Once you see the Colosseum, venture to the Via Veneto, visit the Vatican and marinate in the history, art and architecture of the capital, indulge in Rome's la dolce vita. After the sunset casts its colorful glow on the Eternal City, romance fills the night air (take an after-dinner stroll with a loved one to Trevi Fountain or hang out at a surprising hot spot, the Pantheon).
Top Things to Do
- Wander the Appian Way
- Take a meander around Capitoline Hill
- See the Colosseum
- See the Holy See
- Marvel at the Pantheon
- Be Awe-Struck at the Sistine Chapel
- Toss a Coin into Trevi Fountain
- Relax in Rome
Wander the Appian Way
Walk the old road out of Rome on a Sunday, when no cars are allowed. There are numerous ancient things to see on this peaceful walk, that even children will enjoy. Tip: There are free guided tours of the Appian Way Park which start at 10am and 3pm from the Parco Dell'Appia Park Office.
Take a meander around Capitoline Hill
For the greatest visual impact, approach the Capitoline Hill from Piazza d'Aracoeli and ascend the cordonata, a ramp designed by Michelangelo. It is guarded at the bottom by two ancient Egyptian granite lions and at the top by two mammoth statues of Castor and Pollux, which were excavated from the nearby ghetto area in the 16th century.
See the Colosseum
One place all visitors to Rome simply have to see is the majestic Colosseum, ancient Rome's most famous monument. This was begun by the Flavian Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and inaugurated eight years later with a programme of gladiator games and shows lasting 100 days. Tip: Get your Archaeological Card to avoid waiting in the long queues for tickets. The Archaeologia Card is good for 7 days, and provides entrance to nine sites: the Colosseum, Palatine, Baths of Caracella, four National Roman museums, and two sites on the Appian Way. It allows you to save money and not wait in long queues to buy tickets. Purchase the card at any of the nine sites, especially before visiting the Colosseum.
See the Holy See
The Holy See, also known as Vatican City is probably the richest country in the world per square foot, all due to its astonishing collection of priceless art and ancient treasures. Don’t miss seeing it. Highlights are the Vatican Museums, Saint Peter’s Basilica and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. Visit this website for further information about The Vatican.
Tip: While the Vatican Museums usually charge an entrance fee, you can visit free on the last Sunday of the month. Also free is an interesting visit under the Vatican to see the excavations or a Wednesday audience with the Pope. Bookings are required and you are best advised to contact one of the local tourist information centres for details.
Note: To enter the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica all visitors must comply with the Vatican's dress code, or refused entry. For both men and women, shorts and tank tops are forbidden, as are miniskirts and otherwise revealing clothing. Wear a jacket or shawl over sleeveless tops, and avoid T-shirts with writing or pictures that could be offensive.
Marvel at the Pantheon
Another must see attraction is the famed Pantheon, one of Rome's most impressive and best-preserved monuments. The emperor Hadrian designed it around 120AD and had it built on the site of an earlier temple that had been damaged by fire. The most striking thing about the Pantheon is not its immense size, but rather, the remarkable harmony of the building. Note: Art lovers can pay homage to the tomb of Raphael, who is buried in an ancient sarcophagus under the alter of Madonna del Sasso.
Be Awe-Struck at the Sistine Chapel
"Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving" Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Rome, 1787. These words are very true and it is only you, the visitor, who will ever truly realize its meaning. Visit, see for yourself and be inspired.
Toss a Coin into Trevi Fountain
Certainly the most famous and photographed fountain in Rome, legend has it that whoever throws a coin into the pond will return to Rome. So don’t forget to do this at least once, to ensure you have another fabulous visit in store for the future.
Relax in Rome
Borghese Villa Gardens near the Spanish Steps and Gianicolo Hill, behind Trastevere are excellent places to take a break and soak up Roman atmosphere.
The Borghese Villa Gardens is a lovely expanse of parkland that includes a lake, city zoo, mock ancient temples, imitation medieval castles and Piazza di Siena arena. Enjoy lazing around under the shady trees, have a picnic, rent bicycles or row boats.
Gianicolo Hill bestows fabulous panoramic views of Rome and for children there is a merry-go-round, pony rides and a puppet show at the top of the hill, just off Piazza Garibaldi. Tip: For those who don’t like sudden loud noises, a cannon is fired daily at noon.