It would take more than one lifetime to see everything the Eternal City has to offer, so we’ve listed some favorite places and things to do in Rome that can’t be missed during your trip.
One of the most recognizable sites in the world, the Colosseum attracts over 4 million tourists per year. The 2,000-year-old structure which was used for gladiatorial combat, as well as public spectacles, remains the largest amphitheater ever built. It is also referred to as the Flavian Amphitheater because it was built during the Flavian dynasty in 72-80 AD.
The Roman Forum today largely consists of ruins and fragments of the past, but originally it was the teeming focal point of the ancient city. The Forum was not only a busy marketplace, but it was also the center of religious and public life in the city and was filled with temples, government buildings, and commercial enterprises. Development of the Forum began in the 7th century BC and it was abandoned after the fall of Rome in 476 AD when Romulus was overthrown by Germanic tribes.
St. Peter’s Basilica
One of the holiest sites for the Christian faith, the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, as it is so-named is one of the greatest examples of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. It contains the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ and the first Pope. St. Peter’s Basilica is best known for its enormous dome, designed by Michelangelo in the 16th century.
The Vatican Museums
Among the largest museum complexes in existence, the Vatican Museums contain some of the most significant classical sculptures and Renaissance works of art in the world. The museums contain around 70,000 works of art that were collected by Popes throughout the centuries. They are most famous for Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms (containing The School of Athens) and the Map Room.
Erected on the banks of the Tiber River, this cylindrical fortress was built by Roman emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family in the 2nd century AD. Due to its proximity to the Vatican, the tomb was subsequently used by the popes as a fortress and castle. It also includes a secret corridor that connects it to Vatican City and two popes used it as an escape route in the 15th and 16th centuries. Today the structure is a museum that offers a great view onto St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance.