Rome Things to Do
The Eternal City has been wowing visitors for at least 2,000 years.
Officially opened in 1762 by Pope Clements XIII, this is Rome’s largest and most spectacular fountain, and is famous for being featured in many films. Go early to avoid crowds waiting for a photo op. Don’t forget to toss a coin into the water, because according to legend, that ensures your return to Rome.
This famous Roman landmark, made of concrete and sand, was finished in 80 AD under the reign of Emperor Titus. The amphitheater could hold up to 80,000 people during its heyday, and is known for gladiatorial contests. Buy your tickets online, ahead of time, and you can walk right past the waiting crowd. Watch out for aggressive vendors trying to sell you selfie sticks. If you have one, hold it out and they’ll leave you alone.
Palantine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome, and one of the most ancient parts of the city. The attractions located here include the Imperial Palace, Domus Augusto, and the Temple of Apollo Palatinus. A guide book is helpful because there is very little signage.
The political, religious, and cultural center of the Roman Empire, The Forum, was the sight of triumphal processions, elections, public speeches, criminal trials, and commercial affairs. You’ll find the ruins of famous architectural wonders like the Temple of Saturn, the Basilica Aemilia, the Gemonian Stairs, and the Arch of Septimius Severus. If you’re planning to see the Roman Forums, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum, set aside a full day, and buy your combination ticket online to avoid the long queue.
Have a plan and pace yourself, or you’ll be overwhelmed by four miles of great art. Bring along some sort of guide book that will tell you what you are looking at, since the labeling is not the best. Get to the Pinacoteca, which is the Picture Gallery. Here are works by Da Vinci, Raphael, Bellini, Fra Angelico, Caravaggio, and other big names in art. If you’re pressed for time, head straight to the Sistine Chapel, where most of the crowd congregates.
Villa Borghese Gardens
This park is a peaceful refuge from the hectic streets of Rome and features a lake, temples, fountains, and statues. In the 16th century, it began life as a vineyard before becoming the largest public park in Rome. You can spend all day here, walking among the beautifully landscaped grounds, watching dogs, and listening to street musicians. If you have the energy, visit one of several museums here, including the Galleria Borghese with its collection of sculptures by Canova and Bernini, and its collection of paintings by Titian, Rubens, and Raphael.
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