Rome stands as one of the finest and oldest cities in the world. The history of Rome spans over 2500 years and it has been a centre of power, politics, culture and development since its inception. Creation of the city is steeped in legend and mythology and there are various different accounts of how this majestic place was built. Various Roman emperors and Casers have ruled mighty Rome and this is the place where the colossal Roman Empire grew from. From historic tours through ancient Rome to Sunday morning shopping at the Porta Portese flea market to climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, this city is bursting with things to do.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Rome:
Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the most internationally recognized symbol of Rome, the Colosseum has a long and glorious history. It was inaugurated in 80 A.D. with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and beast fights. It was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire and is believed to have packed up to 50,000 people inside and could be filled or emptied in ten minutes through a network of exits that remains the basic model for stadium design today.
Despite centuries of neglect—it was used as a quarry until the eighteenth century—it has remained intact (for the most part).
The site dates back to around 500 B.C., but was enlarged by Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Domitian, and Trajan. In fact, you’ll see ruines of Imperial Rome extending beyond the limits of the Forum and inspires you to imagine the former glory of the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus and the House of the Vestal Virgins, among other structures.
Vatican City & Sistine Chapel
The world’s smallest city state and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is mind-blowing and blister-inducing in equal measure. The Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Roman sculpture-and-sarcophagi-stuffed Vatican Museums are normally top of a first-time visitor’s bucket list.
Situated in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel was extensively restored in the 1400’s and the place where the papal enclave takes place – It is here that a new pope is selected.
The Sistine Chapel is particularly famous for its extensive and detailed decorations including the Last Judgement fresco by Michelangelo and the ceiling artwork.
These two magnificent pieces are artwork are considered some of the most influential and important in religious history.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The Basilica dating from 1626, is one of the largest churches ever built, covering 18,000 square yards, an Italian Renaissance beauty hosting all papal tombs, neoclassical sculptures and meticulously detailed reliefs. Those with the energy can climb the 871 steps to the top of the Basilica’s dome for 360-degree views of Vatican City. Fronting the monument is St. Peter’s Square, perhaps the most famous square in the world. The square is actually circular and is framed by two huge sets of colonnades – Standing on these columns are beautiful statues of various religious figures and previous popes.
All surrounding in the centre is a imposing obelisk which was actually taken from Nero’s Circus and looks Egyptian rather than Roman.
Constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi, the baroque fountain pays tribute to the Roman God Neptune who can be seen riding his chariot pulled by Tritons.
The fountain underwent an extensive, mutlimillion euro restoration and reopened in its full splendor in November 2015.
It has become a tradition to throw coins into the water with your right hand over your left shoulder for good luck.
The Spanish Steps
Fascinating in its contradictions, the Piazza di Spagna is both democratic and home to the city’s fanciest boutiques on Via dei Condotti, Rome’s legendary shopping street. Climb the famous steps leading to reach both the Trinità dei Monti church and piazza to admire Bernini’s ship-shaped fountain from above. The 135 Spanish Steps were constructed in 1725 to span the gap and slope between these two popular squares and get their name from the nearby Embassy of Spain.
BONUS – Pantheon
Though the name refers to a temple for all the gods, the Pantheon is actually the burial place of Rome’s kings and other prominent figures, including Raphael. The temple was built between 118 and 128 A.D. by emperor Hadrian on the site of an older temple which was commissioned by Agrippa. 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.