Italy has long been a popular destination for tourists from around the world, but this gorgeous country experienced a tourism boom last summer.
From June to August of 2017, nearly 50 million people spent at least one night in Italy.
The country has much to offer, including amazing food, a stunning coast, and a capital city known for its art, history, and churches. Rome is a must-see city for people visiting Italy, with its countless landmarks that are sure to impress any visitor.
Are you planning a trip and looking for some guidance on what to do and what to see in Rome, Italy? Read on for our list of the best places to visit in Rome.
When it comes to planning trips to Italy, the Colosseum is typically at the top of the list of things to see. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and one with an impressive history.
Built in the first century, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the entire Roman empire. During its inaugural year in 80 A.D., it hosted 100 days of games, including gladiator combats and animal fights. It’s estimated that at peak capacity, 80,000 people could fit inside the stone and concrete structure and witness the gladiators battle.
The Colosseum is easily accessible with a metro station nearby. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance or be prepared to wait in a long line.
St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica
Did you know that The Vatican is a separate country within the country of Italy?
At the front of this independent state is the iconic St. Peter’s Square, featuring an ancient Egyptian obelisk at its center and framed by two sets of colonnades.
St. Peter’s Basilica is at the far end of the square. The Basilica sits on the site where the apostle Peter was crucified and buried. The church is 18,000 square yards and is home to some of the most famous art in the world.
Begin your Vatican visit at St. Peter’s Square and join the crowds who gather to try to catch a glimpse of the pope.
The Vatican Museums
Continue your visit to the Vatican City by perusing the museums. The collection of artwork has been built by popes over many centuries and includes some of the most important pieces in the world.
The Museo Pio-Clementino, the Museum Chiaramonti, the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, and the Museo Gregoriano Egiziano collectively feature more than 70,000 pieces of artwork. Some of the most famous include Raphael’s Transfiguration and Caravaggio’s Entombment of Christ.
The Sistine Chapel
Within the Vatican museum complex, you’ll find the Sistine Chapel. The chapel is one of the most iconic religious landmarks in the world and is especially famous for its detailed ceiling artwork, painted by Michelangelo.
Most visitors find purchasing a dual ticket to see both the Sistine Chapel and the museums to be highly worthwhile.
The Pantheon was built in 126 A.D., but it is one of the best preserved Roman buildings. Initially built for the Roman gods, the temple has served as a Catholic church since the 7th century.
The circular building has impressive granite columns all around, but it’s the sizeable concrete dome that is its most famous feature. The Pantheon’s dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Inside, the oculus of the dome is open to the sky.
Visit the Pantheon in the center of Rome on the Piazza della Rotonda.
The Spanish Steps
The 135 Spanish Steps were built in 1725 to connect the Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinita dei Monti. The French funded the building of the steps, which linked the Bourbon Spanish Embassy (Piazza di Spagna) to the French church (Piazza Trinita dei Monti).
Locals use the wide stone steps and their surrounding stone walls as a gathering space. At the foot of the steps – in the Spanish square -is the Fontana della Barcaccia, a fountain designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. There are also many shops and cafes to draw in strolling tourists and locals alike.
The Trevi Fountain was constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi and pays tribute to the Roman God Oceanus, also known as Neptune.
It is tradition to throw coins in the fountain for good luck, and you’ll see countless visitors crowding the fountain to do this. The fountain is one of the most popular places to visit in Rome and is typically overrun by tourists, so it’s best to visit first thing in the morning or late at night.
The Trevi fountain is near the Pantheon, so you can make a point to walk by even if you aren’t able to get close enough to throw in a coin.
The Market at Campo de’ Fiori
Many neighborhoods have their own markets, but the one at Campo de’ Fiori is one of the best of Rome. This market is thriving with vendors every Sunday morning and offers the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Shop for fresh produce, flowers, and spices at the market and leave time to explore the surrounding cafes and shops.
This landmark structure was initially built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, but the popes turned it into fortress and castle. Once Rome’s tallest building, today the castle is a museum.
Climb to the top for stunning views of The Vatican and Tiber. Then be sure to visit the bridge of Saint Angelo, which creates a path between the castle and the other side of the River Tiber. This bridge is one of the most beautiful in all of Rome.
Plan the Perfect Italian Vacation with Our List of the Best Places to Visit in Rome
Visiting historic landmarks and seeing famous artwork are just some of the many benefits of traveling.
We’ve listed just a few of the top things to do and the places to visit in Rome. The city and the entire country of Italy offer much more than we can cover here, including delicious food and some of the best coffee in the world.
Whether you book your trip to Italy through a travel agent or on your own, you’re sure to enjoy the experience of a lifetime.