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Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’ll need a couple to explore the Eternal City. One of the cradles of Western civilisation, Rome has a long and fascinating history. It has been the home of many historical “Greats”, from poets and artists to philosophers and emperors. There’s a lot of fascinating culture to discover in the Italian capital, so let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Rome.
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I’m starting with the obvious because you simply can’t come to Rome and not marvel at the Colosseum. It’s widely accepted as one of the seven wonders of the world, and it’s no surprise, really. In fact, it completely blows my mind that the Romans built such an impressive landmark in 70AD without the help of modern machinery. As you’d expect, the Colosseum has a fascinating history and no visit to the Eternal City is complete without a tour. Check out the top-rated options here.
The Vatican City is the world’s smallest country and, interestingly, the one with the highest levels of wine consumption per capita at a whopping 75 litres per year. It’s the global centre of the Catholic faith and has served as the main residence of the Pope since 1378.
Ornate and spectacular, you’ll see nuns, priests and Cardinals going about their daily business in Vatican City and you might even catch a glimpse of the Pope himself!
The Vatican Museums are home to thousands of artefacts from ancient Roman life. Meanwhile, you’ll have a chance to marvel at Michaelangelo’s famous Pieta sculpture in St. Peter’s Basilica and visit the tombs of many previous Popes. And of course, you must visit the legendary Sistine Chapel with its iconic ceiling.
The only downside to visiting the Vatican is that it can get extremely crowded and you might spend a long time waiting in line. I definitely recommend a faster than skip-the-line tour with reputable company CityWonders.
Another Roman architectural wonder, the Pantheon is one of the most oft-imitated buildings in history. Originally designed as a Roman Temple, the Pantheon is now a Catholic church. It’s one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Rome and it’s impressive interior is very humbling. History fans should definitely put the Pantheon high on their list of things to do in Rome.
Another of the best historical things to do in Rome, the Roman Forum was the city’s original city centre. It’s a plaza surrounded by the ruins of important government buildings from the ancient city, and it was once the centre of daily activity in Rome. Public speeches, elections, criminal trials and even gladiator matches took place at the Forum. Definitely don’t miss the heart of Ancient Rome, and why not combine your visit with a tour of the Colosseum?
The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most famous icons and arguably the most famous fountain in the world. I advise admiring the fountain early in the morning, since many crowds arrive later on in the day. You’ll probably get hassled by hawkers if you visit during the hours of 12-7pm especially, so why not save yourself the trouble and get some killer shots by going early?
Remember to toss a coin into the fountain and make a wish! Throw with your right hand and make sure it goes over your left shoulder. If you want to follow the tradition of throwing three coins in, make sure to toss each one separately.
Fun fact: on average over 3,000 euros are tossed into the fountain each day!
With its beautiful Baroque architecture, fountains and sculptures, Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s greatest public spaces. The square stands on the former site of the Stadium of Domitian where athletic contests and gladiator matches once took place. It’s definitely worth spending a while wandering around this picturesque part of the city.
A small, charming and quintessentially Roman restaurant, Il Panzotto serves up some of the best food in the city. It’s nothing especially fancy, just authentic Italian food made with fine, fresh ingredients alongside a small but stellar wine list. It’s perfect for those who want to try real Roman food.
Via Del Corso is Rome’s most famous shopping street. Located in the historic city centre and is home to many of the city’s most prestigious boutiques alongside popular international brands. If you’re in the mood for a whole new wardrobe, Via Del Corso is the right place for you.
Some refer to the Catacombs of Callixtus as the “little Vatican” because the tombs of many martyrs and 16 popes lay within. Eerie, atmospheric and seriously impressive, these Catacombs offer visitors a unique slice of Roman history and a chance to learn more about the city’s religious traditions.
Art is an inextricable part of Rome’s fascinating history. Therefore, a visit to the Galleria Doria Pamphilj is by far one of the best things to do in Rome. This gallery contains many masterpieces, including works by Raphael and many of Italy’s great artists.
For more on travel in Italy, check out this guide to the best hotels in Capri or the best Italian destinations for luxury travelers this summer.
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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