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13 Must-See Rome Attractions: Best Places To Visit


The passing of literal centuries has left Rome with a magnetic charisma that manifests in many interesting ways. One of Europe’s most enchanting and impeccably preserved destinations, it boasts plenty of experiences and tourist attractions to take in. Even locals haven’t exhausted all the attractions in Rome! 

With so many delightful options, deciding what to do in Rome can be an overwhelming task. To help you make up your mind, we’ve rounded up the top 13 landmarks in Rome that travelers can’t miss during their visit.

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The Best Rome Attractions For Your Bucketlist

The Colosseum

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza del Colosseo, 1. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
🤑 Ticket Price €18 per person
⏰ Suggested Duration 1-3 hours

The Colosseum is the perfect starting point for travelers seeking to delve into Rome’s deep and heroic history.

Known for its architectural grandeur, this massive oval amphitheater — the largest ancient amphitheater ever built — was erected almost 2,000 years ago under the rule of emperor Vespasian, sometime between 70 and 72 CE, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor, Titus.

A massive freestanding structure made of travertine limestone, concrete, and volcanic rock, the Colosseum had a seating capacity for some 50,000 spectators.

In ancient times, it used to host gruesome combats between gladiators, animal hunts, public executions, and reenactments of famous battles.

Still, to the present day, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, and a guided tour of this spectacular amphitheater will take you to dive deep into its history.

You’ll discover some striking features, such as the outer wall made of travertine marble, the arena floor, where gladiator fights were held, and the underground tunnels where gladiators and wild animals were engaged.

Also Read: Top 5 Hotels Near The Colosseum

Santa Maria Maggiore

Rome Attractions - Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address P.za di Santa Maria Maggiore, 00100. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Takes buses 16, 70, 71, 75, 117, or 590
🤑 Ticket Price Free to visit
⏰ Suggested Duration 2 hours

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major or church of Santa Maria Maggiore is an ancient Catholic basilica considered to be the largest of the churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome.

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Perched on the summit of the Esquiline Hill, on the site where the Virgin appeared in a dream of Pope Liberius, this major basilica leaves visitors in awe with its 16th-century ceiling gilded with frescoes by Giovanni Baglione, and a gorgeous triumphal arch decorated with splendid mosaics.

Find Places To Stay In Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona

Rome Attractions - Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza Navona, 00186. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Barberini Station
⏰ Suggested Duration 2 hours

Built on the remains of the Stadium of Domitian, commissioned around AD 80 by Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus as a gift to the people of Rome, Piazza Navona is one of the city’s most dazzling squares.

This baroque-style piazza is dotted with three eye-popping fountains — Fontana del Moro, Fontana de ‘Calderari, and the spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers —, designed during the papacy of Gregory XIII.

Once a site where festivals and sporting events took place, Piazza Navona is now a vibrant square surrounded by ochre-colored mansions, and restaurants, making it one of the best places to visit in Rome!

Also Read: Best Restaurants In Rome

Fontana di Trevi

Rome Attractions - Fontana di Trevi, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza di Trevi. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Barberini Station
🔎 Guided Tour Starting from $13
⏰ Suggested Duration 1 hour

Every single day, thousands of visitors make their way to Fontana di Trevi only to toss a coin into the fountain.

But, aside from potentially granting wishes, this majestic travertine stone construction is also known for its unmistakable beauty that has dazzled locals and travelers alike since the 18th century.

Standing 86 ft high and 161.3 ft wide, the Trevi Fountain was built on the site of an ancient aqueduct that dates back to 19 BC.

It was designed by Nicola Salvi, in 1732, and completed 30 years later by Giuseppe Pannini, who slightly altered the original scheme.

The centerpiece of the fountain is Pietro Bracci’s statue of Oceanus, who stands atop a chariot pulled by sea horses and is accompanied by tritons.

There are also whimsical statues representing Abundance and Health.

Tip: The right way of tossing the coin into the Trevi Fountain is using your right hand to throw the coin over your left shoulder.

The Vatican

Rome Attractions - The Vatican, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Vatican City. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to the Ottaviano-S. Pietro Station
⏰ Suggested Duration 2-3 hours in the Vatican Museums

Religious and cultural sites, and some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces make a visit to the Vatican one of the top things to do in Rome.

The smallest state in the world by both area and population, the Vatican City is the center of the Roman Catholic Church and the permanent seat of the Popes.

At the center of The Vatican, in St Peter’s Square, lies the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica, which is the second-largest religious building in Christendom.

Erected during the 4th century over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle, and designed mainly by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the basilica is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.

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Other must-visits include the Vatican Museums and the otherworldly Sistine Chapel.

Here, you’ll see the breathtaking ceiling with large frescoes by Michelangelo, as well as wall paintings by Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Pietro Perugino.

Also Read: Best Hotels Near Vatican Museums

The Pantheon

Rome Attractions - The Pantheon, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza della Rotonda. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Barberini Station
🤑 Ticket Price €5 for adults. Free for children
⏰ Suggested Duration 1-2 hours

Travel back to the glory years of the Roman Empire while visiting the Pantheon, the best-preserved building from ancient Rome, compared to other Rome tourist attractions.

Said to have been created in 125 AD as a temple for the gods, this striking monument is a true architectural marvel, and definitely earns a spot on your list of places to see in Rome.

It has towering, monolithic Corinthian columns made of Egyptian granite, enormous bronze doors, and a dazzling dome that is almost half the length of a football field. 

Inside the Pantheon, there are tombs of notable personalities such as Raphael, the painter, and the Renaissance architect.

Also Read: You’ll Love These Hotels Near Pantheon

Roman Forum

Rome Attractions - Roman Forum, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
🤑 Ticket Price €18 per person
⏰ Suggested Duration 2-3 hours

One of the most famous places to see in Rome today, the Roman Forum was once the heart of the city.

This multi-purpose site is nestled between the Palatine and Capitoline hills and used to host public meetings, gladiatorial combats, and open-air markets in ancient times.

Not by chance, it has been dubbed the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history

While meandering through the site, visitors will come across a plethora of treasured ruins.

These include the remains of The Temple of Saturn, one of the more significant buildings of the Forum, and other surviving structures such as the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of the Deified Caesar, the Mamertine Prison, and the Curia (senate house).

Also Read: Amazing Hotels Near Roman Forum

Castel Sant’Angelo

Rome Attractions - Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Lungotevere Castello, 50. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take buses 23 or 40 to Lgt Tor Di Nona/Rondinella
🤑 Ticket Price €20.50
⏰ Suggested Duration 2 hours

Castel Sant’Angelo has been standing majestically on the right bank of the Tiber River, at the end of Ponte Sant’Angelo, for almost 2000 years. 

This cylindrical building was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family but has had several structural and architectural transformations throughout history.

Aside from its original purpose of serving as a tomb for the emperor, the mausoleum was later used as a fortress to protect Rome during the Middle Ages, as the pope’s residence, and as a prison.

Currently, it’s home to the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo, which plays host to sculptures, architecture, frescoes, and more.

Recommended Read: Rome 1-Day Itinerary: Top Things To Do

Arch of Constantine

Rome Attractions - Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address Via di San Gregorio. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
⏰ Suggested Duration 30 minutes

The Arch of Constantine is a massive triumphal arch commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate the victory of Emperor Constantine the Great over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312.

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Sandwiched between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, the Arch of Constantine is the largest surviving Roman triumphal arch and the last monument of Imperial Rome.

Recommended Read: Best Places for Nightlife in Rome

Villa Borghese

Rome Attractions - Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address 00197 Rome. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Spagna Station
🤑 Ticket Price Free entry for Villa Borghese Gardens
⏰ Suggested Duration 2 hours

Often regarded as the green lung of Rome, the lush Villa Borghese park was developed in 1606 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who wanted to turn his vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in the city.

Now, this idyllic park covers 80 verdant hectares dotted with a myriad of marvelous sights, including temples, piazzas, cinemas, and a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, in London.

No matter what your plans are while visiting Villa Borghese, be sure to visit the Galleria Borghese.

The gallery is home to paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Antonello da Messina, and Giovanni Bellini and sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Canova.

Recommended Read: Free Things To Do In Rome

Palatine Hill

Rome Attractions - Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy.

KEY INFO

📍 Address 00186 Rome. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
🤑 Ticket Price €18 per person
⏰ Suggested Duration 1.5 hours

Inhabited since 1000 B.C., Palatine Hill is the centermost of Rome’s Seven Hills and is considered to be the birthplace of Rome.

Located 40 meters above the Roman Forum, it contains a wealth of ruins of ancient palaces once created for the high society.

Some of the ruins you’ll see here include the Domus Flavia, built in 81 B.C. by the order of Emperor Domitian as a public and official residence, and the House of Augustus, the former private residence of Octavian Augustus.

Curious fact: it is believed that Palatine Hill is the location of the Lupercal (the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf).

Recommended Read: Vacation Rentals In Rome

Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps

Attractions In Rome - Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line A to Spagna Station
🤑 Ticket Price Free to visit
⏰ Suggested Duration 1 hour

After a day of sightseeing in Rome, head over to the Spanish Steps for a well-deserved break.

This gorgeous Rococo-style staircase of 135 steps rises up from Piazza di Spagna, providing locals and visitors with the perfect spot to eat gelato while indulging in show-stopping views of the city.

Capitoline Museums

Attractions In Rome - Capitoline Museums

KEY INFO

📍 Address Piazza del Campidoglio, 1. Get Directions
🚉 Getting There Take Line B to Colosseo Station
🤑 Ticket Price €14–16
⏰ Suggested Duration 2 hours

Dating back to 1471, when Pope Sixtus IV donated a group of bronze statues of great symbolic value to the People of Rome, the Capitoline Museums are the perfect destination for diving deep into the history of the city.

This is actually one single museum containing a group of art and archaeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of Capitoline Hill.

The site is home to an array of precious treasures, including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyck, and works taken from excavations around Rome.

Recommended Read How to Get From Rome to Pompeii: The 4 Best Ways

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best attractions in Rome?

What are some popular areas to stay in Rome for first-time visitors?

Centro Storico (Historic Center): This is the heart of Rome, and it’s where you’ll find all the major sights, like the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. It’s a great place to stay if you want to be close to the action. Additionally, here are the best hotels in Rome.

What is the best time to visit Rome?

Shoulder seasons (April, May, June, September, October, November). You’ll avoid peak summer crowds, which means shorter lines at attractions and a more relaxed atmosphere. You may also be able to find better deals on flights and hotels during these months. Check out our guide to know more.

What are the recommended transportation options for getting around Rome?

Walking is best for sightseeing in the historic center, while the metro is ideal for longer distances. If you plan on using a lot of public transport, a Roma Pass can get you free rides and discounts to attractions. Here’s a handy guide to transportation in Rome.

Can I explore Rome in 3 days?

Yes, you can! We’ve created a Rome in 3 Days Itinerary that will have you visiting all the city’s most famous attractions.

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