The best things to do in Rome as a tourist
Rome, historic city and capital of Italy. The city is an amazing mix of culture, romanticism, and succulent food (we will actually post an article about our favorite places to eat as well). Easily accessible from the two surrounding airports, it is the perfect city for a getaway weekend. In this article, we share the best things to do in Rome.
Visit the Colosseum – Colosseo
The Colosseum, also called the Flavian Amphitheatre, is most probably the most famous Roman structure. It was constructed between 70 and 80AD and had, in its most glorious time, could hold as much as 80 000 spectators.
The structure’s purpose was originally an attempt to appease Romans by proposing some barbaric ’games’ where gladiator would fight to the death, and hunt animals, etc. People could even revel in some epic sea battles where water, fishes, and battleships would fill the grounds.
Nowadays, you can visit stands, the arena floor, and the tunnels. However, mid-2019 they were refurbishing the pit where the gladiators were fighting and some areas were restricted.
We recommend taking your ID or driving license before visiting, as well as a bit of cash if you want to tip your guide.
Visit the Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona is located in the city center of Rome, not far from the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. We recommend visiting it whilst wandering in the streets of Rome.
It was built in the 15th century where the Domitian Stadium used to be.
It is nowadays known for its fountains: Fontana Del Moro and Fountain Neptune. On the Piazza, you will also admire the Palazzo Pamphilj, Palazzo Braschi, Sculptures, and Saint Agnes in Agone church.
The Piazza always has a lot of artists and vendors.
Visit the Trevi Fountain – Fontana di Trevi
The Trevi Fountain is another one of the must-see monuments of Rome and probably one of the most famous due to its precision and details.
It was built by Nicola Salvi in 1762 and was celebrating Oceanus, a Roman God. Oceanus can be seen riding a chariot pulled by Tritons.
On many pictures you will be able to see people having their back facing towards the fountain, throwing a coin over their shoulder. Supposed to bring good luck, this has become a tradition. Some people also make a wish when throwing the coin.
Similar to other famous Roman monuments, this is a crowded area.
We suggest to either bite your tongue and deal with it or go early / later in the evening. However, don’t expect it to be desert. We also advise being careful of pickpockets, taking advantage of crowds to go unnoticed.
Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore
Rome has numerous mesmerizing Churches and Basilica and the Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore is definitely one of them.
Located on the place with the same name it is listed as a Basilica Major, one of the largest in Rome.
The facade of the building is astonishing, displaying statues and columns. The interior is equally beautiful, showing paintings, gold features, and frescos.
Visit the Pantheon
The Pantheon is considered one of the best-preserved buildings of Ancient Rome and is one of the most visited attractions in Rome.
Erected by the emperor Hadrian in 118AD, it was a temple for ’All of the Gods’’.
Situated in the very center of Rome, on the Piazza Della Rotonda, the Pantheon is a must-see.
Similarly to the Trevi Fountain, if you despise crowds, we advise you to go early in the morning or later in the evening (before closing time if you want to get in of course). Also, be wary of pickpockets.
Visit the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum also called after its Roman name Forum Romanum is one of the most famous Roman ruins in Italy.
Located in the center of the city and surrounded by ruins of ancient important Roman buildings, the Forum is a large rectangular place.
Some of these buildings are still standing partially standing and you will be able to admire arches, foundations, and walls.
Finally, it is a very large place and is in the open air so if you are planning to visit we recommend to take water and good shoes.
Visit the Vatican – Vaticano & the Sistine Chapel – Cappella Sistina
Surrounded by Rome, Vatican-city is a ‘city-state’. Headquarter of the Roman Catholic Church, it is also where the Pope lives, among several very famous buildings, paintings, and sculptures (over 70 000!).
All different Popes who have lived there built it over the centuries.
We recommend buying a 2 in 1 ticket, enabling you to visit the Museums as well as the Sistine Chapel.
In short, museums to visit are Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Museo Chiaramonti, Museo Pio-Clementino, and the Museo Gregoriano Egiziano.
The Sistine Chapel deserves a paragraph to itself as it is one of the most famous religious chapels worldwide. It is home to the famous painting ’The Last Judgement’’ by Michelangelo as well as impressive ceiling artwork, also categorized as some of the most renowned and impactful of religious history.
The Sistine Chapel is in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City.
Lastly, we would suggest allocating around 4 hours to the visit of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. As it is a very famous place, expect it to be busy.
Visit the Altar of the Fatherland – Altare Della Patria
The Altar of the Fatherland is located in the city center of Rome, close to the Pantheon and the Colosseum. It is my favorite monument in Rome.
To celebrate the first king of Unified Italy, the Romans built the structure for King Victor Emmanuel.
Moreover, the stone monument is magnificent, with a front facade ornating rows of columns and multiple decorations.
Displayed proudly is a prominent bronze statue of King Emmanuel, flanked by several other impressive figures.
Lastly, if learning more about the early years of unified Italy interests you, I would recommend visiting the museum at the entrance of the building.
Looking for more of the best things to do? Check the official Tourism office’s site here.