The city is, of course, famous for its thousands of years of history and has so much to offer that it is hard to know where to begin. From the sublime Pantheon, built by the emperor Hadrian, to the bustle of the food market at Campo de’ Fiori, a luxury holiday in Rome bristles with memorable sights.
Walk back in time through the Forum of ancient Rome to the Colosseum, witness the staggering opulence of St. Peter’s Basilica, or take a twilight passeggiata or stroll in the Pincio Gardens above the Piazza del Populo for a spectacular view over the city. Everyone from Caesar Augustus to Michelangelo and Mussolini has left their mark on this extraordinary city.
From the evocative Appian Way, where Spartacus’ men were crucified, to Bernini’s fountains and Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita, Rome is a phenomenal concentration of history, legend and artistic masterpieces. And of course the Italian capital has wonderful restaurants to sustain you in your sight-seeing. Relax in one of the many trattorias or pizzerias of the Trastevere district, or enjoy an aperitif at one of Rome’s legendary cafés and watch the world go by.
Things To Do in Rome
As the second most popular attraction in Italy after only the Vatican, the Colosseum hosts some 4 million annual visitors, meaning that long lines are nearly inevitable without a skip-the-line tour. Choose from a number of tours suited to any age or interest, such as a Colosseum underground tour that heads beneath the arena floor to explore a network of passages; a small-group guided tour of the third tier; or a night tour that offers an eery experience and relief from the daytime heat. Consider group tours, self-guided audio tours, or private tours to gain an understanding of this well-preserved ancient Roman amphitheater and its historical importance.
Vatican City may be the smallest sovereign nation-state in the world, but it is a religious and cultural superpower, home to some of the world’s greatest artistic and architectural marvels—namely St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. It is located wholly within the confines of Rome, covers 110 acres (44 hectares), and has an official population of about 800. Having gained recognition of full independence in 1929 and today governed by the pope, Vatican City has its own post office that issues official stamps and a banking system that mints coins (though the euro is used for commerce)
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel, part of Rome’s Vatican Museums, was decorated by art masters Sandro Botticelli and Pinturicchio in the 15th century before being completed with Michelangelo’s stunning 16th-century ceilings frescoes and monumental “The Last Judgement,” which covers the apse wall. The fresco-covered ceiling is the artist’s greatest work and one of the most important masterpieces in history, while the Sistine Chapel serves as a glorious homage to Renaissance art and one of the most visited sights in all of Italy.
Best recognized for its massive dome and center oculus, the Pantheon attracts millions of visitors as one of the most influential and well-preserved buildings of ancient Rome—its proximity to the gelaterias along Via della Maddalena is a bonus. Since AD 125, the temple-turned-church has astounded visitors with its awe-inspiring architecture, beautiful art, and Roman history. It also serves as the burial ground for the first king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, and Renaissance artist Raphael. You’ll find tourists and locals admiring the structure from the steps of the obelisk in Piazza della Rotonda, a popular break spot.
The Pantheon is located in the center of Rome, a short walk from the Tiber River, the main shopping street of Via del Corso, and many other attractions. It’s possible to walk to the site or catch a bus or tram to stop Largo di Torre Argentina.
The Roman Forum is located in the area between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum in the southeastern end of Rome’s historical center. You can get there by metro and bus from most central hotels. The closest metro stop is Colosseo.
The Spanish Steps
Today, the Piazza Navona is home to a selection of beautiful Baroque churches and fountains, some fabulously expensive outdoor cafes, and (often) vendors selling tourist trinkets. During the holidays, a Christmas market fills much of the piazza.
When Visit Rome