Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

Are you going to visit Rome for a weekend or more?

In this article, I have gathered for you the best things to do and must-sees when visiting Rome: museums, neighborhoods, sights, attractions, monuments, restaurants and many more ...

Ancient monuments, churches and restored ruins celebrate the Eternal City's long history and offer visitors a magnificent glimpse of urban life during the era of the Great Roman Empire.

Here are the 10 must-see attractions we have selected for you, to make your visit an unforgettable experience.


The Colosseum ("Colosseum")

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

The Colosseum is a testament to the exceptional architectural skills of the people of Ancient Rome and offers a cultural insight into the era, which fervently celebrated the gladiatorial games in this monumental arena, built for spectacle.

The first bloody fight took place in 82 AD. AD, and was the starting point of a tradition of battles between men, but also between men and animals, in the heart of the public stands, welcoming crowds of up to 50 spectators.

Outside the building, take the opportunity to have your photo taken under the Arch of Constantine, built in 315 to commemorate his victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

To avoid long lines, you can buy your tickets in advance, they are valid for two consecutive days and also include admission to the Forum as well as the Palatine Hill.

The Roman Forum ("Forum Magnum")

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

In Ancient Rome, the Forum was the nerve center of city life, hosting festivals, celebrations, funerals, religious rituals.

The city developed around this grassy area, where the marshes extended until the 7th century B.C. BC.

The region then lost its splendor, falling into disrepair around the 8th century; it remained in this state until excavations in the early 20th century.

Today, you can choose to have a map with you for a self-guided tour of the many ancient structures and arches scattered throughout the area, or join other tourists for a guided tour, presenting a detailed history of the area.

Then climb to the top of Palatine Hill for a breathtaking view of the Eternal City.

The Pantheon

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

This Roman temple, dedicated to all the deities of ancient religion, is in a remarkable state of preservation, all the more impressive as it was originally built in 27 BC AD, then rebuilt in the 2nd century, during the reign of Hadrian, after a fire.

Later, after the abandonment of the pagan religion, a Christian altar was added, turning the Pantheon into the present Basilica of Saint Mary of the Martyrs.

At the end of the Renaissance, the Pantheon took on a new role, becoming the burial place of the greatest artists and elites of the city, for example the painter Raphael, and the ancient kings of Italy.

The architecture of the Pantheon has inspired other monuments around the world, with the tall columns pointing to the sky, its vast interiors and its impressive rotunda, through which the sun passes through the oculus, opening to about eight meters at the center of the dome ... .

The Vatican

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

Although it takes place in the heart of Rome, Vatican City has been an independent state since 1929, with its own flag, its own currency, its own stamps.

It even benefits from its own army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, charged with protecting the State, the Pope who resides there, the 800 citizens who live there full-time, as well as its visitors.

The first notable site is, of course, the famous Place Saint-Pierre, designed by Bernini in the late 17th century.

Provided your attire is correct (no bare shoulders, shorts, skirts above the knee), you can enter St. Peter's Basilica and admire Michelangelo's Pietà, a sculpture of 'nameless beauty and sadness'.

Continue to the rooftops, where you will discover a breathtaking view of the main square and the city.

You can also discover the Vatican Museums, which have true Italian masterpieces, including Michelangelo's painted ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

Piazza Navona

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

Rome is famous for its elegant and charming squares, filled with restaurants and outdoor cafes.

Perhaps the most beautiful of these is Piazza Navona, once the site of sporting events, which were held in the Domitian Stadium in 89 AD.

The square contains 3 large fountains, the largest and most admirable of which is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, built by Bernini by order of Pope Innocent X in the 17th century.

It has statues illustrating four rivers, one for each continent: the Danube (Europe), the Ganges (Asia), the Nile (Africa), the Rio de la Plata (America).

Trevi Fountain

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

According to the centuries-old tradition of travelers, throwing a coin into the majestic Trevi Fountain would bring good luck, of course in love, but above all it would assure the thrower a return to Rome, where he would find his coin at the bottom. of the water.

The throw must be made very precisely, with the right arm, with his back to the fountain, before leaving the village.

Even if you are not superstitious, don't be afraid to get involved in this coin tossing : the money collected (almost 2000 euros per day !) is collected and used in support of food programs for the poor of the city.

Once you feel you have mastered this art and believe you have fulfilled your desires, take some time to explore this baroque masterpiece, which depicts the god Neptune, guiding a shell-shaped chariot, led by an army of seahorses.

Borghese Gallery

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

The Borghese Gallery is as admirable on the outside as it is on the inside, and enjoys a prime location nestled in the vast gardens of Villa Borghese.

In the museum, you will discover sculptures by Bernini, including Apollo and Daphne, and David, his re-reading of the biblical myth of the struggle between David and the giant Goliath.

The museum's impressive collection also includes other works by masters: Le Correggio, Raphaël, Rubens, Le Caravaggio.

Your biggest challenge will be to get an entrance ticket. In fact, the museum only receives 360 visitors every two hours, so we recommend that you buy your place in advance.

The Capuchin Crypt

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

While some visitors may find the display of bones and skulls adorning its walls somewhat morbid, the Capuchin Crypt, located beneath Our Lady of the Capuchin Conception, celebrates the life of this religious order.

The friars displayed the skeletons of their deceased, decorating the premises with their bizarre poses with various ornamental designs.

Arranged in different settings, the bones illustrate curious religious art throughout the site.

They are sometimes grouped by theme, for example, in the Crypt of the Skulls or the Crypt of the Resurrection.

These creations will tell you the story of life, death, the return to life and show you a unique interpretation of the Church's teachings on good, evil and eternity.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

This fortress on the banks of the Tiber was originally built by Emperor Hadrian to serve as a mausoleum for his own family.

His ashes were thus deposited there in 139, and the site was the burial place of his successors, until Caracalla.

Over the centuries, this castle eventually outlived its original purpose. It served as a military fortress in 401, then became a papal residence, and even a prison!

Today it is a museum, where you can visit the various apartments, and where you can admire the statue of the Archangel Michael, which rises majestically above the terrace.

The Spanish Steps

Top 10 must-see sites in Rome

The Plaza de España is probably home to one of the longest and widest staircases in Europe. However, this is not what attracts visitors to this popular tourist spot.

In fact, an amazing fountain, created by Barcaccia, bubbles at the foot of the steps, while the church of the Trinity of the Mountains rises dignifiedly above the crowd at the top of the monumental steps.

The best location to enjoy the site is probably halfway between the fountain and the church: sit in the middle of the steps and admire the hustle and bustle of the city.

You will see people flocking to the luxury boutiques in the area, the activity of the designer boutiques and the many restaurants set up in this lively and dynamic sector of the Eternal City.

I hope this list of my favorite places gives you some ideas if you don't know what to do or see in Rome.

If you have other suggestions of monuments to visit or routes to take, let me know in the comments.

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