Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome

 If you are tourist or not, Rome is one of the best places, you should visit it. As you know, Rome, Italy’s capital is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display.

 Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.

 Rome is divided into several districts with its center, the Colosseo district, containing the most ancient attractions like the Colosseum, Capitoline Hill and the Roman Forum. On the outskirts of the center is Old Rome, featuring the Pantheon, stunning cathedrals, plazas and Renaissance architecture. 

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to see all the top tourist attractions in Rome in a few days or even a few months. Wise travelers won’t even attempt to see everything in one trip. To ensure they’ll return to Rome, they’ll toss a coin into the Fountain of Trevi. Legend has it that those who do will return to Rome again. That's why this the 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome.

10- Piazza Navona

 One of Rome's most characteristic Baroque squares, Piazza Navona still has the outline of the Roman stadium built here by Emperor Domitian. It was still used for festivals and horse races during the Middle Ages, and was rebuilt in the Baroque style by Borromini, who also designed the magnificent series of palaces and the church of Sant'Agnese, on its west side.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome -  Piazza Navona

 Its facade, campanile, and dome highlight the way Baroque architecture weaves convex and concave surfaces, gables, windows, columns, and piers into a unified design. In the crypt of Sant'Agnese are Alessandro Algardi's 1653 The Miracle of St. Agnes and the remains of a Roman mosaic floor. Sant'Agnese provided a model for Baroque and Rococo churches in Italy and elsewhere.

 Although Borromini designed the square and its surrounding facades, it was his archrival, Bernini, who created its centerpiece, the beautiful Baroque fountain, Fontana dei Fiumi. The spirited fountain represents the four rivers then thought to be the largest on each of the known continents, with figures personifying the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata around the large basin, each accompanied by plants and animals of their respective regions.

 The two other fountains in the square are the 16th-century Fontana del Moro in front of the Palazzo Pamphili, erected by Giacomo della Porta, and the 19th-century Fontana del Nettuno with its figure of Neptune.

 Today, the square is filled with Romans, tourists, street artists, souvenir kiosks, cafés, and during December, one of Rome's best Christmas markets. Nearby, between the Piazza and the Pantheon, the church of San Luigi dei Francesi contains three major paintings by Caravaggio from the late 16th century.

9- Foro di Traiano (Forum of Trajan)

 Of all the Fori Imperiali, Trajan's was the grandest and most imposing, a veritable city unto itself. Designed by architect Apollodorus of Damascus, it comprised a vast basilica (at the time of writing, closed for restoration), two libraries, and a colonnade laid out around the square—all once covered with rich marble ornamentation. Adjoining the forum were the Mercati di Traiano (Trajan's Markets), a huge, multilevel brick complex of shops, taverns, walkways, and terraces, as well as administrative offices involved in the mammoth task of feeding the city. The Museo dei Fori Imperiali (Imperial Forums Museum) opened in 2007, taking advantage of the forum's soaring vaulted spaces to display archaeological fragments and sculptures while presenting a video re-creation of the original complex. In addition, the series of terraced rooms offers an impressive overview of the entire forum. A pedestrian-only walkway, the Via Alessandrina, also allows for an excellent (and free) view of Trajan's

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome -  Foro di Traiano
To build a complex of this magnitude, Apollodorus and his patrons clearly had great confidence, not to mention almost unlimited means and cheap labor at their disposal (readily provided by slaves captured in Trajan's Dacian wars). They also contained two semicircular lecture halls, one at either end, which are thought to have been associated with the libraries in Trajan's Forum. The markets' architectural centerpiece is the enormous curved wall, or exhedra, that shores up the side of the Quirinal Hill excavated by Apollodorus's gangs of laborers. Covered galleries and streets were constructed at various levels, following the exhedra's curves and giving the complex a strikingly modern appearance.
As you enter the markets, a large, vaulted hall stands in front of you. Two stories of shops or offices rise up on either side. Head for the flight of steps at the far end that leads down to Via Biberatica. (Bibere is Latin for "to drink," and the shops that open onto the street are believed to have been taverns.) Then head back to the three tiers of shops and offices that line the upper levels of the great exhedra and look out over the remains of the Forum. Empty and bare today, the cubicles were once ancient Rome's busiest market stalls. Though it seems to be part of the market, the Torre delle Milizie (Tower of the Militia), the tall brick tower that is a prominent feature of Rome's skyline, was actually built in the early 1200s.
 8- The Spanish Steps

 The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. 

Address: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - The Spanish StepsWhy 'Spanish'?

It may seem odd that a landmark in Italy's capital, designed by an Italian architect and funded by a French diplomat (Étienne Gueffier, whose bequest of 20,000 Scudi - an old Italian currency), gets its name from Spain.

The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there, so the name simply extended to the steps, which were built in the 18th century to connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (which was under French patronage) with the Holy See - the seat of the Catholic Church in Rome - in the square below.

You can't eat your sandwiches there

In the middle of the city's shopping district, the steps may seem like a perfect place to pause for a picnic - but not so fast. Roman urban regulations prevent anyone from tucking into lunch on the steps, as part of an effort to keep them pristine. After the latest restoration, you can expect this rule to be even more vigorously enforced.

English influences

British poet John Keats once lived in the building adjacent to the steps - now the Keats & Shelley museum, which is memorabilia about the English Romantics poets in Italy and is well worth a visit for poetry fans. And to the left of the steps you'll find Babington's, an English tea room which has been serving tea to locals and homesick Brits since 1893.

A controversial McDonald's

You may stop for a bite at Italy's first McDonald's restaurant after visiting the steps. This restaurant, opened in 1986, led to protests by locals who argued fervently that the American chain had no place in Rome's historic centre.
The protests in turn led to the birth of Italy's Slow Food movement - now an international organization counting 100,000 members worldwide and promoting alternatives to fast food.

Pop culture influence

The steps hit the big screen in Audrey Hepburn film A Roman Holiday, where the steps' status as a popular meeting place made them the perfect location for Gregory Peck's character to 'accidentally' bump into Hepburn. They've also been mentioned in a Bob Dylan song and featured in an Everybody Loves Raymond episode.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - The Spanish StepsAn ugly boat

The fountain at the foot of the steps is called 'Fontana della Barcaccia' or Fountain of the Ugly Boat. But why? A city legend says the fountain was built on papal orders, inspired by a flood which carried a fishing boat all the way to the square.

Seasonal decor

Time your visit right, and you could get to see some of the Spanish Steps' seasonal decorations. In spring, the stairway is decorated with pink azaleas for a month, celebrating the anniversary of Rome's founding.

 As Christmas approaches, a 19th century crib is displayed on the first level of the steps.
They have also been used for other one-off events; the fall of the Berlin Wall was marked with a multimedia event and replicas of parts of the wall on the steps, for example, and the re-opening ceremony after the steps' renovation saw light shows and musical performances


 On most days the Spanish Steps are busiest around sunset when friends, lovers, and hordes of selfie-takers congregate around them to enjoy the closing of the day. If you ever want to have them to yourself you have to wake up pretty early or stay up pretty late, but it’s not impossible. Just don’t expect much privacy if you go between 10:00am and 1:00am.

7-Castel Sant'Angelo

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Castel Sant'Angelo

 Castel Sant’Angelo was built to be a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family. Built in 123 BC, it later was turned into a fortress and castle by the popes. It was once Rome’s tallest building. The ashes of other emperors were buried there, but scattered when the Visigoths invaded in 410. It also served as a prison, but today the castle is a museum. Among the most well known sights in Rome, film buffs will recognize it as a setting from “Angels and Demons”.

6- Peter’s Basilica

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Peter’s Basilica

  The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Peter’s Basilica

 St. Peter’s Basilica may be a pilgrimage site for Catholics, but even non-believers can appreciate the church’s architectural majesty. The original dates back to 349 A.D., when Constantine had a basilica built over the tomb of St. Peter, the first pope.

 That church was razed to make way for the current one, the world’s largest church at 18,000 square yards, which has been standing on this spot since 1626. Inside you’ll find Bernini’s masterful altarpiece—the great bronze baldacchino—and Michelangelo’s Pietà.

5- The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - The Trevi Fountain

Any trip to Rome would be incomplete without a visit to the Trevi Fountain. Nicola Salvi’s awe-inspiring Baroque masterpiece features a marble statue of Neptune at the center, surrounded by tritons.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - The Trevi Fountain

 Legend has it that anyone who throws a coin in the fountain will return to Rome. Unfortunately, the gorgeous fountain tends to be overrun by tourists vying for that perfect selfie angle and street hawkers selling cheap souvenirs.

 Visit early in the morning or late at night, when the crowds disperse. You might just experience a magical moment like in La Dolce Vita when Marcello Mastroianni wades into the fountain after Anita Ekberg.

4- Vatican Museums

 The Vatican Museums began in the 16th century with a collection of sculptures by Pope Julius II. Today, they encompass several museums inside the Vatican City and include some of the world’s most important relics. Attractions of the museums include the spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Vatican Museums

 Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. Today the ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment, are widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievements in painting. To keep the massive crowds under control, the museums have 4 itineraries that range from one and a half hours to more than 5 hours. All itineraries end in the Sistine Chapel.

You could easily spend a whole day exploring the area around the Vatican. Start at the Piazza di San Pietro, which Bernini designed to look like arms extended in an embrace.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Vatican Museums

 Just south of Vatican City stands Castel Sant’Angelo, where popes sought solace during sieges. Climb to the top for splendid views of Vatican City and the Tiber. At its base you can see the Ponte Sant’Angelo with Bernini’s exquisitely carved marble angels.

3- Roman Forum

Walking through the forum, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome. Although what survives of this center of Roman life and government shows only a small fraction of its original splendor, the standing and fallen columns, its triumphal arches, and remains of its walls still impress, especially when you consider that for centuries, the history of the Forum was the history of the Roman Empire and of the western world

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Roman Forum

 Roman political and religious life was centered here, along with the courts, markets, and meeting places. After the seventh century, the buildings fell into ruin, and churches and fortresses were built amid the ancient remains.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - Roman Forum

 Its stones were quarried for other buildings and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that systematic excavations brought the ancient buildings to light from under a 10-meter layer of earth and rubble. Highlights not to miss are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.

2- Rome: The Pantheon

 One of the best preserved Roman buildings, The Pantheon was built in 126 AD as a temple for all the Roman gods. The temple has served as a Roman Catholic Church since the 7th century.

 Eight graceful granite Corinthian columns extend across the front of this circular building, with lesser columns in back. Though it is 2,000 years old, the Pantheon’s famous dome remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It is believed Marcus Agrippa built the Pantheon to be his private temple. The current building was reconstructed by Emperor Hadrian in the second century.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome -The Pantheon

A feat of architectural ingenuity, it was the world’s largest dome until the modern era, has been called the world’s only architecturally perfect building, and is the best-preserved monument of Imperial Rome. Walk inside and look up—the oculus in the dome is open to the sky, letting sunlight filter in.

1- The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

  The great Colosseum is the best place you must see in Italy, Rome. The Colosseum is another of Rome’s major tourist attractions. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD.

Italy Travel Guide: 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome - The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine

 The elliptical amphitheater could hold up to 50,000 people who turned out to watch gladiators do battle, people be publicly executed and enjoy other forms of entertainment. This stone and concrete structure, built in the first century, was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the Romans’ greatest architectural and engineering feats.

Today nearly 4 million people visit annually. Buy your tickets in advance or be prepared to wait in a very long line. A combined ticket for the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine Hill grants access to all three sites and lets you skip the line at the Colosseum.

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