Summer is finally coming, countries are opening up again to tourists, and you are thinking about your next destination. If you are looking for travel inspo ideas, here we are offering you a city that has everything, from good food to art, culture, history, and breathtaking views. Did we catch your attention? Well, then keep reading to find out why you should book a ticket to Rome, Italy.
Why visit Rome during your holidays?
Rome is the capital of Italy and one of the oldest cities of the old continent. It is rich in history and culture, and you can taste the best Italian cuisine, not to mention those plates that you can taste in the one and only “eternal city”, as locals like to call the capital.
What to see in Rome
Rome has a lot to offer and it will take some time to see it all. Nonetheless, you can check the most important landmarks in a few days. Keep reading to find out what they are.
If you have never been to Rome, your first stop has to be the Colosseum. Located in the old part of the city, also known as Centro Storico, it is the largest amphitheater ever built during the Roman Empire.
Romans used the Colosseum for fights and games. Not everybody knows that it once had a system that allowed to fill the area with water to do battleship shows.
You can visit it every day from 8:30 am to one hour before sunset, which usually, during summer, is 7:00 pm. The entrance tickets are about $18.
While in the city, you should consider getting a Rome Tourist Card. It is a pass to most of the city’s attractions, and you can get a 20% discount on many others. Tourists love it because of the free skip in line entrances.
The Palatine hill
If you are into history and want to find out more about the founding of the city, you have to visit the Palatine hill. Rome was built on seven hills, and the foundations were laid exactly on this one by the twins Romulus and Remus.
Once you get here, you have access to an open-air museum because of the many excavations. As the first place where people began to settle, excavations on this hill have brought to light many imperial palaces and Domus, meaning the houses of the rich. Caves, frescos, and water gardens tell an ancient history worth knowing.
You can easily go to the Palatine hill by bus or metro, and if you plan on visiting the Colosseum, the Palatine hill, and the Roman Forum (keep reading to know more about this one), you can buy a discounted ticket granting access to all three places.
Ideally, you should reserve half a day to visit the Palatine hill. Tourists and locals love this place for its calmness, and a walk through history will leave you sweet memories of this Italian summer.
Foro Romano (the Roman Forum)
The Foro Romano is a rectangular plaza at the center of the city where you can admire the ruins of some of the most ancient government buildings. During ancient Rome, it served as the main center of life, where trials, matches, and speeches were held.
Excavations are still ongoing, and in 2020, archeologists discovered a sarcophagus and a circular altar. These findings make experts wonder how old Rome exactly is.
A good starting point for visiting the whole city of Rome is Piazza Venezia. In the square, you can have a look at the Altare della Patria, also known as the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy.
Just a few steps from the Monument, you can have a look at Trajan’s column, one of the last things to be built in ancient Rome. It was built following the victory of Emperor Trajan, and the entire column tells his story in 155 scenes and 2,662 figures.
After the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain is one of the must-see attractions. Located at the intersection of three streets, the Trevi Fountain is the largest baroque fountain in the city, and the best Italian architects worked on its construction in 1732.
As one of the most Instagrammable places in the city, you have probably seen pictures of people tossing coins. If you are looking for some luck, make sure to stand with your back to the fountain and then toss a coin over your left shoulder.
Did you know that Vatican City is not a part of Italy, but is a country of its own? Yes, you heard that right! The technical term would be enclave: a country enclosed in another country. Seems strange, but it is real. Italy has two enclaves: one is Vatican City, and the other one is San Marino.
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, and it has its independence and a population of about 825. The official language is Italian, even though Latin is largely used for obvious reasons, and the official currency is the euro.
While in Vatican City, don’t miss the Vatican Museum, where you can admire Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling masterpiece, and St Peter’s Square, one of the world’s most famous squares.
Not everybody knows that Vatican City has its little armed force known as Swiss guards. The main requisite to be part of it is, strangely, to be Swiss. People of other nationalities are not accepted.
And do not worry about passports and visas, you can get in and out of the country with the same visa and passport you are using to go around Rome.
If you happen to be in Rome on a Sunday, take part in the mass held by the Pope every Sunday. There are some events also during the week. To know what is going on, you can check the Pope’s website.
Piazza di Spagna
Piazza di Spagna is one of the most beautiful squares in the city, and just like the Trevi Fountain, with its steps and fountains, it is also one of the most Instagrammable.
At the side of the square, literature lovers can visit the house of John Keats, which now has been turned into a museum to commemorate the English poet and also his friend Percy Shelley.
From Piazza di Spagna, then you can head to Via Condotti, the most fashionable and luxurious street in the whole city.
As its name suggests, Castel Sant’Angelo is a castle, or at least it used to be. Built in 135 – 139 a.d., at first it served as a mausoleum for the family of Emperor Hadrian. Later it was turned into a castle and a fortress, but today it serves as a museum.
Castel Sant’Angelo lost most of its former aspect during the sacking of Rome in 410, but once the Pope took control of it, the place was decorated with some beauties we can still enjoy today.
Castel Sant’Angelo is separated from the rest of the city by the Tiber river, and at the time of construction, the Emperor also ordered a bridge that nowadays is only pedestrian. The bridge leads to the castle surrounding you in a multitude of statues depicting angels.
Castel Sant’Angelo is also linked to a series of legends. The most known holds that the Archangel Michael appeared on top of it to put an end to the plague of 590. It is exactly this legend that gave the name to the castle.
The Pantheon is even older than Castel Sant’Angelo, but it stands just as beautiful as when it was constructed. It used to be a pagan temple, but it was later turned into a Christian church.
The outside presents a series of columns, but the real beauty is once you step inside. The circular dome inside is an amazing view and at the center there is an oculus, a circular opening that provides natural light.
People visit it for different reasons, and to the list, we should add visiting the tomb of the famous artist Raphael and that of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy.
The best part is that the visit is free of charge!
Piazza Navona is really the heart of the historic center of Rome. Just on this square, you can admire three fountains.
For about two centuries, from 1652 to 1866, the square was flooded every Saturday and Sunday because of celebrations.
At the sides, you can find some of the best open-air places to taste ice creams or to have a drink. This is also the place where during Christmastime the markets are held.
Villa Borghese gardens
It comes without saying that Rome is a crowded place, especially during the summer months. If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, head over to the gardens of Villa Borghese. Surrounded by statues, temples, fountains, and nature, you will find peace and calm.
Some of the most interesting views are the water clock, the smallest cinema in the world (it was also included in the Guinness World Records), and the zoological museum.
Entrance is free of charge, and the park is open every day from dawn to dusk.
The beauty of Rome is not only on the outside, but also inside. Roman museums host some of the world’s most well-known works of art, and a lifetime would probably be not enough to visit them all. On a first visit to the city, the Capitoline Museums and Galleria Borghese are probably the best ones to visit.
Remember to check opening hours and closing days when organizing your visit, and consider buying fast-track tickets to skip long lines.
Campo de’ fiori
Campo de’ fiori is the best place to pretend to be a local, even if it is just for one day. This is another important square of the city, but the daily local market makes a difference. You can find the best local and fresh products, and some of the best bakeries in the city are located just around the square.
If you are looking for places a bit more off the beaten track, consider visiting the catacombs.
These catacombs are located just under the city and while some were known, others were discovered just in the last decades. At first, they served as burial places for Jews and Christians, but later they were also used by pagans.
The catacombs began to be used following the ban of burials within the city, and once the first corpses were brought here, the place was embellished with frescos and sculptures.
They cannot always be accessed, so it is important to book a tour well in advance.
A visit of the Eternal City
As you can see there are many beautiful places to see in Rome, from the Colosseum to Vatican City and Roman ruins. Although public transportation is efficient, you can also enjoy long walks throughout the city and discover it bit by bit.
In one of the many information points, you can also get a map of Rome.
Q&A – Visiting Rome
If you are thinking about visiting Rome, you probably have some questions. In this section you will find an answer to the most commonly asked questions.
When should I visit Rome?
Rome is a beautiful city that can be visited every time of the year. Of course, summer months are the hottest ones and also the period during which most tourists visit the city. The ideal period would be spring, when the weather is warm and there are not many tourists.
How many days do you need to visit Rome?
If you are planning to visit Rome, you should take 5 days. They will be enough to see the most important sites in the city.
Why is Rome a good place to visit?
Rome is a city filled with culture, art, history, good food, and nice people. You will have the time of your life if you decide to visit it.
How can I see the Pope in Rome?
The easiest way to meet the Pope is to participate in one of the holy masses. Not everyone knows that it is possible to be blessed by the Pope for an important event. You can write to the Pope’s office and after one month you will receive a parchment with the blessing.