If sightseeing in Rome has one fault, it is simply that there is too much to see. Home to some of the most amazing sights in the world, a trip through the streets of the Italian capital will leave you spellbound.
Centre of the former Roman Empire, word at the time stated that: 'All roads lead to Rome' and when you get there you will soon see why. A wonderful blend of the old and the not so old, from the ancient Colisseum to the wealth and splendour of the Vatican City, the city has attracted some of the world’s finest artists, architects and engineers throughout the centuries. Evidence of their presence is to be found on every street and square making it a unique destination where walking around strongly resembles walking through the world’s biggest museum.
Most would recommend that you begin your sightseeing trip in the centro storico where there is a vast collection of both Classical and Christian sights contained in an area that you can easily navigate on foot. Realistically, however, it doesn’t matter where you begin because there are certain attractions where everyone ends up. Among these are the aforementioned Vatican and Colosseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Piazza Navona, the Catacombs, the Sistine Chapel and the hundreds of churches and piazzas which are scattered throughout the city.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not going to see everything. Some focus on the main attractions spending plenty of time on each one. Others spend their stay rushing from one attraction to the other trying to fit as much as they can into a very short space of time. Whichever option you choose, rest assured that you will enjoy it thoroughly but if you do intend returning, and you probably will, the former is probably the better of the two.
Piazza di Trevi, Rome, Italy
Rome's most spectacular fountain may attract tourists all day and night, but this doesn’t take away from its appeal. What’s better is that you can hear the gallons of water flowing over the statues of Neptune and his chariots seconds before you see it. They say if you throw a coin over your shoulder into it, it ensures your return to Roma.
Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Italy
These elegant steps near the Spanish Embassy (hence the name) are one of the best places in the Italian capital to people watch and are swarming with tourists and locals alike year round.
Piazza del Colosseo, Rome, Italy
Home to brutal battles between man and beast, the Colosseum is an imposing building and is Ancient Rome's most symbolic. Walking around this amphitheatre is fascinating as you try to imagine what it was like in all its glory, complete with thousands of Romans and one Julius Caesar.
Open daily from 9am-1 hour before sunset; admission €10 (this includes entrance to Palatine Hill).
Piazza di Santa Maria Nova 53, Rome, Italy
The Roman Forum was the commercial, political and religious centre of ancient Rome. Today, its a heap of ruins, but worth a visit all the same.
Admission free, €10 for Palantine Hill (this includes entrance to the Colosseum; open daily from 9am-7.30pm (summer); and from 9am-4.30pm.
Viale Vaticano 100, Rome, Italy
A visit to the Vatican Museum is arguably the most inspiring experience in Rome. As you stroll through the rooms you will seldom close your mouth as each one is as jaw-dropping as the next. Along with the Sistine Chapel, other rooms you won't forget in a hurry include the Gallery of Maps and the Room of the Immaculate Conception.
Open Mon-Sat from 8.45am-3.20pm; admission €12.
Closed on Sundays apart from the last Sunday of the month when it is open and free.
Piazza San Pietro, Rome, Italy
Before entering St Peter's, the first thing which strikes you is the number of detailed statues which overlook you in the square. Upon entering mosaics hang over you from every corner. You can also climb to the top of the dome for unforgettable views of the city.
Basilica - Open daily 7am-7pm (Apr-Oct) & until 6pm (Nov-Mar), admission free; Dome - Open daily from 8am-5.45pm (Apr-Oct) & until 4.45pm (Nov-Mar), admission €4/€5 (stairs/lift).
Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy
This temple was first built in 27BC by Marcus Agrippa and later rebuilt in 120AD by Emperor Hadrian. This is one of the best preserved buildings of ancient Rome and its extraordinary dome is considered the most important achievement of ancient Roman architecture.
Open Mon-Sat 9am-7.30pm, 9am-1pm on Sundays and public holidays; admission free.
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy
This large attractive square is lined with baroque palaces. It has three fountains, including the Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of the Rivers) in the centre. Many artists gather here to work.
Via Appia Antica, Rome, Italy
The Catacombs of San Callisto and Catacombs of San Sebastiano are both on the Via Appia Antica. The Catacombs are miles of underground tunnels where early Christians used to meet and where they buried their dead.
Admission is €5 and includes a guide.