Witness the Glory of Rome - 20 Things to Do in Rome

The capital city of Italy has a history spanning more than 2,000 years since the time of Julius Caesar and beyond. It is also a holy city for Catholicism due to the existence of Holy See. In every corner of the city, you will always stumble upon holy sites of Catholicism and monuments from long past when Rome was still the political center of the world's greatest empire. 

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So you're planning to visit Rome, but still don't know where to go? We've made the list below just for you. Here are our recommendations about interesting places to see and things to do in Rome.

1. Colosseum

The giant oval amphitheater is arguably the most famous structure from the era of Roman Empire. Constructed almost 2,000 years ago, Colosseum was the site of spectacular gladiatorial shows. Visitors today can see the interior arena and the ruins of its subterranean passageways.   

2. Piazza Navona

Meet some of Bernini's most important sculptures in the extremely popular public space located on eastern side of Vatican City. Piazza Navona is fitted with three beautiful fountains, each adorned with marble sculptures from 16th - 19th century.  

3. Pantheon

The best preserved major building from ancient Rome was originally built as a temple for all Roman Gods before converted into a Catholic church. Walk through the large pillars of Pantheon's portico and into the main hall covered by large concrete dome with central opening (oculus).  


4. St. Peter's Basilica

Located within the papal enclave, St. Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world and one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Catholics. Built in impressive Renaissance architecture, the basilica is decorated with sculptures and paintings by many artists, including Michelangelo.  

5. Sistine Chapel

The 15th century chapel inside the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City is most renowned for Michelangelo's colorful paintings covering its ceilings, but also other frescoes depicting Biblical stories. The chapel's paintings have greatly influenced the development of Western art for generations.  


6. Vatican Museums

The museum is home to some 70,000 sculptures and artworks from Roman and Renaissance era collected by the papacy for centuries. Visit the legendary Raphael Rooms with frescoes of Christian saints and Greek philosophers, and see the super-realistic statue of Laocoon and His Sons.  

7. Castel Sant'Angelo

Marvel at the statues of angels flanking the romantic bridge leading to the castle above River Tiber. The cylindrical castle in Parco Adriano was built as the tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family. Castel Sant'Angelo was later used as papal fortress and residence before becoming a museum.   

8. Roman Forum

The rectangular plaza with ruins of columns and walls was once the center of public life in ancient Rome. During its heyday, Roman Forum was surrounded by important buildings including the Senate House, imperial offices, temples, and monuments. 

9. Basilica di San Giovanni

Also known as the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, this is the official seat of the Bishop of Rome, a.k.a the Pope, and therefore regarded as the mother church of the global Catholicism. The basilica is adorned with spectacular statues of of Twelve Apostles on its south and north walls.  

10. Trevi Fountain

This is probably Italy's most famous fountain in Baroque style. The 18th century fountain is magnificently ornamented with triumphal arch and a collection of sculptures depicting the scene of Oceanus. Many visitors throw coins into the fountain in hope of returning and falling in love. 

11. Stadio Olimpico

Football is the spirit of Italy, and this stadium is a monument to it. The largest sport facility in Italy is home stadium of two football clubs, AS Roma and SS Lazio. With seating capacity of over 70,000 spectators, Stadio Olimpico has hosted UEFA Champions League Finals four times.  

12. Testaccio Market

One of the best markets in Rome can be found in Testaccio District. With almost 100 stalls lining in airy alleys, you can find so many things from chewy pizza, sandwich, fresh vegetables and mozzarella to locally made shoes and shirts. 

13. Domus Aurea

The massive palace ruins was constructed under the order of Emperor Nero after the great fire in 64 AD. After restoration, visitors can now enter the ruins and walk through the corridors where ancient Roman high officials and royal family once passed.  

14. Villa Doria Pamphili

The 17th century villa in Monteverde has become the largest landscape park in Rome. Stroll around the meticulously arranged garden with carved fountain and classical buildings while breathing fresh air. Visitors can also walk through a stylish pedestrian bridge added in 2000. 


15. The Vittoriano

The national monument is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy. Admire the beauty of its grand façade and massive stairway with intricate sculptures inspired by Pergamon Altar. Inside, you can find several museums dedicated to the history of Italy.

16. Spanish Steps

Satisfy your passion for fashion as you stroll around boutique shops with top designer brands: Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, you name it. Then take picture at the iconic steps connecting Piazza di Spagna and Trinita dei Monti church. 

17. Basilica of Saint Mary Major

As the largest Marian church in Rome, this papal basilica is listed as one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. Marvel at the colorful mosaics covering the interior, some dating back to 5th century. Then walk along the aisle and discover lavishly decorated altars throughout the basilica.  


18. Villa Borghese

This is another landscape garden you shouldn't miss. Spanning some 80 hectares (197.7 acres), Villa Borghese gardens are dotted with museums and points of interest. Meet the beautiful Temple of Aesculapius, a 19th century water clock, and a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. 

19. Baths of Caracalla

Located 1.4 km (0.8 miles) to the south of Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla is a massive ruin of Roman public bath (thermae) from 3rd century. During its heyday, the baths can accommodate up to 8,000 visitors a day. Now it's listed as UNESCO World Heritage site along with other Roman historic sites. 


20. MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Art

Go see the masterpiece of Zaha Hadid Architects located in Quartiere I Flaminio. MAXXI is the first national museum dedicated to contemporary art under Italian Ministry of Culture. Wander around its minimalist galleries inside spectacular building that looks like a spaceship. 

We hope you enjoy your trip to Rome! And if you know other interesting places to see and things to do in Romo, please tell us in the comment section below.

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May you have a memorable vacation in Rome!

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