There is hardly a city out there with more to offer lovers of history, nor for that matter lover of culture and of course fine food and drink, than Rome. Many who come to Rome expect a city where the Roman remains are the only things to be seen alongside the Vatican City.
Places to Visit in Rome
1. The Colosseum
The Colosseum in Rome is perhaps Rome’s most famous building and the Roman’s most famous legacy. Found in the Colosseum district along with many other Roman buildings and remains the Colosseum is far bigger than you would expect from having seen photos and the scale of something so old will take a few moments to come to terms with as you first approach it.
The Colosseum is open to visitors with tours inside that show off much of the clever design and technology used in the Colosseum
2. The Roman Forum
Though the Colosseum is more famous and more photogenic the Roman Forum is more interesting. The seat of Government for most of the Roman Kingdom and Republic’s history the site is large and with various remains from different eras.
The Forum itself is actually the plaza in the center but the ruins of important buildings surround it including the records office, Senate building, prison, and the Regia; the Regia is from the time when Rome was a kingdom whose Kings had their residence here. There are also remains of temples with the earliest being the Temple of Castor and Pollux from the 5th century BC. The arches of Septimius Severus and Titus are some of the best-preserved and most impressive buildings to see here.
3. The Forum of Augustus
One of the Forums of Imperial Rome was built at the command of the first Roman emperor Augustus, who also had the Temple to Mars built here remains of which you can still visit. This forum was not a replacement for the Roman Forum but was to allow extra space for government functions that could not be accommodated at the Roman Forum.
4. The Forum and Markets of Trajan
The Forum of Trajan dedicated in 112 includes Trajan’s column which still stands and is the most interesting part of the ruins through the center of where the piazza would have been ahs been excavated and the remains are on show in what is a public space now. Besides this, you can also see the preserved markets built shortly after the forum that became known as the markets of Trajan.
5. The Capitoline Hill and Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Hill was the center of the city for the earliest Romans whose own Acropolis was here. The widest variety of ruins anywhere in Rome is here going back to the beginning of Rome and stretching through to Renaissance Rome and beyond.
Many of the city’s museums are here in splendid Renaissance buildings such as the Palazzo dei Conservatori which itself contains mainly sculptures from ancient Rome as well as Ancient Egypt and Greece.
6. Villa Borghese, and Galleria Borghese
The Borghese one of Rome’s most famous families who have had close ties to the Vatican since Pope Paul the V of the Borghese family was elected, had this impressive Villa as their residence. The 17th-century villa is now a museum though and houses the famous collections of art, including Roman sculptures, that the family had collected. The villa itself is a beautiful and interesting building but is overwhelmed by the beauty of its contents. The Villa’s gardens are also worth spending some time walking and relaxing in with a number of small Romanesque temples, lakes, and finding avenues of trees.
7. The Spanish Steps
The idea of going and walking up some steps for fun may seem a little odd but this 18th-century stairway is impressive in its size and width as it climbs the steep slope from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinita del Monti giving great photo opportunities from the top.
Built on the site of the Roman Stadium of Domitian it covers a similar area and shape and now includes a number of monuments such as the fountain of the four rivers complete with an Egyptian Obelisk. If you visit in the run-up to Christmas there is a traditional Italian Christmas Market here that is well worth a visit.
9. The Pantheon
Probably the most complete Roman building the Pantheon is impressive not just for its age but also the engineering that went into it. The circular building fronted by Corinthian columns and pediment has been a Catholic Church since the 7th century meaning it has always been in use, hence the reason for its preservation and escape from use as a quarry. Originally the Pantheon was a temple to the Pantheon of Roman Gods, and its original domed roof is even now the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
10. Monte Verde Vecchio
Literally, the old green mountain, visit here to eat if you want authentic Italian cuisine at an affordable price. The Trattorias here in this residential neighborhood are frequented by the locals to eat and though the view here (from Rome’s highest point) is beautiful you won’t be paying for it as you will in many of Rome’s famous piazzas where you will only be paying for the view often and too frequently not for good food.
11. Trevi fountain
The Trevi fountain would be great for taking photos of if you could get a clear shot but in summer this is unlikely and you may be better off buying a postcard but the fantastic Baroque fountain still should be visited and a coin thrown in of course.
12. San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo is where the city comes to parties including many of the students from the city, there is a wide variety of bars and clubs here and the atmosphere is very relaxed and laid back, as you would expect from the Italians.
13. St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica is in Rome but not Italy, to visit this famous site you will have to enter the Vatican City. This church has the largest interior space of any church in the world and though as a Roman Catholic this is one of the holiest sites you can visit for those who aren’t Roman Catholic it is still a beautiful and fascinating place to take in as well as St Peter’s square outside.
With so much to see you may not get to go inside every building or visit every attraction for long and a walk around the city shouldn’t be missed to take in Rome as a whole where almost every street in the old city or the old Roman part of the city is filled with fantastic historical buildings and monuments.
Things to See in Rome
My first day in Rome has been filled with wonderment and excitement. There is so much to see in this wonderful city that I think I’ll end up breaking my camera from using it too much.
There are so many things to see in Rome!
My flight left from Nuremberg around 08:35ish and it was very fast. Like, an hour and fifteen minutes. The highlight of the flight was flying over the Alps of Austria and Italy. Not even the high clouds could keep those snow-covered peaks hidden. It was beautiful. Naturally, my camera was in my checked luggage (read over-sized rucksack).
The airport I landed in, Fiumicino airport, is about 20 kilometers away from the city center, so the only thing I saw while landing was smog where the city is supposed to be. Not a good first impression, but understandable for a city the size of Rome with its primary mode of transportation being cars and mopeds. Another thing that shocked my dull American mind was the fact that there were hills everywhere. I thought of Rome as generally flat for some reason. But it’s all built on hills, which has quite a beautiful effect.
When I arrived at the airport I took a look at my options for transportation to the city center. I saw billboards everywhere displaying a bus shuttle company for 8 Euros… Hmm, not bad, I thought to myself. I decided to go check the train station first, however. After claiming my rucksack, I made my way to the train station info center and asked the man behind the counter how much for a ticket to Rome Termini, the main hub station. He said, “It is possible for 14 Euros”. The accent is something new to me as well, something only heard before in movies, now come to real life.
A note on the language itself. It’s beautiful and I really enjoy the sound of it. As far as reading is concerned, it actually isn’t too difficult. It contains a lot of English words that can be quickly deciphered. If the languages of Latin and English had made love, they would have had an Italian. That’s what I was thinking when I heard people speak it today. It sounds old yet romantic. I was carried away to another time while I wandered around and looked for the things to see in Rome.
Snapping back to reality, I opted for the bus shuttle for 8 Euros… I can’t really beat that. And a Taxi would have cost something like 45 Euros, which is out of the question. While at the airport I also purchased a Roma Pass Card for 25 Euros. I know, I know before you say anything about costs I had to think about this purchase a bit. About it’s worth… And let me tell you, it’s worth it. You get:
- Free entry to the first two museums or monuments, and discounted entry to all other participating places.
- Free transportation (metro, bus, OR tram) Except for the airport. For THREE days! That saves a bundle.
- Reduced charge for tourist health care, if you need such things.
- Check out their website for other information on the Roma Pass Card.
The costs for the things to see in Rome, I noticed, can add up quickly, which is another reason why I got the card. I will have to choose carefully, however, due to my tight budget, on what I will get to see. A lot of places are just beautiful on the outside. But the Colosseum. . . oh my.
After a thirty-minute bus ride to the Termini station in central Rome, I gathered my rucksack from beneath the bus and fished out the map of Rome that came with my Roma Pass Card. It looks a lot like London from above; a bunch of squiggly lines everywhere, with no uniformity whatsoever. Some of the newer sections of Rome have more, modern “blocks”, but the old areas are a madhouse. This is gonna be fun, I thought. Not more than two minutes later, I spotted another traveler staring stupidly at a map. I confidently walked up and asked “Where are the things to see in Rome?” like I could give him directions or something. He had a bit of a strong accent, coming from Jordan and he pointed to the map and said something that sounded like Colosseum. I said “Great! That’s where I’m headed, want to come along?” He smiled and nodded and we ambled our way down the street.
Traffic is insane in this city. I’ve read it a thousand times, and now, you are reading it from me. Do you think the drivers are bad in your city? They don’t even obey crosswalks. If a driver thinks he can squeeze his Italian-made FIAT through a 3-foot space of tourists, by golly he’s gonna try. Moped riders are even worse; I almost got hit by one. All the other travel bloggers say to find a nun and cross the street with her because apparently drivers won’t dare hit a nun. Well, I haven’t seen a single nun all day. Maybe I was just in the wrong part of town because believe me, I was looking for one!
I-can’t-remember-the-dudes-name and I made it to the Colosseum in due time, all the while trading our cameras back and forth so we could take pictures of each other. He was really a nice guy, but when I asked him about his home country, Jordan, he got all depressed and said something about war. I had a hard time understanding him but I felt what he was trying to convey. It’s not a good time to visit.
When I got to the front of the Colosseum (it’s a giant oval… I know, I mean the entrance), I was accosted by tourists’ traps galore. Everyone was selling their own version of porcelain miniature Colosseum replicas. Postcards and maps and I <3 Rome shirts. I really wanted some postcards but I thought that one postcard for 1Euro was a bit steep. I hit the mother-load though when I came across a seller that had a 20 pack of postcards for 1Euro! That’s well worth it in my book and I don’t even have 20 people to send cards to. I’ll keep them for future use.
The Colosseum was beautiful. Of course, I got free entry when I scanned my Roma Pass Card at the front ticket counter and I took along a free pamphlet to read about certain facts of the giant structure. If you have the time, really read the history and get to know what the Colosseum was. Actually, it was originally called AmphitheatrumFlavium which is Latin for Flavium Amphitheater. But the name Colosseum came from the statue that was erected in front of it, Colossus of Nero, hence Colosseum. Hollywood has really done a number on how the old games were played and how Gladiators behaved, etc. It is now believed that the signal thumbs up for letting a gladiator live and no thumb (there were no thumbs down) within a closed fist to signal the death, didn’t actually mean what we think it means. How do you discern all those thumbs, among 20,000 spectators, when you can barely make out the face from across the arena? It can’t be explained, so they think now that Gladiators were not haphazardly killed off as it was believed. Gladiators were a huge investment to their handlers. A majority of them started off as slaves, bought off the market, and then trained. Sometimes it took years to train them and a lot of money went into such an undertaking. Clothing, food, and shelter. And, which is not depicted in the movies, the gladiators earned money from each game, especially if they won. The Roman Empire was full of paradoxes… slaves that could earn money? I was a bit perplexed at this.
Enough with all that history! You need to go check out this beautiful monument. I can imagine in my head how it might have looked in its prime, gleaming with marble and filled with spectators. The roar of the fans as they cheered on their favorite gladiator. Eating cooked flesh of the animals that were killed as part of the sport. Hot Dogs, Get your Hot Dogs!! I know, bad joke…
After the Colosseum, I walked over to Palatine Hill, the most ancient site of all of Rome. Just below the hill is the Roman Forum, Flavian Palace, which are all accessed by walking through the Arch of Constantine. The whole place is beautiful, with old marble pillars lying about everywhere, the ruins belying the true beauty that once gripped Rome’s ancient past. So far, I think you need to add this city to your bucket list of must-see places before you die.