7 Great things to do in Rome
The 7 great things to do in Rome are strongly influenced by the Roman Empire, which was one of the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military forces in the world at that time.
Today when you visit Rome you can still see evidence of this and perhaps understand how the City of Rome became the birthplace of Western civilization. Sometimes it is even referred to as The Eternal City or the Capital of the World.
I wanted to explore 7 great things to do in Rome, but I only scratched the surface and sampled a small part of this very complex city filled with magnificent architecture and decades of history. I realized I would need years to understand the greatness which emerged from all the small puzzle pieces that made up the Roman Empire.
My sister said to me before we left; If I could choose to go back in time, I would choose to visit the Roman Empire and I agreed that many great things happened during that time in history. Well, somehow we did manage to step back in time because of the 7 great things we did on our 3 day tour to Rome in October.
Wherever you go in Rome there is history, art, architecture so you will be completely spellbound by the city and all it´s wonders. This is why I want to give a list of only 7 great things do in Rome and not 100, because there has to be time for Pizza as well!
The Historic Center of Rome is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the world’s most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists every year.
1. Alter of the fatherland & Panoramic lift
This grand monument was built to commemorate Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of a unified Italy. Not everyone favors the buildings site due to the fact that the monument destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill. Some locals call it the wedding cake because it’s so pompous. Why visit? Because from the top of the building you get a fantastic panorama with 360-degree views of Rome. From this high vantage point you can discover all the other famous attractions. It costs you 5 Euros but it´s money well spent to get your bearings for the rest of your sightseeing days in Rome.
2. Fontana di Trevi & Spanish Steps
Fontanan di Trevi was maybe one of the first reasons I wanted to go to Rome! Most people have seen the romantic movie; When in Rome and fallen under the magic spell of di Trevi, or maybe it’s just me? I didn’t take any coins to throw in the water, but I took oodles of pictures of everyone else doing just that. I was so impressed with the Trevi fountain, which is a perfect example of baroque style architecture on a grand scale. It is the largest fountain in the city and the most famous in the world, so I celebrated finally making it there by eating a delicious salted caramel flavor Italian ice cream. With the purchase of ice cream I was allowed to use their bathroom which was needed after much walking around Rome City and dehydrating with water.
When the Fountain is open approximately €3,000 is thrown into it every day! Many people follow the tradition of throwing coins over their shoulders. The first coin into the fountain will ensure your return to Rome, the second coin is if you are searching for love and the third is for wedding bells! The coins are collected every night and given to an Italian charity.
The 135 Spanish Steps are an eight minute walk from the Trevi fountain. They are also a wonderful example of the Roman Baroque style and a must see when you’re in Rome. Find a perfect place to sit and take in the atmosphere, watch the people and enjoy a good view out over the Eternal City. The Spanish steps connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper Piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline.
3. The Pantheon; Temple of the Gods
The outstanding roof construction will leave you speechless. It was built without using electrical machinery just brilliant minds who used the ingenuity of mathematics to create an awe-inspiring dome. It is one of the best-preserved of all the Ancient Roman buildings. Since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs”.
4. Vatican City
Vatican City is one of the smallest countries in the world. It should definitely be one of the 7 things to do in Rome. This place tells the living history of how Christianity began and the Vatican still decides how history will continue. Its significance for Christians is therefore immense and millions of pilgrims visit every year. I believe that by visiting different religious sites it is possible to gain more understanding about the collection of people that make up this fascinating world. I’m not a very religious person myself, but on my visit to the Vatican I tasted a little more of the history of Christianity in the walls when I listened to the guide and saw the incredible art.
My personal highlight was the Sistine Chapel and the Creation of Adam which is probably Michelangelo’s most famous fresco. I stood in a complete spell for 10 minutes with my head tilted back and my mouth wide open looking at this masterpiece. Seeing greatness close-up is far better than reading about it in school books.
St. Peter’s Basilica, is grand, richly decorated and is the Christian equivalent of Mecca for pilgrims who come here from all over the world. The pureness Michelangelo created in his art opened my heart as well as my mind. I was attracted to his Pietà sculpture which depicts the body of Jesus lying on his mother Mary’s lap after the Crucifixion. Something in the simple lines and depiction of suffering and love spoke to me very deeply.
When doing things in Rome; One of them simply has to be a visit to the Vatican City. You will need a whole day and I really must recommend taking the three-hour guided tour. The best part; No queues! No three hours of standing in line just to get into the Vatican City. Paying for a guide is well worth the money. We booked our tickets online before going at; Vatican Ticket
Our Tour included: The Vatican Museum: the Pio-Christian Museum, the Gallery of the Candelabras, the Gallery of the Tapestries (Renaissance art) and the Gallery of the Geographical Maps, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
However, I need to warn you that even if you do take a three-hour Guided Tour this will pack your brain with so much information that you’ll need to recover in some quiet café eating pizza and sipping espresso for the rest of the day.
”The Vatican City, one of the most sacred places in Christendom, attests to a great history and a formidable spiritual venture. A unique collection of artistic and architectural masterpieces lie within the boundaries of this small state. At its centre is St Peter’s Basilica, with its double colonnade and a circular piazza in front and bordered by palaces and gardens. The basilica, erected over the tomb of St Peter the Apostle, is the largest religious building in the world, the fruit of the combined genius of Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bernini and Maderno.” – UNESCO
5. Palatine Hill & Roman Forum
The Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It sits forty meters above the Roman Forum, which it looks down onto, and on the other side there is a view of the Circus Maximus. If you walk right around it you can once again be amazed by the building construction that was completed without any electrical machinery.
The Roman Forum, called the Forum Romanum in Italian, is a rectangular plaza (piazza) surrounded by the ruins of several important government buildings which lay at the center of ancient Rome. The citizens of ancient Rome referred to this open space, as the marketplace and it is where they conducted their daily life; buying vegetables, doing business and socializin.
You can buy your tickets for Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum at the same time as your Colosseum ticket. There is not much information at the three sites about what you are looking at. I would recommend a guided tour here to be able to appreciate the significance of what is in front of you.
My best advice for Rome is to invest some more money on guided tours to get the proper value and better understanding of these amazing sites around the city. You are mostly doing this ones, so why not get the best experience!
The Colosseum was the biggest entertainment stage of the Roman Empire, built in less than 10 years. It is an impressive fact that today they use the Colosseum tickets system in larger station to have best control in getting people in an out safely. For me this is a testimony of its brilliant construction.
It is thought that over 500,000 people lost their lives and over a million wild animals were killed throughout the duration of the Colosseum hosted people vs. beast games. If you want to get a feel for the fighting that went on, check out: Spartacus season 1.
The construction of the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire was started by Vespasian in 72 AD. This building was planned to change the relationship between power and people from then on: entertainment and distraction were offered to the populace for free.
It was used for gladiator fights and hunting simulations involving ferocious and exotic animals. The capacity is estimated around 70.000 people; the shows became occasions to impress and control the people through an unforeseen display of astonishing special effects.
The same advice applies here; Buy your tickets online at the Colosseum Tickets Office before your visit and save time standing in the queue.
7. Eat the Best Pizza in Trastevere
Trastevere, where we stayed when we visited Rome, is a delightful neighborhood with a great mix of both locals and tourists. Everything was close at hand, which meant all of the great tourist attractions were within walking distance. We did use the tram to keep oriented in the historic center of Rome, but it was only a twenty minute walk to almost every attraction we saw.
One of the best things about Trastevere is the food and the prices were fair. It wasn’t crazy expensive just because we were tourists.
You should definitely stop in at the picturesque Pizzeria ai Marmi. The pizza comes with a perfect thin crispy crust. – it’s everything you could want in a pizza. The atmosphere is great and so are the fried zucchini balls. This restaurant really is a must try when you visit Rome. Remember to get there at 18:45 right before opening and once again you can skip the queues. However if you do end up in the line it does move quite quickly and the pizza is worth the wait anyway.
7 great things to do in Rome in 3 days
I went in October with my family and friends for a 4 day visit, we used 3 of the days exploring and the last one for relaxing and enjoying the city. This was my first visit in Rome. The weather was good, around 12-16 degrees perfect weather for walking around the city and it was neither to warm or cold. One of our highlights in the trip was the we did or research before we left and pre-booked the tickets. That saved us many hours of lines and gave more time in exploring and enjoying Rome City. My personal highlight was the Sistine Chapel and the Creation of Adam, Pizza in Trastevere and walking around in Rome encounter historic buildings in every street corner or piazza.
Thank you Mum for a great birthday present! You know how to warm my travel heart! I love that we as a family can explore together, even do I do travel solo there is nothing better to share new places with family and friends.
Things to do in Rome, what would you like to do?
Any suggestions to add-on the list?
7 Great things to do in Rome in 3 days
- Alter of the fatherland & Ride the Panoramic lift (Day 1)
- Fontana di Trevi & Spanish Steps (Day 1)
- The Pantheon; Temple of the Gods (Day 1)
- Vatican City (Day 2)
- Palatine Hill & Roman Forum (Day 3)
- Colosseum (Day 3)
- Eat the best Pizza in Trastevere (Day 2)
Secret dinning tips: Momo Republic!!
This is the high-end of Italian food. The food is divine and the bisteca melt on your tongue. The restaurant is a masterpieces with open grill and wine list that will make you stay all night long. If you want a true Italian experience go her! Yes, they only speak Italian!
piazza forlanini 10, 00151 Roma