Probably the most famous fountain in the world, Trevi was constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi. It also is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome with almost 80 000 000 liters of water circulating through the system every day. You can see hundreds of tourists throwing coins into the fountain every day since it is said that doing this ensures your return to Rome one day. The "proper" way how to do this is to use your right hand and throw the coin over you left shoulder. Interestingly, all the money collected from the fountain are used to feed Rome's citizens in need. Not surprisingly, this famous landmark appeared in many movies such as Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain.
The largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire is a must-see when in Rome. The Colosseum once hosted gladiator fights, animal fights and even water battles. The building was a present from the emperor Vespasian to his people and (unlike today) the entrance used to be free. Therefore the games and the fights were very popular. Built and modified under the rule of the Flavian dynasty, the Colosseum remains an important heritage of the ancient Roman culture. Not only are there many films that feature the Colosseum (e.g. Roman Holiday or To Rome With Love), it is even one of the important locations in the famous game franchise – Assassin’s Creed. When visiting the Colosseum be prepared for the crowds of tourists and long ticket queues, often longer than an hour. To avoid the queues completely you can buy your tickets online or buy them at the Roman Forum entrance (which is very close to the Colosseum) where the queues are much shorter. The regular tickets will get you to the most important parts of the complex but if you want to get further than that (e.g. the underground) you will need to buy the guided tour tickets. Being in the centre of the city, the Colosseum is well accessible by the public transport - metro (Line B – Station: Colosseo), bus (Lines 75, 81, 673, 175, 204) or tram (Line 3).
The Pantheon is not only one of the best preserved pieces of Ancient Roman architecture but it also has the largest unreinforced concrete cupola in the world. It is well-known for its oculus that lets the daylight (but also the rain) in through the top of the dome. Originally, the temple was dedicated to Roman gods, but in 608 AD it was turned into a Christian church. Most likely, the Pantheon owes its remarkable condition to this fact. Nowadays, the place is dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs and every Saturday, international masses are celebrated there. The Pantheon is one of the key locations in both Dan Brown’s book and the film based on it, both titled Angels & Demons. It was also used as a burial site. Among people buried there, you can find even the important Renaissance painter Raphael. The entrance to the Pantheon is free; only the guided tours are charged and need to be booked in advance. Usually, the place is crowded with tourists and you might spend some time queuing. There are not many public restrooms near the Pantheon. However, there are many restaurants and cafés nearby. If you decide to use public transport in order to get there, the Pantheon is best reachable by metro (Line A – Station: Barberini) or by bus (Lines – 30, 40, 62, 64, 81, 87, 492 – Station: Largo di Torre Argentina).
The forum used to be the centre of the Ancient Rome, surrounded by the most important government buildings, shrines and arches of which sadly only fragments are left today. Among the most important ones that survived (at least partially) till today are: Curia Julia (the seat of the Senate), Regia (the headquarters of the Roman kings) or the Arch of Titus. The route of the spectacular military parades – the triumphs – always led through the Roman Forum. Also, the main street of the Ancient Rome – Via Sacra – led through the square. According to the legend it was there where Romulus, the king of Rome, met his opponent Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines, for negotiation which led to peace and dual kingship. If you wish to visit both the Roman Forum and Colosseum, you should consider buying the tickets at the Roman Forum gates rather than at the Colosseum entrance because the Colosseum queues are much longer. The Roman Forum is well-reachable by public transport. You can get there by metro (Line B, station: Colosseo), by bus (Lines 75, 81, 673, 175, 204) or by tram (Line 30).
Piazza Navona, the famous square in Rome, began its existence as an ancient Roman stadium. Even today, its heritage is recognizable in its stadium shape. The most prominent feature of the baroque square is definitely the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Nile, Danube, the Ganges and Río de la Plata) by Bernini. There are two more fountains situated in Piazza Navona – Fountain of Neptune and Fontana del Moro. Piazza Navona appears in Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons. Even the film adaptation was partially filmed there. There are many restaurants serving traditional Italian food situated either in the square or nearby. Also, it is the traditional location of the Christmas markets.
The Spanish Steps are not only one of the best known staircases in Europe but also a popular meeting point for the Romans. The place is especially beautiful in spring when there are countless blooming azaleas. Originally, the staircase (consisting of 135 steps) connected the Embassy of Spain and the Trinità dei Monti church. Next to the Spanish Steps, there is a house where John Keats, a famous British poet of Romantic period, lived and died in 1821. Nowadays, the house is dedicated to his memory (and the memory of Percy Bysshe Shelley) as a museum called Keats-Shelley House. It is not surprising that such a beautiful location appeared in William Wyler’s film Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn. If you plan to visit Piazza di Spagna, be prepared for crowds of tourists.
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, and upon the Circus Maximus on the other. It is the etymological origin of the word palace and its cognates in other languages.
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castle was once the tallest building in Rome.
Home to an enormous collection of pieces of art that were collected by the Popes in the last 500 years. The very first exhibit was bought in 1506 and it was a statue called Laocoon and His Sons. It is still on display at the Vatican Museums today. The Vatican Museums include exhibits from many cultures and many periods of human history – Ancient Egypt, Etruscan civilization, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece but they also display works of Renaissance artists (e.g. Raphael) and even the modern ones (such as Picasso or Van Gogh). If you want to avoid the main wave of tourists, you should begin your visit soon in the morning. The later you come, the longer the queues. Also, be aware that the museum visit (usually connected to the visit of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica) is quite physically demanding with lots of walking involved.
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is a fountain in the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. It was designed in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced onto the piazza as did the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone of which Innocent was the sponsor. The base of the fountain is a basin from the centre of which travertine rocks rise to support four river gods and above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted with the Pamphili family emblem of a dove with an olive twig. Collectively, they represent four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas.
A neoclassical square and one of the most visited plazas in Rome. From the northern side you get there through the Porta del Popolo which was once called Porta Flaminia and it was a gate of Ancient Rome. The present-day square was designed by Giuseppe Valadier between 1811 and 1822. In the middle of the square there is an Egyptian obelisk which is one of the oldest and tallest obelisks in Rome. There are also two twin churches – Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto that were partially designed by a famous Italian Baroque sculptor and architect - Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
A complex of Ancient Roman squares located close to the Roman Forum. The complex consists of: Forum of Caesar, Forum of Augustus, Forum of Nerva, Forum of Vespasian and the Forum of Trajan. The forums were the core places of the Ancient Roman culture. The public buildings, government buildings and cultural life of the city were all centred around the forums. The remains of the forums that we see today took damage during the construction of Via dei Fori Imperiali (built by Mussolini) and were partially buried under it. Walking down the Via dei Fori Imperiali street and admiring the Imperial Forums, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is quite popular so the sidewalks might get crowded.
The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch. This earned it the derisive nickname of Cornacchia di Esopo Aesop's Crow.
The peaceful English manner gardens around the Villa Borghese are a great place where you can escape the bustle of the city. The gardens include several villas (apart from the Villa Borghese there are also Villa Giuliana or Villa Medici) and even a replica of the famous Shakespeare’s Globe theatre (which was built here in 2003). Villa Borghese is definitely worth visiting as well since it is home to Galleria Borghese which includes works of Bernini, Da Vinci or Tizian. The admission to the Borghese Gardens is free but if you want to visit the villa, there is an admission fee.
One of the most imposing squares in Rome. It is located on the Capitoline Hill in the very heart of Rome and it offers spectacular views of the city and its sights. Despite the fact that the square was designed by Michelangelo, he never saw his work completed because he died in 1564 when the square was still under construction. This square is and always was an important part of political life of Rome. You can find the Palazzo Senatorio here – once the seat of the Senate of Rome and now the city hall.
Campo de’ Fiori, which translates as the “Field of Flowers Square” is a beautiful square located close to Piazza Navona. It also serves as an open-air market during the morning and early afternoon. Despite its romantic name (that the square got in the Middle Ages when it was still a meadow), Campo de’ Fiori was once a place of public executions. Among those executed here was an Italian mathematician Giordano Bruno (he was executed for heresy). Nowadays, a statue of him is situated in the middle of the square. Through the morning hours, the place is buzzing with life due to the daily markets. If you wish to buy some fresh groceries, this is where you should head. In the evening, you can enjoy the local bars and cafés. It is a great place for relaxation after an exhausting day.
The 13th rione (administrative district) of Rome and a labyrinth of narrow streets. Its history dates back to the Etruscan civilisation and the ancient Rome times when Julius Caesar (among other important Romans) had his villa built here. Nowadays, it is a place of rich cultural and social life. Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere (the central square) is a great place to get a cup of coffee and enjoy the view of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Another remarkable piece of architecture in the neighbourhood is the Santa Cecilia in Trastevere church. Trastevere is nowadays best known for its nightlife. There are many pubs and bars where you can head and enjoy yourself after a long day of sightseeing. If hungry, head to one of the many restaurants that are located here. The place is also known as a part of the city that attracts artists and bohemians.
The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire. It measured 621 m in length and 118 m in width and could accommodate over 150,000 spectators. In its fully developed form, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire. The site is now a public park.
In the ancient Rome era, many rich Roman families had their villas and gardens built on the Pincio Hill. Therefore the place was nicknamed the “Hill of Gardens”. The gardens you can visit today were however designed in the 19th century by Giuseppe Valadier. Nowadays, the gardens are a popular place from where you can get amazing views of Rome (e.g. of Piazza del Popolo which is located nearby). It is a quiet and calm place where you can enjoy a bit of greenery. An ideal time to visit the gardens is at the sunset when the view is most spectacular.
Not only the largest Marian church in Rome but also one of its oldest ones. It was built around the year 440 by Pope Sixtus III. Today it is one of the few Papal major basilicas in Rome. The interior includes a breathtaking mosaics dating back to the 5th century. You also should not miss the Crypt of the Nativity (which is believed to contain a wood from the crib of Jesus Christ). Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, is buried there. There is also a tomb of the Bernini family (the famous artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini is buried here as well). It is an active church so respectful behaviour is expected. Also, the basilica may be closed for public on some religious events, so you might want to consult the official website before visiting.
A must-see for all art loving visitors of Rome. The 17th century Villa Borghese Pinciana, built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese as his suburban manor, is located in the beautiful Borghese gardens. It houses a spectacular collection of renaissance and baroque paintings and sculptures by the most famous artists. You can admire the paintings by Caravaggio (e.g. Boy with a Basket of Fruit), Raphael, Rubens or Titian or the paintings and statues by Bernini (many of which were made precisely for the spots in the villa they occupy today). The tickets must be booked online in advance due to the space limitations of the villa. The ticket booking system also ensures that there are not too many people in the gallery at a time.