Rome was the epicenter of one of the greatest and longest lasting empires in history. Its artistic and monumental legacy has given it the honor of being one of the most beautiful and visited cities not only in Europe but also in the world. However, the capital of Italy is not only past, but also present and future. It has a vibrant nightlife and a cultural agenda that will not let you get bored. Discover the 10 best things to see in Rome.
Planning a vacation? Looking for an adventure? Here are 101 crazy things to do before you die.
The countless monuments of the Eternal City await you next to its squares, fountains, cafes and the magnificent Coliseum. Take note and fall in love with the capital of Italy.
- 1. Colosseum
- 2. Palatine Hill
- 3. Roman Forum
- 4. Capitoline Museums
- 5. Bocca della Verità
- 6. Pantheon
- 7. Piazza Navona
- 8. The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
- 9. Trevi Fountain
- 10. Victor Emmanuel Monument
- 11. Trajan’s Markets
- 12. Campo de’ Fiori
- 13. Church of Saint Louis of the French
- 14. Largo di Torre Argentina
- 15. Piazza del Popolo
- 16. Santa Maria del Popolo
- 17. St Peter’s Basilica
- 18. Vatican Museums
- 19. The Borghese Galleries
- 20. Villa Borghese
- 21. The Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum
- 22. The Appian Way
- 23. Catacombs
- 24. Palazzo del Quirinale
- 25. The Altar of the Peace of Agustus
- 26. Castel Sant’Angelo
- 27. San Giovanni in Laterano
- 28. San Clemente Basilica
- 29. Palazzo Barberini’s National Museum of Ancient Art
- 30. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme’s National Roman Museum
- 31. National Roman Museum in Palazzo Altemps
- 32. San Pietro , Vincoli
- 33. Santa Maria Maggiore
- 34. Santa Maria, Trastevere
- 35. Caracalla Baths
- 36. Diocletian Baths in the National Roman Museum
- 37. Doria Pamphilj Museum
- 38. Non-Catholic Cemetery
- 39. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
- 40. MAXXI
- 41. Auditorium Music Park
- 42. San Paolo Fuori Le Mura
- 43. Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
- 44. The Tempietto
- 45. Chiesa del Gesù
World-renowned Roman Colosseum that dates back to the ancient times.
The most impressive among the grand landmarks of Rome, the Coloseeum was opened in 80 AD by an emperor named Vespasia. It was initially called Flavian Amphitheater that was later change into Colosseum in reference to Nero’s massive statue close to the stadium. It used to be a centerpiece stadium that houses a 50000-people audience watching open death sentences, animal hunting and fights between gladiators during the ancient times. It is in itself a grand work of art by ancient engineers. Under the stadium is the hypogeum, a series of vast corridors that served as pathway for gladiators to the arena and corral for animals. The hypogeum was connected to the school of gladiators, Ludus Magister. The ground is covered with sand where the games and shows took place. The audience was shielded from the sun by a huge canvas on top of each tier. The arches were spread out into three piled levels where crowds entered. The Colosseum remains a main attraction for tourists, so expect long lines on ticket booths and at the entrance. the Palatine You can purchase your tickets in the Palatine or do online booking to save time. Not only the Colosseum is included, also the Roman Forum and the Palatine. You can only see the hypogeum through a guided tour added to the tickets ahead of time.
The Palatine and the Forum are included in the ticket for the Colosseum.
2. Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the site of the ruins from the palace.
Palace is derived from the Latin word ‘palatium’ which mean hill. Legends say that Rome was born in the Palatine in 753 BC when Romulus built it. It then became an area where Rome’s iconic generals and affluent aristocrats resided. Emperor Domitian had a vast palace during the 1stcentury with its remnants lie as the current ruins. Other must-see attractions within the compound are the exclusive house of the emperor, Casa di Augusto and the residence where Augustus’ wife lived, Casa di Livia. Orti Farnesiani has a view deck with the stunning scenery of the Roman Forum.
The Palatine and the Forum are included in the ticket for the Colosseum.
3. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum in Italy.
The Roman Forum consisted of chaotic open squares, office, trial courts and lavish temples during the Roman Empire. There are few structures still standing but it is mostly ruins stretching until the Capitoline Hill from the Colosseum. At the northwest’s corner, there are still buildings that have been preserved well. Two of which are the impressive Arch of Saptami’s Severus and the Roman Senate’s ancient place. The columns of Fort Knox (place for Ancient Rome’s silver and gold reserves) and the Temple of Saturn are still standing today. Beyond the Forum going to the Colosseum, the Temple of Caesar is the site of Julius Caesar’s 44 BC cremation. As you stroll along, there is the landmark of Titus’ victorious repression of Jerusalem’s revolt, Arch of Titus and the residence of the Vestal Virgins, Casa delle Vestali.
The Palatine and the Forum are included in the ticket for the Colosseum.
4. Capitoline Museums
Considered as oldest public museums in the world is Rome’s Capitoline Museums.
It is considered as the oldest in the world and one of top museums in Rome. It was built in 1471 set in the lovely Piazza del Campidoglio’s two lavish piazzas. Palazzo Senatorio, the third structure is the city hall of Rome. The Capitoline Museums have exhibitions displaying the art works of the Old Master and ancient sculptures. You will begin at the courtyard of Palazzo dei Conservatori filled with Constantine’s enormous statue body parts. You will then see next Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Medusa bust and the popular Capitoline She-wolf. You can see Rubens, Caravaggio and Titian’s baroque and renaissance paintings on the next floor. Palazzo Nuovo can be reached by an underground corridor. There are more excellent sculptures here including the disturbing portrayal of a Gaul soldier about to die known as the renowned Capitoline Gaul.
Santa Maria, Cosmedin houses Bocca della Verita, said to be the lie detector of ancient Rome.
Translated as Mouth of Truth, Bocca della Verità is a huge circular marble with a face of a bearded elderly man. It situated in the lovely 12thchurch of Chiesa di Santa Maria. Legend has it that its mouth would close and cut the hand of a liar. There are not much recorded people who failed this ancient Roman lie-detector test. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck made it famous on their iconic film, Roman Holiday. Bocca della Verità’s popularity has not waned. Many visitors include it on their itinerary and lots of pictures with the mouth are still captured everyday.
Built in 1stcentury AD, the Pantheon has a giant dome ceiling where light rays passes through.
Emperor Hadrian constructed it in about AD 125. It still stands completely and magnificently more than as ruins. The Pantheon used to be a place to worship the Roman gods. The word ‘Pantheon’ originated from Greek ‘pan’ and ‘theon’. Pan means all. Theon means gods. However, it was transformed into Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres, a holy church of Christians in 608. It can be terrifying with its 16 tall columns made of granite as entrance and its hollow marble interior. You can also see the kings’s tombs particularly that of Emanuele II, Umberto I and Vittorio. There is also the tomb of Raphael, a Renaissance artist. The dome has an oculus where rain and light pour in. The Pantheon is considered as the biggest and best architecture made by the Romans from the ancient times.
Found in Piazza Navona is the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini.
The historic center contains this stunning piazza built in an arena from the 1stcentury. It is in the middle of the three attractive fountains and at the edge of beautiful baroque-style palazzi. Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers is the most impressive among the fountains. Bernini is considered as the most renowned artist of 17thcentury Rome. His nemesis Francesco Borromini, is the maker of Chiesa di Sant’Agnese, Agone’s iconic church. It is the same person who made the lavish palace of Palazzo Pamphilj, present day’s Brazilian Embasssy. The piazza becomes a meeting place of aspiring artists. Below the square, you can enter through Via di Tor Sanguigna 3 and reach the underground stadium of Emperor Domitian.
8. The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
World-renowned Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
The most ideal time to visit is from the middle of April until the middle of May. The Steps are adorned by azaleas in hundred and of different colors. Despite its name, the most popular steps in Rome is not actually Spanish-made but rather got its name from its neighbor, Vatican’s Spanish Embassy. A good rest stop from walking all day, sitting on the Spanish Steps let you can observe the hustle and bustle of Piazza di Spagna. Barcaccia is the fountain of the piazza constructed like a buried boat. At the right side of the Steps is John Keats’ house before he died. When you go west beyond the piazza, you will discover the Fifth Avenue of Rome, Via dei Condotti.
9. Trevi Fountain
Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain
It is often scene in movies such as La Dolce Vita with main characters played by Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg. It is the most impressive and grandest among the fountains in Rome. It occupies completely the wall of Palazzo Poli, a 17thcentury structure. In 1762, Nicola Salvi designed the fountain and construction only finished after 30 years. It features Oceanus and the seahorses pulling his chariot (shaped like a seashell). At his sides are Salubrity and Abundance. It is a ritual for visitors who wish to come back to the city to throw a coin to the fountain. Trevi Fountain accumulates 3000 euros a day for this. A charity receives the amount gathered.
10. Victor Emmanuel Monument
Altare della Patria offers excellent sceneries of the city.
It is also called Vittoriano or as Altare della Patria which means Altar of the Fatherland. It was constructed in the late 19thcentury as recognition to Victor Emmanuel II, as the first king. This monumenent also commemorates the union of Italy. King Victor was the large statue of a man riding a horse. The monument is vast inside and has wide terrace outside. To know more about history, Museo Centrale del Risorgimento will be an interesting place for you. For art exhibits, head on to Complesso del Vitto. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is also interesting.
It is a tall white-colored structure that stands out among the skyscrapers of Rome, casting its shadows on Piazza Venezia. The locals loathe it and consider it as just an overrated view deck. However, taking the €7 elevator ride to its top rewards you with phenomenal sceneries of the city.
11. Trajan’s Markets
Rome’s Mercati di Traiano or the ruins of Trajan’s Markets.
Mercati di Traiano known as the Trajan’s Markets used to be the vast showpiece of the most impressive and the Imperial Forums, the 2ndcentury Forum of Trajan. It has a museum that displays the architecture and history of the Imperial Forums. The architectural modifications and archaeological artifacts are showcased. However, the main attraction is the structure. Mercati di Traiano was first believed to be the imperial shopping center. However, being a three-level semicircle in the center of its Great Hall, it is currently considered as a former spot of government offices in the Imperial Forum.
12. Campo de’ Fiori
Giordano Bruno’s statue in Campo dei Fiori, Rome.
At the heart of the square lies the sculpture of monk and philosopher, Giordano Bruno. Accused as heretic in 1600, he was punished in the same square by burning. Bruno’s statue is the witness to the everyday activity of the square. From Monday to Friday, there are local markets spread over the piazza. During lunch, dining options surround the square. Foreign students and young travelers flock at night for some drinks. The nearby Piazza Farnese has more sophisticated ambience. The French Embassy is housed in Palazzo Farnese. This Renaissance building has Annibale Carracci’s outstanding murals which visitors can visit through a guided tour booked in advance.
13. Church of Saint Louis of the French
San Luigi dei Francesi or Church of St. Louis of the French is Rome’s French church.
It has a baroque architecture and inside is amazing pieces of art. The showpiece is St Matthew cycle, Caravaggios’ masterwork. He made these three paintings from 1599 to 1602. They are named as Calling of St. Matthew, the Martyrdom of St. Matthew and the third painting is in Cappella Contarelli, Inspiration of St Matthew. It was Caravaggios’ modification of the painting he initially submitted for the church, The Angel and St Matthew. The church judged it as disrespectful. Aside from these famous paintings, San Luigi dei Francesi houses other great masterpieces. A good example is Domenichino’s series of murals about the patron saint of musicians and music, St. Cecilia.
14. Largo di Torre Argentina
Julius Caesar died in Largo di Torre Argentina.
Area Sacra, the hollow part of the square is historically significant. You can see the four-temple ruins from 3rdcentury BC or the Republican age. But even before that, it was the Theater of Pompey. It was the same place where Julius Caesar died in 15thof March 44 BC after being stabbed by Brutus and accomplices. Area Sacra is off-limits to people. It is currently a cat sanctuary managed by volunteers. On the square’s west side, you can find the foremost theater in Rome, Teatro Argentina. It held the 1816 premier of The Barber of Seville, an opera by Rossini.
15. Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo has the churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
Piazza del Popolo was built in 1538. During the 19thcentury, Giuseppe Valadier, an architect, renovated it to its present appearance. The piazza is situated in the northern gateway to Rome. It is also among Rome’s grand squares. For centuries, it has been the venue of a lot of activities from capital punishments to political demonstrations to performances. The entry at the south is secured by Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli churches. Tridente or three major pathways of Via Ripetta , Via del Babuino, and Via del Corso merge here. Gian Lorenzo Bernini made the most impressive gate of the piazza, Porta del Popolo.
16. Santa Maria del Popolo
The lovely Chiesa del Santa Maria del Popolo of Rome.
Often underrated but definitely worth a visit, this historical church was constructed in 1099 as a talisman against the supposed Nero’s ghost lingering the place. Towards the end of 15thcentury, it was renovated. The choir was altered by Bramante at the start of 1500s. Pinturicchio later painted the Bramante’s apse. There are two paintings by Caravaggio in Cerasi Chapel namely Crucifixion of St Peter and Conversion of St Paul. Raphael designed the Chigi Chapel but Bernini finished it with Habakkuk and Daniel statues.
17. St Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter Basilica is an impressive structure.
Considered as the most significant Catholic Church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is at the heart of Vatican. It used to be world’s biggest church in the past but has since retained its elegance and lavishness. Construction started in 4thcentury and was finished only by 1626, after 120 years. Taking the road of Via della Conciliazione leads you to St. Peter’s Square and the stunning scenery of the basilica’s exterior. Upon entering you will be welcomed by the statue of Pieta, a sculpture by Michelangelo. He was also the same man who planned the dome of the basilica. The central altar’s baldachin is made by Bernini. Other renowned artists such as Raphael, Bramante, Carlo Maderno, and Domenico Fontana also contributed their work to the basilica. You can see the tomb of St. Peter through advanced booking. The Vatican also has grottoes inside. Remember to dress appropriately with shoulders and legs covered or else your entry might be denied. Another option to reach St. Peter’s Basilica is through the metro station of Ottaviano.
18. Vatican Museums
St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome.
Included among the grand museums in the world, this museum houses the art pieces accumulated by the popes from the past to present. It is inside Palazzo Apostolico and spans to kilometers of corridors and exhibitions. A day is not enough to visit the whole museum and you might take at least 3 hours to see the highlights. The must-see art works include the mural of The School of Athens by Raphael, and Museo Pio-Clementino’s sculptures of Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön. Probably the most famous of all is Sistine Chapel. Inside are Michael Angelo’s impressive murals about the Book of Genesis (1508-1512) and Last Judgment (1535-1541). Vatican Museums is included in the top tourist sites of Italy. Make sure to do advanced bookings as lines can get very long. Ideal days to visit are in the afternoon of Tuesday and Thursday.
19. The Borghese Galleries
Villa Borghese’s art gallery is among the best museums in Rome.
Phone or online booking should be done in advance as this tourist spot is very much in demand. Scipione Borghese is the cardinal from 17thcentury who first gathered the art pieces. He put them together in a lavish villa and called it Casino Borghese. The interior is luxurious and the rooms are large. The first level has Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s mythological sculptures, Antonio Canova’s relaxed illustration of Paolina Bonaparte Borghese and other top art pieces. The first floor also has a dedicated room for Caravaggio’s paintings. The painting of the Basket of Fruit is one of the most notable among his works. The second floor has the canvasses Profane Love and Sacred by Titian.
20. Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese has the lake Giardina del Lago.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese owned this 80-hectare property during the 17thcentury. You can reach Giardino del Lago through the pathway of woods and grass. It is a lake that can accommodate small boats. You can also find Piazza di Siena, a stunning stadium. Pincio Hill also has a view deck. You can also hop on different museums inside the park. Borghese Galleries is always a good idea. If you don’t like to walk, you can rent a bike instead. Truly, Villa Borghese is the Italian counterpart of Central Park.
21. The Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum
Rome’s Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum.
Just at the side of Villa Borghese park is Villa Giulia, a mansion of the Renaissance era turned museum. It used to be dedicated to Pope Julius III but now a home to different artifacts. Most notable of which are those from the Etruscan era. There were also pre-Etruscan items retrieved from Tarquinia and Cerveteri of Northern Lazio. Sarcophagus of the Betrothed, the coffin from the 6thcentury is also on special display. The museum maybe in an uncommon area for tourists but the artifacts will make up for it.
22. The Appian Way
The Apian Way or Via Appia Antica contains ruins of early Italian structures.
Dubbed as “Queen of Roads”, Via Appia Antica is the old world’s most popular road. The Appian Way is around 540 km long from Brindisi to Rome. The Capua-Rome route is the oldest part of the road. Appius Claudius Caecus started it in 4thcentury BC, the same man the road got its name. In 190 BC, after several extensions, the road was finished. Some segments of the road are still intact but tourists visit it more for what is under. Most people could not afford to buy lands and Romans were not allowed to bury their dead inside the city. Thus the 2ndcentury Christians began their practice of placing the dead on burial chambers underneath the road. It evolved into a 300 km passageway with popes, saints and martyrs among the hundred thousands of people buried.
The popular Catacombs of San Callisto.
Catacombs of San Callisto are the most famous and biggest among the catacombs found underneath the Via Appia Antica. They date back as far as 2ndcentury AD. Plenty of people including 16 popes as well as saints and martyrs were buried underground. You can reach this 20-km stretch of tombs by booking a tour. Nearby, the Catacombs of San Sebastiano are underneath the San Sebastian Basilica. The basilica was the same place that Saint Sebastian was laid to rest. His tomb also contained the arrow that killed him. The catacombs’ walls also have old drawings commemorating St. Paul and St. Peter. There are also other crypts within the catacombs.
24. Palazzo del Quirinale
The palace of the president, The Palazzo Quirinale.
It was constructed in the middle of the 16thcentury. It is on the summit of Quirinal hill. Originally the summer palace of the pope then it was turned into a royal palace during the Italian Unification. In 1946, Italy abolished monarchy and converted itself to a republic. Finally, it has become the palace of the Republic’s president. It is a grand baroque masterpiece. Famous architects such as Carlo Maderno , Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Domenico Fontana contributed to its construction. Bernini was particularly behind Via del Quirinale or manica lunga. Main art exhibits are also displayed in the Scuderie del Quirinale, previously the stables of the palazzo. It also has a Grand Ballroom reached through the well-designed reception rooms. Make sure to book your tour ahead of time.
25. The Altar of the Peace of Agustus
The magnificent Altar of the Peace of Augustus also known as Ara Pacis Agustae.
Ara Pacis Augustae or Altar to the Augustan Peace was built around 9 BC in Campus Martius as a commemoration to Emperor Augustus for restoring peace in the city. By 1937, reconstruction of the altar took place and became among the finest orthodox art pieces. The borders include images of General Marcus Agrippa and Emperor Augustus with spouse Livia and Tiberius, the son he adopted. It is now housed north of Campus Martius, in a little museum. Richard Meier, a famous American architect, planned the glass marquee that now encloses the large marble Ara Pacis Augustae.
26. Castel Sant’Angelo
Also known as Castle of the Holy Angel, Castel Sant Angelo is situated by the river.
It got its name from Pope Gregory’s vision about an angel. It is among Rome’s iconic sights. It used to be Emperor Hadrian’s burial chamber (139 AD) then later on modified to be a shelter for the pope during dangerous or emergency situations. Through a hidden tube, Pope Clement VII walked from the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo when Rome was sacked in 1527. The museum is located by the river and shaped like a drum. It displays the grand residence of the pope and the eventful history of the papacy. The veranda of Sala Paolina offers magnificent sceneries and its murals from the Renaissance are lovely.
27. San Giovanni in Laterano
Among the four basilicas of the pope is Arcibasilica di San Giovanni in Laterano.
The other three basilicas are namely Santa Maria Maggiore, San Paolo Fuori Le Mura and St. Peter’s. Arcibasilica di San Giovanni is the oldest and where the Bishop of Rome’s seat is. In 4thcentury, Constantine established it and was the church of the pope for the long time. It has undergone plenty of reconstruction. Francesco Borromini was responsible for its internal baroque architecture done in 17thcentury. By 1735, the large white front wall and its 15 huge sculptures were attached. Remnants of Giotto’s mural adorn the major entryway. Inside are the figures of apostles made of marble. The floor has a mosaic that dates back to 13thcentury and a golden ceiling. At the altar’s left are passageways that date back to 13thcentury. The central altar is believed to store St. Paul and St. Peter’s head on its soaring gothic-style baldachin. The immense apse is covered by dazzling mosaic work.
28. San Clemente Basilica
Basilica di San Clemente has an apse with a mosaic design.
This basilica was built in the 12thcentury reflecting the multi-faceted history of Rome. San Clemente Basilica is standing over ruins of another basilica that existed in the 4thcentury. Then below it are what is left off Mithraeum, a pagan temple built in the 2ndcentury and a primeval housing block. You can find amazing pieces of art inside the basilica. The Chapel of St Catherine has a set of murals from the 15thcentury. The basilica’s apse is adorned with a mosaic work. The basilica also has the masterpiece, the Triumph of the Cross. Underneath the main basilica, there is a minor basilica that houses unusual frescoes from the 11thcentury. There are also traces of Mithraism, a very famous pagan cult. There is a Milthraic altar with a sculpted depiction of a bull being sacrificed by Mithras, the pagad god. Due to its popularity, underground temples were constructed all over ancient Rome. Even military officers were followers of this cult. Basilica di San Clemente, the Colosseum is just walking distance.
29. Palazzo Barberini’s National Museum of Ancient Art
Palazzo Barberini’s National Museum of Ancient Art in Rome.
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica is housed inside Palazzo Barberini. This vast mansion was constructed for Barberini Pope Urban VIII with contributions from the great architects of that age. Grand staircases have been designed by arch-enemies Borromini and Bernini. The ground floor contains the gallery of works from the Baroque and Renaissance eras. Renowned paintings include Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, Hans Holbein’s King Henry VIII and Raphael’s Fornarina. The star though is the mural Triumph of Divine Providence by Pietro da Cortona.
30. Palazzo Massimo alle Terme’s National Roman Museum
Grand Roman art pieces are found in Museo Nazionale Romano: Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses the Museo Nazionale Romano. Often skipped by tourists, the National Roman Museum is definitely worth a visit. The museum has three other branches that accept the same tickets. Sculptures such as Sleeping Hermaphrodite, the Discus Thrower as well as the Boxer are on display on the ground floor and first floor. The second level has the murals and mosaics. Emperor Augustus’ wife Livia used to have these art pieces on her residence. She particularly adores bright and garden frescoes.
31. National Roman Museum in Palazzo Altemps
Museo Nazionale Romano in Palazzo Altemps
Palazzo Altemps is close to Piazza Navona. Inside the palazzo that dates back to 15thcentury is one of Museo Nazionale Romano’s branches. It has magnificent sculpture collection, mostly from the 17the century collection of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi. Showcase pieces are Ludovisi Ares (2ndcentury depiction of young Ares) and Ludovisi Throne as well as Gaul Killing Himself and His Wife. The ticket for this branch is valid for the other National Roman Museum branches.
32. San Pietro , Vincoli
San Pietro has the Moses Statue by Michaelangelo
The basilica contains legendary chains belonging to St. Peter and a meaningful sculpture by Michelangelo. Underneath the altar is where the chains are stored. According to legends, when St. Peter was incarcerated in the prison of Mamertine, guards used these chains to tie him. The chains marvelously combined together to its current state. Supposed to adorn the big burial chamber of Pope Julius II, the sculpture Moses by Michelangelo was born out of misinterpretation of the bible. It portrays a bulky man with two thick horns on his head and long beard. The burial chamber was never completed.
33. Santa Maria Maggiore
Rome’s Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Among the four papal basilicas, it is the most centrally located. It has a long history dating back to the middle of the 5th century. The basilica is set on top of the Esquiline Hill. The main reason being Pope Liberius’ vision of the Virgin Mary asking him to construct a church on the same place of the snowfall the following morning. Despite the summer heat, snow poured that day thus the beginning of the basilica. The miracle is celebrated every 5thof August (vision took place 4thof August 352 AD). White floral petals in thousands of number are thrown during the feast. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore has undergone a lot of renovations in the past. It has the highest bell tower in Rome- 75 meters long. It also has an 18thcentury façade. The interior remained intact. You can still see the mosaics from the 5thcentury on its apse and nave. Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a renowned artist of the baroque period was buried here. It has also served as burial grounds for different popes.
34. Santa Maria, Trastevere
Trastevere’s lovely Santa Maria basilica.
Located in Piazza Santa Maria, this unassuming basilica has superb mosaics inside. It is Rome’s oldest basilica dating back as early as 4thcentury for Marian devotion. Legends say, it was the exact spot that a miraculous oil fountain sprung up also called as Fons Olei. The current architecture was from its 12thcentury reconstruction.
35. Caracalla Baths
Caracalla Baths in Rome
These are the vast ruins of the bathing complex of 3rdcentury Emperor Caracalla. The parts are not specified but the immense ruins show what it used to be. At its prime, a crowd of 1600 can fit on it with gardens, shops, galleries, libraries, gyms and swimming pools. At the heart of the ruins are palaestras (exericise fields) and frigidarium (cold-tempered room). These used to be tied up with open swimming pool (natatio), heated room (caldarium) and warm-tempered room (tepidarium). During the summer, the ruins become a venue for operas.
36. Diocletian Baths in the National Roman Museum
It is the most impressive and biggest bathing complex in Rome during the 4thcentury. At that time, 3000 bathers can simultaneously use the complex. It now contains the National Roman Museum together with its epigraphs from old Rome and other important artifacts. The last work of Michelangelo, Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, is also inside. Aside from old Roman writings, the museum also has galleries dedicated to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. Ancient coffins, sculptures and statues are found in The Michelangelo Cloister. The ticket for this branch is also valid for all the other National Roman Museum branches.
37. Doria Pamphilj Museum
Galleria Doria Pamphilj is inside Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
The outstanding museum houses some of the best art pieces in Rome. You can find here the works of Flemish painters like Pieter Brueghel the Elder and other renowned artists such as Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and Tintoretto. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is owned and used to be the house of the noble Doria-Pamphilj family. The 18thcentury interior extends its luxury to the galleries decorated with bright chandeliers, gold decors and murals. The most popular among the magnificent works of art is Velázquez’s realistic painting of Pope Innocent X. Bernini made a bust of the pope from the Pamphilj clan.
38. Non-Catholic Cemetery
Non-Catholic Cemetery’s pyramid.
The other name for this fortified churchyard is Rome’s Protestant Cemetery. The graveyard consists of lush trees, well-maintained tombstones and groomed landscape. Romantic poets such as Shelley and Keats are two of the renowned people buried here.
The tomb of Keats can be reached when you turn left upon entering. He has ‘Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water’ for his epitaph. William Wetmore with his wife has an extravagant grave fit for an artist. It displays the Angel of Grief sculpture. The iconic Roman pyramid was burial place constructed in 1stcentury BC.
39. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM) is a contemporary museum ideal for rest stop. It houses the biggest contemporary art collection of Italy. It displays both local and foreign artists. The Italian art scene is represented by paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and Modigliani and sculptures of Umberto Boccioni and Antonio Canova. French artworks include that of Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Rodin and Cézanne. Other big-name artists such as Jackson Pollock, Gustav Klimt, Alberto Giacometti, and Alexander Calder are featured as well.
Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo or MAXXI
Previously a barracks for the military, Zaha Hadid, architect of Anglo-Iraqi descent turned it into an epitome of contemporary architecture. The designs consist of overlapping geometric shapes and complex curves. The National Museum of Contemporary Art is the best modern art museum in Rome. There are 300 works that are displayed permanently. There are also art exhibits that run for a limited time only. This particularly emphasize on emerging global artists and their latest innovation.
41. Auditorium Music Park
Auditorium Music Park is a year-round reliable concert place.
Started in 2002 as a unique center for the arts, it turned into a contemporary venue for concerts. It is divided into three halls and an outdoor theater that can accommodate up to 3000 audience. Performances range from local, classical, foreign, jazz to rock music. It is the home auditorium of the internationally recognized Santa Cecilia orchestra. Cultural programs, lectures, exhibitions and the Rome Film Festival also take place here. With or without an event, you can still enjoy the Auditorium. It has a little museum that displays artifacts retrieved when it was being built. Guided tours are also available.
42. San Paolo Fuori Le Mura
Among Rome’s grand historical basilicas is: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura or The Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.
It is Rome’s second biggest church next to St. Peter’s basilica and papal basilica. It is situated beyond the historic center, thus the translation St Paul is Outside the Walls. During the 4thcentury, Emperor Constantine ordered its construction on the same place that St. Paul was buried. However, it was rebuilt again after the 1823 major fire. The windows display the pictures of the previous popes. Tales say that if there is no space for one more portrait, the world is ending. The cloister from the 13thcentury and mosaics from the 5thcentury also remained. The most convenient route to get here is to get off at San Paolo along the line B of the metro station.
43. Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
The name means ‘St. Mary over Minerva’ as it was previously a worship place for the pagan goddess Minerva before it was known as a Roman basilica. It is the only church that is of Gothic style. Only minimal traces of its 13thcentury structure have survived but it is still a home to many masterpieces. At the church’s exteriors, there is an elephant statue with an Egyptian obelisk. This was made by Bernini how moral strength is the foundation of wisdom. Filippino Lippi made some of the fantastic murals. The 1520 sculpture, Christ Bearing the Cross by Michelangelo is the star art work. St. Catherine’s head is in Siena but her body is buried beneath the central altar.
44. The Tempietto
In 1502, Donato Bramante constructed The Tempietto as a celebratory grave.
The Tempietto is a small commemorative tomb built by Donato Bramante, 1502, in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio church.
It is situated in the Chiesa di San Pietro’s courtyard in Montorio, the same place where St. Peter’s crucifixion took place. From Trastevere, you can walk up the Janiculum Hill and reach The Tempietto. It is a fine example of architecture during the Renaissance era. In 1502, Donato Bramante built it with Tivoli’s Temple of Vesta on his mind. The shape was circular with a dome as a cover and 16 columns of Doric-style surrounding it. It has also a rooftop overlooking the city.
45. Chiesa del Gesù
The Jesuits or the Society of Jesus treats Chiesa del Gesù as their mother church.
Chiesa del Gesù has lead the Catholic church. It was also an icon of how powerful the Catholic church was at that time. For a period of 1544 to 1556 and approx. late 16thuntil middle 17thcenturies (Counter-Reformation), this was St. Ignatius Loyola’s residence. He founded the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. You will be welcomed by an impressive two-level front wall by Giacomo della Porta. If you turn right from the entrance, you can see the living spaces of St. Ignatius Loyola. Its interiors include the Andrea Pozzo’s altar at Chapel of St Ignatius Loyola and Baciccia’s amazing ceiling mural of the Triumph of the Holy Name of Jesus.