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Ancient and modern worlds collide in Rome

Top 10 Things to Do in Rome

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In ancient Rome, poets claimed that this city would last forever despite any empires falling or changing. Today this spot has landmarks connecting moments in history, telling the tale of western culture throughout milenia. 

While Rome is a modern sprawl with a vibrant nightlife, visitors to the city should not forgo checking out the historic places. Locations that connect the ancient Etruscan culture which became the empire, passing through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and intertwine with modernity are not to be missed. 

Here are 10 places and things to do when visiting this so-called Eternal City. 

City of Rome
City of Rome (Italyscape)

Go into the catacombs

Underneath the city is a labyrinth of burial sites for Jewish people, early Christians, and other communities, full of frescoes and sculptures. Walk underneath the busy streets into this underground cemetery to get a piece of history unlike no other. 

Coliseum

Walk through the massive space where the gladiators fought with wild animals or each other. Experience the architecture of the place that became a space where the powerful and the populus would witness the spectacle of the empire. 

Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Try a plate of Cacio e Pepe pasta

If your plans include eating like a true Roman, don’t miss out on trying out the local pasta dish cacio e pepe. Almost every local restaurant is sure to have their version of the dish with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, which is a must-try. 

Typical Street in Rome, Italy
Typical Street in Rome, Italy

 

Visit the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome

A tradition established in the 14th century by a Catholic saint, travelers are recommended to visit the churches of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, St Peter's Basilica, St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, St. Mary Major, St. Lawrence-Outside-the Walls, the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love, and the Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem. Both the devout and those interested in seeing sacred art will have a unique tour experience of seeing walking in the footsteps of those who would come to Rome to witness their faith.

Blue hour over the Roman Pantheon
Blue hour over the Roman Pantheon (Nicola Forenza)

 

Walk up the Spanish Steps

The famous stairs connecting the Piazza di Spagna with the Trinità dei Monti church have become a sight every visitor to Rome must see for themselves. At the base of the steps is a fountain commissioned to the artist Bernini by a pope in the 17th century. 

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

Want to be in the space where emperors, tradespeople, and great philosophers once came together? The Roman Forum was the marketplace and center of all public and commercial activity. The archaeological ruins, which include temples and basilicas, show the greatness of an empire that went from what is now Great Britain to Iran. 

Explore the ancient Roman Forum
Explore the ancient Roman Forum

Janiculum

If you’re looking for great views of the city, this hill is a great place to see Rome from another angle. The Janiculum houses a shrine, several universities, and even a 16th century villa. 

Explore the ancient ruins of Rome
Explore the ancient ruins of Rome

Roman Baths

Caracalla is where the ruins of one of the places where the ancient inhabitants of the city would do their bathing ritual still stands today. Unlike other spots, which eventually became Christian churches, it withstands the test of time.  

Visit the Forum Romanum, the center of ancient Rome
Visit the Forum Romanum, the center of ancient Rome (Aleksander Nalbantjan)

Vatican City

Aside from St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Vatican has plenty to see in terms of historical landmarks and museums. You can see all the treasures that go from prehistoric findings such as mummies, to statues and tapestries. Don’t miss out on Michelangelo’s greatest feat when visiting the Sistine Chapel. Depending on when you decide to visit you might even get to experience a Papal blessing from the square. 

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel (Italyscape)

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