Rome, the bustling capital of Italy, is rich with a history that the entire world is familiar with. Add to that the mismatched elegance of the ancient monuments and the new buildings, vying for your attention, and you have one hell of an enigma on your hands. There is no dearth of things to do in Rome, Italy, for travelers who are willing to explore.
For history lovers, it is a veritable smorgasbord; for those in love with culture, Rome offers a thousand chances to indulge in; for foodies, there can be no place better than Rome for sampling the greatest dishes of Italy. The timeless beauty and grandeur of Rome is hard to find elsewhere. Needless to say, you need to go into its core to get an inkling of what the city has witnessed in all its years. Here is a list of the top things to do in Rome.
Roman Forum: Revel in the bygone glory of Ancient Rome
A sort of centerpiece of the city, the Roman Forum is an impressive archaeological site in Rome. A huge, sprawling area of ruins, this used to be the heart of the empire back in the day, full of grand temples, public squares, and basilicas. Full of history and nostalgia, visiting the Roman Forum is one of the most popular things to do in Rome. You are likely to spend almost the entire day here, if you really want to explore the place. Make sure to cover the Rostri Podium – where Mark Antony made his famous speech, the Tempio di Giulio Cesare – where Cesare was cremated, and the Tempio di Saturno, which used to be the state treasury.
Colosseum: Check out the world’s first stadium
The Colosseum has been standing sentinel to the city of Rome since the year AD 72, and has almost become the face of the city. This oval building is in irreparable ruins, but that does not deter tourists from visiting this ancient, notorious site, where gladiators were pitted against each other, and against vicious animals, for entertainment. It is estimated that over 400,000 people and more than 1,000,000 animals were killed over the 400 years that the Colosseum was operational. However, its dark history has done very less to dim its stark beauty or diminish the enthusiasm of the people who come here to re-imagine the times of glory. A detailed guided tour of this historic Colosseum is among the top things to do in Rome.
Vatican: Smallest country in the world, home to stunning Renaissance Art
The most famous work of Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel frescoed ceiling was commissioned by Pope Julius, who wanted something more than just pleasant-looking, to grace the ceilings. Michelangelo spent four years hanging from the ceiling, hand painting every little detail. The famous painting of God touching man is part of the Sistine Chapel, illustrating God breathing life into his most precious creation, Adam. Did you know, that this is the place where the new Pope is elected!
St. Peter’s Basilica: Playground of Renaissance artists
The final resting place of St. Peter, this Basilica is one of the most revered and visited places in Rome. This is the main church of the Pope, although his Bishop’s Throne is in another church. This church was also constructed by Michelangelo after other artists came and were unable to fulfill the promises of grandeur that the church was supposed to make.
Spanish Steps: Hub of creative writers, artists, painters and designers
The Spanish Steps are actually a set of steps in Rome that connect Piazza di Spagna to the Piazza Trinità dei Monti. The steps are a popular place hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. It also helps that there is no entrance fee for visiting this popular attraction and that there are a plethora of cafés nearby to while away the hours. If you squint at the Spanish Steps just right, you will see an irregular butterfly shape. Spending time at the Spanish Steps is one of the most favorite things to do in Rome.
Trevi Fountain: Oldest water source of Rome
Who hasn’t heard of the Trevi Fountain? Featured in countless movies, the fountain is famed for granting wishes to those who believe and throw a coin into it. One of the most popular places to visit in Rome, this fountain used to be one of the oldest sources of water for the city, connected to the Salone Springs. These days, it is a tourist spot and a very popular one at that! Remember to throw the coin from the right hand over the left shoulder. Legend has it that doing this ensures that you get to come back to Rome!
Rome Cafes: Drink espresso and Italian desserts
Although it might seem trivial, sampling the food and beverages in a foreign country should definitely feature on your “to-do list”. Walk into one of the many cafés that dot the city, order an espresso and drink it standing at the bar, because that is what Italians do. Remember that espresso is drunk before 11 am!
Gianicolo: Splendour of Rome from a vantage point
Watching a foreign city from a vantage point, with panoramic views all around and the city spread below you like a map is not a feeling easily described. The city of Rome was allegedly built on seven hills, but Gianicolo wasn’t one of them. And yet the hilltop offers picture-perfect views of the city spread for miles in front of you. You can walk up to the hill and feel all the tiredness leaving the body on seeing such splendorous sights.
Party till the wee hours at Testaccio
The nightlife of Testaccio is something you need to see to believe. Located on the edge of the old city, this area is home to some of the best restaurants, pubs and bars of the city. If you want to have a drink with the locals, and spend time mingling with them, this is the place for you. If partying is not your thing, a visit to Testaccio is still recommended because of the local markets that sell perfect bargains to take back home as souvenirs!
Pantheon: Testimony to Greco-Roman architecture
An erstwhile Roman temple, the Pantheon is dedicated to all the pagan gods that Rome used to worship before the modern gods came into being. More than 2,000 years old, this building is symbolic to the evolving culture of the city. Visit the Pantheon and learn a great deal about the glorious Greco-Roman architecture. The Pantheon is among the top tourist attractions of the Italian Capital and a tour of this iconic landmark certainly features among the top things to do in Rome.
Rome might be a city, but it is a city like no other; it was an entire empire that ruled one-half of the world and inspired the other half. Don’t just visit the city, explore it, feel it and be a part of it! Like they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! It might be a cliché, but like most clichés, it’s 100% true!