Famous for its ancient ruins, museums, fountains, churches & basilicas, Rome's tourist attractions can't be fully appreciated in a day, a week, or perhaps even in a lifetime. It was Freud, after all, who compared the human psyche to the city of Rome — both have many, many layers.
One of the best things about Rome is discovering what's around the next corner. You'll want to people-watch in the glorious piazzas, sip espresso, and then head to the best must-see Rome tourist attractions that take you from 80 AD to right now. But it's impossible to do it in a day, so slow down, smell the espresso, and take your time savouring the best of Rome.
Paris has the Louvre, Rome has the Vatican Museum.
It's the world's largest, packed with treasures including the building itself — think of the Sistine Chapel & the Raphael Rooms…and that's just a start!
Because of its immense size and the number of artworks, you could easily get overwhelmed in the four principal structures and 100-plus galleries. To make your visit to the Vatican a pleasure and not a chore, we always recommend a relaxing and informative guided tour. We'll share our five fave tours that let you skip the long lines!
It's all about gilt, marble, and mosaic.
The holiest shrine of the Catholic church is, they say, built on the site of St Peter's tomb in the Vatican City. It's here you will find Michelangelo's Pieta. Created in the 1490s when the artist was still in his twenties, it is one of Rome's greatest treasures.
For the best experience, we suggest you sign up for this skip-the-line guided tour…
The imposing amphitheatre, built on order by Emperor Vespasian, was completed in 80 AD.
Today, just the skeleton of the mighty structure still stands. At its peak 70,000 spectators watched the gladiator games. Centuries later, it was slated for demolition, luckily Pope Benedict XIV declared it a sacred monument in 1749 and it's been a top Rome tourist attraction ever since.
It's the most-visited ancient monument in all of Italy and the lineups are long. But, don't worry, we've found at least three ways to skip those long lines…and have way more fun!
The Pantheon is one of the most well-preserved monuments from ancient Rome.
In fact, it's quite a mystery why it has been so perfectly preserved when so many other monuments have been destroyed. Remember Michelangelo? When he saw the Pantheon for the first time he said it looked like the work of angels, not of humans.
Three coins in a fountain? This is the place!
Completed in 1762 (updating the site of an ancient Roman fountain), Rome's beloved splasher has recently undergone a much needed facelift, paid for by the Rome fashion house, Fendi.
Made even more famous in the 1960s movie, La Dolce Vita, it's long been a tradition to toss a coin over your shoulder into the the emerald waters for good luck. The third coin? Wishing for a wedding.
It's not Rome's biggest park but it is the most famous.
The sprawling 148-acre urban park is landscaped with a distinct British flair, with manicured gardens, a zoo & a lake for boating.
Some of the best views of Rome can be seen from the Pincian Hill in the south edge of the park. It's also home to the Galleria Borghese, the Villa Medici, and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna.
On the eastern edge of the Villa Borghese is the handsome Galleria Borghese.
Built in the 17th century by Cardinal Borghese, it was turned over to the state in 1902. Today it's one of Rome's greatest art galleries, with works by Canova, Bernini, Caravaggio, Perugino and other Italian masters.
This is truly the heart of the ancient world of Rome.
You must spend a few hours wandering through the ruins where, with a little imagination, you can feel the rush of history.
Highlights include the triumphal Arch of Septimius (203 AD), the Temple of Vespasian & Titus, the Temple of Saturn, and Basilica Julia, built on order of Julius Caesar. Then climb the Palantine Hill for panoramic views of the entire city, ancient and modern.
Rome's most famous & beloved public square, Piazza Navona is the veritable centre of the city.
Picturesque and lined with cafes and restaurants, the ancient piazza is a popular meeting place for Romans, street artists, and eager travelers. During December the city's most popular Christmas Market is held here.
Campo de'Fiori is one of Rome's oldest markets.
Translated it means "field of flowers", but in real life the daily market is a jumble of the best food vendors of Rome. In the evening, it's transformed from a lively market to a hub of bustling restaurants, teeming with Roman energy. Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 2 pm.
A great way to experience this food extravaganza is on a private food tour that takes you to Campo de'Fiori and other Roman food destinations, including Trastevere
Roman statuary & Renaissance paintings are featured is this series of related museums.
Musei Capitoline is one of the must-see museums in Rome and the world's oldest museum. Don't miss the Palazzo dei Conservatori, designed by Michelangelo; Bernini's portrait of Medusa; the statue of Marcus Aurelius; and the second floor picture gallery with Baroque masterpieces.
From ancient to modern, Rome has it all.
In 2010, the uber-modern MAXXI National Museum Of Contemporary Art And Architecture was unveiled after a decade long build-out. The building is purely space-age — bold, fluid, curvy with long flowing galleries. Come to see the monumental structure and hang around for the art, the cafe, and the fabulous bookstore.