As one of the world’s most visited cities, Rome sees some 10 million tourists every year, and it’s hard not to see why. One of the oldest cities in Europe, predating even its mythological founding of 753 BC, Rome has been a cultural centre of the western world for centuries. As a result, Rome is home to many incredible architectural feats, from the ancient world to the Renaissance and beyond. Rome is also the birthplace of the neoclassical and Baroque styles.
Sometimes referred to as the capital of two states, Rome is also the only city to contain a country within its borders. The Vatican City is the smallest country globally and serves as the cultural centre of the Catholic religion. As a result, Rome also serves as an important pilgrimage site.
There’s a lot to see and explore in Rome, but here are the ten essential attractions any tourist will surely not want to miss.
The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini and several others. Standing 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, just east of the Roman Forum. It is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world today, despite its age.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, or simply Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City, the papal enclave that is within the city of Rome.
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City and the official residence of the pope. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who had it built between 1473 and 1481.
Piazza Navona is a public open space in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones, and hence it was known as “Circus Agonalis”.
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.
Borghese Gallery and Museum
The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building was integrated with its gardens, but nowadays the Villa Borghese gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction.
Villa Borghese Gardens
Villa Borghese is the most popular park in Rome and is considered its green lung. The Villa Borghese Gardens are located on the Pincian Hill, close to Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo. The Gardens cover an area of 80 hectares and were developed in 1606 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who wanted to turn his former vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome.
Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome dedicated to the emperor Constantine the Great. The arch was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312.
Do you know of any other places a first-time tourist should visit? Why not tell us about them in the comments below!