be better places to know about the history of Rome than these two architectural wonders?
It is not without reason that the Pantheon has attracted many archaeologists, historians, filmmakers and tourists. Constructed during as early as 118AD by the then ruler, Hadrian, the Pantheon is a well-protected historic Roman building. Initially, this venue witnessed a temple that was constructed by Agrippa.
Therefore, as an ode to Agrippa, the Pantheon has dedicated large & intricate columns on its premises. The architectural brilliance of this building is evident from the majestic dome that has been decorated by intrinsic stonework on it. The Pantheon looks absolutely stunning during the day when natural light passes into the building through the coffer located right at the center of the building.
Museums in the Vatican City
Don’t stop after visiting only the St. Peter’s Basilica and Square when you visit Vatican City. There is more to this small city than just these two landmarks. There is a whole range of tourist spot known as the Vatican museums here. A single ticket will give you access to all the museums here. You should get a separate ticket to visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.
The artistic museums in the Vatican contain more than 50000 brilliant artworks that belong to different centuries. When you visit these museums, you will be blown away by the sheer grandeur of the internal & external beauty of the buildings. Don’t forget to visit the Sistine Chapel, located in the museum complex of Vatican City, as this is the historic venue where the new Pope is selected at the right time. The artwork on the ceiling here is a scene that you cannot afford to miss. This is also the chapel that contains the famous artwork of Last Judgement Fresco by Michelangelo.
If you have visited the Roman Forum, you have to visit the Palantine Hill without fail. It is below this hill that the remnants of the Forum are located. You have to climb for a distance of about 40m to reach the expansive Palantine Hill. However, once you reach the peak, you will forget all your strain, because the historical remnants are richness can be viewed in a panoramic view from here. The reason why this hill is very famous today is that it is here that the legend of the Roman founders, Romulus & Remus, was discovered.
The Mysterious Catacombs
Just outside the city’s ancient walls lie these underground burial sites, like the Catacombs of Domitilla offering a unique and eerie experience. The Catacombs of Domitilla, are a fascinating and somewhat enigmatic part of Rome’s rich historical tapestry. These underground burial sites, located just beyond the ancient city walls, offer a unique glimpse into the early Christian and Roman history.
The Catacombs of Domitilla, named after Saint Domitilla, are among the best-preserved and most extensive of all the Roman catacombs. These subterranean passageways and tombs date back to the 2nd century AD, making them some of the oldest in Rome. They extend over 17 kilometers and are spread across four levels, making them one of the largest catacomb complexes in the city.
The Vibrant Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona has a rich history that dates back to the 1st century AD. It was originally built as a stadium by Emperor Domitian for athletic contests and could hold up to 30,000 spectators. The square retains the shape of the stadium, which is evident in its elongated, oval form. Over the centuries, it transformed into a public space, and by the 15th century, it became a significant city square.
The Baroque architecture that defines Piazza Navona gives it a distinctive and grandiose character. The buildings surrounding the square, with their ornate facades and elegant details, are prime examples of Baroque style. These structures, many of which were residences of the affluent, add to the square’s historic charm and allure.
Sant’Angelo in Rome
Castel Sant’Angelo, a colossal cylindrical structure in Rome, originally built between 135 and 139 AD as Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum, stands adjacent to the Tiber River, close to the Vatican and central Rome. Throughout history, it transformed into a fortress, a castle, and today, a museum. Its name changed from the Mausoleum of Hadrian to Castel Sant’Angelo during the Middle Ages, inspired by a legend of Archangel Michael ending a plague in 590 AD.
Over the centuries, this iconic edifice served various purposes, including an imperial mausoleum, military stronghold, prison, papal residence, and museum. Inside, visitors encounter a vast circular hall beneath a grand dome adorned with Roman artifacts. Ornate papal apartments, a military museum, prison cells, and courtyards with Roman relics enrich its historical tapestry. The rooftop terrace offers panoramic vistas of Rome, accessible via a famous spiral ramp. Notable artworks within include the famous angel sheathing its sword, once the repository for Hadrian and other emperors’ ashes. Castel Sant’Angelo remains one of Rome’s most captivating historical treasures.