Rome is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and tourists flock to the capital to experience the famous, historic sights. Much of the architecture stems from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including several churches, palaces, fountains, squares and monumental streets..
Piazza Navona is a popular tourst spot in Rome with many outdoor restaurants, beautiful fountains and bustling crowds.
Some of the most popular sights in Rome:
The Colosseum lies in the centre of the city and is the world’s largest amphitheatre and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Rome. This structure is considered one of the most famous and impressive in the world. It was inaugerated in the year 80 AD and was once primarily used as an arena for animal and gladiator fights. The site could accommodate 50,000 spectators with a measurement of 524 meters in circumference and 48.5 meters in height. Today the amphitheatre is partly a ruin with only the northern half of the edifice being intact.
Many tourists in Rome visit the Forum Romanum, located in the valley between Capitoline Hill and Palatine Hill. The site is today an archeological site with a number of ruins from Roman times.
The Forum was the centre of public and religious life in the Imperial Rome. Of the many triumphal arches erected at the sire, only the arch of Septimius Severus is preserved and it was inaugerated in the year 203 AD. Other famous buildings in the Forum Romanum is the Saturn Temple (from 497 BC) and the Temple of Vesta from 190 BC. The current building is a reconstruction from the 1930’s.
Pantheon ("The Temple of All Gods") is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman Imperial period’s architecture and is naturally a very popular tourist attraction in Rome. The temple was built between 118 – 125 AD by Emperor Hadrian. A temple by the same name was previously on the same site (built 27 – 25 AD), and in the 609 AD the Panthenon was converted into a church by Emperor Phocas and became the buriel church for Italian kings in the 1800’s . The painter Raphael is also buried here.
The Pantheon is situated by Piazza della Rotonda – an area of town with a great atmosphere. Here one will find numerous bars, open air restaurants and boutiques.
Fontana di Trevi
Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) is the most famous of the fountains in Rome and in the whole of Italy. It was inaugerated in 1762 and is also the city’s largest fountain (26 meters wide and 20 meters tall). The Trevi Fountain lies centrally in Rome by Piazza di Trevi and in the background one can see the façade of the Palazzo Poli. The best known of the sculptures in the fountain is Okeanos, which symbolises the ocean’s large body of water.
It is an old tradition when visiting Trevi to throw a coin over one’s shoulder into the fountain. According to the legend, this will bring happiness. Tourists annually throw coins valued at around €13,000, and the money goes to the poor and homeless in Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano) is Catholicism’s main church and one of Christianity’s holiest sites. It is 187 meters long and 132 meters tall, placed on the great St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. It was erected in the period 1506 – 1626 and is large enough to accommodate over 60,000 people, thereby making it the world’s largest place of worship. According to tradtion, St. Peter’s Basilica was built where Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, was crucified and buried in 64 AD. Inside the church is a fine collection of sculpures, paintings, stuccos and mosaics, and it is popular for tourists to go up the stairs to the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica where there are great views of St.Peter’s Square, the Vatican City and Rome.
The Apostolic Palace and the Vatican museums
The Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the Pope, is located next to St. Peter’s church. It was built in the 1200’s and is a complex which includes the Pope’s apartments, offices, chapels, the Vatican museums and the Vatican library.
The Vatican museums (Musei Vaticani) consists of a number of museums with exhibits of artifacts and galleries housing the world’s largest collection of antique art. The museums lie next to each other, and the ”Sistine Chapel” is perhaps the most famous, where one can see Michelangelo’s ceiling painting from the 1500’s.
Castel Sant' Angelo
Castel Sant' Angelo is a fortress situated in central Rome on the river Tiber, near the Vatican. The castle was originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian, and was completed in the year 139 AD. The castle was converted into a fortress during the middle ages, and has also previously been used as a prison. Today the Castel Sant’Angelo is a museum and visitors can learn more about the history of the building and see exhibitions of furniture, kitchen utensils, weapons and paintings. From the top of the citadel there are wonderful views of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Spagna) is a popular tourist hangout in Rome and lies at one end of the street Via Condotti, by Piazza di Spagna. The staircase consists of 138 steps which lead up to the Trinità dei Monati from 1585, one of the most gorgeous of the churches in Rome.
The Spanish Steps were made in the years 1723 – 1725, and have been restored several times, most recently in 1995.
In May every year the steps are decorated with beautiful flowers, to the delight of tourists and locals alike.
On Piazza di Spagna, right at the foot of the Spanish Steps, is the fountain La Barcaccia (”Fountain of the Old Boat”) from the baroque era. This was erected in memory of a boat which floated all the way here during a flood on the river Tiber.