Top 10 Places To Visit In Rome

  • Post by: Apoorva Shetty
  • Mar 11, 2020
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Top 10 Places To Visit In Rome

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble”

- Augustus, Roman emperor

1) Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hills

 💳 €14 | 🕑 3.5 hrs

What is it?

The Colosseum was an indoor amphitheater. Built between 70-80 AD the first question that pops in the head is – How in the world did they manage to build something this huge back then?? The structure has four stories with the first three stories having eighty arches each. This ivory white stunner was built by a dude named Vespasian in AD 72 and was finished in AD 80 by his heir Titus. The Colosseum served as a meeting place for Romans to come together and watch events like Gladiator fights, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on mythology. It could hold around 50,000 – 80,000 spectators at once. An earthquake in the 13th century is the main reason for the ruptured structure.
The Roman Forum was the commercial and political center of Rome back in the days. A bustling market place, it served as a plaza hosting temples, important buildings and was the heart of the city.
Palatine Hills is in the center of the seven hills on which Rome sits, making it the hot-shot neighborhood where the wealthy built their homes and palaces. Of the ruins left behind, you can still imagine the luxurious villas that once stood tall. Thanks to the hills height you get an amazing top view of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum from here.

What to expect?

Colosseum will sure mesmerize you. I am not somebody who gets blown away by architecture but Colosseum managed to do that! Please make sure you take some kind of audio tour because the place has too many details and you will be satisfied when you can connect the dots. Rick’s narration took us through the glorious history of the Colosseum, its structural details, imaginary Gladiator fights, animal-human fights, executions and what not! It withdrew me back in time and I almost felt like I’d viewed a live gladiator fight and saw the King seated right at the front with the 7 virgins in the opposite deck and spectators echoing their favorite gladiators name!

How to get there?
Metro : Hop on Metro Line B and get down in the stop “Colosseo”
Bus : The nearest bus station is also called “Colosseo”.
Bus numbers : nMB,51,75,85 and 87 would get you here!
Ticket Links: I would highly recommend buying your tickets online. The queue can get pretty crazy if you plan to buy the ticket on the spot with wait time as high as an hour. Best to buy the normal ticket costing €14 without the audio guide. There are multiple freely downloadable audio guides available. The one we used was by Rick-Steve . The €14 ticket gets you one time access to all three monuments in the title. We bought ours from CoopCulture . Print out not required. Just carry it along in your device and zoom right through the frantically long line!

2) Pantheon

 💳 Free | 🕑 1 hr

What is it?

The Pantheon was an ancient Roman temple dedicated to all Roman Gods. The word Pantheon literally means ” all the gods of a people or religion collectively “. Before Christianity, the people of Italy believed in Polytheism ,meaning they worshiped multiple Gods and even spirits.Hence the presence of so many statues making it a pagan temple. The temple was later converted to a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and martyrs.

What to expect?

The present day Pantheon interiors is a church setting with statues of Roman Gods filling the niches. The architecture is quite intriguing. The entrance is a huge patio supported by granite columns. Behind this is the church built as a hemispherical dome. The top of the dome has a circular opening called the “Oculus” which is the only source of light for the church. And yes, when it rains it does pour into the Pantheon as well.

How to get there?
Metro : Unfortunately, no metro station is close by. Suggest taking the bus.
Bus : The nearest bus stop is “Rinascimento”. Bus Numbers : 70, 81, 87, 492, 628, n70 and n913 would get you here!

3) Trevi Fountain

 💳 Free | 🕑 1 hr

What is it?

A fountain built at the intersection of three streets, hence the name “tre” (Three) “vie” (streets). It is Italy’s largest fountain standing 85 feet high and 161 feet across. At the center is the statue of Oceanus, god of the sea. He is seen standing on a chariot pulled by two sea-horses. The horse on the left is calm while the one on the right is wild, depicting the true nature of the sea.

What to expect?

I must warn you that it gets pretty crowded in the evenings. Plan to go here before 5pm and you should be able to enjoy some good pictures without others unintentionally photo bombing you from all directions! The fun element of the fountain is its custom of coin throwing. Millions of tourists rush to this fountain each year to throw coins in the hope that good luck come their way. It is believed that if you throw one coin into the fountain you would go back to Rome someday, two coins and you would enjoy romance with a Roman boy/girl and three coins would get you married to him/her! Well since I was already married when I visited the fountain, I threw one coin! Let’s see when I next meet Oceanus and his horses!

How to get there?
Metro : Hop on Metro Line A and get down in the stop “Repubblica”
Bus : The nearest bus station is also called “Repubblica” .
Bus numbers : n5,n8,n11 would get you here!

4) Altar Of The Fatherland

 💳 No Ticket for entrance. (Ticket of €7 can be bought at the entrance only if you want to use the elevator to get to the terrace) | 🕑 1 hr

What is it?

This gigantic marble edifice was built in the honor of unified Italy’s first king Victor Emmanuel II. Italy for a very long time was not a singular country, but an amalgamation of numerous smaller chunks of land controlled by various leaders and foreign emperors. Thanks to some well received campaigns and deserving figureheads, in the middle of the 18th century a gradual unification of the country came into being. Right at the center of the monument is a bronze statue of Victor on a horseback. Inside there is the museum of Italian Unification displaying its history, huge staircase on either side that leads to an enormous terrace and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There are also two crystal elevators that take you to the terrace.

What to expect?

This place is not a favorite among the Italians and is often mocked for its pretentious architecture and for being very different from other Roman monuments. Right from the striking white color to the design of the structure its unlike any other you will see in Italy. I personally loved the enormity of this place and intricate statues that it hosts! One cannot miss spotting it from the road from numerous adjacent areas. Its not so crowded even during the peak seasons so you can visit anytime of the day. I am not a huge fan of museums so would not say the museum is something you cannot miss. The terrace sure gives a great panoramic view of the city!

How to get there?
Metro : Hop on Line A and get off the station “Spagna”.
Bus : The nearest bus stop is “ Venezia”. Many buses come this way.

5) Villa Borghese & Pincio Promenade

 💳 Free | 🕑 1.5 hrs

What is it?

Villa Borghese is known to be the largest park in Rome. It hosts several buildings, temples, fountains, a lake and acres of lush greenery. Pincio promenade is a viewpoint in one of the entrances of Villa Borghese area. You get to see a brilliant view of the Piazza del Popolo (People’s square) from here. Piazza del Popolo is yet another popular plaza in the city and is filled with eateries, performers and lots and lots of localities as well as tourists.

What to expect?

Rent out a segway for 10 Euros per hour and “segway” your way through these huge acres of greenery and wide roads. Not a lot of vehicles come around these roads and since the roads are wide, pedestrians are always along the sides – Perfect to go crazy with your segway and breeze through in top speed! We used the segway to check out this huge piece of greenery and then walked to the lake near Villa Borghese and had our lunch in the shade of the tree! Perfect place to just chill and reflect on the wonderful beauties you witnessed through the day!

How to get there?
Metro : The nearest metro station is “Barberini” of Line A, but this is far. I suggest you take the bus.
Bus : The nearest bus station is “Pinciana/Allegri”. Bus numbers : 52,53,63 and 83 would get you here!

6) Spanish Steps

 💳 Free | 🕑 30 minutes

What is it?

It is a set of steep steps that connects the Spanish Plaza ( Piazza di Spagna) and the Roman Catholic church of Trinità dei Monti, which was under the guardianship of the then King of France.

What to expect?

Expect to see a lot of tourists concentrated in this area clicking a lot of photos. There is a fountain followed by the Spanish steps which is further followed by the church. In one frame, all 3 of these together makes for the perfect picture! Just go there in the evening, click some fun pictures, enjoy the piazza and bask in the hustle bustle of this touristy spot!

How to get there?
Metro : Hop on Line A and get off the station “Spagna”.
Bus : The nearest bus stop is Trinita Dei’ Monti. Bus number 119 would get you here!

7) Vatican City

 💳 €34 | 🕑 5 hrs

Entrance to St Peter’s square and St Peter’s Basilica is free of charge. The Vatican museum along with Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel costs .
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Small-Group Tour including priority access to St. Peter’s Basilica - Tickets

Home to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope himself, Vatican city is a religious mecca.
The smallest country in the world, Vatican revolves mostly around its most famous square - St. Peter’s square. Let’s brush through some history at this point - St. Peter was the head of the 12 apostles of Jesus and is also traditionally known to be the first pope. Hence the square and the Basilica are named after him. Now within the square there’s lots to see - The square itself (a busy gathering space for all tourists/visitors), the Basilica, Sistine chapel, Vatican museums, Raphael rooms and the Vatican Library. The papal apartments (Pope’s home) is located towards the left side of the square and tourists are free to click photos of it. Parts of it (namely the Sistine chapel, Raphael rooms) are open to public.

St. Peter’s Square

Take some time to understand and appreciate the structure of this holy square. At the center of this elliptical square, is a tall pillar which is known to be a vintage obelisk on which St Peter was crucified. (An obelisk is a tapered stone pillar, typically having a square or rectangular cross section, set up as a monument or landmark). The marble lines and circle drawn along the square together with the shadow of the obelisk, doubles as a clock - Try figuring out the time when you are here! Beside the obelisk are 2 fountains at equal distance. Along the left and right side of the square are the grand marble columns designed by the great Bernini. Observe carefully and they are in the shape of an arm offering a hug symbolizing “the maternal arms of Mother Church” embracing her visitors! The square is the entry point and the visitors have to go through strict security checks here.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St Peters Basilica will definitely be the best church you would visit in your lifetime. The largest and holiest of all Catholic churches, it is the burial spot of the first pope St Peter. Built in Renaissance style, its architectural brilliance is unparalleled - Its dome is its most prominent feature and dominates the skyline of the Vatican City. It was designed by Michelangelo. Upon entrance you are first blown away by the extraordinary size of the building, the height of the vaulted ceilings, the colored marble stone imported from all over the world, the stained glass windows, and the collection of statues throughout the building. Immediately one spots the centerpiece bronze canopy (Baldachin) which forms a frame to the altar of the Basilica. In olden days, a baldachin was a canopy made of heavily brocaded cloth typically placed over an altar or throne. It was later replaced by something more stronger like metal or stone. Do not miss appreciating Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture - the Pieta, towards the right near the entrance (It signifies Pity or Compassion, and represents Mary sorrowfully contemplating the dead body of her son which she holds on her lap).

The high altar is again made of bronze. Spiral columns hold a canopy that covers the main altar in the central nave of the church. Below the high altar is the grave of St. Peter. High above and behind the alter is a gold gilded sun burst surrounding a small window that lets in the outdoor sunshine and is very illuminating and glowing. Similar to the Pantheon, the Basilica too has a cupola. Cupola is almost like a dome on dome (a mini-dome of sorts), through which sunlight enters the building. Visitors are allowed to climb the Cupola and I would totally recommend it! €10 by elevator, €8 by walk.

Often mistaken as the mother church of Christendom, St Peters is actually not it. Basilica of St John Lateran is the actual official seat of the Bishop of Rome and hence serves as the mother church of Christendom.

St. Peter’s Basilica : Fast Entry Guided Tour with Vatican official guides - Tickets

Vatican Museum

A history buffs dream come true - You just cannot miss this museum. It is a series of buildings and courtyards filled with mesmerizing artworks - from the old ruins of Egypt to the paintings from famous world renowned artists from the past. And of course the religious relics on their possessions with tons of history behind it. You walk through several richly decorated rooms (Raphael Rooms) that take you right back in time. So much to see in so little time. A lifetime in these galleries would not be enough to take in all its beauty, history, and culture.

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is at the end of the tour of the Vatican museums. The art pieces and the stained glasses are fantastic and well maintained. The paintings and frescos are out of the world. While in the chapel keep your head up to witness the most famous ceiling probably in the world - The Sistine Chapel ceiling! Its no joke to have a complete Wiki article dedicated to a ceiling - Such is the importance of it! With a total of 9 panels, the complete ceiling is a work of Michelangelo’s masterpieces and The Last Judgment behind the altar. You could spend a lifetime staring at the colors and drowning in its beauty.

How to get there?
The easiest way to get to Saint Peter’s Square is to take the Metro Line A to the Ottaviano “San Pietro” stop.
Metro : Hop on Line A and get off the station “Spagna”.
Bus : The nearest bus stop is Trinita Dei’ Monti. Bus number 119 would get you here!
Ticket Links :
St. Peter’s Basilica : Fast Entry Guided Tour with Vatican official guides - Tickets
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Small-Group Tour including priority access to St. Peter’s Basilica - Tickets

8) St. Angelo Bridge

 💳 Free | 🕑 15 minutes

A travertine stone bridge spanning the river Tiber in the center of Rome. It was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian to connect his newly constructed mausoleum Castle of St. Angel to the city. Unfortunately, The bridge is lined with ten spectacular statues of angels holding the symbols of Christ’s Passion designed by none other than Bernini. Each sculpture angel symbolizes a part from the story of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death by crucifixion. In the evening painters, musicians and other street artists along with dim lighting add to its charm.

Roman Emperor Hadrian had built the present day Castle of St. Angel as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The structure was once the tallest building in Rome

9) Palazzo Venezia

 💳 €10 | 🕑 1.5 hrs

Best known for housing the famous Italian dictator, Mussolini’s office. The balcony in the palace overlooked the Piazza Venezia and was used by him to deliver most of his famous speeches. Inside the palace, you can find many different items, from Renaissance paintings to polychromatic wood sculptures, tapestries, weapons, armour, and terracotta sculptures. Its located right opposite the Altar of the Fatherland

How to get there?
Metro : Hop on Line A and get off the station “Spagna”.
Bus : The nearest bus stop is “ Venezia”. Many buses come this way.
Ticket Link :
Skip the line entry to the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia : Tickets

10) The various Piazzas!

Piazza is Italian for a plaza! Rome and actually Italy in general in filled with vibrant joyful piazzas. Here are my top 2 faves from Rome -

Piazza Navona

Famous Baroque styled vibrant complex in Rome. It has three fountains, a couple of churches, intricate sculptures and is lined with pretty eateries. It is popular among musicians and artists. Good spot to grab some lip smacking breakfast.

Campo de' Fiori

One of the main squares of Rome and was frequented by historic figures. Public executions took place here. By day it hosts one of the city’s best-known markets; by night it transforms to a lively meeting place with its bars and restaurants, musicians and street artists. Stop here to have a scrumptious Italian lunch.


📌 Use the below interactive map for directions:

✔ Clicking the top right button opens the map in a new tab showing the different sections. Click on view map legend if browsing on phone
Save the map in your Google Maps for easy access later: Click the ⭐star button beside the name of the map. You can access the map later from Google Maps > Saved > Maps

Buon Viaggio! :)
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