11 Best Things to Do in Rome, Italy

Rome is one of the most ancient yet admirable cities in the world. It has a very wealthy history that stretches over 2400 years, for it has been a Centre of culture, power, politics, and development since its birth. The inception of the city has been based on folk tales and legends. There are numerous different descriptions of how Rome came to be.

Different Roman emperors and Caesars have dominated the legendary Rome while, on the other hand, it is also the setting where the colossal Roman Empire lengthen. In the fullness of time, several religious places, monuments, and palaces have been built in the town, which now stands as magnificent tourist attractions that remind us of the city's eminent past.

Rome is the essence of European culture. Rome is popular for its beautiful architecture, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Colleseum. Visit the Pantheon and the Roman Forum to learn about history. They say Rome wasn't built in a day. This means that to see and experience Rome, you definitely need to spend some time there. And experiencing Rome could be one of the best things that happen to you.

Rome is a city that will take your breath away and win your whole heart over. The museums are filled with famous paintings of celebrated artists. Galleries, restaurants, and shopping districts are located in small, Italian streets. Cafes are filled with people who enjoy Italian coffee. Anywhere you go, you will be able to learn something new and exciting.

Rome is a very old city. It is rich in art and history. Painters, sculptors, kings, singers, and many other very meaningful and well-known people have lived and worked here throughout time. Rome is a modern city with luxurious hotels, designer shops, and many cafes and restaurants. If you are wondering on what to eat in Rome, there is no substitute for sipping cappuccinos in Rome. Foodies can also enjoy the delicious Italian cuisine at various restaurants. Seek help from travel guides to travel around the city and enjoying attraction sites.

Rome truly is an amazing city as it is the capital of Italy. It is simply one of those Italian tourist attractions that you can't and shouldn't miss if you find yourself in Italy. And the best part about Rome is that it is suitable for people of all ages so you can plan your dream family vacation in Italy. It is a great way to bring art and history closer to children.

A European metropolis with a very long history and many absolutely beautiful pieces of art, real treasures, either they be statues or paintings or edifices from the time of the Roman Empire. Even when you go around the city, there are impressive fountains which were made by top Renaissance architects such as Fontana di Trevi, Fontana della Barcaccia, Fontana delle Naiadi and many others.

Besides the fountains, there are many statues of Roman Emperors and in many places of the city, you see the acronym: SPQR = SENATUS POPULUS QUE ROMANUS, which means “The Roman Senate and People”, which was the emblem of the Roman legions. You really feel that you are in the era of the Roman Empire. It is a priceless experience.

Not to forget to mention the sights and the hundred-year-old buildings that you are going to fall in love with as soon as you start exploring this amazing city. Rome is also known for excuisite and high fashion trends. While in Italy you can shop for jewelry from the many shops in Rome like Losseliani, Perlei and others.

A city this old has an absurd number of interesting tidbits. Here are a few quickfire facts. The iconic Trevi Fountain has almost a million euros thrown into it every year. It’s also one of 280 monumental fountains and over 2000 drinking ones. Rome was home to the first shopping mall in 107 AD. Around that time, it became the first city to reach a population of 1 million.

Another city didn’t even get there until Victorian London in the 1800s - which is when Rome became the capital of a unified Italy. Oh, and don’t mess with the cats. They have squatters’ rights in Rome.

It’s a well-known fact that Rome will be packed with tourists at most times of the year. It's one of the world’s most famous cities for a reason. But it will serve you well to remember the dates of Christian holidays. Rome will be miserably busy at these times, so do your best to avoid those times.

Expect acclamation to skyrocket too. Mass is also held on Wednesdays and Sundays year-round, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. Per favore (please) and grazie (thank you) are two words you need to know before stepping off that plane in Italy, but don't stop there.

Learning to speak a new language goes beyond just vocabulary: it’s about being able to hold a real-life conversation with a local. Rome is massive and, whatever your interests, it will be impossible to see everything. Planning ahead will ensure you see your “can’t miss” things and help you find the best ways to do them. Paying a little extra to skip the queue is sometimes worth it too.

Accept that there will be some areas, sites, museums, or activities you're not going to tick off and enjoy your trip. Part of Rome’s fun is the atmosphere, and you're going to miss it if you spend all day every day stuck in lines.

Any visit to Rome is a history trip in itself. There’s only one place you can exit a cafe and be met with the intimidating shadow of the colosseum. The city is filled with ancient Roman ruins, renaissance-era churches, and basilicas. Absurdly, it’s estimated that only 10% of the ancient city has been excavated.

At the top of the list, besides the aforementioned gladiatorial arena, should be the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Spanish Steps, and the Roman Forum. If you’re a true history buff, you could spend weeks exploring the lesser-known sites in the city, and it’s physically impossible for us to list them all here.

Some incredible opportunities that you might not have heard of include enrolling in gladiator school on the site of a real one and some newly opened sites like the Catacombs of Priscilla.

Rome can be overwhelming, especially if you have limited time in the Eternal City. One of the best ways to get to grips with it is by jumping on one of the unique tours that run in the city. Of course, you could select a standard walking tour of the major sites, but why would you do that when you could sit on the back of a Vespa? If city life is getting a little hectic, make like a Roman and get out to the surrounding countryside. Dotted with picturesque towns and even more ancient ruins, the rolling hills surrounding the city could be the perfect respite from the busyness happening within.

Rome is bursting with sophisticated and luxurious hotels where one can rest their weary legs after a long day of sightseeing. Although no one will be feeding you grapes on a chaise longue, guests can expect the closest thing to living like a modern Caesar.

Okay, so the saying is usually, Pizza, Piazzas, and Palazzos, but we're talking food. Easily the most widely eaten food in Rome is Pizza. Romana Pizza is typically thin and crispy, in stark contrast to its soft and chewy sibling in Naples, owing to the addition of olive oil in the dough.

For a Roman pasta experience, grab one of the four dishes tied to the city: cacio e pepe, carbonara, gricia, and amatriciana. All relatively simple, all big and bold, and all wonderful. They all utilize sheep milk cheese, helping build a uniquely Roman flavor, and none should be missed.

They say all roads lead to RomeThey say all roads lead to Rome

This is the reason Rome is constantly being ranked as one of the best tourist destinations in Europe and the world at large with sites like Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon, St Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and a lot more. For first timers in Rome, here are some of the sites that you should visit.

1. Visit the iconic Colosseum

To start with, a trip to Rome would be incomplete if you do not visit the mighty structure and most famous and iconic landmark, the Colosseum. It was built between 70-80 AD, and its pinnacle was approximated to hold over 80000 spectators. It is also called the Flavian Amphitheatre. The palace can be easily accessed as it has a metro station close to it.

It is located southwest of the central train station. The Colosseum was used to hold boxing tournaments, games, and other leisure forms and would be from time to time present with the Roman Emperors. It is the greatest tourist attraction today, with around 6 million tourists each year globally. It also became one of the Seven Wonders of Modern World. You absolutely cannot miss visiting this place if you happen to be in Rome.

Often overlooked by tourists visiting the nearby Colosseum are the remains of the Temple of Claudius. Located literally across the street and due south of the famous amphitheater, the temple complex was initiated by Claudius's fourth wife, Agrippina the Younger, shortly after the emperor's death in 54AD.

After Nero came to power, he had most of the still unfinished temple complex demolished, and incorporated the podium into his massive 'Domus Aurea' (Golden House). In addition to starting work on the Colosseum, Emperor Vespasian also resurrected and finished Claudius's temple complex sometime between 69 and 79AD, and he and his two successor sons, Titus and Domitian, also began the long process of demolishing much of the 'Domus Aurea'.

Today, little remains above ground of the actual temple, but if you travel down Via Claudia, south of the Colosseum, you can still see the massive eastern podium wall of the temple complex to your right, including the niches where statuary would've sat when Nero converted it to a nymphaeum/fountain.

A large segment of the eastern podium was converted to a fountain and nymphaeum which drained into an artificial lake where the Colosseum now sits.

2. Visit the St. Peter's Square

Secondly, you cannot afford to miss visiting the iconic St. Peter's Square. Numerous important activities have taken place in this religious site. It is found in the Vatican, which is the smallest country in the world. The square is round, surrounded by two huge sets of an arcade with beautiful statues of different religious figures standing on those columns.

The sculptures are also of previous popes. In the middle of the square, there is a striking obelisk taken from Nero's Circus that resembles more like Egyptian rather than Roman. At the posterior of the square, your eyes will catch the sight of the renowned St. Peter's Basilica with chairs arranged in front of it set out for the papal events. You will also see crowds of people dying to catch a sight of the pope.

3. Visit the St. Peter's Basilica

Thirdly, the famous and most celebrated religious structure globally, St. Peter's Basilica. It is held as one of the holiest shrines of the catholic religion followers. It has a stunningly designed face ordained with statuses of the Apostoles and Jesus. When you go inside the Basilica, you will be amazed at the planning and ornament; it is regarded as the most stunning buildings in the world.

You can see and appreciate the good work done on the design. Individuals get to see a good aerial view of St. Peter's Square by climbing on top of the dome.

4. Visit the mighty Pantheon

Another iconic thing to do is to visit the mighty Pantheon building. The Pantheon, located on the Campus Martius, is the greatest surviving building from Ancient Rome (and arguably, one of the greatest man has ever built). Most tourists are rightfully awed by its spectacular domed interior and its grand pediment supported by those magnificent granite columns facing onto the Piazza della Rotunda.

But if you're facing that columned portico and take a short walk to the left of the building along Via della Minerva and look down to your right, you'll see the remains of a walled structure adjacent to the temple (that rectangular structure attached to the rear of the circular Pantheon are the remains of Agrippa's Basilica of Neptune).

This is all that remains of the Porticus Argonautarum (named after the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts), the western segment of a quadriporticus which once enclosed the Saepta Julia. The Saepta was a large open area where Romans traditionally assembled to deliberate before casting their votes for two of its constituent assemblies, the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa.

The votes were actually cast in a large hall to the south of the Saepta, called the Diribitorium, and were counted by officials called Diribitores. Conceived by Julius Caesar(thus its name Saepta 'Julia'), it was intended to replace an earlier, purely functional, wooden voting structure known as the Ovile, so named because it resembled a sheep pen(presumably no pun was ever intended?), and was possibly located on or near the site of the new Saepta.

The new structure was completed by Marcus Agrippa in 26BC, but was rebuilt several times due to fires, the last in conjunction with Hadrian's rebuild of the Pantheon circa 126AD. By the time of the death of Augustus in 14AD, the powers of the two assemblies had been thoroughly transferred to the Senate, and thus ultimately to the emperor.

Its porticos, once the place of intense democratic debate and deliberation, became luxury market stalls, and during the reigns of future emperors, the Saepta was used to hold athletic competitions, gladiatorial games and was even flooded to hold mock sea battles. Though now rendered politically irrelevant, it never the less remained a popular public meeting place well into the Imperial era.

It is the most preserved old roman building which attracts the world. The building constructed in 118AD by Emperor Hadrian, commissioned by Agrippa, still stands strong today. The site where it was built was earlier a temple. You will see a rectangular entrance with huge columns built in front of the building to commit Agrippa to the gable wall.

The inside of the striking dome is a neat series of rock patterns and a median trunk that allows light rays to pass through. Its central location makes it a true climax and a must-visit destination.

5. Visit the lavish Trevi Fountain

Lastly, a trip to Rome would not be complete without visiting the lavish Trevi Fountain. You know there are not many fountains in the world that are decorated as the one in Rome. It's a unique one and must-visit. It was constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi; tributes are paid to the Roman God Oceanus, who you can see riding chariots pulled by Tritons.

You can see how much work was done in the art of the fountain's front face, plus the details in the statues make it more beautiful. There is this tradition where it is believed that if you throw coins into the water over your back, you will get good luck; it is, however, tough to do so in front of 100 other tourists. You are likely not to pass this fountain as you tour Rome's streets because it is positioned close to the Pantheon and Quirincle palace.

The Baths of Agrippa, constructed in 25BC, were the first of the city's great public bath complexes. Built by Marcus Agrippa, Augustus's close friend, soon to be son-in-law and victor over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the naval 'Battle of Actium', the baths were located just south of the Pantheon.

To supply the complex with water, Agrippa also built and paid for the construction of the Aqua Virgo, which is still in use today and supplies water to the Trevi Fountain. Though destroyed by a fire in 80AD, the baths were rebuilt by Titus or his brother Domitian. By the late 6th century, the complex had been converted to a nunnery.

The majority of the complex still existed into the 16th century, but was continually mined for its marble and other architectural elements. Today, a small segment of the curved walls of the once domed rotunda, all that remains of the once grand structure, can still be seen on Via dell'Arco della Ciambella.

6. Museo Nazionale Romano

The Museo Nazionale Romano is actually a series of palaces each containing some amazing finds: the actual rooms of Livia, wife of Caesar Augustus (found, and then brought and placed), the Balbi Crypt, a Roman Mummy, stunning bronzes, the Baths of Diocletian and so many more.

7. Visit Castel Sant'Angelo

If you like castles or have kids or and want to enjoy an awesome view from the top, visit Castel Sant'Angelo! In summer, they open up the passetto - the walkway leading to the Vatican City - and you can get an extra ticket to the dungeons as well. It's pretty neat, and highly undervalued.

8. Trajan Forum

Only a stones throw from the much more popular 'Forum Romanum' are the remains of the later 'Imperial Fora'. One of these, the Trajan's Forum, is believed to have been designed by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, and it, along with Trajan's Market, were inaugurated in 113AD.

9. Trajan's Market

The market, with its giant exedra which cuts into the slope of the Quirinal Hill, is clearly visible from the Via dei Fori Imperiale, and was a complex of enclosed, arcaded shops. In essence, it was a very early shopping mall. But just behind the curve of this exedra is an intact segment of an ancient Roman street, now referred to as Via Biberatica.

This is the best preserved street from antiquity in the city of Rome, and its basalt paving stones and sidewalks can compete with anything that Ostia Antica, Pompeii or even Herculaneum can offer. On both sides of the street are original buildings, many with their second and third stories still intact, and their ground floor shopfronts appear as though they're just getting ready for the day's business.

In ancient times, the upper floors likely contained offices and apartments. Its believed that this street contained a number of taverns, thus the name 'Biberatica', from the Latin 'bibere', meaning 'to drink'. The north end of the street today ends abruptly with a modern brick retaining wall, above which today's Via Quattro Novembre bisects it, but buried beneath modern Rome.

It's believed the street continues on before diverging at a 'y' intersection. Via Biberatica offers a remarkable glimpse of what much of workaday ancient Rome must've looked like, and it shouldn't be missed!

10. Insula dell'Ara Coeli

The Ara Coeli insula offers a rare glimpse of one of the high-rise tenement blocks where the majority of working Romans and urban poor would have lived. Four floors of the building remain today, with the ground and first floors now below modern street level. However, the insula would have originally risen to five or more storeys in height, with rooms decreasing in size and comfort the higher they were situated.

This particular insula, which may have housed hundreds of Romans, would have had quite the dramatic location in the centre of the ancient city – directly beneath the sacred Capitol with the back end of the enormous Temple of Jupiter looming above.

11. Walk along Circus Maximus

Circus Maximus was a huge building in antiquity. There is a large field covered with grass. The contours of the landscape reveals that something was there once, but it is not there anymore. At one of the two short ends (the semi-circle) the seating is partially preserved, but the area is fenced off. Place this item at the bottom of your list of attractions in Rome.

If you wish to see a Roman circus (aka a hippodrome), there is a much better way to do it: go to the south of Rome. Go to Via Appia antica. As you walk along the ancient road, the monument will be on your left hand site. It is smaller than Circus Maximus but better preserved. There is much more to see here.

You can even send a postcard home from the Vatican post office.

Kalyan Panja