Ahhh Rome… the eternal city! The city of love and romance, of art, literature, architecture, monuments, history, food, gelato and wine. An ancient and authentic place, where you constantly step on history, a city on everyone’s bucketlist – if not, it should be.
Rome is one of the major tourist destinations in Europe, according to Forbes it is the 14th most visited city in the World. And there is probably no need to visit the city to know how stunning this place is, though who wouldn’t like to see it with your own eyes?
There is so much to see and visit in Rome, that it can be difficult to embrace everything in a short stay in the city. The main attractions are not often close to each other, and one must consider making a plan beforehand in order to enjoy the most of the eternal city.
As I have visited the city three times, I thought it was appropriate and probably helpful, to present 9 places worth your visit, how much time you will need for each, and some additional tips to make the most of out of them…
So here are 9 places you should visit when in Rome:
Constructed in 72 AD, the Colosseum is probably the most visited attraction in Rome. This amphitheater is the largest ever built by the Romans, with capacity for 50,000 people. Don’t underestimate the power and beauty of these ruins, from the outside and especially from the inside, you will breath pure history at the Colosseum. A must visit in Rome.
- Buying your ticket in advance, especially during the summer season, is highly recommended.
- For a deeper understanding of the Colosseum’s history get an audio guide.
Duration: 1-2 hours
Palatine Hill & Roman Forum
The Palatine Hill is one of oldest parts of Rome, where there are signs that people lived here since around 1000 BC. The remnant ruins of this place are incredible -where you literally step on history – and the view it provides to the city is simply unique.
The Roman Forum is located right next to the Palatine Hill. It used to be a place where elections, processions, public speeches, criminal trials and many other major public events happened.
- The Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum are located right beside the Colosseum, making it easy to visit all three attractions in one day.
- Be aware that this attraction requires a certain amount of time for a visit; it is like an enormous open-air museum. Don’t leave it for the end of the day.
- It is possible to buy a ticket that includes the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, which can be used during 2 days.
Duration: 1-3 hours
Castel & Ponte Sant’ Angelo
When crossing the Sant’Angelo bridge is already possible to admire this stunning Castle, which used to be the tallest building in Rome. The Castel Sant’Angelo was formerly the mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was also used by the popes as a fortress and a castle, as well as a prison, nowadays it is a museum.
- If you are not into museums or don’t have enough time to go in, taking a look around the Castle and the garden around is already worth the visit.
- Perfect picture spot: from the bridge Sant’Angelo.
Duration: 30 minutes -1,5 hour
Within waking distance from the Castel Sant’ Angelo is the Vatican, where the center of the Catholic Church concentrates, at the Basilica of St. Peter. At the same time that the Vatican is the smallest country in the World – with 0,44 square meters – the Basilica of San Peter is the biggest church in existence. Visiting this tiny country within Rome is a must, even for those who follow other religion beliefs or are not that into religion at all. Here it is possible to visit the tombs of the past Popes, and in certain days of the week, it is possible to see the current Pope giving his blessings from his famous window.
- Even being a small country, there are many things to see in the Vatican like the museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica itself, and more.
- To enter the Basilica and the museums it is important to dress appropriately, pass through a security check and show your passport.
- The entrance to the Basilica of St. Peter is free, but for the museums and Sistine Chapel you need a ticket.
- If the pope is in Rome, he always appears at the window on Wednesdays and Sundays. For more information about the schedule and messes click here.
- If you are in the Vatican on the 24th of December, you might have the chance to watch the midnight mass. There is no entrance fee for this event, only standing in line.
Duration: 1-3 hours (it really depends on what you want to see)
Located at the west side of the River Tiber – just above the Vatican – this hill offers one of the most amazing views over Rome’s landmarks. Here there is the famous statue of the Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi mounted on his horse. A quiet place to finish your day with a sunset over the city.
Duration: 30 min -1 hour
Fontana di Trevi
Probably the most famous fountain in the World, the Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and has appeared is several movies throughout the years. Apart from its history, it is a tradition to throw coins into the fountain: with your right hand to your left shoulder. It is said that you have to throw three coins, to each one you can make a wish, though one of them should be: return to Rome! So far it has worked for me… should I be looking forward to my 4th time in the eternal city?
- Enjoy your visit to the fountain to relax and have a gelato in one of the many options around.
- The fountain is beautiful at any time of the day, but somehow I find it at night even more amazing!
Duration: as long as you want!
The old town of Rome is probably the most beautiful one you will ever visit. Here you will encounter an array of restaurants and bars, squares such as the famous Piazza Navona, museums, souvenirs, painters and their wonderful art, Vespas everywhere, noise and people, stores and buildings that were built centuries ago.
Enjoy, but be careful not to get lost!
Duration: as long as you want!
Most people don’t consider visiting or even passing by this tiny island in the shape of a boat, which is located in the Tiber River. Tiber Island is one of the most ancient islands in the World, with more history than one might imagine. It used to be the temple of Asclepius – the Greek god of medicine and healing – constructed some time around 293 BC by the Roman Senate with the belief to make the plague go away. The island has always been associated with medicine and healing since then.
Duration: as long as you want!
Keyhole at Piazza of Knights of Malta
Also known as the “hole of Rome”, this is not an attraction normally among the top 10 of Rome, and most people don’t even know it exists or even how to find it. The special thing about this keyhole is that looking through the tiny hole, you have the perfect centered view of the Vatican. Some of you might remember it from the movie The Da Vinci Code.
- To find this place you need to go to this address: Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, 3.
- It is important to mention that it is only a closed door, there is no number on it and it is not possible to enter.
- Enjoy your time around this part of the city and contemplate amazing views over Rome from the nearby gardens.
- If you don’t mind walking, from here you can go by foot to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum.
Duration: max. 30 minutes (depends on the line… so go early)
Where to stay
I highly recommend staying at Hotel Rinascimento. It is a very well located hotel, within walking distance to almost all attractions in Rome, very easy access to transportation, right at the Centro Storico, with great rooms and an amazing croissant for breakfast!