If what they say it's true, no trip to Europe would be complete without visiting the mother of all cities, Rome.
Rome isn’t just an ancient city of almost mythological might and wonder, it is also the modern capital of Italy and one of Europe’s most populated cities. So if you are looking for antique wonders but don’t want to sacrifice your comfort, there is no need to worry, Rome has everything any other major European city has, and more.
Stop to eat a slice of the original Italian pizza, or to have one of the best ice creams in the world, all while looking at the monumental architectural marvels Roman constructors built to pass the test of time. Rome is a city layered by different moments in time, all petrified in the beautiful facades of historical buildings.
The only catch? A city filled with so many attractions and historical artifacts can be confusing to navigate at first, so we made this list to help you find your way through history.
If you have been to Rome but didn’t visit The Colosseum, have you really been to Rome? Avoid thinking about this question entirely and do yourself a favor: do not miss this impressive monument to Roman ingenuity and engineering skill.
Inaugurated in the year 72 AD, and successively expanded in the following decades, the Colosseum hosted theatrical performances, festivals, and violent and amazingly complex games that required real engineering genius to be brought to life in front of emperors and aristocrats.
Even if you aren’t a history buff, the Colosseum is bound to leave a lasting memory. Being the largest structure left by Roman antiquity, it’s still the precursor for all modern sports arenas and stadiums, providing a time-tested model that is still imitated today.
And just next to this monumental building, you can also visit the triumphal Arch of Constantine, erected by the Roman Senate to honor its emperor after the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. Remember to hire a guided tour, not only you will learn lots about the ancient construction techniques used in these massive structures, but you will also save a lot of time queueing and waiting in line.
Baths of Caracalla
In Roman times, these public baths served not only as what the name directly implies but also as complete health and sports centers. They had systems in place to guarantee that visitors would be able to enjoy both hot and cold baths, a swimming pool, saunas, and many other facilities.
This particular public bath was built in the year 216 AD by the emperor Caracalla and covered a total area of 300 square meters under a vast complex of vaulting domes supported by giant stone columns. It was designed to be capable of accommodating as many as 1,500 people at a time, no expenses spared to make the place as splendorous as possible.
Another unmissable spot for any visitor to Rome. The Pantheon is by far the best-preserved monument that survived from Roman times. Despite being built over 2,000 years ago, and living through many catastrophes and reforms, this monument is proof of the impressive building skills of ancient Romans. It is also the burial place of many Italian kings, along with some artists of great renown, like the painter Raphael.
For ancient Romans, most political and religious life happened in the forum. Courts, markets, and meeting spots were all over the forum, forming a sort of downtown of antiquity. And although the Roman Forum might be less well preserved than other structures in the ancient city, walking through it’s like traveling back in time into the heart of the ancient Roman Empire.
Even if you are not religious or profess a different faith, Vatican City is a fascinating place to visit. One of the last true city-states in the world, the Vatican is a living relic condensed in an area of less than half a square kilometer, complete with surrounding walls.
If you have the time to visit this small but captivating city, make sure you do not miss the St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, home to many Renaissance masterpieces (and Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’). One word of advice: make sure you buy tours in advance since the lines for attractions inside the Vatican can be extremely long all year round.
The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain has been popularized in movies, TV shows, and even video games, so even if you didn’t know its name you have probably seen it before. Throw a coin into the fountain to make sure you will return to Rome on your next trip.
Relax and enjoy the adventure!
Remember that Rome is also a fully modern city with all the comforts and advantages of the contemporary world. So, you don’t need to stop here, make the most out of your trip!
In any case, consider booking all your accommodations and guided tours in advance to make sure you don’t have to miss something just because it's too crowded.