Things to Do in Rome - page 3
The Basilica of St. John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the most important of the four major papal basilicas in Rome and is seat of the bishop of Rome: the Pope. One of the most important Catholic churches in the world, the archbasilica is decorated with rich mosaics, Cosmatesque floors, and 12 baroque statues of the apostles.
By far the most famous attraction in this square set between the Forum Boarium and the Tiber River is the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità), located beneath the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Featured in the 1953 filmRoman Holiday, this massive ancient marble mask is one of Rome’s top attractions.
As the cradle of Christianity, Rome is home to some of the oldest churches in the world. Among the most important is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere), with a facade and interior covered in golden mosaics from the 12th and 13th centuries.
One of the most elegant public spaces in Rome, Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) is the site of Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo in 1536. This piazza overlooking the Roman Forum includes an open square, three Renaissance palace museums—Palazzo dei Conservatori, Palazzo Senatorio, and Palazzo Nuovo—and Cordonata, a monumental staircase. The square’s three palazzi house the Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini), considered the world’s first public museum. The vast collections include classical sculpture, Renaissance paintings, and archaeological finds.
Though Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) is not one of the seven hills of ancient Rome, its history is long and its attractions worthwhile. Visit San Pietro in Montorio church, see the monumental Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, and wander the hidden university botanical garden, but the hill's main draw is its sweeping views of the city.
Once the largest basilica in the world, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura) is one of four papal basilicas in Rome and among the city’s most important Christian sites. Presumed to be set over the tomb of St. Paul, the church has a striking interior decorated with 80 columns and extensive mosaics.
In a city of famous fountains, Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana delle Quattro Fiumi)in Piazza Navona is a headliner. This baroque masterpiece was built in 1651 in the center of one of Rome’s most elegant squares, and it continues to delight centuries later with its ornate sculptures and starring role in pop culture.
One of Rome’s the most unique public parks, theAqueduct Park (Parco degli Acquedotti) is home to the remains of two ancient aqueducts—Aqua Felix and Aqua Claudia—and the 2nd-century Villa delle Vignacce. Part of Appian Way Regional Park, this 593-acre (240-hectare) expanse just outside the city center is a popular respite from the bustle of downtown Rome.
Quirinale Palace (Palazzo del Quirinale), the official residence of the president of the Italian Republic, sits on Quirinal Hill, the highest of Rome’s historic seven hills. Formerly a royal residence, the palace has dozens of sumptuous, art-filled halls around a stately central courtyard and a beautiful garden with expansive views over Rome.
One of Rome’s seven legendary hills, Aventine Hill (Aventino) lies farthest to the south along the Tiber River and is home to the fifth-century Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rose Garden, Orange Garden, and, perhaps most famously, Knights of Malta “keyhole” view of St. Peter’s Basilica in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta.
More Things to Do in Rome
The Appian Way (Via Appia Antica) was the first and most important Imperial Roman road, stretching from Rome to Brindisi. The cobblestone road—built in the fourth century BC to transport supplies and soldiers to strategic points throughout the Roman Empire—still exists today, lined with archaeological sites and impressive ruins.
One of the most intricate ancient landmarks in Rome, the enormous Trajan's Column (Colonna di Traiano) near Quirinal Hill was built in the second century to commemorate Emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians. The triumphal column is decorated with bas relief carvings that constitute a diary of battle scenes.
This towering Roman triumphal arch was erected by Emperor Domitian in the first century AD to commemorate the Roman siege of Jerusalem. Located in the Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus(Arco di Tito) is an impressive monument in the vast archaeological site and a model for dozens of triumphal arches erected in the millennia since.
Piazza della Repubblica is a square in Rome not far from Termini train station. The square was the original site of the Baths of Diocletian. It was known as Piazza Esedra until the 1950s, and many older locals still refer to it by its old name. In the center of the square is the large Fountain of the Naiads, or water nymphs. Figures of the four water nymphs adorn the sides of the fountain representing oceans, rivers, lakes, and underground water. When the fountain was unveiled in 1901, it was considered too provocative due to the nudity of the statues.
One of Rome's most well known streets, Via Nazionale, starts at Piazza della Repubblica. On this street and in the surrounding area you'll find upscale hotels, shops, restaurants, and cafes. Near the piazza is the Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma, a lavish 19th century opera house. There are also several churches and ornate buildings in the area.
This marble pedestrian bridge spanning the Tiber river between Castel Sant'Angelo and the historic center of Rome is lined with 10 monumental angel statues based on designs by Bernini. The most beautiful bridge in the city, Sant'Angelo Bridge (Ponte Sant'Angelo) dates from AD 134 and provides an unforgettable approach to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
The undisputed headliners of the sumptuous 16th-century Church of Saint Louis the French (Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi), commissioned by the Medici family and located near Rome’s elegant Piazza Navona, are three magnificent masterpieces by Caravaggio, among the baroque artist’s few surviving works that can be viewed in their original location.
Lovers of trompe l'oeil optical illusions will appreciate the ornate ceilings decorating the 16th-century Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola). Painted by Andrea Pozzo, these compositions use perspective to create cupolas and domes on the flat ceiling surface and are among the most captivating baroque masterpieces in Rome.
At the height of its power, the ancient city of Rome was home to millions and the capital of a vast empire, crowded with monumental temples, civic buildings, and villas. Today, visitors can get a sense of the ancient city’s wealth and power by visiting the archaeological ruins covering the Palatine Hill in the center of modern Rome, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Temple of Julius Caesar, and Arch of Constantine.
Overlooking Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, the Pincio Gardens (Pincio) have been present since the time of the ancient Romans. It is named for the Pincis, a noble Roman family whose estate was built on these grounds in the 4th century. The gardens were separated from the neighboring Villa Borghese by an ancient wall.
Filled with greenery, flowers, and bust statues of famous Italians, the present gardens were laid out in the 19th century. Tree-lined avenues were once (and still are) a grand place to go for a stroll. There’s also an obelisk and historic water clock located in the gardens. They are accessed via a steep, winding path up from the city. Once at the top, you’ll have one of the best views of Rome, looking out to rooftops, piazzas, and St. Peter’s Basilica. The panoramic outlook is arguably best at sunset.
One of the liveliest squares in the heart of Rome, Piazza della Rotonda is lined with bustling bars, historical cafés, and alfresco restaurant tables. The piazza was built around the Pantheon, one of the city’s most famous ancient monuments, which predates the square by about a thousand years.
In an Italian neighborhood known for its winding streets and narrow back alleys, Via del Corso has become well known as the only perfectly straight lane in the historic center of Rome. The iconic stretch of narrow roadway extends from Porta del Popolo to Capitoline Hill and grants travelers access to Baroque churches and other local landmarks.
Visitors will find the picturesque street that once served as the racetrack for Roman Carnival to be the perfect place for people watching, as locals and travelers alike stroll along the sidewalks as part of a traditionalpasseggiata—a casual, leisurely stroll. In addition to being an ideal spot to see and be seen, Via del Corso also offers plenty of shops, restaurants and boutiques.
The Great Synagogue of Rome (Tempio Maggiore di Roma) has a storied past, with the city housing one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The first set arrived in the city in the second century BC, and by the mid-16th century, the area of Trastevere on the west banks of the River Tiber became a Jewish ghetto, which lasted for three centuries until it was disbanded by King Victor Emmanuel II. The Great Synagogue was built across the river from Trastevere shortly afterwards in memory of the dark days of the ghetto; the Art Nouveau structure is stopped with a distinctive square dome and ornamented with floral reliefs.
On April 13, 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the synagogue, making him the first pope since early Christianity to do so. The synagogue celebrated its centenary in 2004 and serves as a hub for the Jewish community of Rome, as well as housing for the offices of the Chief Rabbi. The city's Jewish Museum is also on the premises, which opened in 1960 and displays precious textiles, manuscripts and silverware documenting centuries of Jewish life in Rome.
Ponte Sisto is a stone pedestrian bridge that crosses the Tiber River in Rome. It connects the historic center of Rome on one side of the river with the Trastevere neighborhood on the other side. The bridge dates back to the late 1400s and uses the foundations of an older Roman bridge that was destroyed in
the early Middle Ages. Today the bridge is one of the few bridges crossing the Tiber River that does not allow vehicles. This makes it a pleasant crossing point for visitors exploring the city by foot.
The bridge also provides nice views of the city. From here, you can see the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, Ponte Garibaldi, Ponte Mazzini, Tiber Island, and Gianicolo Hill. The bridge connects Via dei Pettinari and Piazza Trilussa. Several boutique hotels, restaurants, and cafes can be found in this area on both sides of the bridge, some offering views of the river and the bridge itself.
The pretty village of Castel Gandolfo overlooks Lake Albano and is a popular day trip destination from Rome. The site offers a peaceful respite from the bustle of Italy’s capital city and is home to the the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo and Barberini Gardens, which make up the papal summer residence and are now open to the public.
- Things to do in Lake Bracciano
- Things to do in Lake Bolsena
- Things to do in Assisi
- Things to do in Perugia
- Things to do in Siena
- Things to do in Naples
- Things to do in Capri
- Things to do in Pompeii
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Things to do in Florence
- Things to do in Pisa
- Things to do in Bologna
- Things to do in Lazio
- Things to do in Umbria
- Things to do in Tuscany