Have you scheduled a trip to the Italian capital? You can’t miss these top 11 places to visit in Rome
Whenever we travel somewhere new in the world, we wonder what places we really can’t miss. In Rome’s case, with so many attractions, it’s difficult to select just a few highlights, since the eternal city can delight visitors with just a simple walk.
However, there are some places we can’t leave out, and you should visit them at least once in your life. Some of these places are well-known and visited, others are far from the common tourist route.
Discover 11 Places To Visit in Rome
Full of attractions, historical monuments and excellent cuisine, travel through classic Rome and discover the most relevant points for your first trip to the unforgettable Roman capital.
Remember that on some of the famous attractions, it is always good to book tickets in advance to avoid stress afterwards.
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Imagine taking the same steps as the great Roman Emperors and gladiators? Visiting the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Paladin is like actually returning to a very distant past, so they are one of the best places to visit in Rome.
Another good thing is that the ticket for the Colosseum also includes visits to the Roman Forum and the Palatine, so you don’t have to buy them separately.
For starters, it’s impossible to think of visiting Rome without including the Colosseum in the route, right? The huge arena that was the scene of gladiator battles has become one of the city’s main attractions. Built between 70 and 90 BC, the space hosted crowds of up to 80,000 spectators and was used for naval battles, when they could even fill the arena with water.
Rome is also known for its seven hills and the Palatine Hill is the one in the center. The place is considered one of the oldest parts of the Italian capital. According to Roman mythology, it was here that the twins Romulus and Remus were fed by a wolf, giving birth to the city.
The Roman Forum is right next to the Palatine and was considered the power center of the city, where political, economic and religious issues of the time were discussed. The Forum is a large group of buildings where the main public bodies and commerce acted, so it was the greatest symbol of Roman politics. Walking through its ruins is, for sure, one of the best things to do in Rome.
The Vatican and The Sistine Chapel
It is almost impossible to visit Rome and not go to the Vatican, the smallest independent country in the world and headquarters of the Catholic Church. More than the Pope’s home, the Vatican holds true relics of humanity, one of them is the Sistine Chapel, the masterpiece made by the genius Michelangelo.
Visit the Vatican Museums, a collection of galleries that feature great works of Renaissance art and keep relics of great masters such as Raphael, Da Vinci and Caravaggio. Give special attention to the Raffaello Sanzio Room, where you can admire the artist’s beautiful frescoes and the Gallery of Maps, a long hallway with more than 40 maps showing the Papal States.
Finally, at the end of the Vatican Museums, there is the Sistine Chapel and it’s beautiful frescoes that completely cover the walls and dome, which Michelangelo took four years to complete. There is no doubt that these are some of the best places to visit in Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Still in the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica is another of the top places to visit in Rome for a notorious reason: it is the most important religious temple in the Catholic Church. There are also works of art inside, of course, and the most famous is Michelangelo’s Pieta. What also draws attention is its huge dome, also designed by the renaissance master, completely covered in magnificent mosaics.
Anyone who wants to can climb up to the dome of the Basilica and have one of the most amazing panoramic views of Rome, that will surely make for good photos. However, here’s a warning: there are 320 steps to reach the top, but the effort is clearly worth it.
Any art and culture enthusiast needs to include a visit to the Galleria Borghese when they are in Rome. Besides gathering important works of art and being one of the most important museums in Rome, the space itself is already full of paintings and details to contemplate.
The Borghese Gallery, housed in an old mansion built between 1613 and 1616 by the Borghese family, is one of the noblest in Europe, but it is small compared to other Italian museums. It houses priceless sculptures by Renaissance artists such as Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.
The museum also houses one of the world’s most famous sculptures, Bernini’s Abduction of Proserpina, based on the Roman myth of the abduction of Proserpina by Pluto.
Passion of Christ Tour
We don’t need to tell you that religious tourism is very strong in Rome, since there are several tours for pilgrims and Christians who visit the city. You can follow the path of the last hours of Jesus Christ in a tour through preserved relics in some churches of the city. This tour is known as Passion of Christ and is considered one of the best things to do in Rome.
The highlights are the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maior, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. However, the Basilica of Santa Prassede, built in the eighth century, holds a fragment of the pillar on which Christ was flogged. And the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the first of the four papal basilicas to be built, is also part of the route.
The Basilica of Santa Cruz, which is also among the temples you can visit, was built in the 4th century AC. to preserve the relics St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, carried to Rome from the Holy Land, when she traveled there in 326 to rediscover the original places of the Passion of Christ. Finally, Cappella delle Reliquie holds some thorns from the crown of Christ and three pieces of the cross where he died.
If Rome isn’t charming enough in the daytime, during the evening it has a special magic, when the sunlight hides behind the mountains. At this time, one of the best things to do in Rome is, without a doubt, taking a walk at dawn.
You can take a bus tour during that period and get to know Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, where the Fountain of the Four Rivers is, as well as the Piazza di Trevi, to admire all the charm from the beautiful Trevi Fountain.
Other tours by car or on foot also go through monuments during the sunset. You can also take a night tour in Rome.
Places to Visit in Rome: Pantheon
The Pantheon is one of the best preserved monuments of the city and, without a doubt, another of the places to visit in Rome. Its historical and cultural importance is due to it being the only building from the Greco-Roman era still in an excellent state.
The temple is more than 2 thousand years old, built around 27 BC, and was declared a polytheistic sacred place, dedicated to all the Roman gods. Later, it became a Catholic church. Nowadays, besides its historical importance and architectural beauty, many illustrious personalities are buried in the structure, like the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, as well as the king Vittorio Emanuele.
Last Judgment, the Musical Show
If you want to be enchanted by a show full of special effects and lots of emotion, don’t miss the “Last Judgment”, in the Auditorium della Conciliazione. The show is based on The Last Judgment, Michelangelo’s masterpiece and the greatest jewel of the Sistine Chapel.
Immersive 270° projections take the audience into the Sistine Chapel artwork and a soundtrack composed by Sting and Gabriele Vacis bring together the past and the present in an artistic sensory experience of around 60 minutes. The show was produced by the renowned director Marco Balich and has daily performances. To check the dates and times of the available presentations, just click here.
Crypt Of The Capuchins
Like the Catacombs of Rome, visiting the Capuchin Crypt is a little strange, but at the same time interesting, peculiar and thoughtful, which makes it one of the places to visit in Rome.
On Via Veneto, one of the most famous streets in Rome, is the church of Nostra Signora della Concezione dei Cappuccini, built in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII, whose brother was a Capuchin monk.
The most impressive part of the church is its crypt, which has more than four thousand bones of Capuchin monks on its walls, brought in from the cemetery of the Order of the Capuchins between the years of 1528 and 1870. There are also mummified monks in their robes, scattered throughout the five spaces in which the crypt is divided. You can also find the body of St. Felix of Cantalice there and the tomb of Blessed Crispin of Viterbo.
Leonardo Da Vinci Experience
If you want to know more about the renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci’s creations, you cannot miss the Leonardo da Vinci Experience, located near St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Several of the artist’s works are exhibited there, among which are paintings, astronomy studies, sculptures, drawings, scientific projects and more, produced between the years of 1452 and 1519.
In addition to replicas of 50 of the artist’s inventions, there is a space that tells the story behind works like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. That’s why you must include this spot in your list of places to visit in Rome. The museum is open every day from 9am to 7.30pm.
Tiber River Cruise
One of the best tours in Rome for those who want a different view of the city is to sail on a charming Tiber River cruise. There are options that make one-hour routes and other options where you can go up and down several stops along the route of approximately 6 kilometers.
Some boat tours offer lunch, dinner and live music to make the experience even more pleasant. Along the river, you can stop near places such as Piazza del Popolo, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican. The boat cruise service on the Tiber River runs daily and usually departs from Pier Sant’Angelo.