Roman holiday: 20 must see places you must visit

Planning a trip to Rome? We've compiled a list of the Eternal City's attractions that you must visit.
29 march 2024
6 min

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1. Ancient Roman Amphitheater

Without a doubt, this should be at the top of our list. The amphitheater, whose construction began in 72 AD, is now rightly considered the calling card and symbol of the Italian capital, and its image and outlines are well known to almost every inhabitant of our planet. Definitely: if you haven't seen the Colosseum, you haven't seen Rome! Visiting it alone won't be possible, but for those who prefer self-guided tours, an audio guide is available.

Ancient Roman Amphitheater
Photo author - JWY80

2. Roman Forum

To get the best idea of what life was like in Ancient Rome, head to the Roman Forum. Once the political center of the ancient empire, today the ruins that remain are one of the world's most important archaeological monuments. The ticket is the same as the one purchased for entry to the Colosseum, so you won't have to pay twice.

Roman Forum
Photo author - Jan Baxter

3. Vatican

Regardless of your faith, visiting the unique dwarf state is a must. Within the city walls lies a whole array of fascinating museums for history lovers. The architectural appearance of the Vatican is impressive, as well as the spiritual significance of this place — it was considered sacred in ancient times. It's worth noting that only certain parts are accessible to tourists, and the visiting order should be checked in advance.

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4. Pantheon

Built at the architectural dawn of Ancient Rome, the Pantheon still amazes millions of tourists today. This unique sanctuary also serves as a tomb for some notable Italians, such as Raphael and several kings. Travelers recommend visiting at noon to see the sun's rays penetrate through the round opening in the ceiling.

Photo author - Patrick Murphy

5. Trevi Fountain

The largest fountain in the city and one of the most beautiful in the world. By the way, travelers can not only appreciate its sculptural magnificence but also its practical side — there is a separate place in the fountain where everyone can get drinking water.

Trevi Fountain
Photo author - Luke Scheminger

6. Piazza Venezia

Located within walking distance from the already mentioned Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia is also worthy of being included in your tourist route. It once served as a major junction at the intersection of two famous ancient Roman roads. From here, it's very easy to get to our next point — the Capitoline Hill.

7. Capitoline Hill

From almost any point in the city center, you will see the Capitoline Hill — one of the seven hills on which Rome is built. And if all roads lead to Rome, then in Rome they lead to the Capitoline Hill. Here, at its top, is built the temple also called the Capitoline, as well as the Capitoline Palace and museums, which are the largest public museum in the world. For an additional fee (around €10), you can ascend to the upper level from the public observation deck, offering an unforgettable view.

8. St. Peter's Basilica

Perhaps in terms of popularity among tourists, this majestic Vatican building is no less significant than the Colosseum. In addition to what lies on the surface, its underground part hides many interesting features. The famous grottoes will undoubtedly take up a lot of your time, but they will leave an indelible impression. The same can be said for the Treasury.

St. Peter's Basilica
Photo author - Yuting Hsu

9. Sistine Chapel

One of the legendary works of the Italian painter Michelangelo has a rich history. Guides will tell you its story even before entering the room, as speaking (as well as taking photos) is strictly prohibited by local laws. The place is popular among tourists, and to avoid long queues, we recommend buying tickets in advance.

Sistine Chapel
Photo author - Leonard Cox

10. Forum of Caesar

A whole series of imperial forums dedicated to various rulers of that time (from Caesar to Trajan) still seem to preserve the spirit of that era, as they are left in their most pristine condition. The oldest and most majestic of them is the Forum of Caesar. To save time, you can buy an entrance ticket online, optionally in combination with the Colosseum ticket.

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11. The Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Modest from the outside, this ancient church simply amazes with its luxurious interior decoration. However, to get inside, some rules must be followed, especially for women, who can only enter with a covered head and in appropriate clothing. If you are wearing trousers, you will be given a sort of cloak at the entrance.

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Photo author - Naruchai Janteb

12. Piazza Navona

In the center of this picturesque square is the interesting Fountain of the Four Rivers, as well as three smaller but beautiful fountains. Local artists traditionally sit around it, ready to draw your portrait or offer you one of their already painted pictures. Overall, it has a tranquil atmosphere conducive to contemplating the wonderful views of Rome.

Piazza Navona
Photo author - Phil Kingsbury

13. The Spanish Steps

This luxurious baroque staircase, consisting of more than a hundred grand steps, is rightly considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It is popular not only among tourists but also among the Romans themselves, who have a tradition of meeting at its base. It is recommended to visit in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom.

14. Piazza di Spagna

Descending the Spanish Steps, you will directly arrive at another small square in the Italian capital — Piazza di Spagna. Note that it is usually crowded, regardless of the day of the week or season. Additionally, there are always numerous vendors trying to make a profit off city guests, so gullible tourists should be particularly cautious.

Piazza di Spagna
Photo author - KamoHeel

15. Villa Borghese gardens

The villa of the princely Borghese family, thanks to their passion for collecting art, has become one of the most fascinating places in the world. For painting enthusiasts, there is an art gallery on the second floor, while the first is filled with sculptural works. Tickets are recommended to be booked online.

Villa Borghese gardens
Photo author - Carolyn

16. Baths of Caracalla

The official name of the baths of the Roman emperor Caracalla is the Baths of Antoninus. The ruins that have come down to us still give an idea of the building's former grandeur. Additionally, the frescoes and mosaics inside are of particular interest, and a garden surrounds several buildings. In the summer, there is also a chance to attend the season of the Rome Opera, which is based here at that time.

17. Galleria Spada

The best of Rome's historical heritage is skillfully combined with modern technology here. Visitors are in for an impressive multimedia tour lasting almost 2 hours. During this time, you will not only see the ruins located in the underground but also get a full 3D representation of how they looked in ancient times. The approximate ticket price is €12.

Galleria Spada
Photo author - vincenzo vacca

18. Knights of Malta Square

If you are looking for a place to observe one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Italian capital, head to the Knights of Malta Square. Besides the subway, which is within walking distance of the square, you can also get here by bike rented from one of Rome's many rentals, which will also be useful for exploring the surroundings.

19. Castel Sant'Angelo

This majestic historical monument is located near the Vatican, so if you are heading there for a tour, you can give yourself a small head start and visit Castel Sant'Angelo. The building stands on the banks of the picturesque Tiber River, across which a pedestrian bridge leads to it.

Castel Sant'Angelo
Photo author - Joe Addona

20. Basilica of Saint Paul

This papal church will impress lovers of grand and exquisite structures. Particularly noteworthy are the facade mosaics and the sculpture of Moses created by Michelangelo, located on the basilica's grounds.

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