It is hard to pick just ten. There are endless sights to see in Rome and I highly recommend spending more than just two or three days in Rome. I happily stayed for six days and had a blast. I was lucky enough to stay near the Coliseum which I visited often. It was incredibly enjoyable to take a quick visit to the Coliseum before I went to bed each night. But now, here are the Top 10 Rome Attractions!
The Top 10 Rome Attractions
1. Trevi Fountain – The fountain is not far from the Coliseum and Forum. It is a gorgeous baroque fountain which has been featured prominently in several films such as Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. This fountain is very popular and during the day and early evening, you will have a hard time getting close to it. People crowd the fountain and won’t move their asses. Sorry just had a flashback. 🙂 However, it is worth the visit and a few bruises to your elbows. Don’t forget to throw a coin over the shoulder – I totally forgot. I blame the throngs of people.
2. Coliseum – This is THE place to visit in Rome. There is nothing else so impressive and awe-inspiring in all of Rome. The Flavian Amphitheatre started construction under Emperor Vespasian (of the Flavius family) in 72 AD and completed by Titus a decade later. It was built on the site of Nero’s Palace and the aim was to dissociate himself from the tyrant and to gain popularity by staging events such as gladiator battles and the massacre of animals. The Coliseum remained in use for 450 years but sustained damage in a lightning fire in 217 AD and an earthquake in 443 AD. Not long after, it ceased to be used for gladiator battles or animal hunts, possibly due to the rise of Christianity. The amphitheater soon was used for a multitude of things: a small church, a cemetery, housing, workshops and a castle during the next few centuries. In 1349, another earthquake caused great damage to the Coliseum causing the outer south side to collapse. Stone and marble were pillaged from the Coliseum for centuries and after the earthquake, much of it was used to build churches and other buildings in Rome. Even the bronze clamps were hacked out of the walls, leaving holes that you can still see today.
I will recommend a “Skip the Line” tour for the Coliseum. The lines are exceptionally long all day long. This way you get to skip the line and you get a tour guide during the tour inside. Do not miss the interior of the Coliseum – it is spectacular! There are many options online – Viator and expedia are two top choices.
3. Basilica of Saint John Lateran – This is the Rome’s Cathedral and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas of Rome. It was built in the 4th century AD under Pope Melchiade.
4. Museo Nazionale Romano (National Museum of Rome) – There are many many fantastic items to see at this museum. My personal favourite is the Disc Thrower – a Roman copy from the 1st century AD of the lost Greek bronze status by Myron circa 450 BC. The Romans made many copies of Greek statues and we should be quite thankful since most of the Greek originals have been lost. The Romans copied the statues in marble which was cheaper than bronze. This copy in the Rome museum was discovered in 1906 in the ruins of a Roman villa at Tor Paterno.
5. Roman Forum – Aside from the Coliseum, the Forum is other super amazing place to visit on my Top 10 Rome Attractions. It is situated right beside the Coliseum and it was the central area of ancient Rome. Commerce, business, religious affairs, justice, prostitution and all other affairs took place in the Forum. The funeral of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony’s famous oration took place in the Forum as well. This view was taken from Capitoline Hill.
6. Pantheon – This is one of the best preserved buildings in all of Rome. It is a Roman temple built by Emperor Hadrian after the Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa burned down in 80 AD and dedicated to the pagan Gods around 118-125 AD. The Pantheon stands today because Emperor Phocas gave it to Pope Boniface VIII in 608 AD and it was used as a church. Below is the tomb of Renaissance painter Raphael. Several Italian Kings are buried here as well (Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I).
7. Capitoline Hill and Museum – The Piazza del Campidoglio has several museums that make up the Capitoline Museum. A copy of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius is in the courtyard with the original inside the museum. There are numerous items in the museums from the Dying Gaul to the Capitoline Venus to a courtyard filled with fragments of the Colossus of Constantine. I particularly enjoyed posing beside his giant head and hand. 🙂 Below is the She-Wolf of the 5th century BC. This is a symbol of the city which dates back to the Etruscans with the twins added in the 15th century (Remus and Romulus – the founders of Rome).
8. Vatican including Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica – You cannot visit Rome without taking a trip to another state, Vatican City to visit the Vatican, its museums and basilica. Below is the magnificent Sistine Chapel, painted by the equally magnificent Michelangelo in the early 16th century and returning to add the Last Supper thirty years later. Funny, Michelangelo did not want to paint the Sistine Chapel as he considered himself a sculptor before a painter. His David statue is a testament to his sculpting prowess but he underestimated himself as a painter. His work in the Sistine Chapel is breathtaking.
9. Spanish Steps – 135 steps to heaven! This incredible staircase was built in the 18th century. This is another very busy part of Rome. If you can stop by at night, do so.
10. Appian Way – An ancient road in Rome that at one time, stretched 563 km from the Roman Forum to modern-day Brindisi. You can find numerous tombs in the catacombs on the Appian Way, another must-see on the Top 10 Rome Attractions!
There is the Top 10 Rome Attractions. There are many others you can put on this list such as the Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese and Museo e Galleria Borghese. Those are also great Roman attractions.