Top 20 things to do in Rome

When in Rome, do as the Romans do and see the top 20 things to do in Rome

Top 20 things to do in Rome

As a more than two and a half thousand year old city, Rome is filled with places of historical importance. The city was not only the capital and central part of the Roman Empire, but a major city throughout history. This was especially so during the Renaissance era and even during the World Wars. As the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, it also serves as a hub for christians. Even today, Rome is one of the most populated cities in Europe, and the city preserved most of its original glory and the historical buildings. For there reasons, the city is very famous as a tourist spot. Without further ado, here are the top 20 things to do and things to do in Rome.

  1. Colosseum
    We can’t start this list without mentioning one of the most inonic places in Rome, the Colosseum. This amphitheatre was built almost two thousand years ago and has become a synonym for Rome itself, as a symbol of the city and its history. The structure was used for regular peformances, gladiatoral contests (sometimes with animals), and even for execution. The building was damaged by both stone robbers and earthquakes throughout the years, but most of it is still intact, and a hugely popular attraction for tourists.
2. Trastevere
Travel guides often recommend the district of Trastevere as must see location for those who want to see the city in its original glory, and see where and how the Romans lived on these narrow and cobbled streets. Pubs and restaurants are also available here for those who want to stay for just a bit longer, and enjoy the experience.
3. Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Trastevere also houses one of the oldest churces in Rome, the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The church is a beautiful place to see in Rome for both religious and non-religious visitors, and the square infront of it is a centre for nightlife as well.
4. Janiculum
The Janiculum (or Gianicolo) is a hill in the western parts of Rome. The hill is worth visiting for anyone who wants to see the city from a higher point of view. Whether it’s day or night, it’s always a good place to just relax and take in the scenery of Rome.
5. Galleria Borghese
Galleria Borghese is actually not only a museum, but a villa as well. It was once the villa of of the Borghese family, but now it is used mainly as a gallery for the collection of the family. The collection includes sculptures and painting, among other works of art. The villa is worth seeing from both inside and outside thanks to its beauty.
6. Villa Borghese gardens
If you are at the Villa Borghese, or you are just not interested in that kind of art, you should see the surrounding gardens. It is a large public park with old structures and spectacular greenery in all its parts, especially around its lake. A replica of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre can also be found in the gardens.
7. Spanish Steps
While most people don’t like climbing steps, the climbing of the Spanish Steps is high on the list of things to do in Rome for every traveler. It’s not just that the view from the top is pretty, but the steps themselves are worth seeing at least once, if not climbing it as well. It’s often used as a place for public gathering and by those who want to relax, sitting down on these steps.
8. Capitoline Hill
The Capitoline Hill is not only famous for the museum found there, but the square itself as well, called the Piazza del Campidoglio. The spectacular marking on the ground of the square was designed by the well known artist and architect, Michelangelo himself. The square is worth seeing both day and night.
9. Capitoline Museums
The Capitoline Museums was the first museum in the world that became public. The collection consists of many ancient Roman artifacts, such as sculptures, paintings and inscriptions. It is also famous for being the location of the bronze sculpture of the Capitoline Wolf, the mythical wolf that nursed the twin founders of Rome, Romolus and Remus, according to legend. If you want to read about the myth, you can find it here.
10. Appian Way
All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes, and it is the same with the Appian Way, a strategically important road for Rome, as it connected the city with the southern parts of Italy. The cobbled road also served as the ground for the crucifixion of the famous Spartacus, the ex-gladiator who became a slave and lead a revolt against the Romans. The road today is left mostly the same, and its a must-see for those that enjoy walking, as the road and the monuments along it provide a relaxing experience.
11. Aurelian Walls
The great Aurelian Walls, as the name suggests, were built to protect the city from territorial attacks. The long walls encompass Rome entirely, and provided a fortified safety for the population. The walls can be climbed at some parts, but it is a wonderful sight both inside and outside.
12. Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus was a site for chariot racing, a very popular type of entertainment for the ancient Romans. The stadium grounds were at least six hundred meters long, and could provide entertainment for over 150 thousand people. Unfortunately, after the Roman Empire it fell into decay, and most of its stones were used up for other buildings. The site, however, still remains and parts of it still resembe the way it once looked. It is now used as a park and a location for meetings and concerts.
13. Trevi Fountain
As one of the most famous fountains in the world, the Trevi Fountain is popular among the things to do in Rome. This beautiful fountain was built in a baroque style with sculptures, a papal coat of arms and other wonderful architecture. Just like with many famous fountains in the world, it’s a popular custom to throw coins in the fountain. It is supposed to be thrown with the right hand over one’s left shoulder. Around 3000 thousand euros are thrown in the fountain daily, which are then used to help the needy.
14. Pantheon
The Pantheon was once a Roman temple, but it’s not used as a church. It is regarded as a wonderful building due to its seemingly perfect proportions, especially for its time. It was very well preserved, probably because it was used throughout history. The dome also has a central opening to the sky.
15. Piazza Navona
Once the site of a stadium where athletic games were held, the Piazza Navona is now a square in Rome. People come here to drink coffee and watch street performers, which resembe the original purpose of the location in a way. Large monuments can also be found here.

16. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was once one of  the most important gathering places for the Roman citizens. Although the place is mostly in ruins, the structures original purposes can be guessed. There are lots of other buildings that surround the central area as well, such as shrines and governmental buildings. Visiting place is free of charge, which gives even more reason to see it, next to its ancient glory.

17. Campo de’ Fiori
The Campo de’ Fiori is both a square and a big market. It is a popular place for gatherings and to eat at the local restaurants. Trying out some of the Italian food there is highly recommended. Souvenirs can also be bought here for those that want to take some of them home.
18. St. Peter’s Basilica
Arguably one of the most important things to do in Rome. The St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican city itself is a must-see location, even for non-religious people. This place is the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church, and Christianity itself. It is the residence of the pope and for that pilgrimage to this place is just as frequent as tourism. The square infront of the basilica and the building itself provide a wonderful scene.
19. Vatican Museums
As part of the the Vatican City, the Vatican Museum is for the collection of art that the Popes gathered throughout the years, with a huge number of renaissance paintings. There around seventy thousand works here, of which twenty thousand are on display. A great number of people work here, both scholars and those working on restoration.
20. Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is the most well known part of the Vatican City. It is an important place of the papal activity, and his residence as well. The most famous part of the chapel is its ceiling which was painted by Michelangelo himself. Paintings like The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment can be found here.
If you want to see other holy places, check out our collection of holy mountains. Or if you want to see other ancient cities, check this link.