If you’re planning a trip to Italy, although there are so much you can do in Rome, I’d love to show you what my favorite Landmarks in Rome are.
The city is like a collage of photos of historical sites, churches, piazzas, fountains, galleries, museums, markets, neighborhoods, etc. However, whether you are visiting Rome for one day or one week, there are five landmarks in Rome that, in my opinion, you should not miss.
The Colosseum or (Italian) Colosseo is my number one place to visit in Rome. As soon as you see it, you will be amazed by its magnificence, its glory, and the history behind its ancient ruins.
The Colosseum is known as the greatest tourist attraction in Rome. It’s a symbol of the power, greatness, and brutality of the Roman Empire and has become a symbol of Rome in the world. It is not only a historical and archaeological treasure, but also one of modern-day, Rome’s most popular tourist attractions becoming one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
- Its original name was ‘Falvian Amphitheatre”. According to Guinness World Records, it was completed in AD 80, covers 2 ha (5 acres) and has a capacity of 87,000. It has a maximum length of 187 m (612 ft) and a maximum width of 157 m (515 ft)”. UNESCO recognized it as an official World Heritage Site
In the last ten years, new areas of the amphitheater have been slowly opened to the public, making it an even more attractive and exiting visit for lovers of architecture, ancient history, and Italian culture. In 2010, the Colosseum opened the subterranean area and third level. 2017 marked the first time that tourists were allowed to visit the top two levels of the Colosseum for the first time in over 40 years.
Roughly 7.4 million tourists visited the Colosseum in 2018, making it one of the most visited attractions in the world. Definitively, a must-see for visitors, tourist and lovers of the ancient Rome.
- Buy the tickets online in advance to avoid the risk of not finding tickets, and book a scheduled time for your visit, so you don’t have to wait hours to enter the Colosseum.
- There is a new option to see the Colosseum at night. There are also combined tickets to visit the underground and the top levels of the Colosseum.
- The Colosseum is open every day during the year except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
- You can check out the Colosseum live cam and have a taste of it.
2. Trevi Fountain
A trip to Rome must include a visit to the Trevi Fountain or (Italian) Fontana di Trevi. It’s the most stunning fountain I have ever seen. I love the fact that is located in the middle of the beautiful streets of Rome. It’s really cool
There’s a lot more than just beauty behind this famous fountain! This 17th-century Baroque masterpiece stands some 85 feet (26 meters) high and is approximately 160 feet (49 meters) wide.
In the center of the fountain is a statue of Oceanus, standing under a triumphal arch. Left of the arch is the statue of Abundance and the statue of Health stands right of the arch. Looking up towards the top of the fountain you will see four statues symbolizing:
- Abundance of Fruits- holding a horn of plenty
- Fertility of Crops- holding ears of wheat
- Products of Autumn- holding a cup and bunches of grapes
- Joy of Prairie and Gardens- adorned with flowers
After a prolonged closure while it was being refurbished by the fashion house, Fendi (who reportedly spent a cool $2.2 million), the fountain was just re-opened in 2015 better than ever, so it’s time to add it to your bucket list when you visit Rome
According to legend, those who toss coins into its waters will return to Rome, so don’t forget to throw a coin over your shoulder when visiting the Trevi Fountain because in addition to ensure your return to the ancient city, you will be making a charitable donation. The money (nearly $3,500 each day) collected from the fountain is used to support food programs for the city’s poor.
The Trevi Fountain attracts over 3.5 million tourists a year, thanks to the efforts of Bernini and Salvi, who can take full credit for this baroque masterpiece that has embellished the streets of Rome since 1726. It’s one of those places that you have to see in daylight and at night. It’s just amazing. You can’t stop staring at it. You can visit it at any time of the day and it’s free. If you go early in the morning, you might be able to take a good picture since it won’t be too crowded.
- You can visit Rome underground right by the Trevi Fountain. “La Città dell’Acqua”, or “city of water”, is the source of the water that fills the Trevi Fountain, the “Acqua Vergine”, or Virgin Water Aqueduct. There are remains of ancient Roman houses there, along with other Roman artefacts. It is located on Vicolo del Puntarello 25, Rome.
- There is a Gelateria at the left side of the Fontana di Trevi called “Melograno”, where I had one of the best coconut ice cream I have tried in Rome.
- You can check out the Trevi Fountain live cam and have a taste of it.
3. Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona is another of my favorite spots not only because of its impressive Renaissance and Baroque architecture, but also because of its numerous open-air bars, pizzerias, restaurants, cafes, stalls and artists. At night, it’s one of the liveliest squares in Rome
Situated in the historic center of Rome, Piazza Navona was built over the 1st-century, was paved over in the 15th century and for almost 300 years hosted the city’s main market
The main attraction is the three impressive fountains:
- Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, (Fountain of Four Rivers) designed by Bernini and constructed between 1647 and 1651 by request of Pope Innocent X
- Fontana del Nettuno (Neptune fountain) at the northern end of the piazza, built in 1576 by Giacomo della Porta
- Fontana del Moro (Moor fountain) at the southern end of the piazza was Bernini’s addition in the 17th century and depicts a Moor fighting a dolphin
Other highlights of the piazza are the centerpiece of the fountain is a tall Roman obelisk surrounded by four figures representing the great rivers: Ganges, Nile, Danube and Rio de la Plata. And the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, also requested by Pope Innocent X.Despite the undeniable history and architectural delights, life in Piazza Navona revolves around its open cafes and restaurants; painters, musicians and street performers who put on their shows for tourists, bringing joy and life to the piazza. If you go after 7 pm, you will have for sure a beautiful and enjoyable evening.
- You can check out the Piazza Navona live cam and have a taste of it.
4. St Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica or Basilica di San Pietro is a magnificent must-see for visitors to Rome. It is one of the finest attractions in Rome. You won’t probably understand the beauty and magnificence of it unless you visit it.
Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Basilica took 120 years to complete and it’s the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture as its beautiful architecture is one of its most impressive features.
Many art masterpieces of Renaissance and Baroque are inside of St. Peter’s. The most famous is the sculpture of the Pietà by Michelangelo in the first chapel to the right of the entrance. Follow by the statue of St. Longinus (over 4 meters high), by Gianlorenzo Bernini, located in one of the niches at the crossing of the church. Also, by Bernini, the enormous Baldachin, which has the form of a bronze canopy with bronze columns in spiral form, located at the center of the crossing. And the Cathedra of St. Peter or Cathedra Petri, a wooden relic of St. Peter’s ceremonial throne.
St. Peter’s Basilica is also called New St. Peter’s Basilica because of the state of the Old St. Peter’s basilica was in the 1400s. Its construction begun by Pope Julius II in 1506 and was completed in 1615 under Paul V. It’s the largest church in the world, covering 22,300 square meters and 551 stairs to get to the top of Michelangelo’s dome. It has a capacity of over 60,000 people,
Visiting the Basilica is free and open daily, year-end; however, there is a charge for going up to the dome, and for seeing the Vatican Necropolis. It’s important to note that dressing appropriately is mandatory to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, otherwise, you won’t get to see it.
I have been in Sr. Peter’s Basilica few times, but the best time was when I was there at 7:15 am. No lines, no crowds, and you can take the most beautiful pictures. So plan to wake up early and get the best of the St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Walking through the forum, now in the middle of a throbbing modern city, is like stepping back two millennia into the heart of ancient Rome.
5. Roman Forum
Although today, the Roman Forum looks like a collection of ancient ruins, you can still imagine the Roman Empire was at its time. This place was scattered with shrines, temples and triumphal arches, where the emperors used to commemorate their victories.
The Roman Forum or (Italian) Foro Romano was first developed in the 7th century BC to become the main center of the Ancient Roma, where religious, political, commercial, and public life took place. The Forum is today, along with the Colosseum, the most visible sign of the richness and magnificence of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Forum’s ancient Latin name was ‘Forum Romanum’. The size was 170 meters by 250 meters. The majority of the structures were built during Julius Caesar’s reign and during Augustus, his successor.
After the fall of Roman Empire, The Forum was forgotten and fell into ruins. A big part of its stone and marble was used to build other buildings in Rome and its surrounding areas, like the Vatican and churches in Rome. Excavations started in the 18th century; however, it wasn’t fully excavated until the early 20th century which continue to this day. Areas not to miss when visiting the Roman Forum are as follows:
- The Curia or Senate House, Served as a council of the Roman Senate.
- The Temple of Castor and Pollux, dedicated to the Roman twin demi-gods, Castor and Pollux
- the Temple of Saturn, his building was dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and was used as a treasury
- The Temple of Vesta, a circular-shaped temple that was dedicated to Vesta, the goddess of hearth, home and family.
- The Arch of Septimus Severus, in honor of Emperir Septimus Severus
- The Arch of Titus, constructed in 81 A.D. by the Emperor Domitian to honor his brother, Emperor Titus, who was victorious in the Siege of Jerusalem.
- The Rostra, the platform where people could stand on to give speeches.
- Via Sacra, main street between the Piazza del Campidoglio and the Colosseum
Today, the Forum is a collection of ruins of architectural pieces and periodic archaeological excavations, which attracts 4.5 million visitors each year. Entrance to the Roman Forum is included in the ticket to enter the Colosseum. The best time to visit is early in the morning and book a schedule time to visit the Colosseum, so you can get the most from the visits of these two wonderful ancient sites.
Walking through the forum now, in the middle of Rome, is like walking into the heart of ancient Rome. It’s really a great experience that will force to use your imagination. So don’t miss it when you visit Rome.
Visiting Rome is an unforgettable experience. It’s a fascinating place with a powerful ancient history, with remarkable monuments and breathtaking buildings to visit. You have too many options to choose, I just gave you my favorite places and you can choose yours.
Arrivederchi and buon viaggo,
Just Love Italy
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