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13 Top Things To Do In Rome, Italy

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    Jonathan Chum


It's hard to imagine a more iconic city than Rome. It's the capital of an empire that dominated the Western world for centuries, a place where history and art both physically and philosophically came together in one beautiful moment. And yet, even after all this time, Rome is still as beautiful as ever---and full of things to see and do. So here are our picks for what you should do on your trip to Rome:


The Colosseum is one of the most famous structures in the world, and with good reason. It was built by Emperor Vespasian in AD 80 as an amphitheater for gladiatorial games, animal hunts, and executions. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it remains one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions with up to 6 million visitors per year.


The Pantheon is the best-preserved building from ancient Rome and one of the most impressive monuments in the world. The beautiful domed building was built by the emperor Hadrian in 126 AD as a temple to all gods, and it was later converted into a church. Today it's open to visitors who can marvel at its magnificent architecture, including its huge bronze doors that weigh 20 tons each and its interior dome which is 142 feet high and 152 feet wide!

You can also see tombs inside that hold some of history's greatest figures: Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (who helped Julius Caesar win his battle against Pompey), Augustus's wife Livia Drusilla (who founded an orphanage), Marcus Cocceius Nerva (the first senatorial ruler after Nero), Lucius Verus' wife Lucilla (daughter of Marcus Aurelius) ...and more!

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum was a rectangular plaza surrounded by ruins of ancient Roman buildings. It was the center of public life in the Roman Empire and the most important place for political and religious life in Rome.

The ruins still standing include the Temple of Vesta, which housed a fire that had been burning since its founding; the Temple of Saturn, with an inscription that reads "to all future generations"; and part of another temple dedicated to Julius Caesar (the rest is under Palazzo Venezia). There are also remains from two other temples: one dedicated to Castor & Pollux (which had statues representing them) and one dedicated to Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger).

The forum also contains monuments such as Trajan's Column (a stone column 108 feet high) commemorating Emperor Trajan's success against Dacia; fragments from an arch called Arch of Titus commemorating Titus' victory over Jerusalem; inscriptions honoring military leaders who fought in wars against Gauls or Germans; foundations from various buildings like basilicas or libraries; columns used for decoration outside these buildings; paving stones used for various purposes such as pavements or flooring inside nearby houses

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a large, public square in Rome, Italy. It is one of the world's most famous squares and a symbol of the city. The piazza has been important throughout Roman history as the site of political events and cultural institutions.

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the oldest and largest Marian church in Rome. Built in the 4th century, it's dedicated to Virgin Mary and contains relics of St. Longinus, St. Helena, and St. Urban (the first Pope). If you want to get a sense of the history of Rome, this is a great place to start!

Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is a museum and park in Rome, Italy that hosts several important art collections. The gallery is located within the large Villa Borghese gardens, which were once a private villa belonging to Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1678--1744).

The museum houses a collection of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities from the 16th century onwards by artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, and Rubens. It also contains various Roman antiquities and sculptures collected by Cardinal Scipione over the years including some pieces from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli near Rome. The collection includes works from artists such as Bernini who designed its galleries for display purposes; Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Horse Tamers is one of his most famous statues on display here.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are a set of wide steps that lead from the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church.

Located in Rome's historic center, the steps are located by many important historical sites and provide incredible views of Rome.

The Spanish Steps were built in 1725 using money from King Philip V of Spain, who was then at war with France. The design was modeled after another set of steps known as "The Grand Staircase" in Versailles Palace near Paris. It is believed that the original name for these steps was actually "The French Stairs", but over time they were changed to reflect their current name (which you will often see misspelled).

There are many great things to do on these famous stairs including shopping or simply relaxing while taking in all of your surroundings. Be sure not to miss out on visiting here during your trip!

The Vatican Museums

As the most-visited museum in the world, it's no surprise that the Vatican Museums are a must-see for anyone visiting Rome. The museums are located in the heart of Rome and include many attractions, including:

  • The Sistine Chapel

  • The Raphael Rooms

  • The Borghese Gallery

St. Peter's Basilica

  • St. Peter's Basilica

  • The Tomb of St. Peter (in the crypts)

  • The Papal Altar

  • The Pieta (in the Vatican Grottoes)

The Vatican Grottoes are a series of underground burial sites that were used by various popes and other members of the Catholic Church from the early 4th century until 1960. In these catacombs, you can see some original tombs as well as beautiful sculptures depicting biblical scenes, including the famous Catacombs of Priscilla where you'll find one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions: "The Three Graces" sculpture made by Greek sculptor Praxiteles around 350 BC.

Visit the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum

The Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum are the three most popular attractions in Rome. They're also located right next to each other, so you can see them all if you have time.

How long will it take? You can spend as much or as little time as you want at each site. If you visit only one of these sites, be sure to leave yourself enough time to see everything there is to see in that area before moving on to the next attraction (or else risk missing out on some great photo opportunities).

How much does it cost? The Colosseum costs €16 for adults and €8 for children under 18 years old; Palatine Hill costs €8 for adults and €4 for children under 18 years old; Roman Forum costs free admission but usually requires reservations ahead of time online if visiting during peak season (April-October).

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

To ensure that you'll return to Rome, don't forget to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain. The legend goes that if you throw a coin into this fountain, then you'll be guaranteed to return to Rome again.

This fountain is located on Piazza di Trevi, right near the famous Spanish Steps. It's also just down the street from other historic landmarks like the Pantheon and Fontana di Quattro Fiumi (the four rivers). These landmarks make it easy for tourists to get lost in their touristic ventures---and no one wants that!

The best time of day is early morning or evening when there are fewer people around. All those crowds can make it hard for anyone trying not only to find space enough for themselves but also to do everything they want out there!

Check out the Vatican City

You're in Rome, so you might as well check out the Vatican City. It's the world's smallest state, country, and city-state.

The Vatican City is a city-state within Rome that serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Though it's not technically part of Italy---it has its currency and postal system---you can visit this fascinating place on your own or with an organized tour group.

Enjoy dinner outside at Piazza Navona

I recommend eating in Piazza Navona. It's a great place to enjoy dinner outside, as there are many good restaurants and cafes around the square. The area is very popular with tourists, so you can expect that you will have some other people sitting next to you at your table. The fountain at the center of Piazza Navona makes for a great spot for photos!


Rome is a wonderful city to visit and get lost in. You can easily spend days exploring it all, but if you only have a few hours then I recommend checking out the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona, and St. Peter's Basilica. If you want to enjoy dinner outside then head over to Piazza Navona where there are plenty of restaurants serving up delicious food!