As Italy's capital city, Rome brims with historical and architectural wonders. Modern life thrives next to ancient ruins, monuments and evocative palaces. Historical landmarks can be found just about wherever you look, and a day out in the city isn't enough to cover all.
Don't miss Rome's most iconic landmark, the ancient gladiatorial arena known as the Colosseum. Other wonders include St. Peter's Basilica and, home of Michelangelo's most beautiful frescos, the Sistine Chapel. Grand sites are linked by streets lined with cafés, gelaterias and trattorias. Add colourful shopping streets and open markets, and you have more reasons to add Rome to your bucket list.
The ColosseumDiscover Ancient Rome's Gladiatorial Arena
The Colosseum is one of Rome's most imposing landmarks. As the Roman Empire's largest amphitheater, its magnificence still invites awe today. It's around 20 minutes' drive southeast from the Vatican. You can opt for guided tours that'll take you through its vast arena, and explore the trapdoors and passages that transported props and wild beasts into the lethal battlegrounds. Come early morning before the crowds do. To skip the usually long queues, get a joint ticket (around €12) at Palatine Hill, which also includes access to the Roman Forum.
- Opening Hours: Daily: from 8:30am to 4:30pm
- Location: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, Roma RM, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 39967700
St. Peter's BasilicaReceive a Blessing from the Pope at Sunday Morning Mass
St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) is one of the Vatican's most recognizable landmarks. Its grand, Renaissance-style architecture features an imposing dome and towering columns topped by 13 statues of Jesus and the apostles. Come on a Wednesday to hear blessings from the Pope during the Papal Audiences. Tickets are required but at no cost. Climb up the 320 steps to the dome top for amazing views over Rome's skyline. Avoid wearing shorts and tops with bare shoulders.
- Opening Hours: Daily: from 8am to 6pm
- Location: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 6982
Sistine ChapelAdmire Michelangelo's Fresco Masterpieces
The Sistine Chapel is one of Vatican City's most significant landmarks. Its home to Michelangelo's most beautiful 16th century ceiling frescos. Inside, look up and admire The Creation of Adam, which took around 4 years to finish. The Sistine Chapel's northern, eastern, and southern walls feature more impressive frescoes by notable Renaissance artists, such as Botticelli, Perugino, and Signorelli.
Full entry tickets to the chapel and the Vatican Museums are from €17. Enter the Sistine Chapel through Piazza San Pietro, so you can visit St. Peter's Basilica afterwards.
- Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday: from 9am to 4pm (closed on Sunday)
- Location: Citta del Vaticano 1, 00120 Vatican City, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 6988 4676
Vatican MuseumsExplore One of the World's Largest Museums
The Vatican Museums house some of the world's most important Renaissance masterpieces, with over 50 galleries housing significant works by the likes of Da Vinci, Raphael, Bellini, Titian, and Caravaggio. Even at the end of your tour, you can enjoy an impressive walk down the famous Bramante 'double helix' staircase inside Pio Clementino Museum.
The Museums are closed on Sunday, except on each last Sunday of the month when you can enjoy free access - including to the Sistine Chapel.
- Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday: from 9am to 4pm
- Location: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 6988 4676
Roman ForumWalk Through Crumbling Ruins of Ancient Rome
Excavated in the 18th century, the Roman Forum features 10 acres of ancient ruins that bear silent witness to the historical hub of the Roman Empire. The most impressive is the Temple of Saturn, which dominates the skyline. You can also find a series of basilicas with gigantic columns, surrounded by beautiful sculpture gardens.
The Roman Forum is a 10-minute walk from the Colosseum, and you can combine it with a trip to Palatine hill. Sightseeing by Segway can be a great option (for around €80).
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm
- Location: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 0608
The PantheonVisit Raphael's Tomb
As one of the famous icons of Ancient Rome, the Pantheon remains a functional chapel today. This granite-domed temple is also famous for housing the tombs of some of Italy's most important figures, including High Renaissance painter and architect, Raphael. Renaissance sculptures adorn its altars. Check out the Fontana del Pantheon marble fountain with its six-metre towering obelisk in Piazza della Rotonda outside. The piazza is a great place to hang out, with street musicians regularly performing. Beware of pickpockets, though.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 6pm
- Location: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 6830 0230
Trevi FountainToss Coins in for Good Luck (and Even Love!)
Rome's largest Baroque water feature, Trevi Fountain, is a popular spot in the city centre. Built in 1732, it's almost 50 metres across and heavily adorned with sculptures of the Roman god Neptune and tritons. Serving as the fountain's backdrop is the magnificent Palazzo Poli palace. Join in the tradition of tossing coins in for good luck: with your back towards the fountain, toss using your right hand over your left shoulder. Come early if you wish to photograph the wide view of the fountain without the crowds.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours
- Location: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 0608
Piazza NovanaFall in Love with Rome's Most Beautiful Square
Piazza Navona is central Rome's most charming square. The piazza is buzzing with action all day and night with street artists and vendors amongst magnificent Baroque architecture. The Fountain of the Four Rivers, sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651, serves as the piazza's iconic centrepiece, while the Church of Sant'Agnese is the piazza's distinct backdrop. Dining here is on the pricier side, but can be great if you're in for the experience. The piazza is only 200 metres west of the Pantheon.
- Opening Hours: 24 hours
- Location: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Aventine KeyholeFind One of Rome's Most Unique Vistas - Through a Keyhole!
As one of Rome's seven famous hills, Aventine has a piazza honouring the Knights of Malta. It's a quiet neighbourhood filled with groves, gardens and ruins. Find a big green door here, take a peep through its keyhole and enjoy the famous vista that perfectly puts St. Peter's majestic dome in unique frame. From here, you can further explore the traditional neighbourhood of Testaccio, down the hill southwest of Aventine. Witness modern-day trade at Testaccio's market, featuring Italian fresh produce, including fruits and flowers.
- Location: 00153 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Gladiator SchoolGo Back in Time and Become a Roman Gladiator!
The Gladiator School of Rome is a one-of-a-kind school, aptly near the Colosseum, where you can enrol for a two-hour "gladiatorial boot camp". As a student, you travel back in time and learn the ancient art of sword fighting. You'll be re-enacting life in Ancient Rome, all in traditional costumes with belts, tunics, sword and all. It's a unique way to learn about Ancient Roman history, and accepts adults and kids. Scheduled fight shows feature members of the overseeing Roman History Group showing how it's done.
- Opening Hours: Daily: from 9:30am to 1:00pm
- Location: Via Appia Antica, 18, Rome, Italy
- Tel: +39 06 5160 7951
Campo de FioriExplore Rome's Vibrant Market
Rome offers exciting marketplaces where you can browse a good variety of stalls selling fresh Italian produce, such as cheeses, fruits, flowers and vegetables. Campo de Fiori is a great one to visit, which is a 5-minute walk from Piazza Novana. Sellers set up tents in the piazza, with the statue of Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher who was executed in the piazza, looming over. Most fruit stalls offer portioned and readily cut fruits that can be truly refreshing after your city walks.
- Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday: from 7:30am to 3pm
- Location: Piazza Campo de' Fiori, Rome, Italy
Artisanal GelatoRefresh with Something Cool and Sweet!
Don't leave Rome without trying a good scoop of Italian gelato. Rome's gelaterias each compete against each other by creating new flavours and recipes. They're a big hit during hot summer days. Creative blends and flavours range from honey, exotic tropical fruits, rose petals, and even Italian wines. Il Dolce Sorriso is among the popular gelaterias to head to. It's an authentic, family-run Italian gelateria outside Rome's city hub, and has won hearts for its good range of gelato and frozen pastries. Their traditional cannoli are to die for.
- Opening Hours: Daily: from 7am to 9pm
- Location: Via Torcegno, 41, Rome, Italy
- Tel: +39 328 030 9229