Known as the capital city of Italy, and one of the most historically rich places in the world, Rome is certainly a must to add to your travel bucket list! Get your comfy shoes at the ready and set off for days filled with adventure and wonder. Explore the charming streets and unmissable monuments. Thrive off the city’s vibrant atmosphere and feel the buzz of local life. With so much to see, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice so here’s our top 5 musts' when visiting this ancient city…
First up, a truly iconic destination that is famous worldwide, the Colosseum. Attracting over 4 million visitors annually, the epic amphitheatre was built nearly 2,000 years ago in 72 AD. Used in past lives for gladiator battles, the magnificent monument still stands strong today as the largest ever built by the Roman Empire. Explore the different levels of the Colosseum, from the first tier that was reserved for ancient royalty to the underground tunnels and trap doors used during games. Due to its popularity, the colosseum is pretty much always busy, so a bit of queueing is inevitable. Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time to avoid disappointment as it often reaches full capacity, especially during peak times.
Two: St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world and the heart to the Roman Catholic Church. But it’s breathtaking architecture, impressive history and priceless works of art are what really draws in the crowds from far and wide. Designed by Michelangelo, the church boasts an awe-inspiring interior including the infamous dome with intricately painted ceilings. From The Pieta, an impressive marble statue depicting Mary and Jesus to The Chair of St Peter, a remarkably carved throne believed to have been used by the Apostle, the artifacts held here are unlike anything you will find elsewhere. Just like the Colosseum, the Basilica tends to be busy year-round however you may find the winter months are generally a bit quieter. If you can visit in the early morning opening hours or even later in the afternoon after 4pm, you may just miss some of the bigger crowds.
The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved monuments of ancient Rome. Located on the beautiful Piazza della Rotonda, the monument was originally built as a temple to all gods. The large dome houses the oculus, an open hole providing the only source of natural light into the building. The timeless beauty of this temple makes for a magical atmosphere and a truly unique experience.
Four: Vatican Museums & The Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums display works collected by the Catholic church over the past 3 centuries. The opulence is next level with ancient sculptures, bronze statues, and picturesque courtyards. The spiral staircase is one of the most popular destinations alongside the Raphael Rooms, Gallery of the Statues and of course, the infamous Sistine Chappel. It’s easy to see why thousands flock to the site daily with some of the most impressive artwork in the world adorning the walls and ceilings. The brightly coloured and immaculately detailed paintings created by Michelangelo are a once in a lifetime sight you won’t want to miss.
Five: Castel Sant’Angelo
The grand Castel Sant’Angelo encompasses the essence of the city as it portrays a lifetime of history through its many roles, mausoleum, a fortress, a museum and more. Learn about the imposing angel statue that sits atop of the castle, based off the legend that Archangel Michael once appeared there or visit the beautifully decorated Papal apartments which were built originally to accommodate the pope! The Sala Paolina is another highlight boasting a magnificently lavish hall as well as the Alexander VII Walkway which provides a mesmerising view of the city of Rome.